Childrearing

My Daughter Got Demoted From Only Child To Middle Child

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birthorderAll the middle children speak up! There’s a reason numerous studies have been done about birth order. It actually matters. I was a middle child and it certainly affected me. We’re often called the “forgotten” child, or children, because, well, quite frankly, it seems to be that way. I lashed out by always trying to get noticed, and by noticed I mean at school; I always did extremely well, hoping my parents would be proud of me (I know, I was such a rebel!).

My older brother was the superstar, and he didn’t even get awesome grades. He was just the first born and that seemed to be enough in my parents’ eyes that he could do no wrong. By the time they had my baby brother, well, he was the baby, and he could do no wrong either. But my other brother and me? At a recent family dinner, we actually got into a conversation about who my parents loved more. (We’re a very mature family, as you can see.) My middle brother and I looked at each other and said, “Well, it certainly wasn’t us!”

And this is why I feel badly for my daughter. She has suddenly gone from being an only child to a middle child. This is a very confusing thing to explain, but here’s how it happened: My fiancé has two children, ages 13 and 10. Once they were in my daughter and mine’s life, my daughter suddenly became the baby. Which was an okay place to be. There was a lot of, “Well, she’s younger than you.” And the older kids played with her like she was a doll, dressing her up and watching out for her.

Then my fiancé and I decided to have a baby. And we did. And so suddenly my daughter, who went from an only child to the baby in the family, became a middle child. And I have to tell you, looking from the outside at this new position of hers, it does kind of suck to be a middle child. First, it does seem to me that everyone is always yelling at her. When she holds the baby, the older kids are always saying, “Rowan! You have to be careful!” And, from the other side, when the baby is crying, she feels like I’m not giving her enough attention.

Recently, my fiancé’s children and my daughter were in the back seat while we were driving. My fiancé and I were up front. My daughter, the middle child now, was actually in the middle seat (irony?). From both sides, she was being yelled at. “Don’t touch me!” said the older one. “Rowan, stop leaning on me,” said my fiancé’s other daughter. Then they bickered and my fiancé said, “Rowan, sit still.” And I said, “She doesn’t need three people yelling at her.”

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