On the one in the middle

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I always thought I’d have 4 children. But things rarely work out to plan – for a start, I thought I’d be a much younger mother; I also thought I’d be quite a lot better at it than I actually am. So three children it is – and I count my blessings every day, though I’m not sure that my kids do :/

Of course, three kids means there’s one in the middle. I have a boy-girl-boy sandwich, and I’m really glad that’s the way it’s worked out – it means my beautiful girl will always have a special place. She’s not the eldest, she’s not the youngest, but she is the only girl.

That thing about middle children though – it’s always there, nagging at the back of my mind. What if she doesn’t feel special enough? What if she feels her needs are eclipsed by the one who’ll always be the firstborn, and the one who’ll always be the baby?

At this point I’d like to be able to offer up some wisdom, some wonderful tips for how to deal with the middle child thing, possibly a smug example of how MY middle child will be the best adjusted in the world, ever.

But – the awful truth is, no matter how hard I try, I know that she does miss out. I know that I expect her to fall in as one of the ‘little ones’ when it’s time for an early night because I’m knackered, yet when it suits me, she becomes one of the ‘big ones’, expected to dress and clean teeth and not play hide and seek because it’s a school morning, dammit, and can’t you see I’m trying to get the baby ready. I know that she does not get the fuss the eldest one did on reaching those special milestones, because three growing kids make everything so much more crowded and busy and noisy. And I know that while the youngest will probably get even less attention for his achievements 3rd time round, I also know that being the baby of the family probably more than makes up for it.

But my beautiful, special girl just sails on, unaware of my guilt, accepting of her place in the family, and happily embracing all that life throws at her. Her confidence in herself and in dealing with social situations is enviable, and lovely to watch. And I wonder if there are also benefits to being the one in the middle, that we don’t hear so much about. I hope so.

Time will tell, I suppose. But in the meantime, my lovely little girl, my only daughter, I promise to try harder to make sure you know, every day, how special you are. X

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