Monday, October 8, 2012
Stuck in the middle (of my heart).
Well what do you know, it's October. My precious little brunette angel baby turned four last week, and we celebrated with a glittery bow and arrow and my sorry attempt at a purple "ombre cake". She couldn't have cared less about the cake; it had chocolate frosting and marshmallows on top, so who cares if the innards have been Frankensteined back together because of failure to spray the pan (oops). She called it a "white forest cake", which doesn't really make sense, but she stuck with it, and so will I. At four years old, the brunette is as snugly and tender as the tiny little thing she came in to the world as. Add in some odd vocabulary (remnants of ancient language ingrained in her subconscious???), the most hilarious face contortions, epic tales of shark encounters and miracle third arm growth, and the occasional fish flop in a fit of emotional distress, and there you have my darling daughter. She is a child of her own, and my husband and I always talk about how there's just something special about the brunette - of course we love all of our children, but if you met this one, you'd say the same thing. I've tried my hardest throughout her short life to not treat her like a middle child - to not give her special privileges to make up for her lot in the birth order universe, but also not to deny her special privileges and cultivate the very middle child syndrome I dread. So far, I feel like it stresses me out more than it needs to, and I am feeling like I am way over thinking it all and she is who she is regardless, and simultaneously because of, being a middle child. She had the benefit as a newborn of having a mother who was not a fretful first time mom, but more comfortable and more likely to follow her lead than go overkill on worrying about milestones, baby food, baby gear, all of that. She was a happy baby and an easy baby, and I really think it was because she came second. As she gets older, being second in line has made it easier for me to teach and discipline her, as I have already worked out the kinks with the blonde (sorry baby, it's hard to be the guinea pig), but I know she struggles with seeing her older sister get to do things that she can't yet. Fortunately, she does get to be bigger than the baby, and it pleases me so much that she is a generous and loving big sister. She and the baby play so nicely together, and she is patient and gentle (aside from the occasional altercation, i.e. this girl's got a solid right hook), and when she could easily take advantage of being bigger, she doesn't, and I believe it is because she knows what it's like to be on the receiving end of a bossy big sister. I just love her so much, she is beautiful and silly and a joy to spend time with, and as much as I try to even the playing field for all my girls, there is just no such thing. They all are different people, with different personalities shaped by different experiences in our family, and the only thing I can guarantee will be the same for all of them is that they will each be loved eternally. And that is not a bad deal. But let's not rush eternity, I'd like to hear some more stories about the sharks.