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The Middle Child

I truly believe that the middle child syndrome is a thing. It is one of the reasons why I only wanted to have two children (not to mention being outnumbered!). Since having Anna, I have been consciously fighting against the tide of this syndrome. People say that because my middle child is a boy that it shouldn’t be so bad for him, that because he is the only boy he will be treated special in his own right, middle child or not. Frankly, I don’t think that being a boy has helped Charlie out. If I am to be honest, I am somewhat softer and more tenderhearted towards the girls. I find it easier to be harsh with him. Good. No. True. Yes.

I have to remind myself to lavish affection on him. He is an affectionate little guy. Unlike the sons of some of my friends who run from cuddles, he fights for them. He has to fight against an always demanding, rather overpowering big sister, and the cutesy baby of the family. They will pretty much always over  power him, so ultimately, I need to fight this fight for him. One of the ways I try to do that is with special bed time cuddles.

Charlie simply glows under this kind of attention. It makes me want to remember to more regularly give him this time undivided attention. As I tell my hubby about my time with Charlie, “I whisper sweet nothings to him. I tell him about all the ways he amazes me. How I liked when he did this and was proud of him when he did that. Last night I read him an old blog post I wrote about him, “Deliciously Baby: 10 Things I love about Charlie”.

He has changed a lot in the five years since I wrote that. I think it is time for a new list of ten. Something more relevant to read to him next time we cuddle up together. And so…

10 Things I Love about Charlie 2018

I love…

1.) …the way he can spend huge chunks of time drawing intricate and creative pictures and have wild stories to match them.

2.)…the way he can make friends with anyone because he is just a nice little dude and is ready to include anyone in his adventures.

3.)…his enthusiasm to learn and discuss new things

4.)…the way he is delighted by the smallest present, even a new pair of socks.

5.)…the way he goes to sleep right away, sleeps through the night, and never wakes us up (his sisters compensate for this by waking us up multiple times every night!).

6.)…the way his face glows when he is praised.

7.)…the way he stores up nuggets of wisdom from his kindergarten teacher and shares them with me and his sisters.

8.)…the way he defends his sisters, alternately, against one another and whoever else might comes against them.

9.)…the way he tries to take care of his sisters by seeking equality. If he is out on a daddy date and gets a kinder surprise he always asks that his sisters get one too.

10.)…the fact that even at almost 6 years old he seeks to cuddle with me, sit in my lap, and generally be close to his mommy.

Charlie, I will love you forever. I will like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

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Almost every parent I know has weekly, if not daily, conversations with their children about whether the child is making good choices or bad choices.

Parent: “Is it a good choice or a bad choice to not wear your helmet when riding your bike?”

Child: “A bad choice”

Parent: “Why?”

Child: “I don’t know.”

Parent (if you used to be a nurse on a neurosciences ward): “Could you have gotten hit by a car, smashed your head, and ended up in the hospital with limited brain function and no possibility of ever riding a bike again?”

Child: “Yes mommy.”

All our choices, whether good or bad, have consequences, whether seen or unseen. This is a lesson we strive to teach our children through these conversations and through encouragement for making good choices, and discipline for making bad choices.

What I have been realizing lately is that I need to have more of these conversations with myself because whether I am three or thirty, my choices have consequences and, as with most choices, mine have a ripple effect on those around me.  I have been making some bad choices for myself lately. Simple bad choices like staying up too late to finish a book or veering too frequently from my no refined sugars policy are starting to take their toll. These choices have led to extreme fatigue, irritability, impatience, nausea, headaches and less productivity. But of course I never take this out on my family. Ha! Rather, because of my bad choices I am unable to love my husband as well as he deserves or give my children the patience they require. Bad choices = Bad Consequences

It is time for mama to start leading by example and making good choices for herself. Maybe that will have a ripple effect too.


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Filed under From the Heart: Thoughts on Life and Family