My sister Jo is the middle sister. I am the baby. I admit that I am spoiled. No reason to debate that at all. Some of that spoiled brattishness came from the hands of my sisters who did not let my parents spank me. So, I just can’t help but be who I am. However, I must ask, is my sister being who the books and leading psychologists say she is as the middle child? I hope not.
The middle child syndrome is fully explained on the internet. It is the place of having no place…stuck in the middle. The parents are celebrating milestones with the first child while grieving the mile stones with the last child. If you are in the middle you are stuck with a less emotional celebration…your mile stone is not the first nor is it the last. When you reach your milestone it has been done before by the oldest and it will be done again by the baby. For example…the first to go to college…wow. The last to go to college…boo hoo. The middle to go to college…?
No wonder there is a syndrome named after them.
The syndrome people call the middlers loners who lack the ability to hold down a career. They say they misbehave to get attention and work as little as possible. (Wish I had gotten the memo on that last one. Thought that was my job.) The list goes on to include a negative outlook on life and an inability to make decisions. Then they usually point out that Richard Nixon and Madonna were middle children. (So were Bill Gates and President Kennedy, but evidently they don’t count.)
I can’t speak for the middle but I have tried thinking about it and here is what I know about the middle. The middle of the pizza is the cheesiest and best. The middle of a cake has the most icing. The middle product on the shelf that sets behind the first one is the one I buy…come on I know some of you do that too. The middle of the watermelon is the sweetest, juiciest place. The middle of the Oreo is eaten first. Sitting in the middle is the safest place. Monkey in the middle was great fun if you were the monkey in the middle. Crème filled doughnuts have special middles that fill up the otherwise empty hole.
I guess I could end it there with the doughnut thing. My sister, the middle one, is the cream of the doughnut. Without her in my past and my present there would be a big hole.
She is the one that played with me. I have memories of that. I would sit in her lap and play patty cake. She also had this other weird game that dealt with biting her finger. She would take my hand in hers, entangle our fingers, and point out one of her fingers and say, “Try to bite my finger.” When I did bite it, I felt the pain…somehow our fingers got switched. We don’t play that game anymore since I became a wiser spoiled baby sister.
She is the one that helped me become creative. I wanted to make her laugh just as much as I tried to make her cry. I was an angel and a devil in her life in regards to that. I tested pranks on her, scared her silly, and would tease something awful. There were times I made her laugh so it became a way to test my humor before taking it to the world. She was my testing ground before living in the big world – my social teacher in life.
She may have felt like a middle child in many ways, but in no way has her life reflected any of the negative traits the syndrome lists. She has well defined goals and a well lived career. She is a retired kindergarten teacher who is applauded by her students and honored by her peers. Now she trains and coaches others who are entering into the world of education. She is the “cream of the crop” when it comes to education….and family…and being a spouse…and being a sister.
I hope I put her in her place…in the middle…right where she belongs.