Let’s hear it for the middle child!
No, not the oldest child. Because let’s be honest, we know all about how they have their perfectly coiffed crap together. Sure, we love those big sibs with all of our hearts. They’re pretty amazing with all of their responsible behavior and performance-based anxieties, but today isn’t about them.
And it’s not about the babies either. So what if they’re perpetually the cutest and the most innocent, and also the most likely to have been tormented by the older siblings? Lord knows the youngest already gets all the attention in the world. But this isn’t their moment. Not today.
This moment is for the middlest of us.
The fun-loving, people-pleasing peanut butter in the awesome family sandwich. The underappreciated survivor children who grow up in Pack ‘n Plays, napping in car seats, and eating three-day-old crackers out of mom’s purse. You can find them wearing epic hand-me-downs, like big sister’s oversized sweatshirt and a pair of scuffed-up sandals. Not that they care. They’re good with it. Because you know what?
Middle kids adore their siblings.
“I get to wear big sister’s three-year-old, out-of-style, armpit-stained hoodie? Sweet!”
“Oh, little brother wants to borrow the only new jacket I’ve ever owned in my entire life? Of course!”
You gotta love those go-with-the-flow kiddos with all of their sharing and caring. They’ll even share your name. Call them what you want: sister’s name, brother’s name, dog’s name, it doesn’t matter. They’re good with it. They’ll come running! Because they understand that mom and dad get confused sometimes with all these kids and creatures running around the house. Middle kids aren’t even mad. Because you know why?
Middle kids are empathetic as hell.
It’s basically their superpower since they are the sibling bridge and all. Don’t know what that is? Well, pay attention to the middle child. You see, a sibling bridge is the kid who keeps everyone connected. They are the mediators, the negotiators, the melty-gooey cheese that makes two slices of bread stick together. When siblings become adults, who do you think will organize holiday gatherings and keep the cousins up-to-date on family news? That’s right: middle child. Your No. 1. Okay, technically they’re your No. 2, but the point remains that you can rely on that middle one to grow up and keep the siblings in touch.
Because middle kids understand the importance of family.
And why wouldn’t they? The mids are literally sandwiched by siblings. If they need advice on puberty or negotiating high school social drama, they have a sibling for that. If they need a playmate or maybe just a minion to bribe (“Sneak me a Coke, and I won’t tell Mom you used the good towels!”), they have a sibling for that. The middle gets the unique benefit of having both bigs and littles to teach them the way of the world. And as a result, those in-betweeners are very cultured in family dynamics. With all of that infield training, middle kids are basically relationship experts — the Dr. Phil of every family. They know what makes their oldest sibling tick, which blankie the baby needs when he has a tummy ache, and whether or not it’s the right time to approach mom and dad with a slumber party request. And not only this, but it’s pretty much universal that middle kids are the go-to listening ear for all sibs. They’ll keep your secrets, because you know why?
Middle kids are loyal as all get out.
Maybe you’re an older sibling. You know. How many times have you tortured your No. 2, only to be shocked that they took the heat when Mom’s favorite bracelet was located in your Easy-Bake Oven? Or maybe you’re the baby. If you are (and can read this), you already know: Middle kid has your back, come hell or high water. You are loved, adored, and totally lucky to have that second kid go ahead of you in school to ruin all of the good expectations your oldest set with all of the teachers. (You’re welcome.)
What I’m getting at, people, is it’s long overdue for those middle kids to get some dang credit.
So if you are a middle child, or have a middle child, or maybe just love somebody who happens to be a middle child, pour them a drink (no booze for the kids, duh) and tell them how awesome they are.
To the kids whose schedules are dictated by their oldest sibling’s activities! To the kids whose lives are often interrupted by the little sibling’s nap time, snack time, all-the-time needs! To the kids in the hand-me-down jackets, eating a hot dog at big sister’s softball game and grinning ear-to-ear because LIFE IS AWESOME when you’re the cream of a sibling Oreo.
Let’s hear it for the peanut butter of the family sandwich. We see you, middle kids.
This is your moment. Until the baby does something cute.