27 April 2009

Stuck in the middle

Sunday morning I was laying in bed listening to the boys play together in their room. It was going as it usually does: older brother tells younger brother what they are playing, how he must act while playing it, and takes license to change his mind whenever he chooses. Younger brother willingly goes along with most suggestions: dying when he is told he has just been shot, trading guys when older brother decides he wants what younger has, and trying his best to come up with new ideas for play only to be told that no, they can't play like that, or that isn't how it works.

As the mother of them both, I often want to step in and tell older brother that he is being a big bully and needs to "play nicer", which in this case means take the suggestions of younger brother even when they don't seem as cool or fun. And certainly, sometimes I do just that.

But on this particular morning, I remembered that I was once the younger; most likely following the older around like she could do no wrong, doing and playing whatever she told me, thinking maybe she would like me the best if I never disagreed. Like Owen, I am also the second born in the family.

Of course, I eventually got the best of both worlds, (as Owen will) when another sister was born, and instantly I added older sister to my previous status of younger sister, and perhaps I learned the joy of bossing around a little admirer who was willing to be bossed and mostly thought I could do no wrong.

Soon enough, Owen might be looked upon with pity as the "middle child". Poor, poor middle children. But I think that being stuck in the middle might have its hidden advantages. I'm not the middle child in our family, but I am in the middle of two. This same sister born after me is the true middle (two siblings on both sides of her) and is now the most independent and opinionated of us all, taking no bossing from me, or anyone else, for that matter. Perhaps these qualities developed as a result of being in the middle?

Eventually, the aforementioned playtime ended in older brother grabbing something unneccesarily out of younger brother's hand, and younger brother tattling to me with tears in his eyes. I'm sure he has figured out that, although we don't mean to, mothers generally side with the younger when tears are involved because we know what damage the olders can really inflict when it was "just an accident".

So really, it might just be best to be older brother and younger brother all at the same time. Lucky, lucky Owen.


Donnie Barnes said...

An interesting take. Never really thought about it that deeply. But poor Zach is hosed since he isn't going to get any middle status, but I guess SOMEONE has to be the youngest, and he handles it pretty well.

And no, you are definitely not "mildly disfigured" in any way, shape, or form (that's a reference to bean's comment on MY blog, for those playing along at home). Quite the contrary!

Jen I said...

That's a cute way to think of it.

Em said...

ya. tell owie he has a lifetime of fun ahead. always someone to play with, talk to, share a room with, etc... being the middle child is fun, imo.

Tara said...

I love this post! You are so right. I remember being bossed around by my older siblings and then totally bossing my little brother around. Good times.

Lis said...

This makes me cringe. I remember forcing you to pour your Halloween candy in a pile, dividing everything equally, except the things that there were only one of. Guess who got those?

What a jerk. I think I was the worst older sister ever.