Since we had baby Liam nine months ago, we have been observing some pretty major changes in the behaviour of our other children… especially Sean, our second boy, who is 4.5 years old.
He has become aggressive, ridiculously and recklessly noisy, unthinking, deliberately provocative, and shouts “No!” to everything – except offers of chocolate.
His first ever word was “NO!”… so it is not really a surprise that when he discovered that he was no longer the baby in our family his reaction was… anger. At first, he thought he was getting promoted when he discovered that he was going to be a big brother: and that is certainly how we sold the idea to him before Liam was born.
But Sean has discovered the truth. Every boy in the family (including my husband), has actually been DE-moted one place so I can pour my attention on Liam.
Callum who is 6.5 years old, is a bit bitter about it. But he has had the experience before, of course, when Sean came along.
But for Sean, it is all new. At least Callum still has the unmovable status of “first-born child” and “biggest brother”, whatever happens. And Liam will now always be the baby in the family. But Sean has gone from being the protected baby to… well… nobody in particular. He is just… in the middle.
When Sean is alone with Mum or Dad, or at school, he is co-operative and such a joy to be with. He’s a playful, witty, funny, sharing, considerate clown. But when he is around Callum, he fights, bites, spits, taunts and teases until Callum, who explodes in tears, and Sean ends up in his room, which he trashes. He is pretty good at slamming the door!
So, this is what the parenting books are talking about when they say “Middle Child Syndrome”.
I worry about what he will turn out like as an adult.
But then I realise that… both my husband and I are “middle children”.
Ahh! So that’s why hubby is so stubborn!
And maybe that is why he always says I am also so stubborn?