I am expanding a comment I made on 'culturednativity' blogsite, on which I was expressing concern and guilt over how I have let myself slot my second child E into the middle child category. Today held the eye opening moment. I have 3 boys D (4 1/2yrs), E (3yrs) and H (6weeks).It is hard juggling three especially when the youngest one is so demanding (ie he needs me and me only most of the time and then wants me and me only the rest of the time) He not so good on getting the Mummy needs to spend time with D and E just yet. Mostly I love that D and E are best friends, constant companions and always there for each other. This has come about due to their close proximity in age and the fact that a year ago we up and moved our family to New Zealand and left all their little friends in California. So they had to be each others companion. However as they have headed off to Kindy and started making newfriends I am starting to see D heading off with others more and more. No-ones fault, he turns 5 in a couple of months, he starts school this year and is generally growing up and wanting other kids his own age to play with. This leads me to E, he is a trying child and yet such an emotional and cuddly kid. For all his rough and tough exterior (He pushes everyone's buttons nearly all the time) he actually wants and is desperate for their love and company. Today it broke my heart as D was asked and went to a friends for a playdate, E asked if he was invited (what words could I use that wouldn't sound so much like, no sorry darling you weren't invited) so I decided right this is a great opportunity to give him one on one time with Mummy, H was due to have a nap (he doesn't sleep long so they are just that 'naps')I gave E lunch and then feed H and put him down. I then got myself some lunch and did two small jobs before saying to E (who was watching a little show while I fed H) lets play. He was so excited and his little face lit up, I knew he was thrilled to be here with me. I had been with him for maybe 5-10 mins and H started to cry. I looked at E and just caught a glimpse of that look of "Oh well that was that and now she'll leave. I nearly just left H to cry but I got up and of course H never went back to sleep, the time past and we had to go out and do some jobs before picking up D. I did go early to pick up D so that E could have a little play with the boys but that will not make up for ditching him and allowing him to succumb to the 'Middle Child' syndrome. I vow not to let this happen again but it wont be easy. I have not given in to adverse conditions with him prior and I wont let him down now!!!
Probably what made me realise that I have to help him gain his own identity, friends and time in the light, is that just after D left and I was feeding the baby, I heard him call out to D a couple of times before he remembered that D wasn't actually with him anymore. He needs to be E without D.