Monday, May 23, 2011

Clowns to the left of me! Jokers to the right!

Stuck in the middle with you.

Our little, middle guy is having some tough days lately. There's the daily battle to get him dressed as he screeches and cries, "No, I wan wear jammies."
There's his new obsession with turning off the television whenever big brother Bub is watching something. Cue screeching, screaming, and cries of "Moo-oom, he _______!"
There's the running around in circles once we've gone upstairs to settle down for night-night.
There's his habit of "accidentally" knocking over, kicking, and tripping his little sister Sweet P.
There's the running far away from me at Target, Jo-Ann Fabric, and Jewel ... even when just as we've entered each store, he's looked up at me sweetly and promised, "I stay close, Mom. I stay close you."
There's the schtick where he folds his arms across his chest, sticks out his lower lip, and announces in manner of an obnoxious sitcom kid, "Not fair. It not fair." If I ask him to clarify what's not fair, he answers, "You!"
There are the screeching and screaming fits that come seemingly out of nowhere and are resistant to logic and even to kindness and patience.
He'll turn three next month. I'm in the camp of parents who think the threes are potentially more terrible than the twos so perhaps his tough days can be attributed, in part, to his age.
Circumstances are probably also a factor. It's been a long "sprinter" (term for winter-like spring conditions), and he's been cooped up too much. Plus, he's been cooped up in a house that's for sale and always needs to be "close" to show-ready. His mama is tired and short on patience these days.
And, of course, he's our little, middle guy. Our daily and weekly schedules are dictated by Bub's school schedule, Bub's t-ball practices and games, and Sweet P's naps. Our Little Bit goes with the flow pretty well ... until he doesn't. I don't want to pin everything on birth order, but I imagine he does feel stuck in the middle sometimes, wondering, What about me?
Earlier in the spring when Sweet P was learning to walk, my hubby would stand her up so she could practice walking between us. Little Bit, desperate for his own attention, would swoop in, block her, and say, "Look me. Look me. Look I walking!" So we would humor him and clap, "Yes, good, good for you. You ARE walking, just as you have been for almost two years now. Way to go!"
Our little, middle guy is our biggest cuddle bug. He will crawl up on my lap, give me a hug, and say, "I love you too, Mommy." It's the too that gets me every time. I hope it indicates that my "I love you" to him is always understand, but my heart breaks that he always seems to need just a little bit more reassurance.
Little Bit climbs into our bed at some point every night. Sometimes hubby hauls him back to his own bed, but a lot of nights we leave him. In the morning, he wakes up between me and his daddy. Sometimes we will both snuggle him and kiss his cheeks at the same time. His eyes light up so big and with such joy that it's worth the discomfort of having been kicked by him for the last hour of fitful sleep.
He is a lovable little guy. With his angelic face and his big, blue eyes, I don't know if there is a boy who looks any sweeter when freshly-scrubbed and in his jammies.
And he's funny too. His passion for Star Wars and lightsabers is still fiery. He's invented a new game called Hide-n-Seek Lightsabers. The hider and the seeker are both armed with lightsabers. As the seeker seeks, he has to say, "I have a bad feeling about this." Cracks me up every time to hear Little Bit say that. When seeker finds hider, a battle ensues. Sometimes, two lightsabers cannot be located and Little Bit is quick to improvise, "It okay. I use the Force."
He likes to dance and shakes his little hips.
He's learned a couple of prayers and songs at school and his attempts to share them at home are stinking adorable.
He's taken a fancy to the younger sister of one of Bub's friends and calls her his girlfriend. "My girlfriend be there? My girlfriend be at t-ball?"
He used the potty exactly enough times to earn the red lightsaber I promised him as an incentive and then promptly stopped.
He eats his own dinner every evening and then eats a second meal with me and Daddy a couple of hours later. He's so proud whenever he tries a new food, "I like it, Mom. I like it!"
He asks me to take his picture all the time. I'm happy to oblige. One day my little, middle guy will be dressing himself, hearing "no" without throwing himself on the floor, staying at home all by himself while I shop at Target alone, and sleeping in his own bed past nine or even ten o' clock in the morning. I'll look at those pictures and only have slightly blurry memories of the screeching and the crying and the battling and the mess-making.
I don't know if birth order is a crock or not. I'm the oldest in my family and don't know firsthand what it feels like to be "stuck in the middle." I'm not doubting the pain of the experience, just wishing I knew better how to make his tough days less so. I guess just summon all the patience and energy I have and keep telling him and showing him how much he is loved.
I love you too, Little Bit. So, so, much that it's not fair. You're stuck in the middle and you're stuck with me and Daddy. So there.

Any middle children out there? Any wisdom to add? Grievances to air?


Anonymous said...

Your little guy is so cute. And this post was hilarious. I feel the same way about my middle guy! Oh, if only we could just squeeze them close and everything would turn out just fine!

Anonymous said...

I am a middle child but have the advantage of being the only girl between 2 boys which definitely changes the dynamics. I will admit that I was much fiestier as a young child than either the first born or baby. I was the one with the "temper". I mostly out grew it by grade school but it flares its ugly self every now and again still. I get few complaints so I guess it turned out fine as will precious Tommy. He stuck in just a moment of time during life's journey. m

Heather said...

It's tough to be three, and stuck in the house, and not have your own agenda for people to schedule around. Unfortunately, it's also part of growing up, and something that has to be experienced. Gabe had a really hard time with three, too, and he's the youngest, so I can't speak to the birth order part of things.

I LOVE the pics in the post; he really is adorable!

Anonymous said...

I've never been the oldest child, but I have a few. They always seem to get lost in the middle... Extra time and attention is the only thing I've found to help. Little Bit is also just at that age (and, yes, 3's are far worse than 2's - and 4's aren't much better, IMO!).

Having a girlfriend is so freaking adorable! As are all the pictures! Snuggle him close and love him, he'll be just fine.

Lady Jennie said...

I'm a middle so I sympathize with the middles. My poor son is so sensitive but I can relate (when I'm not telling him to "get over it already."

LAP said...

Ugh. Just lost my long, deep comment. Here's the less eloquent quick version: I was a second child just like Little Bit and I have no recollection of being squeezed during the toddler years. I honestly loved my birth order (2nd of 5) and secretly felt bad for first borns for having to navigate though all the firsts on their own, though perhaps that's why they tend to become great leaders. Anyhoo, Little Bit is so freakin cute that he's never going to get stuck in the middle or anywhere else for that matter for too long without anyone noticing:-)

Stacia said...

"I have a bad feeling about this." Woooowwwn wooooooooown [light saber sound effects]. How freakin' precious is that?

But I, personally, have a good feeling. The 3s are far worse than the 2s, no doubt, but kindness and patience is the right way to go. Kindness and patience and timeouts ... for Little Bit and you! Hang in there, Mama. Or use the force, rather.

Sarah Sullivan said...

I feel bad for the mothers of middles who are late 2/early 3. Or I guess I just feel bad for me! I don't think it helps that the "meaning" of my middle's name is "THE FIERY ONE" How did I not notice that? Adorable, yes. Challenging, to the moon and back!

msh said...

one thing i am convinced of in parenting--everything is a phase. that goes for the good, sweet, wonderful phases, too, unfortunately. but it is knowing that the tough stages are just a phase, and that they, too, will pass, that gets me through. so whether it is age or birth order or personality or weather or then some, this, too, shall pass! and all of the goodness, that warms your heart and that is who he is, will linger..,.

E... said...

My middle is at times the most trying of mine, but I don't know if it's birth order, age, the fact that she's the only girl, or all of the above. My oldest gives me a run for the money, too. One thing I know is that right now, sweet N. is the most likely to make sure she gets what she needs and wants. We were a little glad that she'll be the only girl in our family to make being in the middle easier, but I don't know if it really matters. Three is so hard. I'm working on bringing positive about all things parenting these days, and that is hard, too. I know that Little Bit knows that he is loved.

Teachinfourth said...

It's funny that when I clicked over to your blog I just happened to be listening to the soundtrack from Star Wars.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Awwwww... this is sweet. I am a middle and my own middle kid sounds like Little Bit. It's the humor part that astounds me every time. The WIT! I love witty people. And the over-loving is something special.

I just realized that this summer is practically all about my middle child. He's the only one in a camp, he's the one who has tons of friends right now and he's the one who will be tall enough for all of the big rides at the amusement park. It all evens out, eventually. Being in the middle has its own advantages, just as being the eldest or youngest do, too.

Maggie said...

You are such a great Mom. I feel like I experience many similar behaviors with my newly 3 year old even though he is our only one!

Little Bit is so cute!

sarah d said...

So sweet. Made me tear up a little! It does go so fast and your right to remember that the rough stuff will pass but a lot of the good stuff is going to pass too! :(

Tricia said...

My middle is also very trying. I just found a note in her pocket that read "not for sale" and cracked up because maybe she knows just how trying she is! *note was a garage sale sign.

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