Thursday, June 19, 2008


Sometimes it isn't easy being Boy Number Three.

My third little guy has overheard the words, "And who is this?" asked regarding himself more times than I can even recall.

It can be commonly observed that when a woman is expecting her first baby, folks are generally excited about and quite interested in both the pregnancy and the baby. It's big news-- not to mention the perfect opportunity to offer all of one's wise advice! When number two comes along, it's still an exciting, noteworthy event for the general public, though with a little less luster than the first time such news broke. It is, after all, the expected thing in the course of forming the standard American family with 2.2 children.

This completed, however, the general appetite for baby news is sated and the pregnancy attention span takes a sudden dive. When number three comes along, especially of the same gender and appearance as the first two, let's just say that the public splash isn't quite so large. Mental Rolodexes for families seem to come with two official slots for children, and those are already filled. Number three's name may or may not get written on a post-it note to be pasted in. But, then! "An adopted child? From Ethiopia, you say? With such a poignant story, too-- have you heard? And a GIRL!" Middle-child sandwich.

Even beyond their grand entrances into the world, he jockeys for position: Boy #1 is not only #1, but he also has special needs. Boy #2 is busy excelling in many areas, and the Sister is just very busy being so notably girly and distinct in her other ways. He wants to hang with the big boys, yet he's just 18 months older than the baby, and gets grouped as a little one. When he does hang with the big boys, it's not always so easy to keep up. (Hence, the motto of little brothers everywhere: "If you can't join'em, beat'em-- or at least trash their stuff!")

He does well... but, poor guy! The effect is exacerbated by the fact that he looks so much like Boy #2. Sometimes people will see him apart from his brother, and assume he IS #2. Then they'll see him with all of the kids together, and out it comes: "Hi, girly Girl! Hi, Boy #1!" Pause for a double-take.... "Hey, what's up, Boy #2? And who is THIS?"

But this week! This week the big brothers have been away at camp. And so THIS? THIS is the big brother! The one who reads the little sister her bedtime story. The biggest boy in the house. The only one awake with mom during nap time. The one who gets to make a cool pirate ship model with all of mom's attention for himself. The snuggler, the sweet encourager, the helper, the voracious reader, the budding musician, the jokester... center stage, my little guy.

I love you, precious boy!

1 comment:

Carletta said...

He's a cutie!

My middle child is a girl - sandwiched between two boys, and I've started to feel that she needs just an extra bit of attention.

It seems like there's just something about being in the middle. Not that I would know, being an only child. We come with our own set of issues, LOL!