Monkey in the Middle

When I got pregnant with our third child, our family dynamic was really…. easy. Everyone had their specific place in our little nuclear family. Roles were clear, defined. It was simple to see who was what. We had the big boy and the little boy. We shit rainbows and sunshine and everyone whistled while they worked.

It’s really easy to glorify the past.

Sometime around the 8th month of my pregnancy, my 3 year old became “that freaking 3 year old” and I couldn’t attribute this change in behavior to anything other then his “Three-nees”.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, 3 is the new 2. It makes sense when a 2 year old is a douche-bag. Some have limited verbal skills but desperately need to be heard. At 3, they are repeating all the stupid shit you say under your breath… “Yeah, Mommy, you’re an asshole” when you realize you left wet laundry in the washer for 2 days…. For the next 2 days after that all you hear is a little mouth saying, “Mommy is an asshole.”
Game, set, match, little man.

Now that the new baby is here, the 3 year old has two strikes against him…
A. He’s 3
B. He’s the dreaded {Dom, Dom, Dom} MIDDLE CHILD

I didn’t even realize the stigma attached to the whole “middle child” thing until tonight… bad mommy. I should have picked up on it before now.

Biggest kid went to sleep over a friend’s house and Hubby and I threw caution to the wind, said “fuck it” and decided to brave the great unknown by going out to dinner. This is a pretty big deal for us, because I really do like to cook and their are just too many variables with all these kids that can screw up a meal out. But tonight we did it….

And it was fucking awesome.

Because, in taking our oldest son out of the equation, 3 year old happily took the slot of top dog. He was well behaved, ate his dinner without question, helped with the baby…. did all the things (I assume) he’d been yearning to do.

So now I’m wondering, how can I make my second child, my #2, feel like my first child, my #1, all the time? I mean, obviously, I don’t have a time machine… he’s never going to actually be my first born. And he totally knows that. He loves his big brother and completely uses his big brothers actions as a guide. But I need to erase the middle child stigma from my mind, my world, my house… The whole shebang.

The 3 year old is very important member of our new family dynamic. He’s the glue. He’s the guy that holds all the brothers together in a very important way. He’s the funny, irreverent brother. He’s the one that asks the ridiculous questions…. “Mommy, why are your nipples so much bigger then mine?” He asked that over breakfast by the way. And he’s the one who tells us when we have something caught in our teeth. And tells us when he farts…. even when it doesn’t make a noise. He’s also the one who perfectly holds a pencil, and can play with Lego’s (without directions), and can paint (with real paints and brushes) for hours and never make a mess.

Starting tomorrow I’m going to bite the bullet and give him some assignments. Chores and helpful stuff that he will love, stuff that will make him feel important, and stuff that will help me out. This is a huge leap of faith for me, because I really love control. But if it works… (fingers crossed) I’ll be giving him some massive identity beyond being the monkey in the middle.

Stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted.

*Note to self, buy wipe boards

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