Now being a mum of 5 children means that obviously we have a middle child, and as with all families of more than 1 or 2 children there is bound to be ‘the middle child’. This child is usually known to be a little bit lost. This is thought to be because the first child is more prone to receive privileges and responsibilities and the younger child in the baby so is usually smothered with attention.
In our house the middle child is Annabelle who is 7, Now unfortunately for Annabelle she has a more severe case of middle child syndrome than most due to the fact that her older brother and sister were born only a year and a week apart so they are so incredibly close they are more like twins, they are also 12 & 11 which means there is quite a large age gap between them and Annabelle, this means that when she would like to do things with them they are normally
a, Doing things that she is much to young to join in with , or
b, Doing things with their friends and don’t really want their little sister hanging around all of the time
And then she has her little brother Freddie and her baby sister Beth, Freddie is 2 years old and what can only be described as an absolute whirlwind and Beth is obviously just a small baby so it means they don’t really like to interact with anybody at all let alone with their big sister who is 5 years older than Freddie, if anything she gets in the way and they just end up bickering constantly over something or other. Freddie is very much a boisterous little boy who likes to play with cars, throw balls or just about anything he can get his hands on and will think nothing of spoiling anything that Annabelle wants to try to do.
So as you can see Annabelle really is completely stuck smack bang in the middle of the other children with nobody even remotely close to her age range however the others all have someone else close to their age to have fun with and just lately I have noticed or become aware of the fact more and it isn’t because she has mentioned it at all, not even in the slightest it is simply just something that has been playing on my mind lately, and for some reason although I’m not quite sure why I’m feeling quite sad about it.
You see with there being 5 years between Ellie and Annabelle when Annabelle was born she was absolutely pampered not only by me (I had previously lost two babies before having Annabelle so maybe I was a little more clingy than I should have been with her but she was also spoilt by her big brother and sister, In fact her sister ran around after her tending to her every need. I separated from her dad when she was a baby which meant that she also had my constant attention. She was a full blow princess and she knew it, she was very well-behaved, she was well-mannered and had absolutely everyone eating out of the palm of her hand.
Then I met her step-dad Gareth who has been in her life for almost 5 years now and we had a child together ( Freddie) so Annabelle went from being the baby to being a big sister, all of a sudden the attention was no longer solely on her but it was on her little brother but she adjusted well and they became quite close, she didn’t really react too badly to him coming along as she was still the baby princess and he wasn’t a threat to her due to being a boy, she still got to be the sweet, pretty little girl and she was the youngest girl out of the whole family too.
Then myself and Gareth had our 5th and very final baby and this is where the dynamics changed and Annabelle became lost , because the final baby was a girl! All of a sudden not only had she lost her place as the baby of the family when Freddie came along but now she had lost the status of the baby princess and mummies’ baby girl, she had this little sister to contend with. I noticed shortly after Beth was born her looking a little bewildered, my little girl who was usually full of songs and dances and everything around her being hearts, flowers and butterflies had gone quiet, so I took her out on a mummy and Annabelle date, just me and her, none of the other children she had my full attention and do you know what? she spent the entire time telling me how much her brothers and sisters would have loved to have been there.
So I wonder, we all talk about middle child syndrome but do they actually suffer it or is it just that we think they do?
At the moment I think maybe its playing on my mind because Harry had a bit of a rough time at school so we focused a lot on him, Ellie is at an awkward age where her body is changing and hormones are starting to kick in so she is getting a lot of attention there, Freddie is going through a serious case of terrible 2’s so we are constantly running around after him and Beth is only 4 months old so obviously we are always feeding or changing or singing to her and Annabelle? well she hasn’t really had anything going on that’s needed much attention, don’t get me wrong we haven’t just sat her in a corner and ignored her but it just seems we are so busy with the others that maybe she might be feeling left out, but she hasn’t even said it, it’s just me thinking it… could I be worrying for nothing? or could she really be suffering from middle child syndrome?