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To My "Middle" Child on His 10th Birthday

I think that in every family with more than two children, there is a "middle child." I am sorry Bug, but in our family it is you.

We have the oldest two boys who are into sports and Bionicles and do things together.

Your two brothers below you, who are into into sports and being destructive — we call them "The Little Guys."

Then we have the two youngest, "The Babies," who are into getting away with murder and driving me to an early death.

And then there is you.

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You march to your own drummer.

You always have.

When I was pregnant with you I was convinced you were a girl. Convinced. When you came out and they said you were a boy I asked, "Are you joking?" more times than was probably acceptable.

Your ears stuck straight out from the sides of your head when you were a baby, like little handles. Your grandmother was convinced we should tape down to the sides of your head so that they would be "trained" to lay flat. She was full of lots of other advice that we didn't take either. Your ears are perfectly normal now, by the way.

You turned out to be the sweetest baby imaginable. You smiled all the time. You never cried. And you preferred to swing in your battery operated swing over anything else. Which worked out well since I had my arms full with your two other brothers.

You love to talk. And talk. And talk. Oh how you love the sound of your own voice.

You are smart. Crazy smart. You go on and on about these "exciting" things you have read and ask endless "What if" questions. I wish I had more patience for them. I do.

I know that I am often short with you. And I apologize.

But when I ask a simple question like, "Did you put your bicycle away?" (which requires a yes or no answer) and you begin your response with, "Well, remember two years ago when the moon was full and you were wearing that green shirt..."

I'm sorry, but it drives me crazy. And after listening for five minutes to the back story of why your bike may or may not be put away where it belongs, I can't help but blurt out, "The point! What is the point you are making?!"

You are a sweet and generous kid, with a quick wit and an appreciation for a sense of humor. You love doing art projects, crafts, and have made book upon book of treasure maps which are your latest obsession. You fancy yourself to be quite the chef, which is funny since you are the pickiest eater in this family.

This year you decided you wanted to make your birthday cake all by yourself. From scratch, not from a mix. You searched through endless cookbooks looking for just the right recipe, in the end settling for a double layer chocolate sheet cake. And you decorated it as a flag, since your birthday is Flag Day, complete with 50 candles as the stars.

Everyone said that it was delicious. And you were so proud.

And I am proud of you, Buggy. The way you actively carve out your own niche in this loud and sometimes overwhelming family.

I love you. Now please, just shut up for five minutes so my ears can rest. Thank you.

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Visit Notes From the Trenches — Chris's personal blog

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