Sure, we've all heard of "middle-child syndrome" and how hard it can be for middle kids to find their niche in the family when they're sandwiched between the over-achieving first born and the over-babied baby. But it's Middle Child Day, and even though middle children do have it rough, we're celebrating some of the perks that come with the middle child territory (the frosting between the Oreo cookies of siblings, if you will):
1. You are born into an all-kids world.
When your oldest sibling was born, he lived in an adult-furnished house with adult talk and adult dinner parties. There was glassware, china and wine still living in cabinets less than three feet off the floor. Middle child, you didn't have to deal with any of that crap. By the time you came out, the kitchen was all brightly colored plasticware; the wine cabinets had already been converted to toddler shoe cubbies; and the TV was already comfortable in its constant stream of "Bubble Guppies." "This is a kid's house!" your older sibling proclaimed until your parents finally got the point. Yes, it is. And now every square inch is covered in toys, and you go to kids' birthday parties every weekend—as it should be.
2. Your parents made all their mistakes on the first kid.
Seriously. You don't have to worry about your mom trying the cry-it-out method...then caving...then cosleeping, until you kick her out of her own bed and take over said comfy California king for all of eternity. No, middle child, all of that's already been established before you. You get the spoils, and you didn't have to go into battle. Get it? Yes, it's awesome.
3. You don't have to care.
No one cares about your opinion, and that's awesome. When the grandparents come to visit, they're there to see all of you (you and the other siblings). And, unlike first child's babyhood, you will never have to deal with four adults staring at you, making goo-goo eyes and asking what you want for lunch. Nope, you'll be totally content to wipe stray applesauce dollops from younger sibling's tray before moving on to scavenge for peanut butter and jelly leftovers on older sibling's plate. You told the adults earlier that you wanted turkey and cheese for lunch, but nobody heard you. And you don't even care.
4. You are always part of a group.
Yep, you're always surrounded by others. It really comes in handy when you did something naughty, because chances are, mom will never be able to figure out whose little paws decided to finger-paint the bathtub with her hot pink nail polish or unload that brand-new, family-size bag of Cheerios on the kitchen floor. You and your siblings are a gang that can't be separated, like a pride of lions or a pack of wild hyenas, depending on the situation.
5. You never have to wear stiff clothes.
See, here's the thing. When mom had older sibling, he had to wear uncomfortable linen outfits to church—every single week—outfits that were monogrammed and had to be ironed. (I know, you don't know what that is.) By the time mom had you, she didn't care how wrinkled your Sunday best was, as long as you were wearing clothes and a clean diaper when the family left the house at 11:25 a.m. for the 11 a.m. service. Don't feel like wearing shoes today? Not a problem. You, my friend, are living the dream. Because for the remainder of your childhood, you will get to swim in super-stretched-out cotton hand-me-downs that have been washed a minimum of 1,000 times each.
6. There's no pressure to perform.
Sure, when older sibling was younger, everyone was all, "When's he gonna walk?" and "Can he talk in sentences yet?" By the time you're of age to turn baby-and-young-toddler-tricks, no one will care, and that's just fine. The irony is you'll be far advanced in development compared to older sibling, but again, no one has the time to notice.
7. You can enjoy having a younger sibling.
Since you've grown up sharing the spotlight, it (usually) ain't no thang when little sibling comes along. Unlike older sibling, who may or may not have had a Daffy-Duck-level power trip when you entered the picture, chances are your toddler ego won't upset the power balance of the entire universe when the new lil' one comes along. After all, this means you finally have another little person to love—and beat on.
8. There's a model for potty training.
I mean, what kid intuitively understands how to go from wearing diapers to sitting atop a high, ceramic pot in which you are expected to do your business? Enter older sibling. Because of him, you now know the treat glory that comes with potty training territory, and you will do whatever it takes to win those jelly beans and suckers your mom stole from the bank lobby. And hey, who doesn't love the promise of some like-new Spiderman cotton underwear to go with the fanfare? At least you know they'll be nice and worn in.
Formerly an Emmy-nominated TV news reporter, Janie Porter is now a stay-at-home mom to three boys under 4 years old. She chronicles her less-than-perfect parenting journey on her blog, She Just Glows.