middle children are okay!

hi, my name is anne and i’m a middle child.

growing up, i was the second of 3 girls.  my older sister is 2.33 years my senior, and my younger sister is 2.97 years my junior.  there is a fourth sister, but she was born when i was 13 so she’s basically a whole ‘nother generation.

3sisters
[my shirt is backwards here.  probably because i was a neglected middle child.]

recently, i’ve had multiple people with children ask my opinion on the welfare of their youngest if they have another kid.  one posed the question with concern by asking, “how do you think our second will fare, you know, if we have…a third?  will they be okay?”  another posed the question almost with contempt: “well we have the two, and we WANT more, but we don’t want the second one to suffer, you know, as a middle child.”

can i just say something here?  being a middle child is AWESOME.

unless you are an extrovert and/or like attention.

as far as i’m concerned, my childhood was a freaking blast.  i was always flanked by my sisters.  i was the 2nd of 3 but i always felt special and unique.  i got to try every sport i had a hankering for.  i got to quit every sport i had a hankering for after 1 year when i got bored with it.  i liked team sports the best because i wasn’t solely responsible if we lost.  once i got good enough at tennis to move from doubles to singles, i quit, because i didn’t like the attention.

3sisters4
[totally content being the mickey to my older sister’s minnie.]

i had my own birthday parties, i had my own identity, and it was the best.  no regrets, yolo, and all the jazz.

now i also must disclose that i was a painfully shy child and did not like attention.  one time, at the mall of america, i made my younger sister return something for me because i was too embarrassed to talk to the salesperson.  i didn’t like attention in the first place, so not being the center of it did not pain me one bit.

and as an adult, there is no pressure to show up to things because i’m the only child or one of two or something.  i never felt like i was compared to or competing with either of my sisters.  i like being part of a crowd and being able to slip in and out, taking a backseat and watching from afar.  i am comfortable with this.

[which is why it is EXTRA weird when hubs and i are the only “kids” at his parents’ house at christmas.  it’s like someone holding you down and tickling you and watching to see if you pee your pants.]

3sisters5
[just because they didn’t let me sit in the chair with my sisters doesn’t mean i wasn’t loved equally, probably!]

here are some fun facts about middle child syndrome that i found on the interwebz, and would like to dispel:

“Middle children often feel left out and invisible” – just the way i like it!

“Middle children tend to be more outgoing and flexible than their older and younger siblings.” – not even a little bit true in my case!

“Middle children tend to be ‘rebels,’ more so than their other siblings.” – nope, i am a giant chicken!

“Middle children are characterized by low self-esteem and extreme introversion, sometimes even leading to psychotic behavior.” – no…wait, am i a psychopath?  tbd.

“Middle children are also usually considered outcasts in their families.” – alright, let’s relax, everyone!

3sisters2
[if i close my eyes will i disappear completely? i wondered at the tender age of 4.]

now, are there times when i wished i was maybe a little more at the forefront of my parents’ thoughts?  maybe.  has one my parents’ forgotten the “e” on the end of “anne” on more than one occasion?  perhaps!  are there downsides to being a middle child?  probably.

but current and future parents, you need to calm down.  love your kids all the same and they will turn out fine.  and if they complain about being a middle child someday, tell them to calm down, too.

3sisters3[see? WE ARE AWESOME!  everybody calm down.]

I Don’t Know Who You Are

When I was in high school, I was a mentor at church for youths who were going through the confirmation process, to sort of spiritually guide them, as it were.  I think maybe someone should have been guiding me because I’m not exactly Yoda when it comes to spiritual advice.  But I had a group of middle schoolers, and in my mind, they were my little troop of Christians, and they would always remember me as being instrumental in their journey to getting that necklace that looked like a waffle at church on that Sunday.  If you’re Methodist, then you’d recognize it:

Just kidding, it’s this one:

So when I was a senior in high school, the kids from my confirmation group had finally started their freshman year.  I saw one of them approaching in the hallway, and being the nice, nurturing spiritual guide that I was, I made sure he knew I was there if he needed anything.  The conversation went like this:

Me: “Hey, Joe!  How’s it going?”
Kid: “Good…”
Me: “How’s your school year so far?”
Kid: “It’s…fine…”
Me: “That’s good!”
Kid: “I’m sorry…do I know you?”

SHIT!

There is no graceful way to recover from someone actually mentioning to you that they DO NOT KNOW WHO YOU ARE.  So I reminded him, we exchanged a couple of other mumbly pleasantries, and then I pretty much ran away from him.  To this day I am terrified of this kind of thing happening to me again.  The fact is, I remember pretty much everyone who crosses my path.  It’s a character trait of people with my Meyers-Briggs profile, but I have to remind myself that other people aren’t as creepy-recollective as I am.  So I play dumb, a lot, so as to preserve my dignity.  I just try really hard not to make eye contact in public places, in case I see someone I know that I’m not sure will remember me.

Wanna know the kicker?  A couple of years later, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Tulane closed and many of their Atlanta-area students transferred to Georgia schools for the year.  Can you guess who ended up in my History of Architecture small group breakout of 10 students?

THAT.  KID.

Needless to say, I did not say hi to him again.  If it had been a repeat of the time in high school, I probably would’ve spontaneously combusted or melted through the floor, Alex Mack style.

All that to say, this new song from Garfunkel & Oates, titled “I Don’t Know Who You Are”, embodies my worst fear.  Except they play the jerk who doesn’t remember the person in front of them.  Basically, they’re talking to me circa 2001.  It sort of makes me nauseous.  But it’s also hilarious, so give it a listen, but maybe not at work without headphones on.

80’s Kids Movies that Terrified Me

Recently, Barefoot Foodie posted a list of scary movies from her childhood that she would never let her kids watch today.  Go here to read the list.  It’s pretty comprehensive, but I’d also like to add some of the moves that creeped me the F out as well.

 

The Hugga Bunch

My sister and I had Hugga Bunch dolls as kids.  A girl travels through her bedroom mirror with a Hugga Bunch doll in search of some magic cherries that will help her grandma, the only one who knows how to hug, stay young.  It doesn’t sound scary on the surface…oh, but it was.

 

Ernest Scared Stupid

An evil troll that turns kids into dolls and then puts them in a tree.  WTF!

 

Raggedy Ann & Andy

This is unfortunate, since I share a name with one of the protagonists, but the part where they fall in the cave with The Greedy, who was a giant scary lady made of gum, or whatever, was a claustrophobic-in-training’s worst nightmare.

 

A not-scary movie that I always ask other people if they’ve seen, and then almost always say no, is The Fluppy Dogs!  It was probably, like, a Sunday night special that aired one time only, but we wore out our VHS copy of it.  A bunch of talking, dimension-hopping dogs come to Earth via crystals that can open invisible doors.  Sci-Fi and puppies.  Does it get any better than this?