Friday, April 22, 2011

Guest Blog - Making Lemonade

          I’m going to drop a little knowledge bomb on the followers of this blog. Life can be awesome for middle children. We are absolutely indecisive, and marginalized, and the list goes on (see older posts). But what I am here to say is that to me, being the middle child means making lemonade.  
            I wasn’t always so positive. My sister is 13 months older than me and my Mom thought it would be a great idea to raise us like twins. (PS. I’m a dude. Get ready for the fun stories). “What does being raised like twins mean?” you ask. Well, it pretty much means that I had to go to everything my sister wanted to do, tag along and keep her company while she got to bail on everything I wanted to do. Figure skating, gymnastics, ballet; name any activity a 10 year old girl would be interested in, and I probably took extensive lessons for it. While my sister was the envy of all her friends, I was trying to convince my friends that baseball players trained in slippers, that only the best football players wore tights, and that something called a “Lacrosse Leotard” really did exist.
            [Quick side note to those who were wondering: Displaying a perfectly formed Pirouette on the playground is not exactly the best way for a youthful member of the male gender to make friends.]
            I was embarrassed of all of these things until I started owning them. What I learned from gymnastics taught me exciting ways to risk my life on a snowboard. Ballet and Figure skating? I became one badass hockey player. Sure I was furious when my sister decided to tell my mom she wanted me to keep her company at acting camp. Right up until I found out the camp thought “Ariel” was a girl’s name, and placed me in a group with 24 other ladies for 3 weeks. Though I’m sure I would have enjoyed that more had I not been 9.
            The advantages to being a middle child didn’t only come from being my sisters surrogate twin. Lurking quietly in the shadow of my siblings, I realized that as long as my sister was dating nefarious characters and my brother was breaking stuff then I had to do relatively little put the imaginary “favorite kid” trophy in my imaginary trophy case. All I had to do was wait for their mistakes and I could do whatever I wanted as long as the damage was less than what they did.
            Being a middle child made me who I am today. I always know where the line is and I know how to cross it and not get caught; I’m independent and responsible; I’m observant and calculating; I can do a really awesome cartwheel. The fact is I never had a choice about being a middle child, so it’s up to me to decide if I want to just bite right into that lemon and spend the next 75 years gagging or juice the crap out of it and drink my deliciously refreshing beverage.
            I’m also majoring in conflict resolution. I guess some things you can’t escape.

[This post was written by a fellow middle child...if you want to hear more check out his blog at

Monday, April 11, 2011


Siblings quarrel. It’s a fact. Every parent in the world has accepted it. And more often than not, they choose to take a back seat and let their kids sort it out by themselves.

There are many types of fights that have the potential to break out amongst siblings... Who gets to sit in the front seat of the car? Who gets to push the buttons inside and outside the elevator? Of course everyone knows that the inside button where you push the floor is of higher status, but when there are five children any push is better than none. Who gets to sit next to dad at the table? Who DOESN'T have to bring in the drinks at the meal? Who gets to choose the TV channel? Who gets the biggest bestest chair by the TV? Who DOESN'T have to answer the phone/ doorbell?

These are but a few of the thousands of trivial arguments that erupt as children grow up. Writing them out now, they seem so meaningless, but when you are eight years old this is the only thing that matters: getting one up on your siblings. What a feeling! You have won, and there is nothing they can do about it. Glory is yours. (Until the phone rings again).

As a kid, I often wondered how, in such a moment of great desperation, my parents could just turn a blind eye to the goings on between my siblings and me. Did they not understand the grave importance of me pushing floor five when we went to visit my grandparents? My dignity was on the line, and they looked away? How could they?

As a middle child, if you were not an instigator of any particular squabble, one way or another you managed to get involved. Siblings have a wondrous talent for getting the middle children in on fights and making it seem like the whole quarrel is resting on their shoulders. It is clear that the middle child cannot solve the argument by electing himself to “get the front seat”. But the question is who does the middle child favour? Who do they side with? The older sibling naturally holds more power since they rank higher in the pecking order. Having them on your side will definitely earn you benefits down the line, be it with hand-me-downs, or helping you out with homework, etc. However, there is something about the younger ones... they are favoured, they are loved, they are protected. Being on their side means when they get spoiled, you do too. So, does the middle child want to be seen as the third oldest, or the elder of the younger ones? This dilemma has baffled MCs for centuries. 

Thankfully, the woes of the middle child have subsided in the recent years due to the wondrous phenomenon that is “SHOTGUN”.  The shotgun rule became popular when I was in my teens. Different communities hold different rules regarding the implications of a shotgun, but in my family it can be used for negatives and positives. For example: “Shotgun front seat” would imply that I will sit in the front seat of the car. However when the doorbell rings and we all shout out “shotgun”, that implies we are not getting the door and whoever says it last is the loser who has to get up.

The universal acceptance of the “shotgun” means that in every debate there is a clear winner and an even clearer loser. And these ranks are indisputable according to the rules of shotgun. This further implies that middle children are no longer required to be the peace makers, or get caught between the endless bickering.
So, to the creators of the shotgun rule, whoever and wherever you may be, we, the middle children applaud you. We are eternally grateful! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What Should My Title Be?

I’m not sure I should be writing this.
I'm not sure what I should say.
Should it rhyme?
Or shouldn’t it?

Truth be told
Even though I'm old
Enough to live alone
My parents should have known
That I cannot make a choice
As if I haven’t got a voice
To make a decision
Needs an immense amount of precision.

I'm a middle child
So my opinions are mild
I can’t choose a thing
Not even a ring-
Tone for my phone
Or when to go home
Chicken or beef?
Above or beneath?
What should I wear?
How shall I do my hair?

After a while
You no longer smile
When I cannot pick
And the clock starts to tick
You give up on waiting
Your mouth is salivating
Call over the waiter
“She’ll order later.”

But I cannot change my ways
Although it takes me days
To make up my mind
I am no way inclined
To speed up my thoughts
Since I was always taught
That every choice of mine
Should take me some time
To make sure I can see
What works best for me.

So if you don't mind
Although I am behind
This is the way I am
I’ll go as fast as I can
But when all is said and done
I'm not the number one
I am the number three
As central as can be
And it is my right
To win this one fight
So give me some time
I'm sure you’ll be fine.

On this matter lets close the lid
‘cause I'm just the middle kid.  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Parent's Guide to Family Holidays

HOLIDAYS: The ultimate opportunity for family bonding time. Everyone is in a good mood, the weather is great, the itinerary has been finalised, leaving all the time in the world for your family to get along and do things together.

THE AIM: Be it a short break, or a full on two week holiday, your only mission is to make sure your children behave and don’t make a public scene which will black-list your family name in every hotel in the area.

THE METHOD: Use the middle child to resolve all disputes. If they resist, re-assure them that their sacrifice is for the good of the family as a whole and that their responsibility is very much acknowledged.

Here are a few examples of problems that you may experience throughout your family vacation, and tips on how to solve them effectively and efficiently...

The mini-van has pulled up outside the house, and the immense amount of suitcases has caused an over-flow of luggage into the back row of the van. Someone must sit there. The oldest child will ‘shot-gun’ a seat up front. The youngest must sit in a safe seat where nothing can potentially fall on them.

Place the middle child in that almost dangerous seat, urging them that there is no time for a dispute as you are already late and really don’t want to miss the flight. Do not forget to buckle them in.

The two youngest siblings do not get along well enough to sit next to each-other on a flight longer than an hour. The two oldest siblings claim they have homework to do over the holiday and require peace and quiet to do their work on the flight so that they can “bond” with the family when you actually arrive at your destination. As parents, you desperately want to sleep, eat peanuts and watch movies on the plane. And nothing else.

The middle child is naturally NOT an over-achiever and therefore does not feel the pressures of homework like the older ones. In order to kill two birds with one stone, ensuring the little ones are separated and you, as parents, get to sit alone, place the middle child in the middle seat between your two youngest children. Although they may feel a little discomfort in that they have nowhere to rest their head for the duration of the flight, it will be worth it once you arrive.

This solution works for car rides as well as planes. Keep the peace by keeping the middle child in the middle. LITERALLY.

Once you arrive at your hotel, all family members are assigned rooms. A family of seven for example, would generally take three rooms: one for you, one for two children and one for the other three. Your oldest and fourth children get along extremely well. They like the same music; they watch the same TV shows... They should share a room as it will be a peaceful experience. Furthermore, your second and youngest children also share the same living styles. The middle child must go somewhere; he/ she are easily adaptable and can technically go to either room. However, whichever room has three people in will require the youngest to sleep on the sofa-bed. This makes having a three person room very 

In such a case, a solution can be difficult. Here are a few methods to try in the case that such a situation arises:  
  • Flip for the middle child – this is the simplest and quickest method. Be aware, your children may make you play until ‘best out of 3'.
  •   Have the two rooms compete for the two person room. This will start the family bonding off with a fun and competitive twist. Competition is always encouraged for healthy growth in children. 
  • As a compromise to both rooms, have the middle child switch back and forth from one room to another each night.
  •  Place the middle child in either room, but shaft them with the sofa bed. Once again, any resistance to this can be soothed with the reassurance that it is for the sake of the family.

It can be seen that the middle child is arguably the most useful child to have when on a family trip. Their natural character traits as the middle child make them good mediators, easily swayed and not overly stubborn. Hence, a great tool for burying family problems before they surface and ruin any holiday. 


Sunday, March 6, 2011


When it comes to going shopping as a middle child, life is made easy. There is no need to make that awful trek to the shopping centre and have your mother force you to try things on for hours, opening the curtain in the changing room when you’re not ready, and calling your name when you take too long to change. No. Us middle children do not have to go any further than our sibling’s closet upstairs. No changing room, no schlepping bags, no tags that you forget to take off before you wear it, and the best thing of all.... one size fits all. Well, actually it’s more like “this size fits all”. Welcome to middle child shopping. Why buy new clothes when my sister’s clothes almost fit me?

Hand-me-downs, otherwise defined as discarded, used clothing passed along from one person to another, is common in the world of MCs. We get used to it after a while and eventually start looking forward to the seasonal turnover of our older sibling’s wardrobes. In this time, a large pile of clothing is brought to our rooms for us to sift through and take whatever we like. However, experience has taught me, that there is always going to be something in the pile that was there by mistake (and is obviously the best hand-me-down you ever got), and when the older sibling see’s you wearing it for the first time they realise that they still want it, and force you to give it up even though they didn’t seem to miss it from their closets until they saw you wearing it.

I must admit that there were occasions in which I was lucky enough to get a new dress. For some reason family celebrations meant my two older sisters and I had to wear matching dresses. Why? That I'm not so sure about, but if it meant me getting new clothes, I would suffer the giant pink flowers that were almost as big as my face, and the itchy petticoats that made the dress puff out wider than my arm’s width. At least everybody saw me as an individual...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Middle Me

Hello all and welcome to Life in the Middle,
Allow me to introduce name is Zulu and yes, you guessed it, I am a middle child. 

Before I begin, I feel the need to define exactly what a middle child is. Some people call themselves middle children when they are second or third out of four kids, well that doesn't count. In order to be a TRUE middle child, you have to actually be in the middle, with an even amount of siblings on either side of you. I, for one, am the middle of five kids, and this place in line does not come without its challenges.

This blog will be for all those middle children out there who have experienced any kind of symptoms relating to the age old "middle child syndrome". I know I have...