I’m the middle child in my family. Sort of. My family is kind of complicated with full siblings, and half siblings and step siblings all over the place. So, i’m the middle child, or the second youngest of millions, depending on how you look at it…. but the point is I’m not the first born. And whilst I definitely have a degree of ‘middle child syndrome’ in my psyche, I do have an affinity with what the challenges of being the first born child must be since I had my own.
Because first borns are basically an experiment, right? And not even a particularly well designed experiment at that. When I had The Diva I was 22, clueless and terrified. I found breastfeeding impossible, I was knackered and miserable, I had given in to a dummy after a month of sleeping with my little finger in her mouth (yup, I did that).
As she grew up, she was fairly quickly followed by her siblings, but she was the ‘first’ for everything. She started school first and she cried every day, and I felt horrible every day leaving her behind even though she came out smiling. By the time the other two started school they’d been there so often it was no biggie, but for her as the first it was this new, scary place that really shook her.
And its still the case now that all the firsts happen with her, every new stage of development where I dont know what the fuck I’m doing happens with her, and that can’t be easy on her either. We had a phase about a year ago when the hormones really kicked in where she was awful to live with, she would scream and shout and slam doors. This was from the child who had always been pretty placid up til that point and it shocked me so much, I handled it really badly. I’ve learned to pick my battles a bit more now, and things are much calmer thankfully, and when the other two hit the puberty stage I’ll at least have some idea of whats going on.
So, It must suck sometimes being the first-born kid. As a child you think adults know what they are doing, and I would imagine it doesn’t really occur to them that we as parents are floundering as much as they are. Without that framework of someone who has their shit together, it must be sometimes a bit scary to be that oldest child. I’m far more relaxed with Satan at 8 than I ever was with Diva, and I think that’s also a bit unfair on her. The Boy goes up to secondary school in September and part of me wants to tell her to
follow him wherever he goes and never let him out of her sight keep an eye out for him, but I also recognise that she had no one to do that for her last year, and its not fair of me to ask that of her.
But, as she’s a pretty awesome kid, I’m sure she will. She loves her brother
and they have very much the sort of relationship where they can call each other names and fight, but no one else is allowed too. They have a fierce kind of loyalty to each other these kids of mine which I love. My first born is kind and loyal to her friends, she isn’t afraid to go against the crowd and say when she feels someone has been wronged. She is strong and determined in the things she does. At her most recent school parents evening not one teacher had a negative thing to say about her behaviour or her effort in the classroom. She loves art, and gymnastics and youtubing at 2 in the fucking morning. Some might say she’s too young to do that, but she is learning skills in public speaking and editing and other stuff I’m far too old to understand about the technological world we live in. She made this anti-bullying video that made me so proud I thought I’d burst. I’d post it here but Youtube removed it because it contained copyrighted music, but hell she learned a thing or two about corporate greed too, right?
So despite being my experiment, my trial run, my lets-just-try-this-and-see-how-it-goes kid, it seems I did something right so far….lets hope it doesn’t all go tits up on the next stage, eh??