In having three children R and I have found ourselves on unfamiliar ground. I am the eldest of two and R the youngest – middle children are a whole new experience and Tilly is ensuring that we experience every last little bit.
Eli’s first year has clearly been a little tricky for Tilly. Before he arrived she had been the baby of the family for almost 4 years and was quite happy in that position. Now she does love her little brother (sometimes a little too much) and has never really shown much resentment towards him. Occasionally when his existence prevents her from doing/having something she wants she gets a little grumpy with him but he is forgiven very quickly. Mummy and Daddy (but especially Mummy) bear the brunt of her annoyance.
Tilly is a self-confessed daddy’s girl and Daddy is somewhat more indulgent towards her than I am so it’s not exactly unsurprising. Over the last year she has suffered from a lack of attention from both sides and in recent months it has very much started to show. The constant attention seeking over the summer holidays was hideous because it didn’t matter whether the attention was positive or negative – it just had to be attention! Sometimes I manage this really well (i.e. I don’t end up shouting and screaming like a demented banshee) but with lack of sleep (thanks Eli) my response was not always helpful to the situation (think more inflammatory and tantrum prolonging dammit).
Handily starting school has made a difference – she is either far too tired, or getting so much attention there, that she doesn’t have the energy/need to seek it at home. Thankfully, too, as Eli gets older it is becoming easier to give Tilly the one-to-one attention she craves and thrives on. So hopefully, we’re entering a calmer, less upsetting time for all of us. At least she’s the only girl – must be nice to be unique when you’re stuck in the middle.
Any advice for taming the middle child? I can’t imagine the tiredness of the first few weeks of school will continue on into perpetuity…