My middle child turned five in November. I know that’s ancient history in internet terms, but I wanted to share how we celebrated, her perspective on 5 years of life, and to reminisce a little.
Alliene is in the middle, too young to do everything Nora Ruth does and too old to get away with the same tricks as Thomas. When I found out I was pregnant with Thomas, do you think I spent hours reading up on how raising boys is different from raising girls? I didn’t. I was more concerned about Alliene’s transformation to middle child and I spent far more time reading about birth order.
The general consensus about middle children is that they either feel lost in the middle and act out or they feel stuck in the middle and try hard to keep everyone else around them happy. Like most people and generalities, Alliene doesn’t belong entirely to either of these. Although I am fairly certain that she is not a peace-keeping wall-flower, she’s not a trouble-making firebrand either. I think her strongest characteristics are her determination and tenderheartedness which, funny enough, sound like opposite sides of the middle child spectrum.
When I think about Alliene’s determination, I picture her at 11 months old standing, walking, falling, and standing again. I remember the moment that she seemed to realize that her legs had feet, too, and that she could probably walk like the rest of us. She didn’t simply wait for the day when she was ready to walk effortlessly (like her big sister) nor did she practice walking a little bit at a time until she eventually got the hang of it (like her little brother). Nope, my middle child is a go-getter. For the next two days she moved at a stutter-walk, determined not to be on the floor for another minute. It would have been so natural for her, a baby of 11-months!- to get distracted and revert to a quicker, more comfortable mode of travel. Lord help us, Alliene is not one to look for the path of least resistance.
Ironically, Alliene’s white-knuckle determination is offset by the fact that she is the most tender of my brood. An animal lover from the beginning, she refers to our pug Toots as “my little tooty girl” and cried when I left Toots, who was not loving the new trailer, at my mom and dads in October. She snuggles longer and better than my other two, who are too busy to spend much time in my lap, and she’s quick to require extra comfort for the most minor ache or pain. She wounds easily but she is the most gratified by an apology and a warm hug. She is extremely affectionate. Extremely. Embarrassingly sometimes. With strangers. The stranger the better.
We celebrated Alliene’s birthday this year with a cookie swap on December the 6th. Her friends brought cookies, we decorated paper boxes with markers and stickers, and then we had fun packing the boxes with lots of different kinds of cookies. The kids decorated sugar cookies and we had a holiday photo booth with props for them to play dress-up. After the party, the birthday girl, accompanied by her siblings, YiaYia, and our sweet friend, Carlisle, delivered 20 boxes of cookies to the elderly residents at a nearby nursing home. In true Allie-form, she loved being the leader of this mission and confidently informed the social worker we encountered at the door that she was there to “help the old…I mean elderly…people”.
Allie’s Birthday Questions/Answers:
What is your favorite color? green
What is your favorite toy? Piggy
What is your favorite fruit? cantaloupe
What is your favorite movie? Peabody and Sherman
What is your favorite game? princess
What is your favorite snack? m&m’s, popcorn, nuts, and cranberries
What is your favorite animal? a horse
What is your favorite song? Let it Go
What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
What is your favorite toy to sleep with? Piggy
What do you want to eat for your birthday? Donuts
What do you want to be when you grow up? a mother and an artist
If I were invisible…I would go to the park by myself
I’m proud because….I am nice
If I were president I would…tell everyone what to do. I’d tell them I’m not going to help them do their laundry. They’d have to do it by themselves.
I am afraid to…ride so fast on my bike that I get lost.
I am good at…playing with my little brother.
To be a good friend means to…be nice.
My favorite time of day is…nighttime when I go to sleep.
Describe your best day ever. When it was Christmas, I got lots of presents!
Climbing trees is….FUN!
I wish there was a law that said…I can do whatever I want to.
What makes you feel sad? When people boss me around
What makes you feel happy? When we go out to eat ice cream.
Pretend that you could fly anywhere you wanted to go….I would fly to Egypt and look at everything that had fallen down (the ruins).
If you could pick a different name for yourself, what name would you pick? Rachel
Where do you want to go on vacation? Mississippi
What is your favorite thing to do with Mom and Dad? ride my bike