Saturday, April 29, 2017

Middle Child Myth

Out of nowhere, my younger sister announced that she is the true middle child in the family. WTF we are closer to death than to childhood. I asked how so. She said:

Ruthie and Susan
Joseph and Robert
Richard and me
Larry and Rocco

Actually the pairing was always Dorothy and Mary, leaving Richard with no one. Richard had two older sisters, two older brothers, two younger sisters, two younger brothers, putting him smack dab in the middle.

Defies logic; if she was pairing by birth order, then it would be Dorothy & Rocco, leaving Larry as the true Middle Child? Yikes.

Ruthie was First Born or oldest sibling. Susan became second born ~ the one, said to always have to compete with First Born, thus becoming most successful later in life. But as soon as Joseph was born, Susan became a Middle Child, with Joseph being the supposed spoiled & adored (like First Born) & indulged, parents less strict with The Baby, more relaxed, they say.

When Robert was born he displaced Joseph as Baby making Joseph a Middle Child, Susan regaining her title as Second Born. And so on down the line.

Genders also play a role in Birth Order formation of personalities.

Joseph was First Born son, Robert becoming Middle Child, Richard becoming The Baby. Following three boys I could be considered First Born, ~ I used to say I was the oldest of "the babies" as we were called, Richard, again, being the dividing line.

"The Babies" were not allowed to sit by car doors, only in the middle of older siblings; one rule I remember, other rules long forgotten. Mother, of course, held the true baby on her lap, the next youngest sibling sitting in the front seat between Dad, the driver, and Mother.

That is, when Mother was holding Rocco Jr. on her lap, Dorothy sat next to her and I sat in back sandwiched between older siblings.

Truly Joseph was always the oldest son, Larry always the true male baby of the family. Making the three other brothers all Middle Children. Ruthie was always oldest of the girls, Dorothy the female baby, Susan & I the female Middle Children.

Reality: Ruthie always the oldest, Larry always the youngest, the other 7 of us Middle Children, each having experienced time as The Baby or Second Born or Whatever.

It has been a very long time since I read Pop Psychology about Birth Orders influence upon our personalities, or talked about it or spoke about it. Vague recollection that The Middle Child was the troubled one in families, or the one who got in the most trouble. Internet search results showed The Middle Child theory of the past was a Myth or The Middle Child is now considered the best sibling position; even being honored with a Middle Child Day.

I guess that is why my sister wants to claim the title for herself, defying logic. Whatever floats her boat; her petty childhood jealousies alive and well today; full of resentments of her real or imagined childhood slights and hurts. As if the other eight of us never experienced lack of attention from parents.

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