Middle Child Syndrome

I tend not to blog about my older kids in the excruciating detail that I do with my youngest child. I try not to get into too many details. I blog about them just not every single, solitary thing that they do. One of my daughters reads my blog on the laptop. And the other reads over my shoulder. Yes, that is as annoying as it sounds.

So, I blog in generalities or only blog about funny things that happen or complain about the time I sit in a lawn chair at volleyball tournaments.

Tonight I want to stray from my usual policy and blog about the “middle child syndrome.” The middle child is the one who is easily bent out of shape. The middle is the one who wants a thorough accounting of who got what, when they got it, and why they got it. Even after the explanation the middle child will not like it one little bit, but will quickly get over it.

My middle_child is not one to hold a grudge (shown here with an early clarinet at the National Museum of American History). She is the easy-goingest of the three. A child who likes things just so. A child who needs to have order — except in her bedroom. Hey, even the most orderly person has a few weak spots.

Tonight we headed to Chuck E. Cheese for Adventure Boy’s “birthday dinner and birthday outing.” We established this tradition when Crafty Daughter was 7 — we took her to the Maryland_Science_Center. Sporty Daughter always chooses Chuck E. Cheese — always, no exceptions. I think she has gone 4 times since we started the tradition. Adventure Boy is following in his sister’s footsteps by choosing the same birthday outing.

I’ll post how we managed to cut costs by super-couponing Chuck E. Cheese. It was a sight to behold.

My daughter had a great time with the games…racking up many coupons for SkeeBall and other fun games. We ate dinner. Washed our hands obsessively due to my mini freakout about swine flu.

The end of the evening came as we ran out of tokens. I gave several warnings…”We only have a few more tokens.” “After this token we are going.” My attempts at preparing Sporty Daughter were in vain. Once she knew that she had no more tokens. She started bargaining with me to (a) buy her more tokens and (b) let her buy more tokens. I said “No” to all requests. She got creative and found a token hidden behind a machine.

By this point I was getting a little annoyed. We’d had a great evening. A fun dinner. A boatload of tokens had magically appeared in each kid’s hand throughout the evening, but now it was time to go home. My daughter was sounding a little ungrateful. After the friendly warnings I told her that she needed to think about her behavior next time. I wanted her not to worry about what she was not getting, but instead think about what she had just had. I *think* I got through to her. We’ll see…

I know it is hard for kids to realize that Mom and Dad are not a bottomless pit of money. To her it must seem as though we are doing well. The kids get at least some of the things on their Christmas lists. The Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and even St. Valentine visit on a consistent basis. Not to mention grandparents and aunt and uncle and cousins bringing gifts. But, as a parent I have to draw the line somewhere. We are in a recession. In other words, Mommy has to say “No.” Sporty Daughter needs to listen when I say “No.” She’s a very good kid who had a lapse of judgment like we all do.

Tomorrow is another day.

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