Ok, the middle child syndrome has infiltrated into our family, slowly and quietly. We did try hard to preempt it from happening.
I am picking up signs from my eldest daughter, No. 2. She cries these days easily over the smallest thing and gets thrilled over the tiniest thing that I do with her. This is entirely understandable. She was the youngest at home and received a lot of attention from us. Then suddenly, she has to deal not just one, but two new members in the family who need a lot more attention than her. Despite her emotional roller coaster, she adores her baby sisters very much.
Recently, I have been rejecting her requests umpteen times a day.
“Mummy, can you play Doctor and Patient with me?”. “No I can’t, I need to nurse your baby sister”.
“Mummy can you read with me later?”. “Ok, I will after I get your Koko to bed. He needs to wake up very early tomorrow”. So I bring a baby along with me to nurse while accompanying my son to bed. Sometimes I fall asleep unintentionally and never go back to her. Sometimes she waits for so long that she falls asleep by herself. Once, she waited so long that she cried miserably on her bed.
Her preschool teachers had warned me not to neglect her. But it’s easier said than done when we have so many children with so little pairs of hands.
How we try to avoid the Middle Child Syndrome
1. We create one-on-one time with her. My hubby drives her to school in the morning whenever he is in town so that he can have some time alone with her. I fetch her home every evening. It is almost a 30 minutes walk, lots of time available to chat about everything under the sky. For her, it’s fun. For me, it’s a one-hour journey to and fro over a hill and wearing an 8 kg baby as of now.
2. We do special things with her on the weekend, such as painting, baking and going to the playground.
I did some research. We can do more.
1. Take more pictures with her to make her feel special.
2. Acknowledge her achievements and make a big deal out out it. This is to show her that we care about her triumphs too, and not only Koko can achieve great things. We have been anxious about our first-born’s primary one schooling journey because we are new to this and keen to know whether our teaching method, approach and attitude towards formal education works well for my son.
3. Be disciplined and read to her every night. We try to read every night. Even when my hubby is out of town, my sister will jump in to fill in the gap. But somehow, she still prefers to read with me at times. I have failed her occasionally because I was simply too tired.
4. Last but not least, encourage her to speak up. Tell us she needs help or says she needs our attention. Frankly, she did tell us, but we didn’t hear her calls amidst the chaos at home.
There is no conclusion to this. It will be a long journey for all of us, perhaps until she is all grown all up.
What do you think? Do you have the same predicament too?
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