Sunday, March 25, 2012
Stuck in the middle
I have three children. Yes two of them have diabetes and their stories are always relevant on a blog about diabetes but there are times when my non-diabetic child story is also relevant.
My second oldest is nearly 10. He is an amazing child. Always polite and very loving. He is exceptionally bright and always thoughtful. He is also hyper-active, a bit lazy, absent minded, knows all my buttons and plays his daddy as well as he plays his guitar.
Being a middle has a whole set of difficulties (I should know – I am one too). My middle has all the classic characteristics of being a middle child. He struggles for attention and plays the victim very well.
“Middle kids bemoan their fate as being ignored and often grow resentful of all the parental attention given to the oldest and the baby of the family, and feel short-shifted. Three kids triangulate sibling relationships, with one child at any given point feeling like the odd man out from the chumminess of the other two.” http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/14335112/ns/today-parenting_and_family/t/what-are-effects-middle-child-syndrome/
My dear middle has been hit harder than most other middles. In addition to being the middle kid he is the only kid without diabetes. He is also my only kid not attending the Quest “talented and gifted” class in school.
While I am *fairly certain he isn’t disappointed that he does not have diabetes. I know he resents the fact that he has not been approved for the Quest program, despite numerous attempts at the tests. He is extremely bright – all my children are and I am not sure where they get it from. He is in the advanced math class but so are his siblings so that doesn’t make him special (in his eyes). *Sometimes I worry that middle wishes he also had diabetes so he could get the extra attention he perceives sweetness and sugarboy get. He desperately wants to attend the Lions camp for kids with diabetes and he can’t because he doesn’t have diabetes. I pray I am wrong and he never truly wishes for diabetes.
On top of those differences, he often feels lost (his words). My dear daughter (sweetness) and my youngest boy (sugarboy) have things that they just seem to be natural at. Sweetness loves her art and singing. Sugarboy is a soccer superstar and can play nearly all sports well without trying. My middle has poor depth perception due to a lazy eye and has poor coordination. His vision has been improving and wearing contacts has helped improve his abilities in games involving flying balls. His poor coordination has also been improving as he grows. He has always been in the 95% for his height. I think that his above average height hindered him early on – Gross and fine motor skills develop as a child grows and having long limbs without the gross motor skills to move them effectively can make for awkward movements. The opposite is true for sugarboy. He has always been below the 50 percentile for height – his shorter than average limbs have always been easy for him to manipulate – making him a superfast, tiny target that could turn on a dime. Middle has always been jealous of sugarboy's endless talent in regards to athletics.
We try our best to give equal attention to all our children. We celebrate all their successes and discipline equally. Yet my middle often expresses his belief that the other two get more and get punished less.
My biggest dilemma lately was that my middle was invited on a one night camping trip with another family to celebrate their son’s birthday. The boy that is celebrating his birthday is the sweetest child ever and I am pleased that my middle has developed the friendship. The issue I have is that we have had a fairly strict “no sleepover” policy. Partly because my dear husband grew up in a home in which sleepovers were not allowed so he has that mindset (unlike me – I spent many a nights away from home with various friends – my parents never met most of my friends parents). Our no-sleep over policy was also due to the early diagnosis of sugarboy. We knew that it would eventually be an issue so we set the expectation early on that we wouldn’t do sleep-overs.
So here we are wanting to allow Middle to build the friendship but also knowing that allowing him to go on the campout would inevitably cause a mutiny with the other two. My kids are very bright and sweetstuff and sugarboy would recognize that Middle was allowed because he doesn’t have diabetes. We always tell sweetstuff and sugarboy that there is nothing that diabetes will stop them from doing but really at their young ages there is – sleepovers. We have never had to acknowledge that diabetes is a reason we don’t do sleepovers because we set the expectation so early on.
We did compromise with Middle and agreed to drive him out to the campground to let him hang during the day and bring him home before the boys went to bed. I foresee an argument when it is time to go.
I hate diabetes.