Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

My Sandwich Baby


I have posted a little about my oldest child, and about my youngest. But I also have a middle child; a long-haired free spirit of a person who is not scared of anything, except dogs. Daisy is happy to tell me, her father, either grandfather, both grandmothers or any other adult she encounters, that in her opinion, they are wrong. She climbs to the highest rung of any climbing frame and sits there like a pirate in the rigging. She loves to swing upside down, dress up, play Barbies, paint, eat chocolate, make me “cakes” in the sandpit, listen to stories, ride her bike and help in the kitchen. She is a whirling dervish of a personality, whose determination scares the living daylights out of me. Her qualities will be admirable when she’s an adult, but packaged as they are in the body of a four-year-old, they are pretty daunting.

I should have known from word go. Daisy surprised us by arriving while her father was downstairs de-icing the car in preparation for the journey to the hospital. By the time he had wended his way back upstairs, having paused to give neighbours updates on our progress, a little girl had joined us – in a big hurry. From the start she slept well, ate well, coughed loudly and dramatically, smiled hugely and embraced us all in a big rush of love.

Eighteen months ago, she went from being our baby to being our middle child. She adores her baby brother, and endures his nose-twisting and hair-pulling without lashing back. She lets him chew on her Barbies and pull all her toys onto the floor. For the first year of his life, she took out her frustrations on being usurped as family baby on me – temper tantrums, sudden inability to put on socks, needing to be carried along with the baby and the shopping, wanting to be fed, and other forms of fairly typical but nevertheless exhausting irrationality. Her other target was her big sister, whom she bit, hit, scratched and generally tormented.

Both forms of behaviour are gradually easing off, which is a relief for all of us. She likes to be a princess, and she is happiest if she has one adult in service (two would be better) who she can order about. At social occasions, she tends to find a victim, invariably an adult man, whom she flatters to distraction with her attention until he makes for the hills. Last week at a lunch in England, she latched onto one of Tom’s uncles, even following him to the loo and thumping on the door until he came out.

She is a BIG personality, but is caught in that invidious middle child trap of not being one or the other. She’s not the oldest, so she’s not as advanced, and she’s not the youngest, so she’s not as cute. We are trying to focus on what her skills really are and who she is, instead of of falling back into the categories of not-big and not-small.

I’m not a middle child and neither is my husband. Very few of my friends are. But I notice that there seems to be a hunger about middle children, as if what life has served up is never quite satisfying enough. Daisy tends to want more: more fun, more chocolate, more TV, more daylight hours, more Barbies, more of Mummy. I hope we can channel her hunger towards positive achievements (right now, her goal is to be an acrobat in a circus, with time off during the quiet months to be a pop star), meet her needs and satiate her with enough love. She is going to make one hell of an interesting grown-up.


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

8 thoughts on “My Sandwich Baby

  1. She sounds wonderful. I really like her name, for one thing and her spirit. She’s a character in a children’s book — like Romana in the Beverly Cleary books. xo, BL

  2. What a lovely ode to Daisy. You are right, for a four-year-old there is a lot going on in there..

  3. Oh, yes, Ramona in the Beverly Cleary books. She sounds wonderful. I’d love to come make cakes in her sandbox with her.

    I’m a middle child, sort of. It’s hard to decide who really is in a family of four. My second-oldest sister will tell you SHE’s the real middle child, because I’m the “baby girl,” being the third girl in front of the baby boy. However, both of us exhibited classic “middle child” behavior — away from home and the family a lot, off “adopting” other families, lots of friends, etc. I remember so well how difficult moving from childhood to adolescence was for me: torn between wanting to still play those “childish” tomboy games with my brother and dying to wear makeup and go to dances like my older sisters did.

  4. what a lovely post. Neither S. or I are middle children either – both eldest, actually, which will make things interesting if we have 2 someday. His sister is at true middle child, and I must agree that even at 24 she exhibits signs of the hunger you write about. In fact, she’s dating a man 11 years older than she is – 6 years older than S. She demands most of the familial attention. I wonder if there is a way around this? CERTAINLY this can’t be endemic to all middle children? But then again, both S. and I are certainly first -born, eager to please, type-A adults….

  5. BL and Emma: thanks, D is a spirited, if challenging, young lady. Looks I am going to have to seek out the Ramona books to read to her!

    Emily, thanks for speaking as a middle child and confirming that the experience is similar to what Im witnessing. I’d love to hear more from someone who’s been there.

    Courtney, we are also two oldest children, also somewhat A-type. Having both had younger brothers, we know all about the oldest-youngest divide, but our wonderful little middle person is a bit of a conundrum. Love, I guess, and lots of it, is the way to go.

  6. She is going to be a golden girl and heart-breaker, isn’t she? 🙂

    She sounds fabulous.


  7. She sounds a lot like our youngest who is nearly four too. She has suddenly thrown off her quest for independance tho’ in favour of a last bout of clinginess before she gets all grown up at four. Our middle child, is oldest girl, but is quieter and more compliant thatn the other two, so I worry she might get less than her share of attention, with the other two always clamouring for it. As you say love is the only solution.

  8. Pingback: The Sky is Purple « Charlotte’s Web

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s