Monday, 26 February 2018
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February 2018

Battle of the Ages

Rebecca Reid, local author and mum-of-four talks, small, medium and large syndrome…

I’m not too sure if this happens in all families, or if it’s just us, but there are definitely a few little syndromes bopping about our four walls. Namely, small, medium and large syndrome. Aka – eldest, middle and the almost youngest of my lovely brood. 

Okay, so the eldest has the right to be a little more bossy, a bit more in charge. This is large syndrome. She is almost in secondary school after all and that means she’s a teenager before she even hits 11. Yes, she does the eye rolling and can’t be bothered with her sisters’ huffing and puffing from time to time. She takes on the mother role of telling them off if I happen to be out of the room and sometimes she simply ignores all that goes on. But – and this is the trigger for ‘middle syndrome’ – because she is older she is treated more like a big girl. She gets privileges such as staying up a bit later and being allowed to bake on her own, including using the oven. (No, my number two, I’m sorry. Eight, is not old enough to wield a knife and put your arm into a hot furnace alone). Miss 11 even gets to cook dinner once a week. But are these not the perks of being eldest? Of course, they are! Sadly, my middle daughter doesn’t quite see it that way. 

Middle syndrome in our house is not that quiet, self-sufficient child that you hear tell of. Not in my house. In my house yes, she is entirely self-sufficient (to the point of utter determination) but she is not quiet. And her need to keep up with her big sister is lovely, but also just not quite possible. If she sees her sis baking – she wants to bake. And not with help, alone. This is a no. If she sees her big sister carrying her baby brother outside, she wants to do that. However again, this is a no. If she sees her big sister cutting veg? Yes, you’ve guessed it…No! And with every no, comes tears and tantrums, anger and heartache. Learning the privileges of age is a hard lesson and we are right in the middle of it – right now. 

Littlest Miss? Well she’s the youngest (save cub) and she knows it. She is very happy to just do her own thing, acknowledges that she can’t do any of the big girl things and is honestly, very, very happy with that notion. She only has her syndrome when someone interrupts her in the middle of dancing out a ballet show or threatens to take their horse out of the game she’s playing. Otherwise she just drifts along, oblivious to the age battle going on around her and perfectly satisfied with being older than her brother but too young to be hassled by the others. In our family, she seems to have the most comfortable place.

Middle is slowly realising that her time will come, and that sometimes it’s nice to know what lies ahead but not just be there quite yet. After all, who doesn’t like having something to look forward to?

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