To be sure, he had a middle child’s disposition long before his younger brother was born. Chris’s arrival last year just made it official. Or, well, to be plain, he knows he’s not first, anyway. That’s how I grew up too, in the shadow of number one. So he has my sympathy but I don’t claim to understand him. I have a difficult time supporting him when he lashes out at number one or number three. But he’s had a weight problem; he’s been on the lean side for two years, ever since he gave up nursing. You know, he has measured below 0 on those growth charts.
He started pre-K this fall and he looks thinner than ever. At school, there are 40-minute gym classes thrice a week and 30-minute recesses after lunch. I thank God for inclement weather that keeps them indoors because there is no stopping him on the playground.
And, I was concerned – about his weight. So concerned that I compared it from his pre–pre-school physical records with last week’s measurement during his flu shot visit … and he’s actually gained two pounds in as many months. A friend’s mother recently commented that he looks taller. Oh, it’s just the dark fall clothing makes him appear so. No, no, he’s had a growth spurt. His older brother, Kenny, had only one pound on him at the same age. And, thanks to cafeteria food, Kenny is filling out.
It was just the sensation that something was getting by me. You know, that I wasn’t on top of it anymore. That happens to the middle child. They slip occasionally under the radar because they aren’t first; they aren’t even second. They learn independence and resilience far too young. They keep plugging along and God help them if they come up against something really formidable because their parents are probably distracted by number one or number three. But I know how that is, growing up a middle child myself.