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Stuck in the Middle!Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at 8:45 PM
My middle child Matthew plays Easter croquet with my soon-to-be-three-year-old grandson Evan. I think this was the only photo that didn't have a dog in it, trying to steal the balls.
You guys can help me out on this, but these are some of the characteristics I've noticed about the middle child (mine, in particular):
* Their friends seem to be inordinately important to them. When Matthew was, I think, in about the fourth grade, I agreed to have a birthday party for him. I soon learned that middle children have a LOT of friends. "Pick out a couple of your best friends," I said. Oh, yeah -- I had to transport 8 wild "best friends" out to our place, where they charged like a wild herd of elephants all over the farm, stampeding the cattle and sending all the chickens scurrying for cover. I could track their whereabouts by simply standing on the front porch and listening.
* They aren't picky. For most of his early life, my middle son was fine with whatever happened around our place, with whatever food he had to eat (as long as it was peanut butter).
* They're easy-going. Everybody likes Matthew - They always have. He doesn't even have to say a word - in fact, he usually doesn't. He just smiles and listens, and his green eyes say, "I understand."
* Middle children are "coachable" - or, at least, mine was in junior high and high school. When you tell him something, he listens and remembers. His dad would never have spent hours with him in at the old gym, teaching him basketball, if the boy hadn't listened. His dad, a middle child himself, felt they were neglected. He made sure Pooh never was.
* They're dependable. Larry Deaton says that the youngest child is the entertainer, and the oldest is the organizer and giver-of-orders, but leave it to the middle child to be there when you need him. I know that I could never live out here in the Tillman Outback without my middle child's support. He's the one I call when there's trouble. We sit on the front porch and talk about whether the roof or the gutters need replacing, whether I should buy a tractor and bush hog, whether I should get rid of the goats (which I did)...all the really important things in life. I taught him to drive when he was eleven. I'm not kidding - He was big for his age, and - like I said - he paid attention and watched everything. I had a little 1986 Dodge Colt Vista with a standard transmission. I let him drive in second gear until he got the knack, and when he went to get his license, it was a walk in the park!
* The best thing about my middle child? He and his lovely wife Laura have given me a little mini-Matthew, who will be three years old in June!!
From the green hills of the Tillman Outback at the Edge of Civilization, this is your Country Life reporter, Madeline, signing off on the first truly gorgeous day of the summer!
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.