October 2, 2012
Max is now my 'middle child'. I don't know much about middle child syndrome, nor am I sure it's real, but it's got something to do with being forgotten because you aren't the overachieving first born and you're not the baby that gets away with everything (we have one and possibly both of those by the way).
More than being our middle child, Max has now taken on the mantel of big brother to his darling kid brother Hugo. He's not the baby of the family anymore, and he's relishing his role as mentor to Hugo. I catch him stroking Hugo's hair, giving him a gentle rock in the bouncy chair and he always wishes Hugo a 'bless you Hugo' when he sneezes. He asks to hold his little brother and tries to calm him when he's crying. It makes me well up with pride and love and contentment and that feeling I get when I eat cake with my coffee.
Max has an enthusiasm that I never saw in Ollie, whose focus on the detail amazes me. Ollie's methodical, thoughtful and logical way of building and creating is the opposite of Max's wild, imaginative and adventurous approach to play. I compare them, yes, I do, but it's natural that I should and I like that it makes me wonder what makes them tick so I can be a better mum. What works with Ollie doesn't necessarily work with Max. They are so different and yet they are so great together. Max adores Ollie, his first question when he wakes is 'where's Ollie?' and his face lights up to see his big brother. He won't do anything unless Ollie is doing it first. When I went to collect them from kindy last week, they were sitting together, reading a book while the rest of the kids were having story time. I stopped and watched them be oblivious to their mum's presence, talking so sweetly to each other before Max jumped up, ran around at top speed, laughing hysterically. Only he'll know what was so funny.
Lately, I've been losing my temper with them both more frequently than I would like, resorting to yelling sooner than I should. Max's reaction is often one of tears, and he even says 'no mummy, be happy, be happy!' with such conviction, it's hard not to immediately feel rotten for raising my voice in the first place. It's such an apt reaction though. He is such a happy fellow, it's all he wants to see and feel in return.
Sure, he can be tempestuous, stroppy and demanding and the whinging is beyond bearable at times, but Max is very passionate, adventurous and loving too. He wants to laugh and to make others laugh. I imagine it's probably way to early to predict anything, but I know this kid is going to follow his big, brave, loyal heart and break some along the way too. I adore this guy. He's no middle child. He's our nutty little sweetheart.