Monday, January 15, 2007

Birth Order: Middle Child

Folks in this part of the world are half excited and half terrified as we peer at the Weather Channel and watch the freezing sleet and temperatures creeping towards us. No one can say we haven't been warned. Two of my entlings are in a region of Texas that is already in the grip of black ice and frozen overpasses and as a parent I just pray they are holed up and not needing to venture out onto the roads.

Tucked in by the fire today, with the MOST WONDERFUL BOOK, I was musing about the children, as parents are wont to do.

First Born, making her way in her chosen profession is still helping us understand what it means to be a parent. Her motto: The pioneers take the arrows.

Youngest Child, hacking and slashing and zapping her way though the new Zelda game, at the moment, is author of the "never a dull moment" syndrome in our lives.

Middle Child is the one we used to call "Stealth Child" because of her ability to move about the homestead undetected. She is the get-it-done kid. Returning home for the holidays she found me in the midst of Christmas decoration, tinsel hanging from one ear and hands full of un-deployed Sinterklasses. Before I knew it wreaths were on doors, empty boxes were being stowed and snowmen were displayed. How did she do that? Middle children are often the quiet force that keeps all the parts of the family working together.

All this reflection led me to ponder about the middle child in children's literature. Are there any characters in children's literature that are famously or infamously the middle child?
Are they so low key that they don't get noticed there either?

I can think of Indigo in Indigo's Star by Hilary McKay, Jo and Beth March were in the middle in Little Women. Any others?


Anonymous said...

There's also Saffy in Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay. And Jo in Little Women, of course, although she's hardly a contemporary character. For that matter, I'd put forward Elizabeth Bennett in Pride & Prejudice, but it's not exactly children's lit. But both Jo and Elizabeth are the ones who get things done, whether it's selling hair or trying to get one's parents to behave with propriety. And Saffy most certainly gets things done, skipping off to Italy as she does.

Camille said...

Good thinking. I agree about Jo and Elizabeth, get it done girls. I finally got you added to my blogroll, btw.

Anonymous said...

Can't think of a middle child off the top of my head, but wanted to concur about that Most Excellent Book. When you're done, Riordan has a podcast of the first chapter of book 3 on his blog. Assuming you stil have electricity by then!

Little Willow said...

CC in Gingerbread, Shrimp, and Cupcake (brand-new! woo!) has younger half-sibs and older half-sibs. I highly recommend this trilogy. Written by Rachel Cohn.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading Dairy Queen (at the recommendation of the Cybils!) right now. DJ would definitely fit in this role, too.