Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.
(Unknown, published in 1887)
Why must Wednesday’s child be full of woe?
Looking at this straight forwardly, I suppose people are excited to start the week on Mondays and always celebrate TGIF on Fridays, while Wednesdays are just there, in the middle, neither exciting nor offensive. Safe, boring. Like many families with three children. The oldest child, Monday’s child, receives all the love and hope as it is the first to expand a couple into a family. The Friday child, has a whole solid family unit to care for him or her and never lacks attention or care. The middle child is often considered the self-reliant child, the easy going one, the one that doesn’t cause problems. He or she is expected to learn from the eldest and teach to the youngest, often failing to gain the same attention as his or her siblings.
For 22 years I have been a middle child. And after all these years I have never felt comfortable in my role. I still feel awkward to stay or spend time with my siblings because my big brother always acted like a leader and was bossy every time he was with his girlfriend or his sisters. In spite of the fact that he is the most insecure person who never got anything done in his life, he always thoughts that he was the best. My younger sister is the spoiled one, no one can offend her, so I decided to leave her alone since we were kids. Now, that life is more complicated, we have all decided to live separately. I am not writing this to criticise my siblings but I just want to write about the many curiosities which have come to mind over the years.
Three of us when we visited Chiang Mai for the first time, my mother said ‘smile’.
Why can’t the three of us be together even though we are of the same family? Alfred W. Adler, the psychiatrist, stated that the order of birth has influenced over the characteristics of children in families because each child receives a different experience in nurture and and lessons from parents. For example, the oldest child’s character will often be jealous, insecure, highly responsibile, and have a leadership because the parents give many duties to the oldest to take action while the middle child’s character will have high ambition, patience, and stubbornness because the middle child is aware that parents often overlook them. The youngest child’s characters are self-centered, spoiled and often immature.
I talked to Siriwan Runglamoon, 48, a mother of three teenagers, who told me, ‘’sometimes, I consider my middle child as the oldest child because she’s the one that’s reliable, she is an easy-going and introverted person, so most of the time I spend with my oldest and youngest as they are the ones who always get into trouble’’
‘’I gave all the love and care to the oldest because he was my first child then the middle child and the youngest child came and unfortunately I did not have time enough to raise them, so some times I have to take the younger children to the relatives”.
Me, my sister, and grandmother after our school loy kratong festival when I was 8 years old.
When asked if her middle child, an introvert, had ever opened up to her her response was, “not much, so I think she might not have any problems”.
That’s the problem right there! Everyone thinks the quiet child has no problems because they don’t speak out.
I’m not sure about others’ situations, but for me, since I was a kid, I have had to show respect to my older brother and take action as older sister of my younger sister. I can’t do both parts very well. If I didn’t take care of my sister, I would be hit or if I argued with my brother, I would be considered as a rude person, thus I decided to neither open up nor stand out since then. I don’t think I got much equality or caring much compared them.
I started to read up about Wednesday’s child and related topics on the internet, and was surprised to find a lively discussion on pantip.com.
It was revealing to realise that I am not in this alone.
So here is my plea to all parents out there who have a middle child. Don’t forget them. They may not always be OK, even though they look it.
From one of the middle children in this world.