Tuesday, October 22, 2013

From One Third Child to Another

A very special guest post from Ellie.

Dear Sweet little Hannah,

Even at six months old, you and I already share so much in common. Not only do we hold the same place in the family at number three, but we both also have amazing hair that seems to be the topic of many conversations.  The last time I chatted with your big sister on Skype she was blowing on your hair as you sat casually in your bouncy chair, and she was saying that it just never wants to lie down! Great, I say. You let that hair do as it pleases!  Your Grandfather (my father) likes to claim that he can guess the humidity rate based on my hair, and I think we will both have to start taking comments like those as compliments! Who wants flat boring hair anyway?!  

You are a quiet, adorable addition to the family, always chilling in your bouncy chair or lying on a comfy blanket under a mobile of farm animals while your brother and sister run around chasing each other and simultaneously leave behind a trail of toys and legos to test your Mom and Dad's pain tolerance (stepping on a Lego might be the most painful thing in the world).  I believe that our position in the family sets the stage for personality development right from the get to.  You and I were born into an environment where a happy—albeit, chaotic—family dynamic had already been established. As third children, we must work at entering this environment, hence our charming personalities (couldn't resist!) as we win the hearts of our older siblings and parents.  We might sometimes have been forgotten on the floor before we could crawl or even sit up, and taken a nap while we waited patiently for Mom to remember us, but that is all character building; it prepares us for much more challenging issues that life might throw at us.  We spend our early years observing our surroundings, helping us to see all sides of a situation and be able read people well (I still believe this AND reading every Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins mystery out there makes us perfect Private Investigators!) We are flexible and can go with the flow, and not frequently getting to sit in the front seat or having matching white socks is no big deal...  

A few words of wisdom that I have learned and accepted as a Third Child that might one day help you out are the following:

  • Being different, or unconventional, keeps the world an interesting place! I am left handed and I love living in a developing country (for the most part).  Embrace those differences! Being left handed is cool. So is Guatemala.
  • Having an older brother and sister is the perfect combination. You have two amazing role models to look up to and who want nothing more than to make sure their little sis is happy.  You can learn so much from them.
  • Bug Mom and Dad for a little brother (a sister would be ok) because having one of those is pretty damn cool, too.
  • It's ok if you are not always as chatty as your siblings, or if sometimes you feel like talking, and sometimes you don't.  Just sitting back and listening is nice—you have grasped that well so far.  As you grow up with the constant chatter of a big sister and brother, it's ok to even at the age of 28 enjoy sitting around the dinner table and listen to your family talk but not always feeling like you have to contribute. 

To sum it all up, you are in an ideal situation.  Your mom and dad adore you.  You have an older sister who might pretend she is going to tattle on you, but really she just worries a bit and wants to make sure that you are always ok.  You have an older brother who no doubt will be quietly protective of you and proud as you carve out your own unique path.   If you have a younger sibling, you will love watching them grow up and always think of them as your “little” brother or sister even if they are miles taller than you.  You will understand the protectiveness that Lilly and Jack feel for you as you now want to make life easier for the little guy to go through.   

I can't wait to watch your little personality develop even more.  Keep using that left hand and smiling your cute one-tooth smile.  And remember, you can always come to Auntie Ells to talk about anything, from why we need to collaborate and write a book on Third Children, to pointers on hair styles and products.

Lots and lots of love and cuddles,

Your Aunt and fellow Third Child, Ells.

Ellie and Hannah's first selfie! (May 2013)
Third children, already deep in conversation. (May 2013)

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