Monday, April 3, 2017

Maren in the Middle

Three children brought with it an unexpected consequence: Maren is now a middle child.

Ezra is the somewhat bossy, often manipulative older brother.  He has a big kid car seat, a fun preschool, a bigger bike, soccer, violin, and kindergarten on his horizon.  He is also passionate about his hobbies, and has deliberate ways to use his free time.  Jonathan is the need-everything-now, louder, mostly helpless baby who is novel, and darling.

Maren is lovely, fun, spunky, and strong, but she doesn't have many extracurricular activities, hasn't yet found her passion, and mostly plays what Ezra plays, with some girly variations.  I notice that on days when Ezra has preschool and she is at home with me, she is at a loss of what to do.  Ezra tends to dominate, and loves to be her little mother.

But, perhaps because she is a middle child or perhaps as a contrast to Ezra's personality, she is often more flexible, willing to compromise, independent, and level-headed.  I wonder if, in time, she will develop more refined social competence in relating to both a younger and older sibling.  Additionally, as Ezra tends to be more rules-focused, duty-bound, and responsible, Maren tends to be less concerned about those things, especially doing chores.

Maren loves when her girl friends come over, so she can bask in girl-focused play.  Most of the time, Maren-and-Ezra play involves a diverse mix of Legos and princesses, dinosaurs, and dolls.  The princess dress collection that Grandma Roslyn so graciously bequeathed to Maren is the first and favorite activity when some of her cute friends, like Hannah and Naomi come to visit.  I wonder if, in an effort to stand out from Ezra in a contrasting way, she has gravitated to girly attire to assert her uniqueness.  She does love her poofy skirts and high heels!    

On those rare occasions when I can give Maren one-on-one time, she has little if any expectations about our time together, and tends to be very gracious.  Recently, Maren and I needed to run an errand at a mall, and after I finished, I offered Maren a tiny cup of strawberry ice cream.  She was tickled that the treat was pink, tickled that the treat was ice cream, but tickled most of all that the treat was for her and no one else.  Last weekend I gave her some Starburst flavored lip balms, just because, and you would have thought she had received a royal treasure.  She carried her little lip balms with her with great pride everywhere she went.

One of the favorite mommy-Maren activities is playing beauty salon.  She loves to give me a sweet-smelling lotion massage and "fix" my hair.  And she adores having her nails painted.

It will be interesting to see how Maren grows and evolves this fall when Ezra is at kindergarten every day.


Jane said...

I suspect, in addition to many other things, you and she will have a special bond as the girls of the family.
I bet her aunt Reva can relate to growing up with only brothers.

Anonymous said...

A 2nd, a middle, sporty, uber feminine, socially astute & polite....WOW....what a fascinating combination. Will be fun to watch this little lady grow and thrive in your nurturing family.