Three’s a crowd

The balance of power in our family has shifted. It was always about the boys. They did everything together – played together, laughed together, watched telly together and argued together. When we were out, they walked together and sat together. They wound up their sister together and she did her own thing.

The way they were

But since my son has been at secondary school, things have gradually changed. He’s a bit too cool for them – and they’re having too much fun to be bothered anyway.

He’s up before them and out of the house while they’re still eating breakfast. They take way too long over their breakfast because they’re enjoying each other’s company too much. They chat about school and laugh at things that have happened (the things they think are shockingly naughty are so tame). My son gives my daughter advice and talks to her about the work she’s doing – because he remembers year 2 well.

I have to nag them to stop talking (and laughing and jumping round the room), hurry up eating and GET DRESSED. But secretly I love it. I love listening to their little conversations – the innocence of it all, but also the humour. My younger son has a remarkable sense of humour. I love the way they clearly enjoy these conversations and this time together so much. Without the big, bad brother spoiling it for them.

The way they are

I feel slightly sorry for my eldest that they have this special time away from him, but pulling away from his brother is not just down to leaving for school earlier, it’s also his own decision. And it’s nice for my daughter to finally have a friend who takes an interest in her and enjoys talking to her.

I’m aware that in just over two years things will shift again. My younger son will almost certainly be at a different school to his brother, but will them both being at secondary school mean they grow closer again and my daughter gets left behind again? Or will my eldest, as a teenager and a year 10, still be too cool for his year 7 brother? No doubt the balance of power will continue to shift over the coming years.

In our house, two is company but, sadly, three is definitely a crowd.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. This is why I don’t want to have a third – I’m the middle child of 5, with 2 older sisters & 2 younger brothers, and I was very much piggy in the middle. Friends tell me otherwise but I remain convinced that an odd number = an odd one out.

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  2. This has bright back a lot of memories for me. I’m eldest of 3 and my brother and I were very close until he moved out. Then dynamics shifted a lot and my youngest brother and I became close. It was like we finally clicked and are still very close. I’m glad it happened because I don’t think we’d have clicked otherwise. You’re right, dynamics will keep changing but it’s lovely another pair get their turn over those times.

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  3. Yes I was a middle and we were all individuals, now I have two girls and they’re thick as theives! Each family is different I guess 🙂

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  4. From the sounds of it, it seems more that in three child families the dynamics are constantly changing. I have two girls but have heard that three is nice because there is always someone to talk to/play with. And there is always space if one child wants it too because there is always someone else waiting in the wings. I’ve also been told that middle child syndrome is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Lovely, Sarah that your youngest and middle are finding their own bond.

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  5. I worry about the ‘Middle Child Syndrome’ but I’m finding, as with other people’s comments and what you’ve said, that the dynamics change depending on circumstances. My 3 all chop and change their alliances with each other; I think it can make it hard but it’s always interesting to observe. Lovely post 🙂

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  6. It is lovely to watch but I found with O that once he hit that surly teenager phase, he shut off from the younger ones and although he is better now, I think it is sad that he didn’t put more effort into his relationship with them but their age gap is much bigger. R and L are a twosome but they have a real love hate relationship. A maybe younger but she muscles in on everything the other two do

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  7. Thanks very much, everyone. It’s interesting there are so many different experiences – most of them positive – and that dynamics in families do change.
    I’m lucky that we have no middle child syndrome. In my experience growing up, middle children always tended to be troublesome, but that is so far from the truth for my son.

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  8. How interesting – and lovely really that it does shift around a bit so that your daughter isn’t left out anymore.

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  9. I love watching the changing dynamics of my boys relationships. Seems there’s a lot of growing at your house at the moment.

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  10. My two are so far apart that the bond is different to siblings closer in age and I don’t think the dynamic of it will ever shift.

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  11. It’s prob inevitable for any three child family that once the oldest goes to secondary school they lose interest in their siblings. Hopefully they’ll be best buddies once they’re in their late teens/early twenties. It’s fab that the younger two are becoming close, every cloud and all that 🙂 I think family dynamics change all the time, and as a parent you have to keep up with it which can be a challenge to say the least #PoCoLo

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  12. I think this is what i dread most about school, the changes. I am excited to see them grow and change but at the same time, petrified. Great post x

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  13. My first born has just started nursery and I’m so emotional. I can’t bear that everything is changing and that he’s no longer just ‘mine’. His sister is not happy either but she’s coming around to the idea of having me to herself for 2 hours a day:)

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  14. Thanks very much, everyone. It is lovely to see my daughter having a friend at last, but weird to see the dynamic change.
    School is a scary step, Chelsea, and things do change, but there are some good bits too!

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  15. It’s an interesting dynamic this one. It was lovely because we watched Toy Story 3 again earlier and Ross asked which toys Grace would put in the attic – she said none because she would give them to her brother or sister! Here’s hoping :). I think it sounds like they are all there for each other in different ways. Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x

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  16. I had never thought of childhood this way. I was the oldest of 3. 2 girls and then a boy, all 2 years apart. I loved it as the dynamics were always changing. I was able to play with my sister as small children with our dolls and barbies, however I was also able to do things with my brother too like play cricket or climb trees. I also enjoyed the alone time when my siblings were together. This happened more when I went to secondary school and my sister defiantly cramped my style once I was in year 9! However I was and still am comfortable with my own company. There was always someone there, but I could be alone too. As an adult I am closer to my sister, but I am here for my brother is he needs me, he knows that.
    I am now mummy to 3 boys 2 closer in age than the third. For now the older 2 are closest as the youngest is only 10m, I am looking forward to watching their relationships mature and grow as they grow up.

    Found via #pocolo

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  17. Thanks very much, Mrs Tutey. We didn’t have the same dynamic growing up either. I’m the eldest of three – my brother is 2 1/2 years younger and my sister is nine years younger, so I was always friends with my brother, but adored my baby sister.
    It will be interesting to see how your boys’ relationships develop.

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