Saturday, September 08, 2007

Middle Angel

I always used to say we'd have either two children or four. I had an idea that three was an odd number, that someone would always be left out, that the middle child got lost in the no-man's land of in between. Lo and behold, we have ended up with three children. Not really by design, we just ran out of stamina before we reached four.

Our middle child seems quite happy with her position in the family. In fact she is the one who most often doesn't get left out. She can go off with her older brother to do 'big' kid stuff, leaving youngest clamouring behind. Or she can do girl stuff with youngest when big brother has his nose firmly entrenched in a book.

I've noticed recently though that she is woefully under-represented on my blog. Older brother steals the limelight with his role of breaker of new ground in the family. Parental admiration for the latest brilliant achievement does tend to be freshest for the oldest child. Relief that our child has made it through another of life's hurdles gives a poignancy to the applause, whereas with the second child we have no doubt that she'll follow in his footsteps and be equally brilliant, so our enthusiasm is tempered by experience. Youngest makes the headlines of the cuteness front, she is the last connection to baby and toddlerhood and we record it lest we forget.

So today I thought I'd write about her, our precious middle child.

She loves drawing and produces a prodigious volume of pictures, all of which are given to someone in particular, their name painstakingly inscribed on the back. Her page is filled with colour and light. Images of angels and fairies imbue her vision with magic and an awareness of spirit. Their luminosity comes in part maybe from her Waldorf education, where they are taught to fill the page, and use colour in an emotional way, but for the most part it is her beautiful soul shining through.

A few vignettes from the last couple of weeks:

She is standing just inside the door, waving a pink,sparkly fairy wand and declaiming 'Wingardium Leviosa'. She looks out and sees a beautiful rainbow stretching across the sky. A look in her eye that says she knows she didn't really do that, but just perhaps there is some magic about.

She and youngest have been busy outside for hours. We are going across to my sister-in-law's house for my birthday lunch and call everyone. The girls appear carefully holding a mini Smartie box. I look quizzically at them, as they know not to eat sweets before lunch. She quickly explains that they've got some ants in the box. They've been building them houses and feeding them with Cream Cracker crumbs and now they're going to 'release' them. We are taken on a guided tour of the ant's houses, beautifully decorated with flowers and liberally sprinkled with cream crackers.

A half hour at her aunt's house that she dedicatedly spends hopping out the shape of every letter of the alphabet one after the other.

An earnest conversation one evening before bathtime: she is saying that sometimes she is scared in the night, but doesn't want to wake us. She is the quiet one who keeps everything in, any emotional trauma being dealt with face down on her bed, only allowing us to comfort us later once the worst is over.

If our son has a bad dream, he has no qualms in demanding our attendance, if he goes to the loo in the night, no idea of muffling his footsteps, we all know about it. She on the other hand glides silently through our room to the bathroom and muffles her sobs in bed if she is frightened by a dream or a noise.

I told her that it was fine to wake us up or come into our bed if she needed to, but she remained unsure. Then she said that sometimes she couldn't feel her angel, when she was scared. She seems to be poised at some sort of emotional and spiritual watershed, finding the parameters of her own life space. As I tucked her up and kissed her goodnight, I reassured her that the angels are there even if you can't actually feel them. An emphatic nod from under the duvet.

Of course there is all the prosaic stuff of being seven, the hilariousness of her friend being 'in love' with one of the boys in her class and her emphatic declaration that she doesn't like any of the boys in her class. The fact that she can talk in an endless stream of consciousness when the mood takes her. Her instinct for colour and fashion putting her clothes together with style even with no role model to follow in her mother. The dexterity which meant that as a baby she could undo childproof bottles now enables her to chop garlic finely for me and construct wonderful 3D paper pictures.

She has a phenomenal memory for songs and stories and it is her that we all go to for help when we lose something. She can usually remember seeing it somewhere and track it down. She has sparkling blue eyes that see the stars, with a sprinkling of angel dust in them.


  1. She really is an angel, isn't she? Little precious. She sounds like a very special person.

  2. Kit, she does sound like an angel. I too have a little girl who keeps everything in for as long as she can. We are working on being more open. If your middle angel goes to a waldorf school then I'm sure she has an angel prayer, but here is one specifically for night time protection

    'every night an angel stands at the head of every child
    silent, with protecting arms,
    and it is as if he smiles
    Safely you may sleep all night,
    in the shadow of his wings
    While in heaven's golden light
    all the angels sing'

    After all the goodnight kisses and confidences, the last words spoken are always by me: 'angel dreams babe', and I think she does have because sometimes she giggles in her sleep...

  3. please tell her that i think her drawings are beautiful!

  4. I love the way you describe your precious child! How very special! Please tell her that I too love her drawings!

  5. Thank you, from a middle child. Beautifully recorded. She sounds wonderful!

  6. how funny, i've always wanted 3 children, not one more, not one less. i guess max won't be a traditional middle child since the gap is so big (11 years!) and good to know that i've got something to lok forward to (chopping garlic etc) as max was the same in terms of fine motor skills when he was only a wee baby!
    your middle angel sounds adorable, i someimes wish i could have another child just to have another daughter - they are so very precious and you do connect in a special way, don't you?

  7. What a special magical world she inhabits. Seven is a beautiful age.

    Recently eating dinner outside on the veranda, we used green beans as wands and cast the expelliarmus spell on each other. Upon being hit, you had to throw your bean into the air. (A different take on a food fight, I guess). And not really magical like making clouds move.


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!