It’s not always easy to be the last of 5 kids. Often there’s just too much going on in a family of seven for the last kid to get a lot of one-on-one attention.
Sometimes usually that fifth kid may seem lost in the shuffle and somewhat totally left behind.
Six reasons my fifth kid seems neglected:
1. I let him do pretty much whatever he wants
I was in church awhile back and I was rejoicing in the fact that BB was being quiet enough (read: shouting, but not screaming) that we were actually able to sit through the entire service. Well, maybe not sit, exactly. He was climbing over the other kids, throwing Hot Wheels at the missionaries behind us, playing with the phone of a guy at the end of the pew and messing with a kid’s crutches that were stashed underneath. He was all over the place and pretty much out of control. But since he wasn’t screaming loud enough to disrupt more than 50% of the congregants, and hadn’t yet bolted up the aisle to the pulpit, I figured we could stay.
Side note: People did ask me later if that was my kid “making those noises” during the meeting. I wasn’t 100% sure it was my kid they were referring to, but probably, so I just owned it.
I realized during the chaos of church that day, that it seems like I totally let BB do whatever the heck he wants. Which I guess I kind of do. With 4 other kids, two of which are big teenage boys, I literally cannot reach over everybody to grab him and keep him in check. With my first kid I was right there with him all through church to distract him with all manner of puzzles, crayons, action figures and even homemade slime. But with number five I can’t even get close enough to hand him an animal cracker. The older kids help a little, but they mostly just crack up at his antics. Just as I was feeling guilty about being so neglectful of my kid standing on the pew out of reach, I saw him playing with something the guy at the end of the pew gave him. I tried to communicate a silent, “Sorry he’s bothering you!” But the sweet guy just indicated that everything was just fine and kept BB entertained pretty much the whole meeting with surprises from his briefcase. Between he and the gal behind us feeding BB cookies, we were stylin’. I guess it really takes a village, you know? Thank goodness for that because I certainly couldn’t do much myself from the far end of that pew.
2. I don’t know how old he is
When my firstborn was little, someone once asked me how old he was and I replied with the little bit too specific answer, “17 months.” Now when people ask me how old BB is there’s a long, awkward silence while I try to do math (which never goes well for me). About 3 months before he turned 18 months (that’s 15 months! Math!) I just started saying “about a year and a half.” I figured strangers didn’t care about accurate numbers anyway, but I still felt bad that I didn’t even know the answer to the question. Seriously though, I can barely keep up with all the annual birthdays in the family let alone monthly ones. That being said, I at least am aware of the essentials. I knew the EXACT day he turned 18 months because that finally made him old enough for the nursery class at church.
3. I don’t know which toys belong to us
If you come to our house and your kid brings a toy over here that they subsequently leave in our here, you will never see it again. Not because we are thieves, but because ain’t nobody got time fo’ keeping track of which hot wheels cars are which. I just simply don’t have the cognitive ability. There are so many hand-me-down toys (for which I’m grateful!) that I don’t recognize half the stuff we have. Conversely, I don’t know when we’ve lost something or not. At church someone found a toy on the floor and asked if it was ours. I almost laughed but I think I actually just said, “I wouldn’t know if it was.” They probably thought I didn’t care at all about my kid’s favorite toys. I do care, I just can’t remember them.
4. My other kids need me too
One of the hard parts about having teenagers AND a toddler is that they have very different needs. The teenagers need to be shuttled from activity to activity while the baby needs a trip to the park, a snack, a nap, a sippy cup, a diaper change, and an early bedtime. He doesn’t always get those things when we’re driving around, unless it’s in the form of a Ziplock full of generic Reese’s Puffs tossed to him while I’m going 75 on the freeway.
5. I don’t know his milestones
Yeah so that happened. I was filling out an information sheet to help assess BB’s development and I didn’t know all the answers. Birth length? pssh, you’re lucky I know his weight. When he first rolled over? Ha! What is he, my First Born or something? Which brings me to number…
6. He doesn’t have a baby book
I guess I could find the time to make him a baby book like I did with the first
four two kids. I mean, I found time to sit down and write this post. But honestly, I really don’t want to. What a boring waste of time. Especially because I would have to play catch up and finish start baby books for the other kids and then I’d still never get around to it. Then I’d feel guilty. No thanks.
He’s not really neglected.
I know it may seem (you know, because of the previous list) that my kid is woefully uncared for. But luckily, there’s a flipside to all of this. Maybe BB is being raised in the midst of chaos, but he’s got A LOT of people to play with him. And wrestle with him. And get him snacks. And cuddle with him. And love him. It may not be easy to be #5, but it’s certainly never dull. Or lonely.