Meet Axel, Aspen Real Life’s Middle Son

[su_heading size=”18″]Meet Axel, Aspen Real Life’s Middle Son[/su_heading]

And then came Axel, a sweet, mellow, quiet little brother for Thumper to play with.

Axel is Aspen Real Life’s middle son, a savvy, skillful, empathetic, compromising trailblazing risk-taker, sound like your middle child?

Having a yellow lab as an older brother is not an easy fate. Axel has always needed to be on guard for Thumper to come barreling into him to start a wrestling match that Axel will never win due to his smaller size, but as tortured as may be, he has always adored his older brother, closely observing as Thumper navigates his life with an insatiable curiosity for diving into anything and everything without weighing out the dangers.

When they were little boys, as Thumper’s quiet side-kick Axel quietly changed the course of many of Thumper’s poor decisions without his realizing that he was being led away from danger from his little brother.

They have always worked well together with Thumper’s creative ability to immerse them into a world of imagination and Axel’s engineering abilities, whether it was building cities in the streams that ran through our land before we built our house, or snow castles, Thumper would build elaborate architecture structures using whatever medium they could find and Axel would lay down the foundation so they would not get swept away.

Middle Child Syndrome

[su_box title=”Psychology Today – Middle Child Syndrome”]Although middles are neglected, both by parents and researchers, they actually benefit from this in the long run. They become more independent, think outside the box, feel less pressure to conform, and are more empathetic. This gives them great skills as employees and also makes them excellent team players and partners. Middles are more driven than we think. Most people see firsts as having drive and ambition but middles do, too, it’s just directed elsewhere. Middles are more oriented to principles and concepts, like justice, over earning power or prestige—for example, suffragette Susan B. Anthony and the Polish freedom fighter Lech Walesa. Middles are often motivated by social causes. And when they do enter into a more traditional business, they are great innovators and team leaders, such as Bill Gates.[/su_box]

As the boys get older I see how their placement in the family dictates their moods and personalities. They all need time alone with their mum to reset. With three children it is difficult to get one by himself but when the occasion arises it makes for beautiful bonding time. When Axel was younger we would go off into the wilderness where he would inevitably find treasures, like dinosaur gizzard stones and rock crystals, and he would load them into my backpack to be placed in his own Zen rock garden in our backyard (now somebody else’s garden). But the harmonious moments would soon dissolve when set back into his placement as the middle child within our family.

As with each child, we have had our weekly discussions where we agree to communicate better instead of getting angry with one another. It has been a work in progress for Baddy and I to be understanding as Axel absentmindedly did not complete his everyday tasks; leaving the door wide open in the middle of winter, tracking mud throughout the house, taking my pens apart and not putting them back together again, leaving a trail of tomatoes or cereal into the playroom, emptying out his drawers of every particle of clothing while looking for one shirt, leaving his socks in wet clumps in all corners of the house, leaving a toilet paper trail out the bathroom etc….

In an attempt to better learn how to parent boys, I went to numerous parenting classes but after an embarrassing class where I led the parents away from discussing their troubled teenagers to directing me on how to solve our sock problem, I decided to go to Walmart and buy three dozen pairs instead. Some battles you just don’t have the energy for.

Recognizing that Axel has always needed time away from his brothers, I try my best to give him that time, and it all started with escaping to other worlds in books, at bed time. Slipping away, we would go upstairs to read quietly together, a luxury that I wish I could enjoy with each one of the children on a daily basis. Those moments together, as he proudly sounded out each word, filled me with pride. As he drifted off to sleep I found it difficult to leave the room wishing that I could always make him feel so completely loved and safe, repeatedly kissing his sweet, soft little face and inhaling his scent and breath, trying to permeate the scents into my memory forever.

Sometimes when the world gets too overwhelming he still quietly crawls close to me to recuperate and I sit there hoping that being the middle child will better prepare him for dealing with the complexities of life. Fortunately, he is a wise old soul and understands that life will not always stick him in the middle.

[su_heading size=”28″]COMMON BEHAVIORS OF A MIDDLE CHILD[/su_heading]

[su_box title=”Psychology Today – WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MIDDLE CHILD?”]They are excellent negotiators, like Anwar Sadat and Michael Gerstner [CEO of Nabisco]. Middles are used to not getting their own way and so they become savvy, skillful manipulators. They can see all sides of a question and are empathetic and judge reactions well. They are more willing to compromise and so they can argue successfully. Since they often have to wait around as kids, they’re more patient. They are trailblazers, like Charles Darwin and William Dell. Middles are more likely to effect change than any other birth order. This is because of the combination of risk-taking and openness to experience leads to a willingness to try new things. One study, for example, showed that 85 percent of middles were open to new ideas like cold fusion compared to only 50 percent of firsts. And middles are justice-seekers, like Nelson Mandela and Susan B. Anthony. They are focused on fairness; they perceive injustice in their family and are attuned to the needs of others as they grow up. Middles side with the underdog and practice what they preach.[/su_box]

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