Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Guess the Middle Child.

      A Facebook friend sent me this picture, asking if I might be able to use it on my blog. Use it on my blog!?! I might have to frame it! They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case it's a gross underestimate. This picture says everything you need to know about being a Middle Child. If you're a Middle Child, you definitely know this feeling.
     This picture also got me to wondering, how many more pictures like this are floating around out there? I know a lot of Middle Children complain about there not being any photographic evidence of their childhood -- and with pics like this, maybe that's a good thing. But if you happen to find any, I'd love it if you'd share them with me.
     Send your #MiddleChildMoment to me at midkidmusings@gmail.com, and I'll post it here on the blog and on Twitter @midkidmusings.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Funniest Book I've Ever Read.

A Smack Dab Book Review

Pure fantasy:
But technically non-fiction.
          My daughter/Smack Dab Middle Child was all excited when she came home from school the other day. “Look at what I found, Daddy!” she giggled, as she presented me with a book she had brought home from her 1st grade library. (I should probably mention at this point that my daughter is a not a 1st grade student. She’s a full grown 1st grade teacher.) The book was titled “Dealing with Being the Middle Child in Your Family,” and though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to be, it was a hilarious read.
          “Dealing with Being a Middle Child” offers some simple solutions for managing Middle Child Syndrome. All you have to do is realize how great it is to be a Middle Child. It’s that easy! That’s like saying you’ve found the secret to losing weight: just eat less. How hard could that be? Let me give you the CliffsNotes.
          The chapter titled “What About Me?” starts by asking, “Do you ever feel left out because you’re the Middle Child?” A better question would be, “Do you ever not feel left out because you’re a Middle Child!?” I mean, really. If When you do feel left out, the book suggests, “Just tell your parents. They can help you.” You know, the very same people you think don’t pay enough attention to you. Tell them. Geez. And what about this gem? “Another solution is to spend time with friends. Friends can cheer you up and make you smile.” Oh, you mean the friends that I wanted to spend time with but they didn’t include me in their plans? Those friends?? That’s why I’m feeling left out in the first place!! Ugh. According to the book, feeling left out can also be overcome by finding out what you like to do: “Do you like to sing or dance or play sports? Getting to know your unique talents will help you feel special throughout your whole life.” I’m sorry, but it sounds to me like they’re really saying, “Find something you like doing, kid, because you’re gonna be spending a lot of time by yourself!” Honestly, I’m running out of exclamation points, and I’m not even halfway through this post.
Denise Discovers Drama: when you're
a Middle Child, that's the last thing
you need more of.
          The “Denise Discovers Drama” chapter tells the story of a Middle Child who loves to sing and act, while her siblings have no interest in doing either. Denise feels special when she gets a great part in the school play and is excited to perform on stage for her family. Of course, the book forgets to mention that her play is on the same night as her older brother’s Martial Arts tournament and her little sister’s Science Fair, so nobody can make it to the show.
A Family Camping Trip: if a Middle
Child is in a forest and there's no one
else around, does he still have
Middle Child Syndrome?
          In “A Family Camping Trip,” little Darrin is feeling left out because his older brother Pete gets to pitch the tent with Dad and his younger sister Maria was asked to gather sticks for firewood. Mom saves the day by asking Darrin to help her make dinner and letting him wear a goofy chef’s hat. This makes Darrin feel good. Sure, but probably not enough to let him forgive his parents for giving his siblings normal names and naming him Darrin. 
          Meanwhile, the chapter titled The Middle Child” concludes, “It takes time to figure out your special role in the family.” Uh, yeah -- like your entire life!
          Look, it’s not like this is the first book ever written about Middle Children. Over the years, there have been many others. Some are for kids, with titles like “The Middle Child Blues,” and “My Middle Child, There’s No One Like You,” which any self-disrespecting Mid Kid will tell you is just code for “My Middle Child, Why Can’t You Be More Like Your Siblings?” Others target parents, like “The Secret Power of Middle Children: How Middleborns Can Harness Their Unexpected and Remarkable Abilities.” We all know that’s just a nice way of saying “How to Fix Your Middle Child.”
          I suspect many of the books written about Middle Children weren't actually written by Middle Children. If they were, they’d tell a very different story.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

"What Did They Do to You?"

          I was in the kitchen with my wife the other day, desperately seeking praise for something I had done that I thought was worthy of more fuss, when my wife looked at me and asked, “What did they do to you?” I can understand her asking. Something must have happened to me in my childhood that would cause the need to be lauded just because I helped her chop some chicken salad, she reasoned. It couldn’t just be because I’m a Middle Child.
          Of course I knew instantly who “they” were: my parents. But I don’t blame them for my chronic Middle Child Syndrome. Well, maybe a little. I mean, there is total agreement with my brother and sister as to who my parents’ favorites were. My brother was my father’s and my sister was my mother’s. Second place wasn’t as clear cut. I definitely got a bronze medal from my father, but I might have eked out a silver from my mother.
          Please don’t misunderstand. In no way was I mistreated by my parents. My brother and sister weren’t given things that I wasn’t. Other than attention. They weren’t awarded any special treatment by my parents. At least not that I’m aware of. My parents just didn’t have great favorite child poker faces. They were easy to read. Sure, there was that Middle Child poem my mother had taped to the kitchen wall in the house I grew up in. But I’m pretty sure that was just a decoy intended to throw me off.
          In order to avoid reliving this same problem with my own children, and especially my Middle Child, I have always been very careful to follow a very simple strategy. I simply act like I can’t stand any of them.
          By the way, I really am a very good chicken salad chopper.

Hear more at “Pay No Attention to this Podcast:”
My brother & sister confirm who were the favorites (at 17:50 mins)
A discussion of the Middle Child poem, and a rewrite (at 4:00 mins)

Friday, September 14, 2018

Nobody Gives a Crap

Profiles in Middledom: #2 in a series, featuring Middle Children (real-life or otherwise) who have earned their place in the pantheon of birth order oblivion.

Required Reading: every
Middle Child's favorite
bathroom book.

     Middle Child Thomas Crapper is often cited as the inventor of the modern flush toilet. But lavatory historians will tell you, that’s a load of crap. While Crapper was a prominent London plumber who did do much to popularize sanitary plumbing in the 1800’s, he’s hardly the first to sit in the “Oval Office.” He was the first to display flushing toilets in a showroom and held three patents for water closet improvements, including the floating ballcock and siphonic flush toilet -- but none was for the flush toilet itself. (By the way, if you think the word Crap derives from his name, you’re shit out of luck. Crap is actually of Middle English origin, predating the creation of Thomas Crapper & Co. in 1861 by hundreds of years, so there’s no direct link -- just a too-good-to-be-true coincidence.)
His Royal Hiney-ness?: Well,
now you know why we call

it "the John."
     But fear not, Middle Child. Our flush with greatness remains intact, because it was another Mid Kid who lays claim to the porcelain throne. Sir John Harington was a godson of Queen Elizabeth I who liked telling risqué stories. (An early case of potty mouth, maybe?) As a result, he was banished from the court and exiled to a small town near, wait for it -- Bath. Can’t make this shit up.

"Going to the crapper" since
World War I:
American GIs

in England saw the name on
cisterns and used it as slang.
     During his time away, somewhere between 1584-91, Harington built himself a house and created the world’s first flushing toilet. When the Queen eventually forgave him and visited his house, she was so impressed with the invention, she had one installed in one of her palaces. Still, it took another 200 years of improvements for the idea to catch on. In the 1880s, England's future King Edward VII hired a prominent London plumber to construct lavatories in several royal palaces. Yep, you guessed it -- Mr.Crapper. And since I can’t resist making another toilet-related pun, the rest is shitstory.
     So the next time you use the "crapper" or the "John," you can do so proudly, knowing a Middle Child helped make it all possible. No ifs or ands. Just plenty of butts.

Friday, September 7, 2018

In the Beginning...

Ham: Noah's least favorite son.
     Feeling like the odd man out in the family is nothing new for a Middle Child. It’s been going on since the beginning of time. How do I know this? The Bible tells me so! It’s filled with many tales of the world’s original outcasts. Remember Ham, Noah’s Middle Child? Of course you don’t. According to the Book of Genesis, one day Ham finds Noah drunk and naked, so he tells his brothers, Shem and Japheth. His brothers avert their eyes and cover their father. So what does Noah do? He gets pissed at Ham and puts a curse on Ham’s son! Oh, that’s fair.

Being a Middle Child is the pits.
    And what about Jacob’s son, Joseph? With eleven brothers, he was one of many Middle Children in the family. In a very rare occurrence for a Mid Kid, he was also his father’s favorite, and given a many colored coat by his father to prove it. This did not sit well with his brothers. First, they stole Joseph’s gaudy garment, then they threw him in a pit and sold him into slavery. Nice.
Murder He Wrote: things don't end well
for the world's first Middle Child.

     Last, but definitely least, there’s Adam and Eve’s second son, Abel -- widely believed to be the world’s very first Middle Child. (According to the Bible, Adam & Eve had a third son named Seth. He was born when Adam was 130 years old. Go Adam. I know that sounds really old, but the Bible also says Adam died when he was 930 years old, so it’s all relative . He probably died blowing out the candles. But I digress.) Everyone knows the story of Cain and Abel, the world’s first case of sibling rivalry. In a nutshell, both brothers made sacrifices to God, Abel’s was favored over Cain’s, so Cain killed Abel. As a result, Abel holds the dubious distinction of being the world’s very first murder victim. And the Lord said, “Let the Middle Child treatment begin.”

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Middle Child Hairdon'ts

I have Category 5 bed head.
     This is what my hair looks like when I wake up every morning. I realize this is not an exclusively Middle Child phenomenon. I know that many others face similar coif catastrophes each day. But this is a Middle Child’s blog after all, and I want to stay on point. So I feel it’s important to focus on those Middle Children who hold a very special place in the Bad Hair Hall of Shame. In fact, they are some of the most legendary superstars of the follicle follies, taking the pursuit of the hirsute to hair-raising new heights. In many cases, literally.
     It kind of makes perfect sense when you think about it. I mean, what an easy way to grab attention. With the stroke of a brush, or perhaps a comb, it’s like saying, “Look at me,” without even saying a word.
     Here are just some of the many Middle Children who know how to make every day a bad hair day.


Hair Force One - Donald Trump:
you would think our Middle Child
in Chief gets enough attention. 
Judging from his hair, apparently not.

Spear Head - Britney Spears:
when it comes to seeking attention with
your hair, sometimes less is more.

The King of Bad Hair - Don King: 
the original heavyweight champion
of hair. At the height of his career,
his hair was, too.

Crazy Train Coif - Kelly Osbourne: 
when your dad once bit the head off a
bat, doing weird stuff with your hair
is mild by comparison.

Hair Apparent - Kim Jong Un:
Donald Trump’s BFF has had
hundreds of people executed since
taking power in 2011. His hair stylist
must have been one of them.

Wigging Out - Nicki Minaj:
her vast collection of attention grabbing 
wigs runs the gamut, from rainbow striped to leopard spotted.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Profiles in Middledom: #1 in a series

A new Smack Dab Blog series, featuring Middle Children (real-life or otherwise) who have earned their place in the pantheon of birth order oblivion.

          I think most people would agree, Jan Brady was the most memorable TV Middle Child ever. Her classic “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” is not only the quintessential Middle Child TV moment, but a universal rallying cry for Middle Children everywhere. But who was the greatest movie Middle Child of all time? This is a question I am often asked. Okay, no one has ever asked me that, but if someone ever does, I am ready with my answer: Fredo Corleone.
          The Middle son of Vito Corleone, a.k.a Don Corleone -- the Godfather, Fredo wasn’t born with the bravado and balls of older brother Santino (Sonny), or the brains and blind ambition of younger brother Michael. He’s also not very good with a gun. When Sollozzo and the Tattaglia's attempt to assassinate Don Corleone, Fredo is with him. He doesn’t even get a shot off, and is left sobbing on the curb. Not exactly your prototypical tough guy. It’s no wonder, then, that when their father steps down as head of “The Family,” it’s Michael who assumes control. Poor Fredo. Nobody gives him the respect he feels he deserves.
          Not Moe Greene:

          Not Michael:

          Not even his drunken wife:

          So Fredo does what any self disrespecting Middle Child would do. He looks for anyone who will pay some attention to him. When he's approached by Johnny Ola on behalf of arch-rival Hyman Roth asking for help in working out a deal with Michael between Roth’s organization and the Corleone family, Fredo’s all in. Okay, so who knew they were really trying to kill Michael? Ooops. When confronted by his brother, Fredo finally erupts in a flurry of frustration and fury that is Middle Child movie magic:

          “The Godfather” and “The Godfather II” won a ton of awards. Marlon Brando won Best Actor in 1973 at the 45th Academy Awards, and famously refused to accept. James Caan (Sonny), Robert Duvall (Tom Hagen), and Al Pacino (Michael) were all nominated for Best Supporting Actor. In 1975, Pacino won the Best Actor Oscar and Robert De Niro (Young Vito Corleone) snagged a Best Supporting Actor statue. Lee Strasberg (Hyman Roth) was also nominated in the same category. Even Michael V. Gazzo (Frank Pentangeli) was nominated, and I guess you can see where this is going. Yes, Fredo (John Cazale) was totally overlooked.

See more memorable Middle Child Moments: “Middle Child Masterpiece Theater

Monday, August 13, 2018

Surviving P.M.C.D.T.S.D.

          I could barely find the strength to write this post today. I am, like millions of other Middle Children, trying to recover from another psychologically bruising, emotionally draining Middle Child’s Day. Once again the day has taken its toll, leaving me to deal with the crushing aftermath: a severe case of Post Middle Child’s Day Traumatic Stress Disorder. Coupled with chronic Middle Child Syndrome, my post Middle Child’s Day malaise is palpable.
          You’d think after all these years I would know not to get my hopes up. But still, there’s that little voice in my head, deep in the middle of my brain, that says to me, “Maybe this year will be different. This year, people will actually... care.” Then, it’s August 12, and reality sinks in. The jokes:

          The insults:

          The self-loathing:

          And of course, the neglect:

          I search for answers, but only have myself to blame. I allowed myself to believe that my efforts to raise awareness for Middle Child’s Day were actually making a difference. After all, I was interviewed by the Today Show. HLN. Even some show in New Zealand. I was on the radio. I was in New York Magazine. “People are paying attention,” I foolishly believed. Surely I was making progress. My spirits were actually buoyed when I saw “Happy Middle Child’s Day” hashtags appearing with great frequency on our namesake day. But any hint of a wind was knocked out of my sails when I found out what was actually trending on Twitter: #WorldElephantDay. Really!? Even elephants get more attention than black sheep!?
          I had hit rock bottom. But why should I even care anymore? It’s been widely reported that Middle Children are going extinct, so why am I wasting my time? Maybe I should just call it a day and close up shop. Then, a headline pops up on my news feed:

Wait, what? “Don’t believe them,” warns the middle voice in my head. Then, another headline:

And just like that, the International Middle Children Union is back in business.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

NEW Middle Child's Day Cards: Not available at ANY store. Big surprise.

          It's never been easier to make a Middle Child not feel overlooked and forgotten. Just share this post, or click on an image to download and send. Whatever you do, do it now -- before you forget! 

See cards from previous years here, here, & here.

Check out the selection of Middle Child apparel at the Smack Dab Shop. (NO WAY it will be here in time for Middle Child's Day, but beggars can't be choosers. We'll just be glad you remembered.)

Monday, August 6, 2018

Our 1st (and maybe last) State of the Union Address.

     As Middle Child's Day approaches, it's time to evaluate the state of our union. And while I hate to play the Grinch who stole Middle Child's Day, I have to admit -- these are not the best of times for Middle Children...

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Help Make This Happen on August 12!

Let's get the folks at Goodyear to throw some blimp love to the Middle Child on Middle Child's Day. Show your support for the International Middle Child Union's efforts 
by voting at the Smack Dab Page on Facebook.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The I.M.C.U. 2018 Middle Child's Day Gift Guide

     You’ve no doubt read by now about the demise of the Middle Child: as the ideal family size continues to shrink, there will be fewer and fewer of us around. That why it’s more important than ever to celebrate us!! Make the most of however many Middle Child’s Days we have left by showering us with love and affection -- and PRESENTS!
I’ve scoured the web to bring you the very best in Middle Child’s Day gift ideas. (It wasn’t that hard. It’s pretty slim pickin’s out there.)

                                    MIDDLE CHILD WINE & BEER:
     If you’re a Middle Child, you could probably use a drink. (If you live with a Middle Child, you could probably use one too.) May I suggest a lovely bottle of award-winning Middle Sister wine? Yes, I said wine, not whine! Middle Sister wines were inspired by a real Middle Sister, and created so Middle Sisters everywhere can finally get the attention they deserve. I’ll drink to that. Check them out at middlesisterwines.com
     Or maybe you’d prefer to share a brew with your Middle Bro on his special day. Middle Child is an American Double/Imperial IPA style beer brewed by Bog Iron Brewing in Norton, MA. It’s a little bitter, but -- of course it is! According to one reviewer who has enjoyed a number of Bog Iron selections, Middle Child is his favorite. Now that’s not something we hear too often. Find out more at bogironbrewing.com 

     Sure, you want attention. But how about some mints instead? According to their maker, these are not just the mints left over from when they made their other mints. They are totally as good as any other mint and a sweet distraction from being ignored or having your accomplishments diminished. The perfect gift to give as an apology to the child you forgot to pick up at soccer practice a couple of times. Available at mcphee.com and other retailers.

                                                MIDDLE CHILD SOAP & CANDLES:
     When I contacted the Whiskey River Soap Co. a few months ago to offer them the opportunity to be “The Official Soap of the International Middle Child Union,” they agreed without hesitation. They also reminded me, “No one will notice.” Ah, the sweet smell of invisibility. Buy Middle Child Soap at whiskeyriversoap.com. Also available: A Candle for the Middle Child

     If music can soothe the savage beast, maybe it can help relieve Middle Child Syndrome. While many Middle Children are gifted musical artists (J-Lo, Britney Spears, Nikki Minaj, to name a few), music also makes a perfect Middle Child’s Day gift. Here’s some music from just a few of the Middle Child musicians you probably never heard of. How fitting.
“Middle Kids” are an alternative indie rock band from Sydney, Australia. Listen/Buy
“Middle Child” is an alternative Indie band from Houston, TX. Listen/Buy
Not to be confused with “Middle Child,” a self-described “4-piece spirit-filled Rock & Roll band” from Lakeland, FL. Listen/Buy

                                                                                               MIDDLE CHILD DINING:
     It’s been said that Philadelphia is the forgotten Middle Child, stuck in the middle between our nation’s capitol and the Big Apple. But on Middle Child’s Day, there’s no better place to be. Take your favorite MidKid for a bite at Middle Child, the new star in Philly’s luncheonette revival -- run by an actual Middle Child! Food critics love it, and you will as well. So eat your heart out NY and DC! And first and last borns, too. Find them at middlechildphilly.com or contact at info@middlechildphilly.com

     If we’re going to be extinct, we might as well go out in style! After all, who knows how many Middle Child’s Days are left? Make every one count with a gift from the Smack Dab Shop, featuring the new SAVE THE MIDDLE CHILD! collection. Stock up now, before it’s too late. Gulp. Click the Smack Dab Shop on the right or go to Cafe Press.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Putting the "Inter" in the International Middle Child Union!

The good folks on "The Project" (New Zealand) were kind enough to include me in this great piece they did on the impending demise of the Middle Child...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Yesterday on Today...

Check out my "appearance" on the Today Show discussing the potential demise of the Middle Child:

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Our Middle Child's Days Are Numbered!!

Middle Child's Day is August 12th. But how many more will we have?

     Maybe you read about it in the latest issue of New York Magazine in a piece called “The Extinction of the Middle Child.” Or maybe you read my blog post: “Are Middle Children an Endangered Species?” Or maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about, so let me make a long story short. MIDDLE CHILDREN ARE SCREWED! And I don’t mean in the ways we’ve always complained about for years. I’m talking end of days, screwed.
     Here’s the deal: all the numbers point to the ideal family size shrinking to under three, which means fewer and fewer Middle Children, until one day... I don’t even want to think about it. Let’s just say, Middle Children are a dying breed. And while this may be cause for celebration for our older and younger siblings, as founder of the International Middle Child Union, I am less than pleased. I mean, it’s hard enough meeting our annual membership goals. Without any Middle Children around, it’s probably going to be even harder. That’s why this year, I’m creating the Society for the Preservation of Middle Children. Together with the I.M.C.U, we’ll work to help raise awareness of Middle Child’s Day on August 12th.
     I know there’s not much we can do to convince people to have more children. But if we can get more people to acknowledge Middle Child’s Day, at least we can go out with a bang!
     Please check back here soon for more info about Middle Child’s Day '18.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Sad Saga of Barbie's Middle Siblings: a Smack Dab Investigative Report

As usual, the first born
gets all the breaks.

           No, Barbara Millicent Roberts is NOT a Middle Child. But when I heard it was her “birthday” a couple of weeks ago, (she came into the world March 9, 1959), it got me thinking. I knew Barbie had a younger sister, Skipper. But were there any other Roberts siblings? And if so, are there any Middle Children? On my journey of discovery, I uncovered a series of mysterious disappearances, equally curious reappearances, countless cosmetic modifications, unsettling childhood mortality, and multiple aliases -- not to mention some serious identity issues. It’s a twisted tale that, much like Barbie’s own head, would make anyone's head spin.
Skipper: No doubt
she's a Middle Child.

          It goes without saying that being the younger brother or sister of a famous older  sibling is never an easy thing. But being one of Barbie’s younger siblings was far from like living in a dream house.
          Take Skipper, for example. First appearing on the scene in 1964, Skipper (a.k.a. “Malibu Skipper,” “Growing Up Skipper,” “Super Teen Skipper,” “Hot Stuff Skipper,” “Teen Fun Skipper,” “Pizza Party Skipper,” and “Teen Skipper”), clearly had issues finding herself. In 1965, she officially became a Middle Child when twin siblings Tutti and Todd enter the picture. Sadly, they both left us in 1971. Or did they? In 1991 Todd is reincarnated, and by 1992, he vanishes again. Very sketchy.
          That same year the Roberts’ welcome Kelly to the family, although it’s questionable exactly how welcome she is because soon after arriving, she becomes Stacie. Oh, and then we’re told she's the  twin sister of Todd! WTF!? No wonder he went missing. It’s like some surreal soap opera. And then things get really weird.
          In 1995, we find out there’s another Kelly! While the first Kelly, now Stacie, is with us to this day, Kelly #2 is a goner by 2010. In 1999, little Krissy comes along, but not for long. She’s out of the  picture by 2001. Sad.
Tutti & Todd: Some Middle Children
have it tougher than others.

          Finally in 2010, Chelsea shows up. Normally, the most recently born would be the baby, but this is the Roberts family, after all. Chelsea, born after Krissy, is actually older than Krissy. Makes perfect sense, especially when you consider Barbie was born in 1959, but her parents didn’t come into the picture until 1960. Don’t ask.
          So, what did my investigation reveal? Well, clearly there are some very shaky limbs on Barbie’s  family tree. But yes, there are multiple Middle Children in the Roberts family. And I’m really glad I played with Lego growing up.