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.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

ON THIS DAY IN 1876...

     
Does the name Elisha Gray
ring a bell? Didn't think so.

     Who invented the telephone? For some, it's a Gray area. While Alexander Graham Bell received US Patent #174,465 on this day for his new invention, Middle Child/electrical engineer Elisha Gray came this close to being a household name. And I’m holding my fingers so they almost touch when I say that.
     On February 14, 1876, Gray went to the U.S. Patent office to file a caveat, a declaration stating his intention to apply for a patent for his version of the telephone. He should’ve got there sooner. It turns out another Middle Child filed a patent for the same invention a few hours earlier. Yeah, that Bell guy.
     Gray’s lawyers accused Bell of stealing the invention by engaging in bribery and shady dealings with the patent office. In fact, one patent office employee admitted he was an alcoholic deeply in debt to Bell’s lawyer. But in the end, the courts upheld Bell’s patent, finding Gray’s argument didn’t ring true.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Greatest Middle Child Movies NEVER Made: 90th Academy Awards Edition

         2017 was a banner year for Middle Child cinema. So it’s with great pleasure we present for your consideration, this year’s Best Middle Child Picture nominees:

Pay no attention to that Middle billboard!

What every Middle Child hopes for.

Every Middle Child knows the feeling.

(To see more “Greatest Middle Child Movies NEVER Made, click HERE.)


Friday, March 2, 2018

ON THIS DAY IN 1904...


          Today we wish a Happy Birthday to Theodor Geisel. You probably know him better as Dr. Suess. Ted was the second of three siblings and the only boy -- a true Smack Dab Middle Child. Suess was actually his mother’s maiden name, which was also his middle name, and ultimately his pen name.
CLICK HERE 
to see for yourself.
          The good doctor wrote and illustrated 48 books, selling over 600 million copies. While “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” are some of his most famous works, a lesser known title is one of my favorites. “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” is the story of an anthropomorphic dog-like creature who has clearly overstayed his welcome. Throughout the book, Marvin is being asked to leave by an unseen individual. While many suspect it’s the tale of a parent trying to get their child to bed, I know better. Marvin HAD to be a Middle Child!



Sunday, February 18, 2018

Is Sarah Jessica Parker a Middle Child, Without Her Even Knowing It?

          As the founder and Union Boss of the International Middle Child Union, I’m in touch with high-profile, Middle Child celebrities all the time. And when I say “in touch with,” I mean I e-mail them and usually never hear anything back. But a recent “correspondence” was particularly interesting. When I contacted Sarah Jessica Parker’s publicist to gauge interest in a Middle Child project I’m working on, I was told the following:


          Now hold on one darn second! Do you really think I would risk my reputation as the world’s leading Middle Child advocate by contacting someone if I wasn’t sure they were a Middle Child? Well, maybe. But not in this instance. You see, there's a common misconception about Middle Children, and as the head of the IMCU, it’s my job -- neigh, my duty -- to set the record straight.
I'm a what?!?
          Most people think that to be a Middle Child, you have to 
   be the one smack dab in the middle of an odd number of   
   siblings. Naturally, this leads to another fallacy: that there can 
   only be one Middle Child per family. 
          But that's not at all the case.  
          According to birth order experts, if you're not the first born 
   or the last born, you're in the middle. This comes as a great 
   shock to many people who may not have realized they are 
   actually a -- gulp -- MIDDLE CHILD!! While it is true that 
   Sarah Jessica is the youngest child from her mother’s first  
   marriage, her mother remarried when Sarah was 3½ years old and had four more children with Sarah’s step-dad. In total, SJP has seven siblings: three older and four younger.  She wasn't the first of eight, or the last -- so she's a Middle Child -- like it or not. I told her publicist maybe she should break it to Sarah gently. Believe me, I know that's not anything anyone wants to hear.
          I also explained that fortunately for Sarah, she's not alone. Five of her siblings are also Middles. This brings me to another important distinction. Specifically, you can be “A” Middle Child without being “The” Middle Child. And trust me, there’s a BIG difference. 
Sarah Jessica Parker (back row, 2nd from right): 
one of six Middle Children.


          I went into great detail about this in a previous post (See “Sandwiched Siblings: a Study in Middleocrity), but here’s the gist. When you’re the middle of three, you’re outnumbered. It’s two against one. When there are four siblings, it’s a toss-up. There are as many middles as non-middles. Anything over four and the Middles are the majority. So clearly, there are very different dynamics depending on what kind of Middle Child you are, and probably varying degrees of Middle Child Syndrome. I’ve even met some Middle Children who actually report having NO Middle Child Syndrome at all. But I think they’re just in denial. In any case, being “The” Middle Child is even worse than being “A” Middle Child. Trust me.
          So in the hopes of breaking down birth order barriers, I call on Sarah Jessica Parker to stand with the Middle Children of the world. Embrace your Middle Child-ness. Tell the world you are one of us. Or at the very least, tell your publicist.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day, Middle Child!

Well, at least WE didn't forget about you! All 10 of our classic Middle Child Valentine's Day Cards. Click on any image to download and send one to yourself. Sigh.












Sunday, January 7, 2018

ON THIS DAY IN 1789...

    

     The first Presidential election in America was held on January 7, 1789. As expected, George Washington won. Which means our first President was a Middle Child.
     Depending on how you look at it.
     You see, the father of the “Father of our Country,” Augustine Washington, was a busy man. He had 10 children with two wives. George was the first born of 6 from the second Mrs. Washington. But George had 4 older siblings from his father’s first marriage. So while many firstborns like to claim him as one of their own, in reality our first President was a Middle Child.
     I cannot tell a lie.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Closing the Door on 2017.

     I hear a lot of people saying things like, “2017 had it’s ups and downs.” But for me, 2017 ended neither up or down, but stuck. Literally. In an elevator.
     For 30 minutes.
     I had just taken the elevator down to the garage when I realized I had forgotten my car keys. Again. Sensing my wife’s annoyance, I assured her it was no big deal. “I’ll be back down in 2 minutes.” But Otis, the god of elevators, had other plans for me.
     I did not panic. Partly because I knew it would not help me get out of the elevator any quicker, but mostly because there was a camera in the elevator observing my every move. I was pretty sure whoever was watching was laughing at me anyway, and I didn’t want to give them any more fodder. I also didn’t need any video floating around out there of me freaking out or picking my nose, so I played it real cool. I was able to frequently check my look in the mirror, and I’m pretty sure I pulled it off.  I was also pleased it was a pretty good hair day. And thankfully, I was alone.  It would’ve been an even more annoying experience if I had to deal with someone else's anxiety, or make small talk with some stranger for half an hour.
     I tried to make good use of my involuntary alone time, and pondered one burning question. Which is less worse: ending the year getting stuck in an elevator, or starting the year getting stuck in an elevator? While both suck, I’m leaning towards getting stuck in an elevator at the beginning of the year. That way it’s over with. Onward and upward, or downward. Getting stuck in an elevator on the last day of the year doesn’t leave you much time for something really good to happen before the year is over.  It just leaves you feeling like, “Well, that was a shitty way to end the year.” If it happens on January 1, you have a whole year to undo it.
     After 30 minutes deep in thought, the Ft. Lauderdale Fire Dept. came to my rescue and pried the doors open, so I didn’t have time to fully explore which is worse. But one thing’s for sure. Next New Year’s Eve, I’m taking the stairs.

New Year, Same Syndrome.


Friday, December 22, 2017

The Ultimate Middle Child Gift

     With all the gift giving that goes on during the holiday season, it got me thinking about a very special gift I was given when I was just two years old. To this day, I still take it with me wherever I go. It’s not something you can buy in any store, and you definitely can’t wrap it up to put under the tree. But it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
     Forever.
     It’s the gift of Middle Child Syndrome.
     I know in the past I’ve written much about the curse of Middle Child Syndrome. And believe me, at times, it really is. Feeling left out, left alone and left behind -- not so much fun. But in the spirit of the holidays, I’m trying to be positive and looking for the silver lining. And in all honesty, Middle Child Syndrome can sometimes be a useful tool. Like a “Get out of Jail Free” card for bad behavior.
     Why did you kick your brother in the balls? Middle Child Syndrome made you do it!
     Your wife thinks you’re being more annoying and obnoxious than usual? Your Middle Child Syndrome is acting up!
     Yelling at a co-worker because he moved your yogurt to the back of the fridge? Clearly a case of severe Middle Child Syndrome!
     So playing the Middle Child card can be a handy crutch. Just like the tee-shirt says, it can be an excuse for almost anything.
     Oh, and there’s another benefit to having Middle Child Syndrome. It’s something my brother and sister don't have, so it’s ALL MINE! I don’t ever have to share it with anyone. Yay!!
     But remember, unlike the ugly sweater somebody gave you last year, Middle Child Syndrome is a gift you can’t ever return. 


Celebrate the season with the Mid Kid Christmas Classic:
"The Middle Child's Night before Christmas." 


Friday, December 8, 2017

"I DO" Love Attention.

          My daughter got married a few weekends ago. She was a beautiful bride, and had an amazing time at her wedding. Like a really amazing time. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her as happy as she was that night. And why wouldn’t she be? She was having the wedding she always dreamed of, marrying the love of her life. No further explanation needed, right? But I knew the real reason for her unbridled, bridal joy.
          Like me, my daughter is also a Middle Child. And what makes a Middle Child happier than being the center of attention? That’s right, nothing. Well, on your wedding day, you get to bask in the limelight all day and night -- especially if you’re the bride. I mean, the groom is important, but it’s the bride everyone waits to see walking down the aisle. They even stand up when she enters the room. WHAT?
          A wedding is even better than your birthday for guaranteed attention-getting. People forget birthdays, but nobody’s going to forget your wedding. (Anniversaries may be a different story.) What an amazing feeling, walking down the aisle with my daughter, all eyes focused on me. I mean her. All eyes focused on her. It was a Middle Child’s dream come true. For both of us, clearly.
          Of course, my new son-in-law can think he was the reason for my daughter’s euphoria.
          What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The 2017 Middle Child's Day Greeting Cards are Here!!

          What better way to show your favorite Middle Child that you completely forgot it was Middle Child's Day, until you found out about it on a blog. On Middle Child's Day.







CLICK HERE to see more cards. 
CLICK HERE for great ways to celebrate Middle Child's Day.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Towns Across the Country to Officially Acknowledge Middle Child’s Day!

          Oh, sure -- they all laughed when I announced my effort to raise awareness of Middle Child's Day one "Middle" town at a time. But who’s laughing now? What started with just a handful of towns, has mushroomed into TWO handfuls -- plus a few fingers! 13 towns across 11 states are officially acknowledging Middle Child’s Day on August 12th. 13!! When you consider there were only 13 original colonies, I think that’s a pretty good start.


    
          Of course, a few towns are issuing their proclamations after Middle Child’s Day. Typical Middle Child treatment. But it’s a step in the right direction. Based solely on their willingness to officially acknowledge Middle Child's Day, I'm pleased to announce the following towns have made it onto the International Middle Child Union's list of "America’s Most Middle Child-friendly Towns." A select group, indeed. And they are, in no particular order:

Middlebury, VT; Middlebury, CT; Middletown, KY; Middletown, OH; Middletown, VA; Middletown, RI;  Middlebush, NJ (Franklin Township); Middleville, NJ (Stillwater Township); Middlesex County, NJ -- the whole county, so that’s a lot of towns -- Middleton, MA; Middleton, TN; Middleton, WI; and Middleburgh, NY

CLICK HERE to see
proclamations.
          Not much support from Middle America, but I’ll work on it.
       
          On behalf of the International Middle Child Union, thanks to all the participating towns for officially acknowledging our own special day. Well, not really our own day. August 12th is also National Garage Sale Day, National Julienne Fries Day, Celebrate Your Lakes Day, Baseball Fans Day, IBM PC Day, International Youth Day, Truck Driver Day, Vinyl Record Day, National Sewing Machine Day, and World Elephant Day. It figures we’d even have to compete for attention on our own day. Looks like my work is cut out for me.




CLICK HERE to listen to the latest episode of my podcast, “Pay No Attention to this Podcast.” Hear an EXCLUSIVE interview with the Mayor of Middleburgh, NY, a dramatic reading of a Middle Child’s Day proclamation by the Town Manager of Middlebury, VT, plus the world’s best coverage of Middle Child’s Day celebrations. Okay, the only coverage.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Calling All "Middle" Towns!

     As founder of the International Middle Child, I’ve made it my mission to raise awareness of Middle Child’s Day. Middle Child’s Day? There’s a Middle Child’s Day? Yes, there is. And it’s August 12th. Apparently, I need to do more. That’s why for 2017, I’m launching the Middle Child’s Day “Middle” Town Outreach program. I’ve compiled a list of every town I could find with Middle in its name, and  I’m reaching out to them for help. As our new Middle Child-in-Chief would say, the goal is to make Middle Child’s Day great again.
     I’m asking “Middle” towns to issue a proclamation or formal announcement on August 12th in support of Middle Child’s Day. I’ve been in touch with “Middle” towns all across America, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and I’m generally encouraged by the reaction I’m receiving. It’s only June, and already a handful of towns have indicated they’re on board. I mean, giving a Middle Child some attention clearly isn’t as important to them as garbage collection, but what else is new?
     As August 12th approaches, I expect even more to participate. Honestly, if a “Middle” town can’t throw a little attention a Middle Child’s way, then we have no hope.

You can hear excerpts from some of the calls I’ve made to “Middle” towns, and more, 
on the latest episode of “Pay No Attention to this Podcast.”
CLICK LOGO TO LISTEN
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FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @MIDKIDMUSINGS
"Pay No Attention to this Podcast" can also be heard on SoundCloud, Stitcher, and  TuneIn.





Monday, May 8, 2017

Middle Children Need to be Heard!!

     What do you get when you give a Middle Child a microphone and a SoundCloud account? The Official Podcast of the International Middle Child Union. Introducing Pay No Attention to this Podcast, the world's leading Middle Child podcast -- because it's the world's ONLY Middle Child podcast. Sigh.
     You’ve read what it feels like being a Middle Child at the Smack Dab Facebook page, on Twitter @MidKidMusings, and at the Smack Dab Blog. Now you can HEAR what it’s like to feel left out, left alone and left behind -- in stunning HD digital sound! Two episodes are just sitting there waiting for someone to make them feel wanted. Episode 1 provides a basic introduction -- MidKid 101. Episode 2 explores the poem that made me forever aware I was a Middle Child. I also have a chat with Dr. Catherine Salmon, co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children, and play a round of nobody's favorite game show, Guess the Middle Child.
     The I.M.C.U. is fighting to end Middle Child Syndrome, one Middle Child at a time. And you can help. Please follow, like or subscribe to the podcast. It'll cost you nothing. But to a Middle Child, it means everything. Trust me.
I said, Middle Children
need to be heard!!

Listen to Pay No Attention to this Podcast:

Listen on iTunes


Listen on SoundCloud


Also available on Stitcher and TuneIn

Monday, May 1, 2017

ON THIS DAY IN 1931...


     When President Herbert Hoover dedicated New York City’s Empire State Building on May 1, 1931, it marked the official end of a dream for Middle Child Walter Chrysler. He had already begun construction of his iconic Chrysler Building when John J. Raskob of General Motors led a well-heeled group in what would become a competition to see who could build a taller building. Chrysler lost the "mine is bigger than yours" construction contest.  His 1,046 foot erection was a teeny weenie compared to the completed Empire State Building, which soared 1,454 feet to the top of its lightning rod, making it the world’s tallest building until 1972.