I probably don't talk about my sons as often as I talk about my daughters. That's easy--I know boys. I have 4 older brothers, 2 stepbrothers, my best friend growing up was a boy and a solid 75% of the kids I ever babysat were boys.
Boys are no mystery to me. My girls, on the other hand, intimidate me a little. They're so emotional. I don't know what they're thinking or how to follow their thought processes. AND I AM A GIRL!! It's frustrating, so I talk about it.
But, tonight, the one oft overlooked is weighing on my brain. This is my "middle son" Daniel. I put "middle son" in quotes because he's technically the younger (by 2 min) of my twins so officially he's my third born of 5, putting him smack dab in the center of our little family tree. The reason I call him the oft overlooked one is simple, I have 5 squeaky wheels and he's not one of them.
First, there's my stepdaughter. Because she lives in another state, anything she does gets extra recognition--phone calls, texts, emails, letters, visits, etc. Then there's my official first born, the one who lives here. He's my oldest child. He's my husband's first son. Add to that his learning issues and, you guessed it, extra attention.
Now we come to Jeffrey. Jeffrey is my heart. He is the child I almost lost, twice. Once as a baby when he had a digestive obstruction that was killing him until the doctors found and repaired it. And the second time happened when he wandered into the street--right in front of a car--at my sister in law's house. It was one of those moments where every other adult assumed someone else was watching the kids. We were even all out in the front yard together. Just as I looked up and thought, "where's Jeffrey?" I heard the car horn. Add to that Jeffrey's learning issues, health issues and intensely creative brain and it's safe to say he gets a whole lot of attention.
Then we come to our girls. Ignore Kylie--I dare you. After nearly 10 years of living without his daughter, my husband got another one and let me tell you he has made the most of it. She's so fixed in a princess mentality that we've been working since first grade to convince her she has to do the schoolwork--even if she doesn't want to. And none of the other kids have to do what she says just because. Don't get me wrong; she's actually a very sweet, loving child. But she's got a stubborn streak a mile wide and steel in her disposition. Don't know where she gets that from (whistles innocently).
Last, but certainly not least, is the baby, our newly minted 5 yr old. She's the last child; she's the youngest and she's a girl. Plus she's incredibly brilliant and her brain works like quicksilver. NOT. POSSIBLE. TO. OVERLOOK.
And we're back to Daniel. Brilliant, creative, fun, bubbly Daniel. He's helpful, cooperative and is absolutely any teacher's dream. This kid gets straight A's without trying. He offers opinions when asked, raises his hand, is exceptionally polite and quite intelligent. He's friendly too. And not remotely shy.
And, because of all those things, he probably gets the least attention in the house. Sad, isn't it? A couple of years ago, I noticed Daniel had become withdrawn and lost his enthusiasm for school. I knew he was bored in class. Though I appreciated the fact he did his classwork anyway, I knew it presented no challenge for him. But my mommy sense told me something else was going on. I knew he needed extra attention. He was falling through the cracks.
I had an inspired idea. We sent him to stay with his grandma and papa in Oklahoma for a month. He had a blast. (And came home too big for his clothes) He ate cheeseburgers, slept all morning, played video games and watched Spongebob till all hours of the night. He rode Papa's tricked out golf cart all over the yard. He went fishing with his Papa. He caught fireflies and toads. Little boy heaven.
It taught us all something. And I haven't forgotten. Sometimes the quiet wheel needs a little grease, too.