We upgraded Clara to a booster seat in the car the other day. It’s kind of a big deal in her little world. But this big change came with some unexpected surprises that we are all having to adjust to. The largest one being that Clara has now lost her coveted center throne in the back of the car. This golden seat has now been given to Lydia, and along with this seat comes the responsibility of taking care of Gideon who sits in the rear-facing bucket seat right next door.

So, now it is Lydia who has the task of reporting on all of the hard to answer questions that we ask from the front of the car. Such questions as “What was that noise?”, “What is he eating?”, “Where did he get that?”, and finally, “Why in the world did you give him the gum you were chewing??”.

But she is learning, and she certainly appreciates her new position of power. I think she enjoys having someone else other than Clara within arms reach to poke at and tickle out of boredom when they fall asleep.

Clara, who reluctantly gave up the post, still tries to micromanage from her perch on the other side of the car, but it doesn’t work out very well.

The other day Clara prodded at her sister and said, “Lydia. This situation is all wrong! Gideon is crying and you are just sitting there laughing!” (All of which was completely true.) “The better situation would be for Gideon to be laughing while YOU are crying. That is your job now if you are going to sit in the middle seat! You cry, so he laughs!”

The little girl waved a dismissive hand over her shoulder at her older sister and went on laughing. Joy flooding over the car as she continued to poke her brother’s mushy cheeks. Joy that filled the car, flowing out from her throne like a rich carpet of red cloth. Joy that only a middle child can understand. A middle child that has finally been given the great gift that only middle children know: The ability to have all your siblings, separated, strapped down, and finally within reach of your regrettably often overlooked little hands.