3rd Child Syndrome: Nothing Comes Between a Seven Year Old and Her Cell Phone


Birk was having one of those days.  You know, the kind of day when you want to lock yourself in the bathroom, lie down on the floor and cry your eyes out.  Except, when you are seven, you really do this.  

It all started when she booked a playdate.  When you are the third child, you rarely get playdates.  The third child spends her life following her siblings to dentist appointments, baseball games, dance rehearsals, trips to the store to buy your brother hiking boots, etc…  Yes, in short, life is not fair, especially when you’re the shortest in the family.

She had booked this epic playdate with her very own bestest friend.  It had been weeks since they had good old fashion girl play time.  She was counting down the days as if it were Christmas or Obama’s inauguration.  The magic day finally arrived and she skipped happily home with her friend after school.

After a decadent ice cream snack, big sister Ruth decided to join in the fun.  She created an elaborate game of wild cats and the little girls were eating it up. Suddenly, Birk realized what was going on–her big SISTER had HI-JACKED the paydate.  This is when she retreated to the bathroom and the waterworks began.  High volume, crocodile tears, and sobs with broken statements like:

  • Ruth is stealing my best friend.
  • This is the worst day of my life!
  • Why do these things always happen to me?
  • I have no friends.
  • Mommy!  My feelings are really hurting!

I tried to comfort her, but there was no comfort to be had.  She had had her first heartbreak right here in our very own home.  I was helpless.  The tears continued and no amount of apologies from her sister or best friend lowered the water pressure or the volume.  She was howling, curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor and wouldn’t budge.

Now, what you may not know about Birk is that she has staying power.   As a baby, one of my main phrases was “Keep the baby happy!”  This was simply because once she crossed into tears or tantrums, that was it.  It didn’t stop.  To this day, I think there is nothing that hits a mother’s core like the screams of her baby, no matter what the issue.  It can drive you insane…and make you drive insane if you are in the car.

Well, best friend went home…the wailing upstairs continued.  I made dinner…the wailing continued.  Finally, about to pull my hair out or put my head in the oven I whispered the magic words, “Stop crying.  If you just stop crying you can have your sister’s old cell phone.”

You know a stupid thing as soon as it exits your mouth.  To my defense, I had that mother piercing two hours of shrieking to shake my inner core of reason.  I sat there, paralyzed by my own lack of intelligent anything in my skull.

Immediately the tears stopped, she exited the bathroom and began doing cartwheels of joy up and down the hallway.  I handed her the pink phone on one condition, that she not tell ANYBODY about it and ESPECIALLY NOT HER FATHER!

“But, mom, you know, we should tell my teachers.”


I am so embarrassed.  I just switched my kids from Verizon to AT&T, and I had this one phone that I hadn’t switched yet.  Ughhhhhhhh!  Don’t tell anyone how stupid I am.  How long until Birk realizes that she can’t phone anyone if she can’t tell anyone that she has a cell phone…except me?


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