In my last post, I shared some stories about Seamus and Kathryn, but didn’t say much about Duncan. It just figures, the middle child gets passed over again in favor of the oldest and the youngest. It’s a pattern that middle children have been complaining about since time immemorial. Well today the pattern breaks, and Duncan gets a little time in the spotlight.
Let me share, for starters, that I am sympathetic to the middle child plight in large part because I am one. I have an older brother, an older stepsister, two younger sisters and a younger stepsister. With that motley collection I ended up as a “middle” in both my mother and father’s houses.
Duncan seems to flourish in his role between his siblings though. He obviously looks up to big brother Seamus, and loves to play with little sister Kathryn. He is outgoing, exuberant, affectionate, energetic (to a fault maybe), creative, hilarious and fun. He also seems to be the most coordinated/athletically gifted of the three. If one of my children becomes a jock, it will probably be Duncan.
Duncan loves to scare people. He will sneak around the house to a hiding spot and wait patiently until his chosen victim comes along to leap out screaming at them, typically with a toy sword or similar prop. His favorite victim is my mother, who is particularly susceptible to such scares. He is going to be very helpful in re-building the family tradition of the Halloween Haunted House (details on how these went down coming in a future post).
He doesn’t just like to elicit screams, though – he also goes for laughter. He loves to make up jokes, and sometimes they are pretty hilarious. His real gift for humor though, is of the casual conversational variety.
Early in the summer, we lost a pet. Our cat "Biddy Kitty" passed in June. Then in August we had to have our dog Cleopatra put down. Both were getting on in years, and had lived quite a bit longer than is typical of their breeds. Following Cleo's passing, the children asked me where she was. I explained that she had died, and Duncan said "Biddy Kitty died too daddy."
"That's right, Duncan," I replied, "Everything that's alive dies one day."
He took a moment of reflection, looking at me with his head cocked at a 3/4 angle, and said "Yeah, but they're going to come back as zooombiiies!"
He spoke normally until "zombies," which he unleashed in a high-pitched singsong typically reserved for songs about people kissing in trees. I laughed about this for weeks.
Finally, Duncan is very musical. He can play some simple stuff on the piano, has great natural rhythm, and always asks me to put on music in the car. Lately, his favorite song has been "Knockin' on Heaven's Door,"
by Guns 'n Roses. I don't think I played it for him first, but he has latched on to it.
A few days ago when I was bringing the kids home to Alana, he predictably asked for his song. I obliged.
Seamus and Kathryn kept talking while it was on, while Duncan focused intently on the song. After a moment, he looked up at his siblings and said in a voice that was simultaneously hurt, demanding and exasperated "Guys! Can't we just be quiet and listen to the music?" His life-and-death tone and expression during this pronouncement had me stifling guffaws.
The craziness never stops with Duncan. He has the best reactions to just about everything, from insane over-the-top glee to overwrought dramatics. Just because he came between Seamus and Kathryn doesn’t mean they can squeeze him out. The spot in the middle of our family has plenty of room for this little prankster!