Before we embarked on the whirlwind of a journey that is baby number three, I spent a ridiculously long time reading horror stories on the internet about how hideous it would be to have three small wriggling noisy things that we call children! Once we took the plunge and went for it, I continued my plight in identifying everything that was going to be utterly awful once our family became five. Horror stories of constant sibling bickering coupled with a grumpy, stroppy, unloved, lacking-in-attention middle child filled my waking thoughts.
Now we are the best part of a year into our new life, I thought I would reflect on the highs and lows and the reality of baby number three! So here goes…..
1. People will constantly feel the need to comment on your family unit! With your first baby everybody is filled with wonder and amazement at your growing bump. Strangers feel compelled to tell you their birth story and tales of their own offspring and how wonderful it will be to have a baby. With baby two you have stories of incredible sibling bonds and how to manage two. When you tell people you are having baby three they look at you as though are utterly barking mad, normally end the conversation and try to avoid eye contact. Once the baby has arrived then, god forbid, you leave the house with all three on your own – if I have one more person telling me that I have my hands full then I will probably poke their eye out.
2. You fake it until you make it. Once you have three children then most things are like a military operation. There is always something to remember; PE kit, swimming stuff, snacks, milk, nappies, wipes, homework…. the list goes on. Our mornings are always absolute chaos. We usually forget something, someone is most likely shouting or crying and the baby is probably licking the bottom of a shoe whilst crawling out the front door. Getting everyone out the house feels like a two-person job (big respect to single parents), but do you know what once you get on that school run you slap on a fake smile like you are all in control!
3. You get less of a break. If you are someone who is pining after more you time (hmm we probably all are to be fair) then three children definitely aren’t for you. My husband and I often sit daydreaming about what it would be like to only have our eldest…. We could take it in turns, one doing their own thing and the other spending quality time playing with the child. With three, no one gets a break - like ever! If we are all together then one of you has two kids and the other has one and if you are ever in the unfortunate position of having all three on your own then you turn into a public pity party and (in my husband’s case) people assume that your definitely cannot cope! Which of course he can.
4. You are always absolutely exhausted. We stay up so much later now – mainly because we are so desperate to enjoy the peace and quiet. The problem with three children is that there is always someone who is ill, teething, grumpy, having nightmares and basically not sleeping and there is always somebody in the middle of a poo. Between the dog whining at the stair gate and the baby who has only slept through once in 10 months (I know, I know we are definitely doing it all wrong) we are just completely, totally and utterly exhausted and even tired of continually saying that we are tired!
5. Time goes fast, like REALLY fast. With baby one I remember celebrating his half birthday!!!!! He had a baby book with all his milestones in and pictures. Number two at least had a couple of scrawlings in a book and after four years finally has a few pictures of himself around the house. With three it is like they don’t exist. ‘The baby’ as she is more commonly known, is often forgotten about until all of a sudden one of us shrieks “argh, where is the baby”. Normally she is found sitting behind the sofa munching on a mouldy rice cake. The last year is a blur and milestones are things we trip over whilst thinking noooo please don’t sit up, crawl, walk yet!
6. You worry less about the trivial things. This one I consider to be a big bonus. The main thing that having an extra little person around has taught me is that I really don’t have enough hours in the day to have a spotless house, wonderful meals all the time and beautifully clean well-presented children. I wouldn’t say I have let it all go but I feel like I have set myself free – definitely from the worry and personal guilt trip. If someone turns up unannounced then they get to see us in all our glory (!) There probably will be skid marks in the loo, cobwebs in the corners and the most ginormous trail of lego and toys scattered throughout the house. There may well be someone having a paddy (normally me), there is usually someone running around in pants and probably dirty dishes on the side. But do you know what?! My true friends are the ones who stick the kettle on, pull up a chair for a cuppa and a natter and join in the fun!
7. You needn’t worry. I mean of course you will – it’s a pretty life changing decision. Going from one to two is run of the mill but three – that’s a whole different ball game. That said, before you know it three becomes the new normal. The sibling bond that my three have is richer and stronger than ever before. I worried so much about how it would work but it just does and they figure it out for themselves. We laugh more, worry less and appreciate the little things in life. Life is busy but so fun. And after all the worrying beforehand all I can say is that my heart has simply grown ever bigger to love all three of my children and there is not a chance in the world that I would ever go back to just having two.
Make sure you pop back for part two of the blog and also the build up to Harriets first birthday and creating her first year memory blanket!