#3 is turning 3 next week. It’s come around in a blink of an eye and part of me isn’t entirely sure where the last three years have gone. Life is a mix of work, school runs, homework, potty training (or lack of) and co-sleeping with not much time for anything else.
Three children is a very different mix to one or two children. In one way you don’t even notice they’ve arrived, in others you can’t ever imagine a world where they don’t exist.
When you are pregnant with your first baby you suddenly become the only person to have ever gone through this before. Your pregnancy and your unborn child are the most important, most amazing thing to have ever happened.
You treat your first pregnancy with care. You nap. You embrace the morning sickness because it’s a sign of a ‘growing baby’. You take your folic acid religiously and throw all the alcohol from your cupboards as well as any foods that may be harmful to your baby. Everyone, and I mean everyone, will give you advice, whether you want it or not. You will hear all your friends birth stories from first twinge to discharge from hospital and you will retain all this information as if it was the most important stuff you will ever hear.
With your first baby you spend hours reading ‘What to expect when your expecting’. You wash your babies clothes, and iron them, and have them all stacked neatly in piles months before your due date. You buy all the things on the ‘what you need for your newborn’ list published in one of the numerous baby magazines you read and you baby proof your house far too early.
You’re first child will never have a dummy. They won’t ever get overly attached to one blanket and you’ll have three or four on rotation to ensure this doesn’t happen. You vow that your first child will never watch TV and will only eat freshly prepared, organic foods. Your first child will not be a fussy eater.
Your first child is destined for great, great things.
When you have your second child, the toddler (also known as the first child), is the centre of your world. You sometimes forget you’re even pregnant because you’re so busy going between toddler groups and music groups and mother and baby swimming lessons. You don’t get to nap with #2 because #1 no longer naps and you resort to hiding in the toilet a little longer than necessary just to get some peace. With #2 you relish wearing maternity trousers again just so you can forget you haven’t quite lost the baby weight from before.
At some point before your baby is born you will remember you own ‘What to expect when you’re expecting’ and you’ll dig it out with all intents and purposes of reading it. But you won’t. People are less inclined to give you information but the stories they do regail tell of toddlers dragging babies down the hall by the leg and demonic older siblings trying to feed Day old babies fish fingers.
You don’t bother to baby proof your house, the toddler has already pulled all the safety plugs from the sockets and not died so what’s the point? There are no slings or monitors or muslin squares for #2, the ones you bought for #1 are still in a box somewhere.
By the time #2 arrives you’re only hope is that they finish school. You are excited to go into hospital just to get some alone time, and your hospital bag has dummies in it – just in case.
All bets are off with #3. You’re too busy trying to figure out what the HELL happened during the transition from one to two that you don’t even realise you’re pregnant until the scales announce you’ve gained a stone in two weeks.
You’ve gotten used to functioning on no sleep and figure abstaining from caffeine completely whilst pregnant will only cause more harm than good (for the other children).
The folic acid you do take, when you remember, are left over from #2 and more then likely out of date.
People assume you’ve gotten pregnant by accident and look at you with sympathy, and then disgust when they discover the baby was planned. The only advice you get is about ‘middle child’ syndrome and you are left wondering what the hell you’ve let yourself in for.
You convince yourself that babies are relatively ‘cheap’ and use this as an excuse to not buy any new clothes, or re-do the nursery. In other news you’ve since discovers that germs are ‘good’ for a baby and as such decide to just reuse the dummies from #2, if you can wean her off them in time for the birth.
You have no birth plan with #3. This baby will come when it’s ready, however it decides to come. You only hope you can stretch out a nights stay in hospital this time and your hospital bag contains more chocolate and OK mags than it does baby clothes.
But there’s something very different about baby #3. Something very different indeed.
Baby #3 is the glue. They are the finishing piece, the ‘last’ one. This baby will make you realise just how much love one person can feel, just how much love one heart can hold.
Baby #3 will help you to see the big kids through fresh eyes, she will show you that actually you don’t like being away from them at all and that they are just incredible in all their infuriating big kid form. Baby #3 will make your life more chaotic and crazy than ever before. Days will be full of shouting and noise and frustration and love.
Baby #3 will provide even more of those heart wrenching moments, more memories and more joy than you could ever thought possible.
Baby #3 completes everything.