Monday, February 2, 2015

Is More Really Merrier? (AKA: Should we have a third child?)

“Should I have a third?”

My answer is always the same, “It depends; it is a game changer.”  I don’t regret a single minute of my world with SH3 in it—not one single minute.   She is by far my worst sleeper.  She wakes up early and yells at her sister until she wakes up too.  She strips her diaper off, clogs the toilet and poops on the floor.  She pushes a chair to the counter and in a bin of 100 washable pens finds the Sharpie and hides to ruin furniture, walls, and clothes in peace.  She eats dirt, play-dough, beads, anything really.  I have nightmares of her eating a button battery and my sleep deprived mind invents the unbelievably horrific sequelae that will ensue (honest truth—multiple nightmares).   We have to tell ourselves, BH1 and I, not to let her, SH1, or SH2 over hear us call her “trouble” or “the destroyer of fun” under our breath because that is likely not good for any child’s psyche.
Yes that is Desitin...head to toe purple tube Desitin
She gets to keep her pacifier far longer than we ever thought of letting the other two have one.  We tried potty training for a week and gave up until “she is ready”.   I have been known to look away when I see her hit her sibling in hopes that they won’t tattle and I won’t have to punish her.   Time out for her is mere seconds and certainly not the requisite two minutes her siblings would have sat.  She doesn’t have to sit in the high chair or wear a bib although she is the messiest eater.  We watch what she wants on TV because her cries for “Peep and The Big Wide World” are loudest.  She has this ridiculous ugly stuffed rabbit with plastic scratched off eyes that is lovingly called “Babbit” and we all take to searching the ends of the earth to find it when it goes missing.   Some part of me wants to say that she has clearly taken the fight out of me, but maybe that is good.  Maybe she took the fight out of me for all the fights that don’t need to be had.  I may be close to admitting that my two year old has taught me to pick my battles.
Smile and the world smiles with her
She is the best cuddler, of all three, the absolute best.  She always begs to be picked up and puts her head on your shoulder.  She will walk up when you are crouched down and surprise kiss you on your cheek and delightedly say, “I kissa you!” and then continue to smother your hands, arms, whatever is in reach with more kisses.  Her curls make me smile, whether they are frizzy and wild after nap time or curly-q perfection after bath time.  When dancing, she does a downward dog move a minimum of five times that is truly hilarious.  When she tells you a secret, she breathily pretend talks, “Apusha apusha apusha”.  She loves to sit on your lap and read books, but only if she gets to turn the pages.  She loves baby dolls that SH2 never even looked at twice and pushes them in a stroller all around the house, tucking them into their bed at night.  She is able to reach a part of my heart that I didn’t even know I had.  I am desperately in love with this perfect addition to our family. 
This adorable face...stuffed with dirty snow
Should you have a third?  It depends.  Don't worry this is not a top ten list of reasons that having three kids is hard or easy or gooey.  Kids in every way, shape, and form rock your world.  One kid can be enough for many, two the breaking point for another or five the magic number for another.  I am perfectly at peace with the number of kids we have; I knew the moment that SH3 joined our family we were complete, but I realize now that to have that assurance is actually very rare.  This post is very likely not going to help you decide.  

I am not a content expert in the world of “making a third look easy” because I don’t and it is not.  I cried for two days when I found out I was pregnant with SH3.  My husband (BH1) said, “Why are you upset? This is a really good thing!  We wanted this to happen.”  Unable to verbalize my fears then, I think I was worried it would break us that we would always be playing catch up and the rest of our lives would be chaos.  The doomsday prepper in me was not ready for that possibility.  For me, pregnancy was the 39-ish weeks I needed to get on board with my new universe and how it was going to change.  It is my time to make a million resolutions that involve taking laundry out of the dryer and putting it away while still warm and never eating fast food again that I will never keep because fast food is sometimes how I survive a Wednesday night with soccer practice, homework, and exhausted tears.
Not pictured: SH3 crying for 20 minutes, "I don't want to play in the snow"
or SH1 whining about cold feet or SH2 shoveling dirty snow in her mouth.
I won’t lie to you about how magical it is and that the older ones just help so much with the younger.  I won’t say, “Well once you cross the threshold of three, you should just have a fourth or fifth because it is all zone defense after two kids anyway.”  Make sure your partner is on board because he/she wants another baby not because they are buckling to your pleas.  Babies don't fix marriages that are breaking; babies tap the already spider-webbed glass with a hammer. I caution against having a baby because you are really hoping this one is a boy/girl because that never seems to work out the way people hope and typically God has better plan.  My sister-in-law has my three amazing nephews and I love how she tosses her blonde hair in a pony and tugs on a hat on her way out the door to go baseball practice saying, "I was always meant to be a boy's mom." Have a million children if you have the room and space in your heart, but don’t look at your neighbor’s family and tell yourself that if they can do it so can you.  Be wary of the families with 8 kids who encourage everyone to have another claiming it is a breeze.  How do I know your breeze is not my hurricane?  My brother just admitted to me (they had their third girl three months ago), "I am still really surprised we decided to have a second.  I think the only reason we did was because we didn't want an only child...for niece small human 1's (NSH1) sake.  But after NSH2, a third didn't seem like a bad idea".

I thank God for SH3, now if you will excuse me while I google how to get Sharpie off the antique hutch in the dining room.  SH3 didn’t break us; she showed us how to bend. 
For more on our third small human How My Life Is Like My Amazon Cart

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  1. I love it! I took a poll in a group I'm in, and 75% of parents agree the jump from 2 to 3 was the hardest! I also feel that no matter how many kids I have, that my SH1 will be my hardest kid. Our 3rd wasn't in our plans (at least not yet) and I spent the first 1/2 of the pregnancy depressed and feeling like trash. Okay, I spent the whole pregnancy feeling like trash, but the depression dissipated thankfully. And yet here we are contemplating a 4th.......... not because we need a boy, but because I can't yet say our family is complete! I love your honestly. Honesty helps people.