This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.
It’s no secret that having multiple kids can really split your time, efforts, and finances. It can also weaken even the strongest parents’ preconceived notions of how they’ll raise their children. Here are a few ways my third babe has already been
1. He can’t talk yet. His siblings do all the talking (over him and for him) and sometimes they don’t interpret correctly. He doesn’t get to request what he gets for snack, or what to watch on TV. He can’t communicate about whether he’s cold without pants on, or that he hates wearing shoes (well, that I actually did figure out). He can’t tell me when he needs help reaching something. He can’t even tell me when his brother hit him, when brother said he didn’t. He’s just gotta roll with whatever punches are thrown (no pun intended).
2. His birthday isn’t getting a big to-do. Sorry, third baby. Your first birthday matters, I promise. But it really snuck up on me, and I don’t have a big party planned. I don’t expect I’ll buy you 400 gifts or plan activities for you and your baby friends. In fact, I bet your siblings will be the life of your party, if only because they can actually demand attention. But I promise you’ll at least get some cake. (And in case you’re wondering, his first birthday is this Saturday. Yesterday I asked his grandparents if they were free that day.)
3. His schedule gets interrupted. We built our lives around the schedule of baby #1 for a while. With baby #2, we at least made sure his naps happened. With baby #3, he naps in the stroller, car, or carrier more often than the other two did, combined. Sometimes he’s gotta sacrifice his sleep to do fun things with his sibs. To the movies or nap? To the park or nap? It’s really not a question.
4. His diet is far from organic. Feeding three kids, even small ones, is no joke – in terms of effort or of money spent. So D learned a lot earlier to eat things like hot dogs and Chick-fil-A. And not that I’m saying there is anything wrong with those things; we all eat them a lot! A friend of mine said it perfectly: The first baby eats organic vegetables, and the last kid eats French fries from the floorboard of the car (which actually happened today).
5. He’s basically never worn new clothes. This might be an exception if it’s not the first baby, but still the first of that gender in the family. But my little guy is wearing hand-me-downs from his brother AND cousin, and still growing out of them like he’s a teenager. There are a few exceptions, since he has generous grandparents, and because my older son is really hard on his clothes. But the vast majority of what he wears has been a little stretched, has been washed 100+ times, includes some sort of stain, and/or harbors a tiny hole I refuse to recognize.
But I must say: even if he gets a little less work put into his diet and wardrobe, and has to learn to do things himself (like eat and walk and defend himself) a little quicker, he is not a bit less loved. Every single person in our tribe loves him as much as they’ve ever loved either of my other kids, including the siblings themselves. There’s a lot of love to go around, and my last baby isn’t shorted on affection!