“Having kids can sometimes feel like a full-contact sport. Having three kids oftentimes feels like you are playing the sport with no pads or helmet against a team much larger and more aggressive than you are. I’m definitely a different parent to our third than I was to the first two. He’s not loved any less, of course, but there seems to be less time and energy to give.
Between activities, practices, homework and, well, life, our third child has lived in an “every man for himself” environment for a lot of his life resulting in what I hope to be an independent, self-sufficient man who knows how much he’s loved but has also made his own breakfast since the age of two.
Here are some examples (please tell me I’m not alone):
First Child: No stone is left unturned in this riveting account of every doctor’s appointment, the first smile, the first poop, the first haircut, the second poop, and every visitor they had in the hospital, including each nurse’s name and shift time. Pictures adorn every page.
Second Child: We covered the basics: height, weight and a few of the most important milestones. I even managed to glue in a handprint reindeer from his daycare’s holiday project.
Third Child: I’m pretty sure we have your birth certificate around here somewhere.
First Child: Served a bouquet of every food group, vegetables secretly tucked into every bite of macaroni and cheese. Every meal presented pristinely on $15 Pottery Barn Kids monogrammed plates, matching sporks provided.
Second Child: Chicken nuggets aren’t that bad, are they? They’re at least partially made of chicken, right? As long as I serve them with an apple and occasional vegetables, he should be just fine.
Third Child: You want ketchup and Goldfish crackers for dinner? Sounds reasonable. Do you mind eating that in the car? We’re late.
First Child: Spend at least one hour every night reading age-appropriate books (both out loud and in sign language). Discuss each character, animal, shape, and number, no plot twist left unturned.
Second Child: Dig out an old pop-up book that’s not been ripped up and torn to bits by his sibling. Explain that this particular Disney princess is special because she does not need a head — or arms — to be adored by all the animals in the land.
Third Child: I only read the left pages of every book.
First Child: Each outfit is systematically laid out the night before, matching socks and hat included. All items were pre-washed in Dreft and dried by unicorn whispers.
Second Child: Boys can totally rock pink pajamas. And mismatched socks.
Third Child: A Batman cape and swim diaper are perfectly acceptable for Christmas Eve brunch. Hurry up and get dressed, we’re late.
First Child: Signed up for every type of activity that may pique her interest including (but not limited to) drawing, soccer, Little Einstein’s math emporium, intro to piano for six-month-olds, and self-defense 101. Those were just the summer activities.
Second Child: We only have time for Rec baseball and swimming lessons.
Third Child: Play LEGO for five minutes and call it a day.
First Child: I have her nighttime routine nailed. Bath time followed by gentle massaging of all limbs. Read two-and-a-half educationally appropriate books, sing three songs, all while strumming a guitar and releasing butterflies into the room as you softly close the door. Repeat 14 times.
Second Child: Clean off his feet with a wet wipe and remember to turn the night-light on as you leave the room. Do not make me come back in here.
Third Child: (looks at husband) Did we put him to bed? Where is he?”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Julie Scagell, Writer. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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