{Messy Parenting} The Transition to Three

Going from two to three kids has not been the easiest transition; nor has it been the most difficult.

Emily and Andrew interpret nursing time to be house-trashing time.  It’s also, apparently, prime time for trouble-making – like taking baths in the sink, finding and destroying my make-up, ripping books, coloring in books, emptying out drawers, cracking eggs, etc.  Going out of the house requires an inordinate amount of time directing and redirecting the other two with my voice as my hands are usually full.

The infant part is not hard.

Having Amelia has changed my life.  From the very first heart beat to the final push of labor I worried I would lose her.  I couldn’t imagine my body keeping this baby after it had spontaneously aborted 4 previous pregnancies.  As silly as it sounds, I could not convince my brain that the pregnancy would be okay. I suppose having all those losses convinced me that having another baby was impossible.

Yet, here she is.  My miracle baby.

I get the baby stage.  I get her. Our night time feedings aren’t nearly as depleting as they were with the previous two.  Her colic didn’t break me as it seemed to do with both Emily and Andrew.  Every morning I wake up happy to feed her – even if I’ve been awake all night long.  I snuggle her as she smiles and coos at me.  Her brother and sister attack her with hugs and kisses.  We all watch her in amazement.

I don’t feel guilty about missed tummy time.  (Tummy time with a 2 and 4 year-old is very difficult and slightly dangerous anyway.)  I don’t worry about her growth.  I feel comfortable with nursing.  I feel comfortable having her sleep next to me.

So, yes, having a third has been easy in some ways.

I’m still learning the personalities of her older siblings and often feel stumped as to how to parent them.  Emily is now 4 and astounds me with her intelligence.  Andrew is 2.5 and exhausts me with his toddlerness (my own made up word).

I just know that this transition is not as difficult as I expected it to be.  It wasn’t any harder than going from 0 to 1 child or 1 to 2 children.  I have experience regarding infancy – making the baby stage easier – but I am still inexperienced in so many other ways.

I constantly walk that line between comfortable and uncomfortable, thriving and drowning, experience and inexperience.  I suppose that sums up parenting when other kids are added to the mix. Heck, it sums up parenting in general.


How about you?  How did you feel about transitions in parenting – whether it was from 0 to 1 child, 2 to 3 children, or 9 to 10 children?



Filed under messy parenting

8 responses to “{Messy Parenting} The Transition to Three

  1. Emily Hagen

    You have summed up parenting perfectly. I feel the same way about going from 1 to 2 children…everyone seemed to have an opinion on which was the hardest transition (0 to 1, 1 to 2, 2 to 3) but I felt, upon experiencing 2, it was not as difficult as my peers had built it up to be. Perhaps I was more relaxed with the infancy stage as I had already experienced it once, as you expressed. Bottom line: I agree, there is a transition and an adjustment that must take place, but it doesn’t follow that that transition has to be a negative and harrowing one. I am so happy for the peace you have found in becoming a mother for the third time and for the very real miracle that Amelia is in you life.

    • admin

      Isn’t that funny how it works? I know for me, I am so comfortable in some areas – infancy – but lost in other areas (toddlerhood). Don’t get me wrong, managing all three is ridiculously complicated at times. Like when I need to get them down for naps but don’t have the energy to fight them, you know? Or when the older two forge for food as I nurse Amelia resulting in some interesting messes in the kitchen. I suppose this transition has been more complicated than difficult as I learn to take care of the emotional needs of all three while also juggling newborn care.

  2. Laura J.

    Yes, having three was only difficult in that the other two suddenly became interested in everything they shouldn’t touch while I was nursing. New babies, although they needs lots of care, are wonderfully easy to care for.

  3. Congrats! And yes, exactly that. I remember exactly that (they’re 12, 10 & 8 now!).

    • admin

      Thank you. For your words and reminding me that they do grow out of these difficult stages eventually. 🙂

  4. Michelle

    I totally agree, and you are outnumbered. You have two hands, and three kids. It’s difficult at best to take them somewhere by yourself. But, it does get easier…. promise! At least in some ways, the teenage years are mentally draining. And yet, so much fun. For me- the adult years so far have been the BEST! I love my 20 and 22 year old girls, it’s fun to really connect, to discuss things you can’t when they are teenagers, and to just enjoy them. But, there are going to be hard times ahead. I guess that’s what makes those sweet times so much sweeter. (Someone once coined the term, “mommy pay-day” when something great happened. I have to agree.)
    Sadly, I am at the point where I have forgotten much of the little one’s messes. When my niece brings her 3 and 1 year old over for the day, it comes back, but I am always enjoying them, and then very happy to have them go home. But, the messes just change, and get different. I have learned to just enjoy, which it sounds like you are with your sweet Amelia. They change and grow so fast, it’s gone in a flash. (by the way, not sure how I got so old so fast…. )

  5. Yup! I can relate to every single word of this post. Personally, I found going from 0 to 1 the hardest transition of all, 1 to 2 less hard, and 2 to 3 even less so. That’s not to say it’s easy. Having three means there are that many more hands (and rear ends!) to wipe, that many more voices to attend to.

    It occurred to me today that my daughter is now 20 months old, the age my oldest was when my 2nd was born and the age my 2nd was when she was born. She is our last baby; I’m sure of that. But reading about your love affair with Amelia makes my ovaries hurt just a little. 😉

  6. I am so glad you are enjoying Amelia. It’s not easy when you have two toddlers wreaking havoc! 😉