Monday, 8 July 2013

the family numbers game // on going from two to three kids

When we were thinking 'should we have a third child?', and all through my pregnancy with said child, I would eagerly grab hold of any mother I came across with three kids and ask (with no small note of panic in my voice, I suspect!) 'How do you do it? How do you handle it? Is it impossibly hard and chaotic!?'.

Now here we are - me with three - and I find other mothers often asking me the same - how is it, how is it different, how do I handle it... I guess also because two kiddos seems to be more common these days.

So I thought I would write a bit about my experience thus far (Um....disclaimer: I am less than six months into this 'Mum Of Three Under Five' gig, so not professing to be an expert! Just sharing how the road has been travelling up to here).

And I gotta say... this three kids thing has been.... surprisingly..... fine. Just feels like a natural transition and really, no big deal... Well, that is a pleasant surprise for sure! :)

It might go without saying but I will say it anyway (no word limit on a blog, haha) - adding new members to the family is different for every mother, every family, every baby - with a myriad of factors such as age gaps, genders, temperaments, and whether the baby's name has less than five letters and is born when the moon is in its third phase (haha).

But for us... the transition has been pretty smooth! After the rockiest and yuckiest of pregnancies, I am so grateful for that mercy! I love hearing from other mothers how they found each transition, e.g. from 0 to 1, 1 to 2, 2 to 3. As for three plus ?? You are just assumed to be a Wonder Woman, and I tip my hat to you, dear mother :)

These are some sibling shots from our Kiama holiday a couple months ago. They turned out pretty awkward but
still cute enough to share, I hope! 

For me? The transition to 'one' was just wonderful. Lily was a very happy and calm little baby and she cheerfully got toted around town like the world's most adorable handbag. Playing 'tag-team' with hubby meant plenty of time to get things done in the home, rest, go out, etc. She napped a lot, so that helped too. Generally, thanks to her temperament and a flexible routine we were into from the beginning, it was pretty smooth sailing. We loooooved being a little family, it was just so fun, and we also kept up a pretty busy life as she was just so content and happy to go along with whatever was happening. Yes, life changed but it didn't feel as dramatic a change as we had been told! Honestly, I felt I couldn't really tell many people at the time, but life with our baby girl was a delightful little dream and I kept waiting and wondering when the 'nightmare' everyone foretold would occur!

Transitioning to 'two', for us, was when things suddenly got serious! All of a sudden, we felt like a 'real family', not just a couple with a cute little buddy. There was more juggling, more man-on-man defence, less time for anything else and it was simply so much more organisation and work to go anywhere and do anything! Eli was a bit refluxy so he needed more intensive care, and he was just soooo busy from the very day he was born in such a hurry on my bedroom floor. Not to mention Lily turning two at the same time which is a whole different ballgame to a baby :) This was when we started to focus inwards more onto family life, and home really became our 'home base'. It felt good and right to really slow down after this transition, and acclimatise ourselves to a new pace of 'family life'.

I guess by the time we were blessed with our third child, we were already well adjusted to being constantly busy tending to the needs of little people - fitting in a third really just meant redistributing tasks in a slightly different way (and of course lowering the house-cleanliness standards once again, ha!). We were used to being eternally busy with kids, used to changing clothes, packing nappy/diaper bags, constant laundry, and so on. I had learnt how to divide my time and resources amongst children - so what's another one in the mix!? :) It honestly didn't really feel like it added much to the workload!

Going in for the smooch!

A face full of hair and kisses.

Now I am home with three little people. However, it seems very different from when I had a newborn and a not-quite-two year old - with the big kids being now almost five and three, they are very capable of playing or doing chores together while I feed or care for Miles. It is great to just be able to say 'Ok kids, time for outside play while I feed the baby' and off they trot! Lily can assist Eli if needed - or even assist Miles or me. She and Eli both race to grab a cloth to wipe up any baby spit up or to comfort him if he fusses - bless their hearts. Oh yeah, sometimes he fusses due to their comfort, haha.

It seems a far cry from breastfeeding newborn Eli whilst hoisting toddler Lily onto the toilet (no idea why I was doing that but I know it happened) or out of the highchair!! Plus, at their current ages, L&E are not only old enough to help, but also very much old enough to wait if they want me and I'm busy with baby. And learning to wait ain't a bad thing! Third babies also learn to wait too... and thankfully also learn to happily kick around on a blanket with their toys while I tend to the older kiddos. Yep, everyone gets their turn... including me getting a turn to collapse on the couch when all three of them nap/rest after lunch. Oh yeah, I very much need that down-time in order to make it through the day!!

I promise Miles is actually securely up on her lap even though here it looks like he is about to slide off!

The one thing I was really leery of was shuffling three kids in and out of car seats - especially with Lily starting preschool this year, necessitating school drop-offs and pick-ups 2-3 times a week. One simple school day involves 3 (kids) x 8 sessions of seat belt wrangling! Oh yes, I did sigh and whine a little about the huge physical and time effort required for a simple drop-off and pick-up but by almost two terms in, the buckling and shuffling now just seems par for the course. Mostly ;)

So, all in all, I am pleasantly surprised and very grateful that our transition to three kids has been so delightful and so smooth. Kinda just no big deal. Well, a very big deal, but you know what I mean :) Funny how so quickly you cannot imagine life any other way. What would we do with all our spare time if we didn't have our newest!? ;)

Miles is here to stay and we love, love, love him. Family life just feels so full and complete these days. We are in the thick of it, in the 'trenches' of the little years, we are busy, we are tired, we are stretched... but we are grateful. And we would not change it for the world.

This little series gave me a good chuckle. Eli was a little put out that Lily got to hold Miles for the photos... so as
you can see, managed to get his own piece of his beloved little brother!


  1. The last picture in the last series made me laugh out loud. I love your kids!

  2. It's so funny reading this as it sounds like we have kids a similar age apart, and possibly very similar ages in fact! In many ways I relate to your experience - from 2 to 3 was simple, easy, just another one amidst a chaotic, joyful lot but in other ways 2 to 3 was a huge jump simply because of how busy it's been. With my eldest starting school this year and my running a business and our middle one having endless doctors appointments, some major sleep issues and then adenoid surgery - even with the great team I had around me for the first few months and the time I was able to spend just focusing on Bluey and getting used to it - it has been absolutely the most intense year for me as a parent. I am really excited about Bluey becoming a toddler and moving into a new phase and deeply grateful for the easygoing little chap that he is. Sorry for the ramble, this is something I've been reflecting on myself too and I keep drafting the blog post but haven't quite figured out the way to say it just yet.... I'll stop hijacking your blog now :)

    1. thanks for your comment Louisa, and pls dont apologise at all!! Love the discussion :) Sounds like a SUPER busy year indeed, with all those extras on your plate! I know what you mean about the 3rd kid itself being really easy, but the 'busyness' surrounding the family w a 3rd kid in the mix can be much more complex and consuming. especially w health and work stuff as you had! one thing you alluded to which i also really feel is that by the 3rd kid you also have that healthy perspective - that the baby years truly are fleeting and soon they will be toddlers (and so on) and it just keeps getting easier as they grow, and u know its a phase bc you have seen your older ones!

  3. Thanks.. Needed this positive note....,reading this 7 weeks into the madness of a rather surprise no3 and fearing my sanity both short and long term, as well as wondering if I will ever get back a life that reaches beyond the children...,?,! Had just got to the 2 yr turning point with no2 and was really enjoying where we were, then bam - the past 11 month have been hard hard work and I am struggling to remain positive at such an increase in pressures, time demands, returning to sleepless nights, being a burden to all my friends blah blah...hate the idea of having to 'Lower my standards as a parent' as I keep being advised but the truth is I haven't got the energy to keep on top of the washing, let along a blog page and playing games with the children as a happy smiling mum. Perhaps I will get there soon...?!


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