Adjusting to Three Under Preschool Age

Many of my friends, happy in their lives with two children, have entertained the idea of adding a third to their family. Having leaped into the three kids in a four-year period, my husband and I are often asked our opinion. I thought it would be entertaining to talk about a few differences when one takes the jump from two children to three.

Let me start by saying transitioning to three children does come as a bit of a shock to the system, but transitioning from no children to one child was WAY harder, at least it was for me! Every day has its challenging times but then I’ll get a giggle from Seth or a kiss from Hamish and even a cuddle from Tobias and all karma is restored. It’s also worth noting, Newborns are hard work! Especially when colic is involved! 

1. Cleaning. Parents of two children may often experience the unfortunate sensation of not being able to clean up as fast as the mess is getting made.  With an additional child, however, the mess will take on an even more sinister life of its own.

2. Bedtime Stories. When snuggling in to read a book at night, two children can each acquire a comfy spot adjacent to the parent and the book. With three children, one child will always be left out or have to sit on your knee. This brings about an ambush of screeching, pulling, crying, eye rolling (you get the picture).

3. The “Parental” Bed. Yeah, we know, we should have stuck to the “No kids ever in our bed” rule. Our exhaustion won and now every morning (around 5am) our super king-sized bed feels more like a single bed with everyone trying to recreate the “3 little monkeys jumping on the bed” rhyme. 

4. Triple emotions. three different aged children all at different ‘stages’ of life.  Each with an intricate emotional terrain.  Threeanger, toddler and newborn – when you know, you know! 

5. Love. Everyone is right, you don’t split the love you had for one, with two your love doubles and with three your love triples. However your time does split between three, and deciding which way to juggle or who needs your attention the most is hard.  The guilt can be crippling! Especially in the newborn stages!

6. Noise. Parents of two may sometimes complain about having a loud house. Parents of three simply can’t hear them. (Or anyone else, for that matter.)

7. Vehicles. Two kids, sure, you can keep the five seater car. Three kids, and the odds of your succumbing to a people carrier will increase considerably. 

8. Entertainment and Travel. You don’t fit into the bracket of ‘family’ when out and about now.  You have to, purchase a family ticket plus ….

9. Sleep. Wait. What’s that?

10. Emergencies. Parents of two might have the unfortunate experience of an occasional visit to the hospital. Parents of three, however, will likely visit with more frequency. I’m only imagining – it hasn’t happened to me yet but I get the feeling it’s coming soon! This weekend Tobias has sustained a bust lip, Hamish has a black eye but Seth is ok! 

11. Partners. When you have one child and your partner takes that child out for a while, it’s like giving you a break. When you have two children, if your spouse takes one of the kids out, it’s like a holiday. When you have three children, Gavin will not take all three and if he’s forced to take one it’s always the oldest (easiest as in no nappies etc).

12. Good Parts. The perks of having three babies very close together are that you haven’t forgotten about how hard anything is, you’re still very much in that stage, so all of my newborn tricks and hacks came back quickly.

How did Tobias adapt?
Tobias is the perfect oldest brother, he doesn’t smother Seth but does like to give kisses now and again.  Tobias was 3 years old when Seth came along so he has a little more understanding this time round, he’s gentle and doesn’t try poking his fingers in Seths mouth all the time!  He does, strangely, like to hold my breast when I’m feeding, he says he’s helping (I’ll say it now, I let him because I don’t want him to look at breastfeeding in a sleezy, shameful way – I would like him to support his future partner (if they’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding)).  

How did Hamish react? 
I underestimated Hamish, I thought he’d deal with it horrendously, he still thought he was the baby before Seth came along.  But from the first meeting, where he handed Seth a toy without being asked too, I knew I’d got him wrong.  He’s very loving (sometimes too much) but there’s certainly no malice towards his younger brother.  It’s like Hamish doesn’t know any different.

How have I adjusted?
Seth has been a hard newborn, colic is a killer.  Sometimes I’ve found myself having to leave him to cry (in a safe place) if I know he’s fully fed and not overtired – I know it’s not for long periods, it’s still crushing though.  Seth makes up for it when he’s in a good mood though and the giggles – I’d pay a lot of money to hear those for the rest of my life.  Overall, it’s not put me off having anymore, I am thoroughly enjoying being a mummy of three boys.  Im making my own little wolf pack and teaching them everything I know.   

I must say after writing this list I did wonder how parents of four, five, six or more thought and if it is even harder???

Much love

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