Thursday, March 5, 2009

What Is It About Three?

This morning I had to take Ben to the doctor for his two year checkup. I had purposefully scheduled the appointment when both Joey and Tommy would be in school so that I could devote my full attention to Ben and the doctor. Of course, you know what they say about the best laid plans? Yeah, they fell. Joey has been sick the last few days and yesterday we found out he has another ear infection. And last night Tommy got sick too. So, today both boys were staying home from school, and all three of my boys were dragged to the doctor's office with me. Such is life with three kids. Expect the unexpected.

I'm sure you've all heard it before. I hear it all the time. I don't know why people think it is true, but it seems to be the general consensus. --If you can handle three children, you can handle any amount.

Recently I was talking with my mom and that statement came up again. I wondered out loud why so many people say that. My mom (who has six children) seemed to think that the first three children are the hardest and then after that you just learn to loosen up a bit. I don't know. To me, it just makes sense that four children would be more difficult than three.

I do understand that three children is a magically difficult number of children. It has definitely been the biggest adjustment for the hubby and I. Going from a married couple to a married couple with a child was really not a difficult adjustment for us. I know that this might make some of you want to punch me in the head, but it actually seemed like a piece of cake. I remember commenting to my mom a number of times that I didn't understand why people thought that having a baby was so difficult. Of course, I should mention that I had the easiest baby on earth, and that everything always fell into place with Joey. He was a pleasant, happy baby. He slept through the night by 10 weeks. Nursed like a champ and then weaned himself at 12 months. Moved to a big boy bed and potty trained with no problems. And even though he had that weird fussy time from 7-10 o'clock every night until he was 3 months old, everything still managed to go smoothly.

I've also heard that going from 1 child to 2 children is incredibly difficult. I found that to be relatively easy as well, even though Tommy was not an easy baby. For the first 8-9 month of his life he NEVER slept. I mean, up every hour at night, would not nap during the day, kind of no sleeping. And because of that he cried a lot. But even so, Joey and Tommy immediately took to each other and life seemed to go along without much trouble. Other than the sleep deprivation, of course.

Now adding the third baby? Well. That's a different story. And while talking with my mom I think I figured out why. It isn't because the hubby and I are suddenly outnumbered. That never really seemed to be a problem. It isn't because Ben is the type of child that is always into something. That doesn't help, but it isn't the problem either. The problem is that it is always something.

With three kids, there is ALWAYS something going on, and it is difficult to keep up. You think you are constantly busy with one or two kids, and you really are, but add the third in there and it seems to blow up. Someone is always mad, sad, grouchy. Someone always needs to go to the bathroom. Someone is always hungry. Someone is always sick or tired. Someone always wants your undivided attention. Someone is always waking up in the middle of the night. Someone always has something to complain about. Someone always needs you to get a toy that is out of reach. Someone is always talking, yelling, screaming, crying, fighting, shouting, making firetruck noises. Someone is always falling down, breaking something, getting an ouchie, stealing a toy, throwing up. IT. IS. ALWAYS. SOMETHING.

So I guess that is why I am confused with the notion that four kids won't be any more difficult than three. More kids. More difficult. Right? Or is it that after the first three you just kind of throw your hands up in the air and say, "It is what it is"? Do you finally give up trying to control everything? Do you just let them be a little bit more? Do you give in to the noise, the chaos, the craziness? Do you really learn to let go?

I just don't know. But I'm looking forward to finding out. And when I do, I'll let you know. ;)


* For those of you that are soon adding a third child (I know there are a bunch of you out there recently), I hope I didn't scare you. I obviously LOVE having three so much that I want even more. It is craziness, but the good FAR outweighs the madness. :)

26 comments:

CC said...

Sorry. I'm absolutely no help. But I like the "throw the hands in the air" analogy. Seems true enough!

Joy said...

I hear you! I'm the mama of a blended family so I went from 1 to 3. I always heard that was the hardest jump too and that you barely notice the 4th. Fourth kids are calm, fit right in, and used to the chaos, right? Not in my house. Our 4th is quite the handful, loud, bossy and imperious...also cute, loving and snuggly. That's his saving grace. :) Good luck with your 4th!

Tammy said...

I have 3, but I do have to say just like you there is always something going on. I found it was an easy transition from 2 to 3. However, I am finding out the older they get, the busier we are as a family and less and less time for the other things. I am knocking wood because we have been one healthy family this year!

riahli said...

I sort of went from one to three, and it was hard to adjust. It is because there are always numerous things going on. Very little peace of mind. I've often wondered what it was about three that made it so difficult and overwhelming at times, and that is exactly it. I think I will either be forced to relax or explode when we add the fourth! :)

Elaine A. said...

I love your disclaimer at the end and yes, you have scared me now! But wait, much of what you described already goes on with just my two! ; )

(the outnumbered part does scare me a little though...)

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

One is like a backpack- you just strap them on and go. Two is easy- you have two hands, two parents, most things come in multiples of two. Three...well, you're right it is always something. We're having an easy time with two and I would like a third, but I think the hubs likes the easy life right now.

david mcmahon said...

My Mum had four kids, Kat!!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Hi Kat!

I have three kids, and the last one fourteen years after the middle child. So big space. Different issues and challenges, to be sure, but not three little ones (or four!) at the same time. Having said that, I know when I had two kids who were nineteen months apart, I threw my hands up sometimes. But as much as my hands were in the air at times, by golly my heart was too. And as full as my hands were at times, by golly my heart was full too.

Enjoy the ride.

Kelly said...

The only hard thing going from one to two for me was the exhaustion since my first two boys were horrible sleepers. Other than that it was fine. Going from two to three wasn't bad b/c by the time Aiden came, the other two were 4 and 6 years old so they were pretty self sufficient. Aiden has been my hardest child to raise though once he hit his two's and now three's and I feel it takes away from attention to the other boys sometimes which isn't fair. That's probably the hardest part of having multiple children....giving them each their own special time.

Jill said...

I have 2 and that's it for me. 2 kids with medical problems that's all I can handle. I wanted more but I don't know how people do it? I love kids but to have 6 or even 18 like the Duggars... it just makes me crazy thinking about it.

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

Loved the disclaimer at the bottom. I have three and they drive me batty! Let me know how the fourth makes it, because thus far I am saying three's enough!!! Or maybe three too many!

Krystyn said...

We're still thinking about a third..not tomorrow or anything, but this is a concern for me, too. Sleeping through the night, I don't know what that's like!

I'm sure you'll roll with it and it will be just as "easy" as the last three.

Tonya said...

I think there are many factors involved. My fourth was more of an adjustment because I had to have a c-section for the first time and I could hardly move. But once I was going it was fine. The kids personalities play a huge part. I have a friend that her 4th (a boy) is the her biggest handful my 3rd (a boy) is mine. We both have other boys that aren't hard it is just there personalities. I have friends with 3 that their hardest is a girl so it isn't even gender related. I don't know if that helped but 4 really isn't much different then 3 just a little extra work like laundry, dishes, food.

Mom24 said...

We've had it very easy, and I didn't find three much different from 4. However, you're definitely right, it is always something. Someone's often sick, someone often needs something, someone often has an after school activity. It's definitely always something and that does make it seem really difficult sometimes.

Splaneyo said...

It all depends on the child. I thought 1 was enough after the first - he was a GERD induced crying handful. Then #2 came along - he was a walk in the park compared to #1. #3, well, she is a class of her own. Then we had #4 - nightmare baby...in fact he is screaming at the top of his lungs right now. He screamed so loud at ballet class today that people were actually covering their ears. He was fed, clean diaper, even burped. Man, oh man, did it get hot in that little room and we could not get out of there fast enough. Anyway, after all of my babbling what I mean to say is that 4 makes logistics a bit more challenging, but the rest depends on the little one. Oh the power they have!

Dani said...

Personally, I felt that adding our one child just fits. It was pretty easy to adjust for us as well... so don't worry no punches coming from this direction. If we ever have another, I will definitely be back with my report on the transition from 1 child to 2!!! And yes, I think after three you have to throw your hands up and just go with flow. If not you might not be able to hold onto your sanity!!!!!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

You totally nailed it. It's ALWAYS something. It's wonderful and rewarding but it's also exhausting!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

After starting out with twins (and special ones to boot) I embraced all the littles that followed knwoing they had to be easier, but kept a steady eye on the mounting laundry . . . and prayed. God meets every need. Guaranteed. : D

tweetey30 said...

I have two and cant have any more children but it wasnt that hard going from 1-2 either for us. it didnt stop us from going places. The youngest was easier to take places than the older one was.. Glad to hear things are going well and cant wait to see photo's of the new addition when he/she gets here.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I couldn't imagine having another baby to be honest. No matter how much I love Amy I just wouldn't be able to cope with another. I think Amy's condition has taken over our lives somewhat which has made up my mind for me but even so, I'm not at all maternal anyway!

CJ xx

Laura McIntyre said...

Now we will not be adding a 4th but i so agree on the third thing. Looking back life seemed to simple with 2 , with 3 it seems live never stops.

rosiescribble said...

Sounds hectic! I have one and that's stressful enough at times!! Over from David's, congratulatins on your POTD!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Oh Kat, you're not going to want to hear what I have to say...

for me, four threw me into the deep end. Of course with four, I also had one in the grumpy teen years and took on an exchange student as well-- maybe that's why it was hard.
My friend said she did fine until baby 6-- that one broke her. ;-)

You will be great. You're starting out with the advantage of being a cool mom.

Kristen said...

That is so funny! I have two friends who are now pregnant with their third, and another friend (who has three) keeps telling them how much harder it is going to be.

And I have to admit that I can not imagine. Sometimes two is all I can do. ALL I CAN DO!

Happy Weekend!

lime said...

i remember it dawning on me that a third child would mean the hubby and i were outnumbered and also that when i was alone it meant i had more kids than hands. people with larger families tell me that once you have three though any future ones are a breeze. i dunno about that but it's what i am told.

Mommy Mo said...

I have three kids as well- ages 5.5, 3, and 5 months. You have hit it on the head- there is always something or someone that needs me. And the noise, oh the noise. I crave peace and quiet nowadays!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson