Friends, I fear I have been lied to.
When I was pregnant with my third son, friends with three or more children reached out to help calm my nerves. They assured me the third child would be the easiest, the most chill of all the children. The third baby has no choice but to go with the flow.
Perhaps they all were blessed with this magical third child, but mine doesn’t quite go with the flow. He’s a bad day napper and seems stuck in a permanent sleep regression at night. He wants to be held… a lot. He’s not content to be left alone for very long and wants me in sight, paying lots of attention to him, or preferably, holding him. He’s a sweet little guy, but my second son wins the prize for most chill baby.
With this in mind, I thought about all the other things I had been told or was warned about for the third baby and what has turned out to be true or false so far. Here’s a little tongue-in-cheek game of Fact or Fiction. (Of course, this is fact or fiction for my family… and we know all families are different.)
Fact or Fiction: Your labor with your third (or last) baby will be your fastest.
For my family: FICTION! My third baby’s labor was the longest and his delivery was definitely the hardest.
Fact or Fiction: The transition from 2 kids to 3 is easier than the transition from 1 to 2.
For my family: FICTION! Honestly, all of the transitions have been difficult in different ways– from none to one, one to two, and two to three. We know what we’re doing way more this time around, but being outnumbered has been hard. We just have to keep showing up every day and trying our best, even when we’re exhausted.
Fact or Fiction: You don’t care about the third baby’s milestones as much or remember any of their information.
For my family: FACT! I wanted to make a point of remembering just as much for my third baby as I did for my first, but I can’t remember anything anymore. My brain is mush. My baby is doing things. I think it’s all on time, or at least, close. I have more important things to try to remember than how long my kid was at birth or how many weeks they were when they learned a new trick.
Fact or Fiction: The third child only gets hand-me-downs and never gets anything new.
For my family: FICTION! My first son got lots of hand-me-downs from a cousin, which then went to his brother, who has been so rough on all his clothes. While my third kid certainly has lots of hand-me-downs, he gets plenty of new stuff, too. We even joke that he got a whole new minivan since we couldn’t fit all three car seats in our other car.
Fact or Fiction: You will never sleep again.
For my family: FACT! I mean, obviously, we will sleep again at some point, like in a decade or two, but for now, one of the three kids is ALWAYS awake and crying or yelling enough to wake the others. Nap times very rarely align, and when they miraculously do, I’m trying to do eight million other things. If someone with three or more kids could please confirm for me that sleep will once again be a part of my life, I would appreciate that.
Of course, when it comes down to it, the only fact that matters is that we love these three kids– and all their personalities, idiosyncrasies, and quirks– like crazy. And we’ve got a lifetime of more things to discover about them and whether they match what people tell us to expect. If nothing else, this third kid certainly makes life a whole lot more interesting!