Here’s the thing: I was desperate to have three kids. The third was much debated and a good deal of persuasion was needed before my husband agreed. Now that Baby T is not only here but is approaching a year and a half old, I am pleased to say that I adore the mayhem of it all. Although I have absolutely no time to myself, it’s just what I had hoped it would be, in a kind of imperfect, hectic mixture of joy, love, screaming, laughter and bodily fluids.
That said, I have recently had to come clean to myself about a myth I’ve been perpetuating, to myself and others, for nearly 18 months. When pregnant for the third time, I was utterly convinced that the baby would be a cute little bundle of chilled out, angelic perfection. The first was a demon baby and the second highly opinionated and challenging so where this certainty came from I can’t quite say but it was just absolute fact as far as a pregnant me was concerned. Hell, I was even convinced that he was more chilled out in the womb, only gently nudging me from time to time to say hello.
When he arrived, our Baby T looked cute but slept badly and was totally obsessed with me. So far so average. As he got mobile, I started to realise he was not a follower of rules, choosing to do what the hell he pleased rather than listen to simple instructions, such as “don’t climb into the dishwasher” and “stop eating things out of the bin”. When friends asked how I was coping with three, I happily chirped that it was fine as Baby T was sooooo easy. Apart from the lack of sleep, I was dealing with a little cherub who gave me far less headaches than the older two did. I didn’t say this out of some twisted sense of being SuperMum. I had just done such a good job of kidding myself that he was perfect, I failed to see I was raising a determined little tyke.
It was only when I was asked recently how I was coping with the three in front of my husband and he spat out his coffee at my response of “oh great thanks as Baby T as he is just such a good boy” that is realised perhaps I’d got it wrong. It seems that the Baby T in my head, and the real, troublesome, rule-breaking blonde bundle of boy that is my youngest don’t quite match up. I have now been forced to admit that he is going to be perhaps my most challenging kid as he doesn’t really care what anyone thinks. Unlike his siblings, he does almost nothing simply to please us. He listens to what we have to say (usually “no” or “stop it”) considers his options and then does what he bloody well wants. But, disarmingly, he does it with a broad smile.
So, next time someone asks me how I find it with three I’ll tell them how difficult and wonderful it is in equal measures but I won’t say it is made easier by my angelic youngest. He isn’t what I had imagined, and why should he be? He is himself and he is sleep resistant, frustrating and infuriating. And he means to continue to be. Wish me luck!