1.You Will Buy the Best Baby Stuff
With your first child, you aimlessly stroll around Babies r Us and register for whatever the sales person tells you you “need,” so you end up with a bunch of stuff you never use. With your second, you add a few things, but may still make some mistakes on brands. But by your third child, you are the Master of Baby Accessories. You know the best strollers, the best sleepers, and the best swings. (Look for my recommendations in an upcoming post!) You go to Babies r Us and confidently walk toward the exact product you want. No sidetracking here. You are the Master.
2. The Oldest Child Understands
Unless you have children really quickly, by the time you get to your third baby, your first baby is old enough to understand what’s happening. That means he can help get diapers or new outfits, sympathize with a recovering mama and the needs of an infant, and help the newly anointed middle child through the transition. It’s completely different when you bring home your second child, and your first child is still only a baby himself. Then, you’re dealing with an irrational toddler and a newborn, and there’s no one who you can rationally discuss any of these changes with. But a school aged child? Yes, he can understand. And although it won’t always be successful, he can be praised for his patience and understanding, and this will only help him to continue to be helpful and easygoing.
3. You Are So Much More Relaxed.
By the time the third child arrives, you know that an infant will sleep away most of his first two weeks. That if he doesn’t nurse every three hours, it’s okay. That you will be up three to four times a night, and that he will probably pee through two or three outfits a day. You know you can bring him anywhere, and that the infant part is the easiest part of motherhood. (Yup…with your first baby you are absolutely convinced this must be hardest part…and then they learn to walk and that’s hard, and then they learn to talk…and then they get an attitude and go to school…)
4. No More (Or Many Less) Arguments with your Spouse
This sort of goes with number three. My husband and I fought so much during our first child’s first year. Cry it out or not? (I said no. He said yes.) What foods to introduce first and when? Pacifier or not? Now, there are no more arguments. We’re on our third round. We know what we’re doing and when we’re doing it. We go through the actions of taking care of him, but we really take the time to enjoy him because we know what we’re doing, and we also know the exhausted but adorable newborn stage goes so fast.
5. You Know how to Transition your Other Two
When my daughter was born, I made some huge mistakes with my son. I assumed he’d understand, (he was two! he did not!) and I assumed he’d let me recover from my c-section while his grandparents and my husband amused him. I was not ready for him to miss me terribly, for him to misbehave to get attention, and for him to regress behaviorally. So this time I took a different approach. I invited my kids to my bed for stories, and cuddled with my two year old daughter whenever she wanted to. Ten days after my c-section, I even attended my son’s mother’s day event at his school, and with my mother holding my newborn, could solely concentrate on my older son’s event. And so far, there’s been very little misbehavior and jealousy. In the first three weeks I had a ton of help with the physical tasks I couldn’t manage, but I tried really hard to be emotionally available, and it made the older children so much happier.
Watching my older two with my infant is like seeing another piece (maybe not even the final piece!) of our family puzzle. It’s like he was always meant to be here, in our family. The older two need time every day to hold him and adore him, and they sing him songs and read him books. He was welcomed into a house full of people who love him. The house is noisy, lively, and yes, sure, a little chaotic. But my little one sleeps through it all, because this craziness seems to suit him just fine.