Having my first baby was hard. Having my second baby was harder. But my third baby? Well, he's totally different. Then again, I'm a different mom, too. After having two babies I thought I knew what to expect with number three, but I didn't. You see, there are things no one will tell you about your third baby, including the undeniable fact that you totally can't predict how they will be. In the end, and always, they will surprise you.
So what was different? Well, my personal study only has a sample size of three, so your mileage may vary, but my baby is totally different than his siblings were as babies. To be honest, though, I’m not sure if my third baby is different because of where he fell in birth order or if he's simply different. I think it’s at least partly my fault, too. I no longer have the time, energy, or money to only feed him homegrown, organic, veggie purees. And even if I did, I probably wouldn't, because I'm over being a crunchy mom. My third baby is a way better sleeper than his older brother and sister, too, which might have something to do with sleep training. Mt partner and I did that out of utter desperation.
In some ways he's more independent than his older siblings. In other ways, he is so much more attached to me. Again, our circumstances have changed. I have the “privilege” to work from home, which means I get to see him all day long and he gets to join me for conference calls. But it also means that he has never gone to daycare, and there's a 50/50 chance he will cry when I go to the bathroom.
My third baby is so different than I expected, and in so many unexpected ways. Your third baby will probably be different than his or her older siblings, too. But here's what no one will tell you about newborn number three:
They Are Super Chill
My third baby is so much more chill than my older kids were at his age. He rarely cries, and when he does it's only because needs something I'm not providing. I also have no idea why. Is it because he's a third baby? Is it because he has a chill demeanor and personality? Or, well, is it because I'm more chill and he just feeds off me?
Honestly, I don't care why. I'm just thankful to have an "easy" baby.
They Are Exhausting
I'm tired, you guys. So. Damn. Tired. Some days I am just too tired to chase around my third baby. Fortunately, I've learned that I can just let him go. If I lay on the floor he will either crawl or walk circles around me or simply climb all over me. It's actually kind of fun to just be with him, instead of trying so hard to keep him entertained.
They Love Their Older Siblings
While my two older kids have gone through phases of sibling rivalry and fighting like proverbial cats and dogs, my third baby adores his older siblings. I think they are just old enough that they can understand that he has different needs, as a baby, and they are also old enough to help out, which makes him so happy.
They Find Their Voice Quickly
My second-born seemed to be way quieter than his older sister, who never let him get a word in edge-wise. So, I expected the same from my third baby. Nope. He has definitely found his voice. I mean, if he hadn't, there's no way he could be heard over his older siblings. He totally lets us know when he needs something.
They Learn Quickly
My third baby is a super fast learner, taking in the world and learning how to navigate it all the time. Unfortunately for us, this means he puts everything in his mouth, including his older siblings' forgotten toys, spilled food, and my laptop cord. It also means that he began chattering with his brothers and sisters and meowing at the cat far earlier than my other babies, which was so surprising.
They Are Low Maintenance
My third baby is so much more low maintenance than his siblings were. This might be because I've learned that you don't actually have to touch your baby constantly for them to be OK. And some babies will sleep better if you put them down in their cribs, and leave. Who knew?
I allow him more freedom to just be a baby and to explore his world. You might think this makes me lazy, and maybe I am, but I am pretty sure I’m just doing what I can to stay upright, and I think that makes me smart, even if I am a hot mess.
They Will Change Your Mind About So Many Things
My third baby is not a "perfect" baby. Well, I think he is, but I am biased. And I am definitely not a perfect mom. Fortunately, I learned from my third baby that I don't have to be "perfect" to be the mom he needs. He's reminded me of my priorities, that I have value, and that I'm capable of being the mom I want to be.
After three babies, I have finally begun figuring out what really matters and forgiving myself for things that didn't go as planned.
They Grow Up Way Too Fast
My third baby has grown up way too fast. Like, unbelievably fast. I can't believe that he is walking, talking, and starting to find his place in our family, as a person, and not just "the baby." I can't stand it, but I also can't wait to see who he becomes.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.