And Then There Were Three…


Mothergoosemouse wrote a thought-provoking piece about mothering two children a few weeks back. In it, she discusses feeling a little guilty that her second baby was easier for her (mostly because of her situation, not because of the baby’s temperament).

And I know exactly what she means. When I had my twins, I was in a very new teetery tottery relationship (total time together once the twin tidal wave hit: 13 months) and our love castle it turned out was built on sand. So the easy-ness and joy of sweet V 3 1/2 years later sometimes made me feel guilty. I actually enjoyed myself the second time around.

Meanwhile, all of a sudden, it seems I’m mother to three children. How did it happen? Who are these small people who need me to feed them and call me “Mommy”? It’s so surreal. I’m not sure if it’s a function of having twins or starting my family in my nearly mid-30s, but honestly sometimes I look up and see these three beautiful loud talkative girls and I wonder how it’s possible they are all mine… And the mechanics and logistics of raising three children is so, well, loud and complicated, sometimes I feel like I run nonstop from morning until night.

And I know it’s supposed to get easier when they’re older and the fact that none of them are in school yet exacerbates an already relatively demanding situation. When my friends with one child complain about their plight there is a part of me that thinks “ahh… you THINK you have it tough now, just WAIT!” but then I don’t want to be some bitter naysayer negatisma.

Here are a few things that go by the wayside once you have more than one child:

1. An ability to complete any sentence or conversation without being interrupted 800 times
2. Sleep
3. Cleanliness and Order – Yours, theirs, the house, the yard. I see people with children with combed hair and it’s as if I’m watching someone from another planet
4. Quiet
5. Sitting down

In return, here is what you experience:
1. Children who play together and keep each other entertained — those belly laughs are so priceless
2. The chance to be the sun and moon to what feels like an entire chorus full of little angelly devils
3. The opportunity to seem EXTRA impressive if you DON”T wear a mumu and occasionally even look cute.
4. Get out of jail free card – This is all the credit you get for doing ANYTHING at all (You work? wow! You write? Incredible!).
5. When you walk down the street holding little hands and they follow after you like sweet little ducklings, you feel so proud and strong and important.
6. More kids makes family feel so much more like family.
7. You surrender any illusion you had before of having an orderly life.

How about you? What do you think of having more than one child?


25 Responses to “And Then There Were Three…”

  1. April 6, 2007 at 9:30 am

    I think of the noise at family functions. The laughter, the tears, the bad jokes told over a plate of cheese and pickles.

    I think of grandbabies and reflections of myself staring back at me, when I’m old and wrinkled.

    I think of how quiet going from three to two kids is, and how I wish I had a dozen more.

    I just think of how much love children bring into my little life. And then I want to breed…

  2. April 6, 2007 at 9:36 am

    The interruptions – bwahahaha, you are SO right. Question after question after question…I try to give each one the attention it deserves, but it gets exhausting.

    And being the sun and moon, even when you freak out and lose your shit now and then? Unbelievable.

  3. April 6, 2007 at 9:53 am

    Three boys over here. You wrote that post as if you were in my head. I still can’t believe anyone entrusted me with three children. Like any day someone is going to stop by with a clip board and say, I’m sorry there’s been a big mistake. You never passed that exam.

    And I would fight them off with my bare hands because the craziness of my life is my life.

    I’ve learned to appreciate fart jokes and worms and not mind the dirt. I just melt any time there’s a big giant pile-up of bear cubs laughing and rolling around.

    Terrific post!!!

  4. April 6, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Having more than one kid …worth its weight in stretch marks and saggy tits twice over. My two play with each other at least 70 per cent of the time, when they’re not kicking the shit out of each other, that is. Heaven for me!

  5. April 6, 2007 at 10:21 am

    3 boys here, also. My oldest is 11 and the twins are 8, so we went from 1 to 3 children and are still not sure what hit us.

    It’s wonderful and bloody over here, and very smelly. While it’s easier in some ways (we teach self reliance here) it’s harder in others– the attitudes, the acne, keeping one Santa non-believer from spilling the beans to the other 2.

    Cliched, but never a dull moment, although I often wish for one.

  6. April 6, 2007 at 11:12 am

    Once can repeatedly hit you in the boobs while the other licks at your belly like a dog. Oh, yeah.

  7. April 6, 2007 at 11:44 am

    If only for the kids playing with each other instead of me having to entertain them 24/7 it is worth it!

  8. April 6, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    The thing that’s been the most difficult for me with two has been adjusting to their different personalities, their different demands, needs and interests. I never expected them to be the same, but my two are so different it’s shocking sometimes, and I have struggled to find a balance between the two of them.

    But seeing them together, interacting with one another, loving each other, playing together and just enjoying one another is amazing. I am an only child for all intents and purposes — I have two half-brothers who are ten and twelve years younger than me and although I have only ever considered them my BROTHERS, I didn’t grow up with them and I never experienced the kind of sibling relationship that my children are now. I love watching them together, and being with them as brother and sister. I find it, quite simply, amazing.

  9. April 6, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Well…as one of your complaining one child friends, I have to say we had a rough start with our little one thanks to an array of health issues she had that made it feel like she was ten kids. Now that we have this glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel, now that we seem to be getting the hang of things, now that she’s shaping up to be this junior hellcat, it’s possible that we may consider a second child at some point…if only to give her something small and energetic to play with.

  10. April 6, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Two here, and I am always so in love with the way they love each other. Older brother and younger sister relationships are just, well, amazing…

  11. April 6, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    I love my family of three. I love having one child. I could not for a second imagine having more kids. It is not because being a mommy is too hard…just because my fmaily is perfect now, and I see no reason to change it. I don’t really think I need to give Zoë a sibling, kids are not presents and are not toys.

    The thought that you think your family is somehow more of a family than mine because you have more kids is…well…offensive. Come we are as much a fmaily as one with 7 kids or no kids. Family is about how much love you have, not how many people.

    You missed a few other experiences of haivn gone child:

    I can look at my little girl and tell her I love her more than anybody in the whole wide world.

    I can do things for myself, my child and my family I would never have the time or money for if I had more kids.

    We don’t fall into the “one kids doing soandso with mommy, the other doing sosandso with daddy trap”, the majority of the time, whatever Zoë is doing we are all doing together.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting more kids than I have…we all do what is right for our families. Assuming it makes your family feel more like a family than mine…that is wrong. I can guarantee having more kids would not make my family feel anymore like a family than it is now. After alol, your first kids were twins, so yu dojn’t even know what a fmaily with one child feels like. I do though, it feels very close and intimate. It is wonderful, for us.

  12. April 6, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    P.S. Sorry I cannot type.

  13. April 6, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    It’s okay Jill — it’s part of having more than one kid — the typing goes 🙂

    For me it’s not having enough time and feeling as though I’m spending enough of it with my older one. BUT that’s the nature of where we are right now — when he gets older and they can play together, fight, kick each other, you know … then it’ll be good.

  14. April 6, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Nah, I have one kid. But my brain works faster than my fingers. At work, they make fun of my typing on a daily basis. I once wrote on a report “In copulation with the supervisor it was determined…” instead of “In consultation…”.


  15. April 6, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    I have recently been thinking about parenting 2 now. I loved having just one little one and it was hard to consider having another. It’s still pretty new to me. I have yet to get that wonderful benefit of them playing together, but I look forward to it.

    I had only just started to recover from the total chaos that to me is parenting when my little one turned into a tot, but now with a tot and a baby it’s all back and back with a fury! Yeah, I can’t think, speak, clean, comb anyone’s hair (including mine) cook or do much of anything except survive these days! Okay…I find time to blog, but it requires no cleaning…just 10 minutes of free time.

    I have to say I am starting to see glimpses of their relationship forming…but it is just a twinkle. I love both my girls and I most look forward to seeing their relationship with eachother.

  16. April 6, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Well, like you, I got two at once, so it wasn’t really a choice.

    That being said – I have always wanted two children. I have a brother and I cannot imagine growing up without him.

    We spent this whole week with my niece and I realized that I don’t think I could handle three. While I would love the experience of having a singleton 1) nothing guarantees that only one would come out next time and 2) the two I have already suck all of my energy. I really admire people that can handle having more than two. It seems really hard.

  17. April 6, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    The fear of having twins is definately a factor in me not having more kids. I don’t even desire one more child…but I do know I could “handle” it and it would make my DH happy to have another. But I know, absolutely, no doubt about it, I could NOT manage 3 kids, nor could we afford it. As it is I make much more money than DH and have a much more stable job…but my job is also super stressful and not really family friendly as there are often unexpected emergencies that keep me out late at night, as well as appointments that cannot be cancelled no matter what. Coping in this job with one child was the hardest thing I have ever done…I have gotten my groove back now 3 years after the end of my maternity leave, but am still often overwhelmed. The thought of living my current life pregnant (I had an awful PG), or with another child at home, fills me with fear. The thought of doing it with 2 more kids at home–absolute terror. I could not leave my job, go to PT, or change jobs…yet I know there is no way I could work in Child Protection with 3 kids at home and keep my sanity. We have twins in our family. I am a twin-fraternal. My MIL is a twin-fraternal. Several cousins are twins. The genes are there, and I am fast approachign the age where that also make it more likely for me to have multiples.

    Luckily, I am so happy with my little family that it doesn’t bother me at all that having more kids just would not really work for us due to finances, the twin gene, my job, etc…

    Ya know, I think being a twin myself may be part of the reason I don’t want another child. Until the day I got married I never had a moment that was truly mine. Not any birthday, or graduation, or my Bat Mitzfah. Nothing. My life was full of competition and comparison (not so much from my parents who tried, they really did…also friends, teachers, extended family, etc). Also, my brother was very abusive towards me growing up. Our relationship was not good. Now as adults we get along fine, but we are by no means “friends”. So, the thought of Zoë having what I didn’t tends to appeal to me. I also am under no illusion that siblings are a guarantee of friendship and support. My brother is not my friend, and will never be a support to me. My mother has one brother, they see each other at weddings and funerals. My dad has 4 siblings, none of them talk to more than 1 of their siblings. My DH, however, has 2 siblings, and they are all very close…so I do know siblings can be great, but ther eis no guarantee they will be. Friends, on the other hand, are the family we choose and I am confident Zoë will have wonderful and supportive friends, as I do.

  18. April 6, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    I’ve always wondered what it was like – what a great analogy. And who was the suck ass that didn’t stick by you after you had TWINS. Mother f’er.

  19. April 7, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Lotta, he didn’t leave me darling, I left HIM. Jill of the “offended” .. Lord, sweetheart, I have no claim on “true family” just because my birth control failed. I was describing my own personal feeling about watching all the sweet kids run around… Family for me means people and noise. Doesn’t mean your family is any less of one….

    Jill (twin-afeared) = sounds like your Zoe is well-set…

    Paige — darling… you have every claim to life being challenging at the beginning with “only” one… I didn’t mean to sound patronizing.

    Everyone else — great comments!

  20. April 7, 2007 at 10:07 am

    Crank. Twin fearing Jill and Offended Jill are the same Jill LOL. Jill says a lot!

    No worries, I’ll get over it. It is hard to have one child…I hear all the time that I am not a “real mom” or that my dd “needs” a sibling or that our family is not complete even though it feels like it is to us. I get sick of it, but you are as entitled to your feelings as I am, and this is your blog.

    You would feel at home in our house…Zoë and I are both so loud and noisy, it could be a roomful!

  21. April 7, 2007 at 11:41 am

    We are going from 2 girls to 3 in July. My youngest is 6 today and I just keep thinking “what have I done?” It changes (I’ll refrain from saying easier)a lot as they get older and now my children will be spanning 9 years. Oh the thoughts of starting it all over again! The financial strain of childcare, needing a larger vehicle, making room in our house, etc. When my girls aren’t fighting (and we all know thats few and far between) I think it will be ok, but when the girl screams ensue and the emotional drama sets in I wonder how it is that God thought it would be a good idea to give me 3 girls!!!!

  22. April 7, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    The noise…the noise in the back of the car…the noise from their rooms as they “play” together.

    The laughter as the one entertains the other
    The screams of rage as one eggs on the other

    That mom and dad have a kid each for cuddles..my littlest is on my lap right now!

  23. April 7, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    I have a singleton (6) and then twins (2.5). I often feel on the defense of the size of my family. Just today I had this exchange with someone:

    Complete Stranger: “How many do you have with you today?” (while pointing at my children who were being very well behaved)
    Me: “Three”
    CS: “Are they ALL yours’?”

    When did three children become a large family?
    When did it become ok to be so critical, to my face?

    I am the oldest of three. I swore I would never have three (odd number, someone’s always left out); but after jumping from 1 to 3 I’m not going after number 4 just to level the playing field!

    Thanks for letting me vent!

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