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01/08/2010

The Dynamics of Three

Picture 2 When I was pregnant with my third child, I called my mother to give her the good news. Her response, as is often the case, was unexpected. "You're making a huge mistake," she said, "three is terrible. You should wait a few years and have another two. Odd numbers are no good. Two pairs will be much more manageable than three."

As the mother of three daughters, she was speaking from significant experience. My middle sister and I fought constantly, vying for the attention of our baby sister. And when by some miracle we ignored each other, the younger two fought over toys. The only constant was that someone was always left out. 

I was thrilled about my pregnancy and thoroughly annoyed by her poorly timed advice. But even if I hadn't been pregnant, I still wouldn't have wanted to hear it. The thought alone of taking a break and then doing it all over again a second time was enough to make me break out in hives. I also rationalized that things would be different for me because I had children of different genders. 


I wanted my third child, and I wanted him or her to be two or three years apart from my second child. Then I wanted to be done with diapers, sleep training, teething and baby food and on to certainly easier parenting duties. 


Well I got my third child when I wanted her. A little girl to round out my family of girl, boy, girl. And now my baby is three. I am done with diapers, sleep training, teething and baby food. And, as is often the case, I'm beginning to think my mother may have been right. 


It turns out the dynamics of three children, regardless of gender, are not great. Every day I am ministering to the hurt feelings of a left out child. Sometimes my eldest is crying because the younger two are playing and she has nothing to do, sometimes my middle is crying because the oldest is reading to the youngest and they won't let him sit with them, and sometimes it is the youngest crying because the older two are out playing on the street with friends. The only constant is that someone is usually crying to me.


I'm now left facing two equally difficult tasks: admitting my mother was right after all, and considering having a fourth child to even out the odds. 


This is an original Ohio Moms Blog post. When not ministering to crying children, Vanessa Druckman blogs about cooking and parenting at Chefdruck Musings.

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