The post I should probably delete before DS2 learns to use the computer

A friend at work is thinking about having another baby. Her son is just over a year old, and she and her husband knew before parenthood began that they wanted more than one child. Sometimes, though, she thinks that she cannot handle another baby, that one is hard enough to provide for when you work full time. Will she shortchange the older one by introducing a sibling? Will the second one be quite as special, since he never got to be the sole recipient of all parental attention? Will having another child safety seat leave any room in the car for anyone else? "I don't know how you do it with three!" she exclaimed one day. She asked me when I had decided that I wanted three kids. "I didn't," I told her. These days, most parents don't decide to have three. They decide to have a big family, which is usually 4 or more children, or decide to have two, but get surprised. Almost everyone I know with three children is either planning for more, or had planned for fewer. Two children made for a nice, balanced little family. One girl, one boy, each with a parent to hold onto when we crossed parking lots. When errands needed to be run on the weekends, the kids could often accompany us. The third one changed the dynamics. I had to buy a new car, because there was no way to fit a baby seat into the back of my station wagon with the existing seats. Our house has three bedrooms, so the idea of each child having a room of his or her own was no longer an option. And having another child meant that they were going to outnumber us. When they all run in separate directions in the park, only two can be chased. Two siblings can gang up on the third. Someone is the odd one out. The time will come, altogether too soon, when all three will have evening and weekend activities (dance class, scouting, sports) and DH and I will be torn limb from limb juggling the logistical aspects. I cried when I found out I was going to have my first baby. I cried tears of joy at the step I was taking, the new identity of "Mom" that lay before me. I cried in fear of the unknown aspect of it all- how could I take care of a new human being, be solely responsible for keeping this person safe and fed and warm? But I learned, and it got easier to recognize what to do. I cried when I found out that I was going to have another baby. My daughter would have a companion, someone with a bond that couldn't be fully duplicated by any friend she would meet for the rest of her life. I may not have always gotten along with my sister and brother growing up, but they are the ones I know will understand the shorthand of "Mom's turning into Nanna" and give me the words to make me feel better. And I sort of knew what I was doing with the whole "parenthood" gig, I was ready to not make the same mistakes the second time around. I cried when I found out I was pregnant the third time. I cried because I thought I was ready to take a new step, to focus on looking forward to school for my children and whether I could advance at work. I thought I could sleep through the night, and not worry about how to take care of a toddler while I was recovering from giving birth. And I felt like I was an awful mother for resenting my baby before he'd even had a chance to become a person. (Not that I'd be any better of a mother if I resented him after he became a person.) Sometimes I feel like I've let him down. Almost everything he's ever had is either shared or some else's leftovers. He got less personal time with me than his sister and brother did, because I hardly ever got to be with just him during my maternity leave. He was a good baby, so he got left to his own devices as I dealt with the Princess and the Hulk. But maybe- hopefully- he got the best mom, the mom who had it (somewhat) together. I've faced all of the normal milestones now, so I knew how to deal with them. Introducing new foods? Done it. Choosing the right developmentally-appropriate toys and activities? No sweat. The fevers, colds, and when he can't keep food down? I've faced it, and we've all come out of it unscathed. With him, I know what I'm doing. At least for now.


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Who's Who

    Hubby- aka DH My husband since 1995. He is the head of the band department at a college prep school, and dabbles as a wanna-be pop star.

    The Princess- aka DD. Third grader at the local parochial school. Loves butterlies, sparkly things, the color purple and has recently developed a crush on one of the twins from "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody". Is ready for her teenage years, having already perfected her exasperated sigh and dramatic eye-roll.

    Hoss- aka DS1. Kindergartener and resident spirited child. His aunt likes to call him "the evil genius" because of his penchant for letting a lack of intellectual stimulation lead him into mischief. Likes trucks, sports, building things and burping. His current favorite word is "underwear."

    Lil Joe- aka DS2. Born in 2003. Doesn't say much we can understand, but has mastered the important stuff ("eat!", "Wash hands!", "Want chocolate ones!", "Hockey game!") Likes to push buttons, much to the consternation of whoever is trying to watch a DVD. Firmly refuses to use the potty, despite evidence that he is physically ready to be out of diapers, indicating a level of stubborn that eclipses even that of his parents and siblings.

    Me? I'm the Mama. That's all you need to know.

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