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I told EVERYONE that I wanted four kids. This was before I had experienced pregnancy, birth and parenting. I produced three kids quickly; I was tired; I had no family support bar my wonderful husband. We decided for my sanity, we should stop whilst the going was good. Three is ALOT of hard work.
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weeks ago I was sitting with my youngest Ryan (2) watching my middle child
Jamie (4) at gymnastics. As usual Ryan
was dressed as a pirate and instead of playing on the floor with toys he wanted
to sit on my knee and see his big brother.
There was a book on the counter so I decided to pass the time and take a
look at the book with him. Within a few
short minutes I realized I had failed my youngest. I pointed at animals and he hadn’t a
clue. I asked him what sounds they made
and he looked at me as if I was from another planet. I inhaled deeply and realized I don't do as
much with poor Ryan as I had done with his siblings.
My two older kids were able to recite the alphabet, count at least to ten
and knew every nursery rhyme by heart at his age. Ryan couldn’t tell a cow from a horse. I often ask him “What is your name?” and he
promptly tells me “Ryan”, when I asked him "How old are you?" up
until recently he would always say “I dunno” no matter how many times I told
him "two". He is a joker, I
know he knows his age but he loves the expression “I dunno”. He has on occasion counted to ten but he does
it when he thinks no-one is listening.
After this fateful day in September “Operation Education” kicked off. I am ensuring we have more one on one
time and in a few short weeks, he just loves his books and he know a vast
amount of animals. Phew, turns out he is
a fast learner. When I discovered that
Ryan didn’t really know what I thought he should know, I spoke to one of my
good friends whose three kids are the same ages as mine. She too has encountered the third child
dilemma. I am not alone. She told me that one day her youngest looked
up at the sky and said “Train” as clear as day as a plane flew through the
sky. As you multiply it is harder and
harder to spread yourself. When Ryan
joined us Laura-Leigh (6) was 3 years and 4 months old and Jamie was 21 months
old. It was a very busy time in our
household and I felt there wasn’t enough of me to go around. I remember the boys napping at the same time
and then waking at the same time, both wanting me, you guessed it at the same
time! Both wailing and I wanted to wail with them.
The Effects of Birth position
When Laura-Leigh was born our world changed forever. She was our first
child and first grandchild on my husband’s side. She was adored by all and our family turned
into the paparazzi. She had my
individual attention, no disruptions, no distractions, she had 100% of me. I was consumed by her and I told my mother
when Laura-Leigh was ten days old, I couldn’t wait to make her a sister or
brother. She hates and I mean hates being in trouble; she can't stand
it. She wants to be good. She is very much about right and wrong, the
pleaser and protector of all.
Jamie is the middle child and a boy - that is
some combination; sends me into a tail spin at times. He loves and I mean loves being in trouble,
he's addicted. He must love hearing me
calling his name, I do it A LOT. I said
to a friend recently that the staff at Laura-Leigh’s Elementary school are all
familiar with Jamie’s name and he doesn’t start there until September. I am the Megaphone Mom and it’s always Jamie
I am saying. I saw a kid wearing a
T-shirt the caption of which was “trouble finds me”. Oh my God, that was made for Jamie. He walked early. He talked early. He strung sentences together which were mind
blowing for his age, he spelt his own name at two. He would sit and do puzzles over and over
again. He is the trouble maker but he is
a great kid, he just can’t help it.
Ryan just loves to play. He has a fabulous imagination. The other two never sat and really
played. Ryan didn’t walk until he was
nearly 18 months old, the reason was pure laziness. He was like a lump of lard,
a dead weight. He just sat and
everything came to him via Laura-Leigh and Jamie. I am sure he thought to himself this is
great, I sit here and they bring me everything and them Mommy lifts me to the
table where I can gorge. He was a year old
before he even attempted to crawl and he was so I am not doing this after his
first attempt, so he did the bum shuffle instead. God I love that move. Let’s use my backside padding to my
advantage. He is Jamie's shadow and has a passion for traditional Irish music
like his brother.
What's your name again?
Three kids later and I have morphed into my mother and I can’t seem to
identify my own children. Yes I know
what they look like but getting their names right especially the boys is a
nightmare. I think Jamie just naturally
falls from my lips as I am ALWAYS calling his name as he is the middle child
and he suffers from that particular syndrome.
I was talking to my friend about this name phenomenon recently and I
said to her that once I don’t call them a name from outside our household I
think I am doing ok. The boys look very
alike. One day a few months back a neighbor
turned to Ryan and said “Hello James”, firstly Jamie is actually Jamie and Ryan
is not Jamie so Ryan scrunches up his face and I know he is thinking “God not
even the outside people can get our names right”, so he pipes up “I not Jamie,
I RYAN”. It’s not only me
Ryan is sleep deprived
I am lucky, my kids are not early risers.
Laura-Leigh awakes at about 7am and that is A OK with me. The boys, in particular Ryan, are like
teenagers. This is a problem in that
getting my kids out the door by 8:15 is challenging, very challenging. It is like a military operation. I remove my sleeping boys from their beds (or
our bed) and lay their still sleeping bodies on the couch. I have to coax them to the land of alertness. It is very tough. Then I have the morning battle with Jamie,
who won’t tell me what he wants for breakfast and then when he has divulged
that secret information, he then looks at his breakfast for 20 minutes, 20
minutes I just don’t have. Ryan is still
panned out and Laura-Leigh is shaking her bootie (I have a feeling she is going
to be an exotic dancer!). It started me
thinking about Ryan and sleep. If Ryan
was first in in line to the throne, he would sleep until at least 9am EVERY
DAY. He is being deprived of much needed
sleep due to his siblings.
The Carrying Phenomenon
Ryan’s legs work perfectly fine (once he decided to get up and walk). Always rushing around I am guilty of carrying
him on my hip, front and back. I now get
back and hip pain. If I didn’t we would
never get anywhere on time as he is a Sunday driver. I am a small framed person and Ryan is built
like a tank, the child is heavy, but he loves being held by me. On the occasions when I have time, I will pop
him on the ground to walk and he is dumbfounded that I would expect him to
perform such a function. It has been my
own doing but you gotta do what you gotta do when you are a Mom. When you
are trying to get his older siblings to Elementary and preschool, carrying the
toddler just works better.
Hand me downs
Ryan does get new clothes from our families for his birthday and Christmas
but almost everything else is Jamie’s or from family friends. Nothing wrong with that as they grow out of
them so fast. He does get his own toys
but the vast majority are his siblings toys. Sometimes I feel bad for him and a
few weeks ago I took him to a sports Store as he is Oilers mad. I was going to get him a jersey and then I
was mean as I thought they were overpriced (sorry Ryan) but I got him a
baseball cap and he looks edible in it.
He then seen hockey sticks and was hollering at the top of his voice “I
want hockey stick”, he has a padded one at home so I quickly paid and vacated
the premises before he pulled something down on himself.
Each term we choose two activities for Laura-Leigh and Jamie. Ryan
gets one. Poor guy, I need to change
this. He is getting such a different
experience to his older siblings. Although I did bring him to the library with
Jamie recently for story-time but I had to leave early as he turned into a
In conclusion, parenting is tricky.
You have to try and spread yourself like butter. I remember crying when Ryan was a tiny baby
as I felt like I was underwater and I just couldn’t do it all. I was outnumbered, I didn’t have enough eyes
or hands or knees. I felt like a park
bench. They all wanted to sit on my knee
at the exact same time. I’ve learnt
that I haven’t failed Ryan. He has just
got a different part of me. It is every
bit as good as what Laura-Leigh and Jamie got, just different. Operation education will continue and he will
thrive, he is thriving. Each child is
unique and that comes from within and from the experiences we provide as
parents. I know that Ryan will be
surrounded by friends and loved dearly as he is such a happy go lucky little
guy. Third in line is just third in
Remember never a dull moment in this house and keep sane.
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