Making the decision to have three kids wasn’t an easy one for me. I have always been a two kid person. I never imagined myself having three kids and really never even considered the possibility that my husband might want more than two. After having two kids two years apart I kind of felt like I was done having kids. It seemed like the perfect amount. Plenty of room in the car. I have two hands, one for each of them. There are two of us, one for each of them. It seemed pretty straight forward. My husband always wanted more so we kept it on the back burner and gave ourselves a decision deadline. I’m not young (obviously I’m not old either), but age is to be considered when carrying a child as much as how old we’ll be when they move out of the house, get married, and have their own kids.
After our second was getting out of that baby stage and into more of the toddler stage I started to have those feelings. I suppose the same feelings many moms feel when they say goodbye to the baby stage for what may be, or definitely is, the last time. It’s hard to pack up all of those tiny things and think the next time you get them out is probably when you clean out your basement or your sister gets pregnant. That’s when I decided to consider the idea. A girlfriend and I had discussed the idea of both of us at that crossroads of having a third child and I think we both found one silly thing that kept the thought process from getting further. We’d have to buy a new car. Well, my husband and I have both been very lucky children of generous parents and have never, in our adult years, had to purchase or make payments on any vehicle we’ve owned. They’ve been hand me downs, but our parents are no slacks in the nice vehicle department so we have not suffered.
The idea of buying a new car was twofold for me. I didn’t want a car payment and I didn’t want to drive a bigger vehicle. I like cars. I like that I can see everything. I like that they fit in my garage. My husband did a little research and found this great article that a mom wrote on getting a third car seat into a regular sedan. It gave us hope and also took away that lump in my throat for the car payment, or the idea that my awesome, super cool mommy style would be compromised by the addition of a mini-van. As a side note, I did also recently find out that Mazda 5 is a 6-seater. If my car goes in the pooper, that’s where I’m headed!
Besides the underlying feelings of something missing at our dining room table and in that empty spot in the back seat of the car, I really had this feeling of owing my oldest son. He was 2 when I was pregnant with our second one and he didn’t really fully get the baby thing. By the time I was ready to pop he was understanding more because we was quite a bit older than when the pregnancy started, but I made some mistakes. Looking back now, they were big mistakes and for some reason I just felt like I owed him. It certainly isn’t the reason we’re having a third baby, but the fact that we were excited and comfortable with the idea and had already made the decision to give it a try, having this opportunity with my son is an added luxury.
We were in the middle of a home renovation. Well, we’ve been in the middle of one renovation or another since we moved into our house 2 1/2 years ago, but I really had plans to update our bathroom before the baby came and so we made the decision to send him away for 2 weeks to my husband’s parents house about 4 hours away. We thought it would be fun for him and it would give us the opportunity to get everything done that we could before the baby arrived. He seemingly had a wonderful time. There were nothing but good reports, he never cried, he slept great, ate great, and didn’t even wet his diaper at night (something we’re still struggling with a year and a half later). On the surface everything was fantastic and he was asking when he was going back, but when he got home he was different. Really different. He didn’t like us very much anymore and it broke my heart. I guess I can’t explain it. Maybe it was the time he was gone, maybe he had one of those toddler changes we see over those two weeks. Who knows, but two days after he arrived home my husband and I left in the middle of the night to have the baby. We never told him anything. We just disappeared. I was gone for two days and when I came home, well, I had a baby to take care of. I was different to him too. His behavior went into a downward spiral of hitting, not sleeping, and crying a lot. A whole lot of crying. I’ll never forget a few days after having the baby he was playing in the pool, he got out, stood there and just started crying. I guess you could call it a breakdown or a release. He cried for a very long time in my arms until he just fell asleep. I think it was in that moment I realized how sensitive he was and how much this was affecting him.
I kept telling myself that everybody goes through this and it’ll be ok once he gets used to the baby. I will say that it took a long time. He’s back now, but it’s been a year and a half. Only very recently has he started to snuggle with me again and say I Love You unprompted. Oddly enough, about the time I got pregnant is when he started to climb back into my arms. I just really hoped for another opportunity to tell him everything. To not exclude him because I didn’t think he’d understand or because I didn’t think he’d notice. I spent the entire day with him having contractions, just the two of us and I never said a word. I knew the baby was coming that night, and I just never said anything. I still cry about it. I was so selfish and it cost us a year and a half. A lot of yelling went on, and lot of punishment, and a lot of frustration on my part. He was just this tiny little thing that couldn’t find his place.
It taught me so much. It made me understand just how much kids are aware of everything. Of course he was going to notice that we were gone and of course he would notice that little baby in my arms taking up his space, but I just never imagined how much he would notice and how something so small could have such huge emotion.