Tuesday, November 13, 2012

the freedom of the third child

Paul will turn one-year-old this week, and I recently realized how little I've pushed him. It's been grand.

I was giving him his bottle (yes, still a bottle), and a grandmother (surprisingly) at a church playgroup asked me if Paul could feed himself/hold his own bottle. I almost shot her a look (stink eye to be more accurate). Couldn't she see how comfy & content this monstrous baby was snuggled in my arms? Couldn't she see I was glowing? But I restrained myself and calmly responded, "He could probably hold his bottle if I needed him to, but I really enjoy feeding him. He's my baby, you know?"

The grandma then told me all about how her daughter insisted that she give her grandson (who she watches) a sippy cup from as early as 6 months, and then she admitted that she found it a bit silly-- a little baby struggling to use a cup so early. When she said that, I knew we had some common ground.  I smiled & told her that both Maura & Griffin had given up their bottles by the time they were 10-11 months old. Then I smiled and said, "I haven't even tried giving Paul a cup yet." And added, "I think all of those "rules" for parenting & milestones are just guidelines anyway..." knowing I had no intention of introducing a cup anytime soon. The snuggling is that great. Call me selfish; the cup can wait.

A friend of mine on Facebook posted this status about her daughter approaching one year too--


Our kids are one month apart.

Reading her status made me think of how much I've enjoyed having Paul as part if our brood as well. The big kids (ages 2 & 5) have a blast with him. Griffin likes to gently wrestle with Paul; it's odd how Griffin understands he has to be gentle with his baby brother without my telling him. They are best buds.

 And Maura? Forget it-- she is everyone's favorite! She can make Paul laugh so hard-- big belly giggle laughs by just looking at him, but then again she makes us all laugh.  And she doesn't care if Paul pulls her hair or drools on her while I take their photo...


And all of this has me thinking about something my husband & I have discussed quite a bit-- the third baby is the first baby we really enjoyed because we weren't worried. With the first baby, we worried about pretty much everything-- the perfect temperature in her room, breast verses bottle, introducing solids exactly the way the baby books told us to, transitioning from bottle to cup before she turned a year. It was exhausting.  And with the second baby, I worried about dividing my time.  How could I possibly attend to everyone's needs when splitting my time between two kids?  The horror.  But, with the birth of sweet baby Paul, we were all finally free-- free of unrealistic expections, free of perfection, free to make mistakes, and free to enjoy each day as it came.

So, happy birthday sweet baby Paul!  It's been a great, eventful, and freeing year.



  1. Such great perspective! i will definitely try to keep this in mind when we have our first and second babies. Perhaps we might manage to enjoy them a bit more than we would otherwise.

  2. Fun to read :) oddly enough, my brother Paul is #3 in our family too.