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My three sons: Adjusting to baby #3

My 8 (almost 9) year-old was ‘the baby’ for eight years. For a long time, I thought things would stay that way. Two busy, active boys always felt like enough, until a couple of years ago, when I started to wonder what it would be like to have just one more.

I looked into adopting a baby girl from another country then became discouraged with the whole process for a number of reasons. Then, I decided that maybe we should consider trying to have one more biological baby.

Time went by, and after a ‘missed miscarriage’, which involved a most unpleasant surgical procedure, I came to the conclusion that our family was just right as it was. I was getting older, as was my husband. We were lucky to have two healthy boys.

Wouldn’t you know that soon after that, when I no longer wanted to become pregnant, I did’ I was soon convinced that it was ‘meant to be’ and after trying every trick and old wives tale in the book, like the Chinese birth chart, wedding ring swinging over the belly, etc., was convinced that I was having a girl.

Then came the ultrasound. Then amnio, as it was a high-risk pregnancy due to age and a few other factors. I could not believe that I was having another boy!

I dealt with disappointment, then guilt over being disappointed and a whole bunch of other feelings. I knew that life would become more hectic and that adding a baby to the mix would be a huge adjustment for our little family of four.

But there were changes that had never occurred to me. Suddenly, my younger son was a big brother. My oldest had had that role for 11 years. For a while, my 8-year old reveled in being the older brother, in fetching a diaper, holding a bottle, making faces to try to distract the baby when he was fussy. And I could tell that my 11-year old felt suddenly, strangely out of place.

By nature, my middle son is more nurturing and gentle, while my oldest is a little rougher around the edges (but soft on the inside!). So it was easy for our middle boy to adapt to being a little ‘Mr. Mom’.

My oldest is naturally more moody, and his moodiness showed during those first weeks with baby #3. He had a harder time adjusting to the new baby in the house than his 8 year-old brother did.

And I had been worried about my 8 year-old getting squished in the middle-you know, ‘the middle child’ syndrome?

I’m happy to say that everyone is settled in now. Baby is almost five months old and both of his big brothers get a kick out of him and give him plenty of attention. It just goes to show that 1: kids will surprise you, 2: parenting can be the most challenging job on earth, and 3: not only do our children learn from us; we learn from them, too.

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