Do you and your significant other speak to each other in hashtags? Maybe you are just so tired from having three children in four years that that’s all you can muster at the end of the day – abbreviated phrases, with points for humor. Having three children is a whole thing. You are now outnumbered and overcaffeinated. When people in the grocery store ask you about the baby you’re wearing, you will blink slowly at them as you wait for the name of this newest child to come to you. Parenting the first child and third child are so very different that you must write a blog post about it in order to remember that it all happened the way it did.
#firstchild: You will take a photo of your pregnant belly every week starting at week 8 (which we all know was just a big meal). There will be numbered signs. You will know whether your baby is the size of a nectarine or an acorn squash and will use that info to bond with your baby, as in “good morning my little English cucumber!”
#thirdchild: You will look down at your belly one day in disbelief to find that you are in fact eight and a half months pregnant and there is zero photographic evidence of such. You run out to that one decent tree in the backyard and get your husband to snap two photos while baby #1 clings to your legs. “We’ll crop this kid out!” you’ll yell.
#firstchild: You count down the hours until hospital discharge and can’t wait to get home and settled in as a family of three. Will the house feel different? How will the dog react? What will the baby think of the gender-neutral IKEA curtains you spent weeks researching on Pinterest? It’s too exciting to handle.
#thirdchild: Two words: Room service. Save for the blood pressure cuff and personal questions, the hospital hotel will be a straight-up vacation. If the OB team thinks they’re discharging you before your Fixer Upper marathon is over, they’ve got another thing coming.
#firstchild: Bathing your newborn will be so precious. It will require the involvement of both parents, one of whom will be wielding a camera, and it will last approximately 38 minutes.
#thirdchild: Baby wipes to the neck folds. Good thing that postpartum nurse cleaned her up right, because this child will not see the inside of a tub for the next three weeks. Or something like that. It’s hard to remember because the days will make whooshing sounds as they whizz past your face. Only the most offensive of diaper blowouts will merit a bath, which you will accomplish one-handed at the kitchen sink while child #2 buries herself in Tupperware lids.
#firstchild: You will plan your baby’s first outing around the CDC’s weekly influenza report. You will dress, undress, and re-dress the baby 12 times in preparation for the Caribou drive-through. This will take three hours. You will be exhausted from this.
#thirdchild: You will arrive at preschool drop-off carrying a toddler, dragging a preschooler, and pushing the stroller of your one-week-old, all of whom you have single-handedly fed, cleaned, dressed, diapered, buckled, unbuckled, and shepherded into the building. You will also be on time. You will get no prizes for this.
#firstchild: Between moments of utter exhaustion, you will look down at your delicious new baby and wonder if it is really possible to love anything as much as this one right here.
#thirdchild: Between moments of utter exhaustion, you will look down at your delicious new baby and wonder if you’ve loved all your newborns as much as you love this one right here. And your husband will assure you that yes, you did. Also, you’re talking to yourself again.