Dear Third Child,
I thought you would be easy, but you weren’t. From the moment I peed on the stick, I told myself I could handle this. If I was pregnant it would be fine, totally fine. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t planning on you coming into our lives. I had birthed two babies — I was an expert. I could change a diaper with one hand tied behind my back. People called me the Baby Whisperer for Christ’s sake.
But you weren’t easy — not since the day you were conceived.
I thought I had learned my lesson after breaking the scales with my first two pregnancies. Losing baby weight is a bitch, so this time I would do better. Do you know how hard that is when you have two toddlers running around who don’t eat any of their food and you have to finish it because you hate to waste things? I can’t tell you how many half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I fed you while you cooked in my belly. Add that to my already overindulgent meals, and you end up with a whole lotta woman, real fast.
You probably don’t remember the day you were born, but I sure do. How naive of me to think you would just slide out because I was sure my body had this whole labor thing down by now. I figured your brother and sister had already paved the way for you and it would be smooth sailing. Wrong again. Contractions with you were more arduous than taking down a brick wall with my bare hands. Labor does not get easier the more times you go through it.
So after all that, I was feeling confident that once we got home we could snuggle into a routine of napping and sleeping through the night because I was a veteran, and if you don’t know what you are doing by your third child, what kind of a mother are you? But no fucking way was that going to happen because you had colic. You would scream for hours, and I would cry right along with you. Then your two siblings would chime in because you would often wake them from their naps, and the whole house was one big shitshow. There is no sleeping when the baby sleeps if you have two toddlers running around. I was out numbered, and you all knew it.
Nursing? No, we didn’t get the hang of that for almost three months. My tatas grew to epic proportions (probably from eating all of your siblings’ leftovers) and every time I would undo my nursing bra, my boob would pop out like a Jack in the Box and hit you in the face as milk sprayed out like an out-of-control showerhead. To top it off, you were allergic to milk which meant I had to give up sour cream, cheese, and ice cream for six months. Yeah, just kick a mama when she is down. I could not go anywhere because there is no time to pump when trying to take care of three kids. And the one time I tried, your brother came over and turned the breast pump all the way up. I still have nightmares about it.
And potty training? Surely you would be anxious and eager since you saw your brother and sister go in the big potty every day. But you decided it was more fun to poop on the floor when you figured out how to take you diaper off. I am pretty sure I saw you flip off the toilet more than once.
And when you got old enough to realize how great it felt to throw a fucker of a temper tantrum, you did. You were probably just trying to be heard, but suddenly I had a 2-year-old who had the strength of Hercules and could toss furniture and books across the room. I can now add sheetrock repair to my resume.
Were my expectations too high? Yes, after all, bringing you into the world is not something that should be taken lightly — it is no easy task. Your father and I were outnumbered, and for me, having you enter our lives like a tornado was a huge transition, even harder than having my first or second.
You have challenged me, taught me things I didn’t realize I needed to know, and honestly, you have loved me harder than anyone else has, ever. And for that, my third child, I will take the colic, the tantrums, the hard labor…but having to give up dairy, well, I am still not over that one.
Come on, let’s go get a grilled cheese and ice cream.