How Raising A Third Child Is Different From Raising The First Two

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 

I am a mother of three children. In my experience, there seems to be a direct correlation between the number of children one brings into this world and the…”level of quality,” shall we say?…of their care. They are not loved less, of course, but there seems to be less time and energy to give. Between activities, practices, homework and, well, life, our third child has learned to roll with the punches. I am certain this will enable him to be a laid-back, well-adjusted adult. I have provided a few examples for clarification purposes.

Baby Book

First Child: No detail is left unmentioned in this riveting account of every doctor’s appointment, the first smile, the first poop, the first haircut, the second poop and every visitor they had in the hospital, including each nurse’s name and shift time. Pictures adorn every page.

Second Child: You cover the basics: height, weight and a few of the most important milestones. You even manage to glue in a handprint reindeer from your daycare’s holiday project.

Third Child: I’m pretty sure we have your birth certificate around here somewhere.


First Child: Served a bouquet of every food group methodically cut into bite-sized pieces. Every meal presented pristinely on $15 Pottery Barn Kids monogrammed plates, matching sporks provided.

Second Child: Chicken nuggets aren’t that bad, are they? I’m certain there is chicken in there somewhere. As long as I serve them with an apple and occasional vegetables, he should be just fine.

Third Child: You want ketchup and Goldfish crackers for dinner? Sounds reasonable. Do you mind eating that in the car? We’re late.

Reading Time

First Child: Spend at least one hour every night reading age-appropriate books purchased from Barnes & Noble. Discuss each character, animal, shape and number, no plot twist left unturned.

Second Child: Dig out suitable pop-up book that has not been ripped up and torn to bits by sibling. Explain that this particular Disney princess is special because she does not need a head, or arms, to be adored by all the animals in the land.

Third Child: The back of the Chinese takeout menu can be a wealth of information.


First Child: You spend hours online researching the perfect mix of educational, colorful and safe toys to satisfy your child’s every whim. You carefully inspect each toy for possible choking hazards. All toys are scrubbed each night with a mix of vinegar, water and breast milk siphoned from virgins.

Second Child: You hit up local garage sales, carefully cleaning each toy with spit in advance of playtime.

Third Child: Here’s a box of tampons, kid. Get creative.


First Child: Each outfit is systematically laid out—including matching socks and hat—pre-washed in Dreft and dried by unicorn whispers.

Second Child: Boys can totally rock pink pajamas. And pink socks.

Third Child: A Batman cape and swim diaper are perfectly acceptable for Mother’s Day brunch. Hurry your ass and get dressed, we’re late.


First Child: You have her nighttime routine nailed. Bath time followed by gentle massaging of relaxation lotion over tiny body. Read two and a half books, sing three songs, all while strumming a guitar and releasing butterflies into the room as you softly close the door. Repeat 14 times.

Second Child: You clean off his feet with a wet wipe and remember to turn the night-light on as you leave the room.

Third Child: (looks at husband) Did we put him to bed? Where is he?

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