Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Baby Number Three

Some might consider this post a year – or even two – overdue.

It’s the post where I finally admit that Baldy Baby, aka The Third Child, is no longer a baby. She is a little girl, three years old tomorrow.

It’s not just our children who experience rights of passage when they have birthdays. Let’s be honest, they’re really only interested in cake and presents at this age, and can’t really tell the difference between a birthday and Christmas, unless they are particularly observant about colours and the fact you eat cake instead of pudding.

But for parents, admitting that your youngest child is no longer a baby, can be a momentous occasion. It represents a shift in your status as a parent: one that can often lead to serious contemplation and navel gazing.

What am I doing with my life?

What have I achieved?

Will she ever get out of nappies?

Baby Number Three was an unexpected surprise for me. That’s not to say she was unplanned: on the contrary, she was highly planned and efficiently accomplished. But prior to that I had adamantly declared I only wanted two children.

It was only during my pregnancy with my now five year old Middle – The Curly Mop – that the possibility of a third was mentioned by my husband. Only once mind you, and obscurely at that: we were at my 19 week scan and I mentioned with a degree of sadness that this would be the final time we ever saw a baby of ours on the ultrasound screen.

All he said was ‘why is this the last time?’

That’s all it took for The Third Baby to become part of my life. Six little words. And the other bit, of course.

The simple truth is I can no longer claim to have a baby. If the child is old enough to say ‘no Mummy I KID now, not baby’, then you don’t have a baby any more. Even if she’s still in nappies, and still has a dummy at night, and still talks like an alien, if she’s able to debate every one of those topics with you (and win), then you don’t have a baby anymore.

While this is liberating in some ways, and I can chuck my baby stuff away with abandon, it also raises certain fears and doubts. Most of them centre around all the other things in my life, such as my writing, and the excuse that ‘having a baby’ (which brought with it certain leeway), has expired.

Shit. I might actually be expected to start performing.

So even though it is the Third who will be celebrating with presents and cake tomorrow, it’s me who is experiencing the milestone. I can say with certainly that the baby phase of my life is now over, and I have moved into the next stage.

What that brings with it, is anyone’s guess.

Happy Birthday Third. Every day I am grateful for you in our lives.

that was then...
this is now...


  1. Oh yes I hear you. No. 3 is only 7 months old so I have a bit more leeway. But when I don't? Goodness knows what will happen! Can't we just catch up on sleep for the next 5 years...?

    1. I thought that too Amy, but I don't seem to be getting much more sleep. There is just MORE reasons for them to be getting out of bed...

  2. I love your blog!!! My youngest will be one next month and I have been thinking about it a lot. I have three boys (almost 7yrs, 3yrs, and baby) and I know I don't want anymore but the idea of being absolutely done with that part of my life is sad. I hope she snuggles you a little extra today.

    1. Thanks Anon, she has indeed been snuggly. She even said 'thankyou' when I gave her presents, a mind-blowing act of good manners the other two have never managed :o)

  3. I am glad to know I am not the only one struggling to come to terms with not having a 'baby' anymore. My daughter will be 13 next week, and my sons are 6 and 3, they are growing up way too quickly (though the days can be very long!). And it is sad that the years of babyhood, and all the things that go with it are over (though don't miss the sleepless nights). And scary as it means they are closer to going out into the world, where I can't protect them as much...

    1. You have hit a nerve Donco, and I think you are 100% right. Maybe the sadness isn't so much that we no longer have babies per se, but that babies are easier to protect (and control!!) than older kids. Perhaps the sadness is actually fear. Thanks for commenting.


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