This week my eldest will turn 5. I’m not sure where the last 5 years have gone. But now I have three children. Three.
I remember finding out we were expecting our third baby, working out that we were going to have “three under five” . . . the very phrase struck fear into me! Even my nurse told me that mothers of “three under 5” went on a “special list” and would be visited to discuss contraception . . .
I remember googling “three under 5” to see what other people’s experiences were, about how they coped. I think I just wanted to be told it would all be ok. Some people would tell us that really it was no harder than having two children, others would tell us that it was a nightmare and that having three children would completely change the dynamic of our little family.
Either way it was happening. It has happened. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Yes having three children has it’s challenges, having three children under the age of 5 even more so. As people are so fond of telling us, we do have our hands full but you just get on with it.
What’s it like having three children under five years?
* We no longer all fit in one car – your average family car doesn’t fit three car seats across the back and we haven’t been able to afford to buy anything bigger as yet. (Of course if they were older it wouldn’t be quite such an issue as their car seats wouldn’t be so bulky.)
* You don’t have enough hands – two children, two hands. Winner. Three children – bit tricky! Especially when you’re pushing a pram! In this instance a baby carrier can be a lifesaver! You quickly come up with little routines to deal with this, for example Ben and Chloe are very good at holding onto the side of the pram when I ask them to.
* Family tickets are for four – So far this hasn’t been an issue as Amy (and often Chloe) doesn’t need to be paid for but it’s certainly something I’ve become aware of when we’re planning days out
* Nappies – When Amy was first born Chloe was still in nappies (or pull ups) during the day and Ben is not yet dry at night so the amount of nappies we change is huge and it felt constant in the early days. Chloe is now dry during the day and Amy doesn’t get through quite as many nappies as she did when she was newborn so it’s calming down a bit!
* You’re constantly checking you’ve got enough kids – Every time we go somewhere I’m always checking we’ve got them all, checking which children Dave has, who I’ve got. I think it would be really easy to leave someone behind thinking the other one had them! (With two you’ve always just got one each!)
* It’s expensive – three lots of childcare mean it’s barely worth working, three lots of birthdays, Christmas presents, shoes, clothes etc.
But it’s also amazing, they all absolutely adore each other, Ben and Chloe play so nicely together (most of the time) and they’re really lovely with Amy. It’s gorgeous watching them holding hands walking down the road to school and taking care of each other. They will always have one another to talk to, to look out for each other. They keep each other entertained, they teach each other things, they just love each other. What more could we ask?
I’m sure as they get older the challenges will change – as Amy becomes more mobile and more demanding of our attention in different ways, it will become increasingly expensive as we work hard to keep them “even” – make sure they each get the same opportunities to have swimming lessons or attend clubs . . . and don’t even talk to me about what it’s going to be like when we’ve got three teens to deal with, I don’t want to know!
To quote their godfather Will, coping with three under five “is like herding frogs” but we wouldn’t have it any other way x