10 Ways My Third Child Is a True Third Child

That's pulled pork stuck to her face. It remained there the entire meal. (Photo: Erin Zammett Ruddy)That's pulled pork stuck to her face. It remained there the entire meal. (Photo: Erin Zammett Ruddy)I had my third child in November and, as expected, it’s a very different experience than with my first and even second. The baby is simultaneously spoiled and deprived, both doted on more and ignored more. In some ways I feel like she’s getting the best of me. In other ways, the worst. Though there are many reasons, it basically boils down to the fact that this time around — which is my last time around — I’m more confident, capable, and calm about the whole thing. I’m also way busier and, occasionally, more overwhelmed.

As a result of all of this, the third is already proving to be different from my older two, who were only two years apart and got a fairly similar parenting style (centered on strict naptimes and bedtimes and well-rounded, scheduled meals). At least once a day I say, “Well, she’s the third child!” Sometimes it’s after I let her sleep in my bed (something the other two still have never done to this day). Other times it’s after taking her out in public wearing a hand-me-down Grateful Dead tee with avocado smeared on it. I have an endless list of third child infractions but these are my current top 10:

1. She had her 7-month check up when she was 8 months old. I had no questions for the doctor.

2. I let the older kids babysit her. The older kids are 6 and 4.

3. There are exactly two photos of her on display in our house. One is the Christmas card.

4. She has a used car seat, a used crib, used clothes, used toys, and a used stroller. Many of them first belonged to my son, which means she often gets mistaken for a boy. Sometimes I don’t correct people.

5. She ate pizza crust for dinner last night. She may have it again tonight.

6. When she falls down, no one goes running.

7. When the pacifier falls on the floor, it doesn’t get sterilized. Or rinsed. Or put in my mouth. I wipe it on my shirt and hand it back to her.

8. She has napped in the car, in my arms, in her high chair, in the stroller, in the Bjorn, on a towel at the beach and, some days, not at all. When she naps in her bed, she often gets interrupted because we have to go pick someone up.

9. When I remember the diaper bag, it occasionally has diapers in it. Related: She has worn a maxi pad instead of a diaper. (You can read all about that hack.)

10. I love her the most. I’m kidding, of course, but now that I have a third and I know she’s my last and there’s enough space to really enjoy her (my next oldest is 4 and a half), I truly am. And I completely get how the third child often turns out to be the most mellow and laid back (and spoiled) in the family. There is just something that happens when you know it’s your final go at this. I’m pretty sure she loves me more than the others love me, too. We’ll see how long that lasts ...

There are many, many more examples but that’s it for now. This is also it for my posts on Yahoo Shine. Please check me out over at erinzammettruddy.com where I’ll be blogging regularly or follow me on twitter @erinzruddy. Thanks for reading!