My Take on Going from Two to Three Kids (part one)

Well, I'm not quite six weeks into the whole having three kids thing (an old pro! Ha!) but I've been meaning to update a bit on the transition from 2-3. I was totally obsessed with reading blogs of moms who had three kids when I was pregnant and constantly looked for posts like these. That was probably me trying to look into a crystal ball to see how it would all play out for our family. Would adding another kid mean pure and utter chaos at all times? Would moving from man-to-man defense to a zone defense turn out to be really difficult? I posted a prediction about how stressful three kids would be, after the survey from circulated.

So far? The transition has gone really well.

Like I said in that 'prediction' post a few months ago, I feel like anytime you add a member to your family your personal experience will largely depend on the personality of the baby. If the newborn is colicky, won't sleep, won't eat, or is generally just high needs then the transition is going to be really freaking challenging. Porter is turning out to be quite laid back, is a good sleeper, a great eater, and has been incredibly kind to us. SO FAR (how many times can I use that phrase in this post?). So his content demeanor has made the transition an awesome one for us at this point.

But aside from the incredible gift of a happy/healthy baby, there are a few things I would highly recommend for anyone preparing for another baby. First lifesaver for us? Accepting allllllll of the help offered by friends and family. Especially this third time around, there is no shame in my game of making this a 'village' of helpers instead of trying to be supermom by doing it all alone. My mom and dad came to visit for four days when Porter was born, and having them here plus my awesome in-laws meant that childcare during my hospital stay was not a source of worry for us. My mom came back for another seventeen day visit when Porter was two weeks old. I know, I know.....totally freaking amazing, right? Having her here to entertain Truman and Cecelia while I tended to Porter, to help with the basic housework, to pull meals together, to watch Porter while I took T and C places in the was all priceless. Memaw came for a few days during my mom's stay and another set of eager helping hands is just another reason why the early transition has gone well. We are beyond fortunate to have family that is willing to help, I know!

In the same vein, we are still sending Truman and Cecelia to Lori's during my maternity leave, but just two days per week instead of the usual three days. Having the days at home with JUST baby Porter is really important to me. Those hours spent with my third baby as my sole focus are seriously so special and cherished, because mister P is usually not the center of attention when his two siblings are running around the house. And it's really a win-win because Truman and Cecelia need that routine of Lori's house, they love seeing their friends and having a life outside of me and Porter...even if it's just for a few hours, two days per week. So if you can make daycare or a sitter happen for the siblings in the early weeks of a newborn baby, do it!

Plus, we are lucky enough to have a lot of amazing friends who have brought us yummy freezer meals when they've visited Porter. Normally I would decline having help for our dinners but it's been really appreciated and unexpected, since I feel like doing this for the third time means I *should* be an old pro and not need as much assistance. Sure, I can still throw together a half-hearted meal on my days with three kids along but freezer meals from friends are a total bonus. I have been trying to bring meals to my own friends who have a new baby so maybe this is just a nice case of karma coming back to me now that it's my turn;)

Besides accepting all of the available help offered to you after baby comes, I would also say that having realistic expectations helps tremendously. I had no idea what to expect when I was pregnant but I tried to keep my standards pretty low. If everyone is fed, relatively happy, and feeling loved then it's a win. Housework, to-do lists, showers, and remembering to brush my own teeth are all just extras at this point;) It really does help to have perspective on how quickly the newborn phase will speed past us, since we have done this twice before. So Porter has a rough evening and won't stop crying? Well, I'll do my best to take it all in stride because it won't last forever. I'm feeling stressed out by the three loads of dirty laundry exploding from our chute? I'll just have to do my best at tackling them one at a time when Porter allows me to set him down for two minutes. Soak it in because these kids will be starting school in no time (cue the water works over Truman starting Junior Kindergarten in less than two weeks!!).

Now, remember how I said the transition will depend on the personality of the baby? Well, the personality of the bigger kids is also a HUGE factor....maybe even more important than the newborn in our case. Here is where I say that it's not all puppies and rainbows over here ;)

Hands down, the hardest part of having three kids in this house is my two year old firecracker. Miss Cecelia's personality was highly underestimated when I anticipated her becoming a big sister. She's always been independent, seems mature beyond her two years, and didn't want help with ANYTHING prior to Porter's arrival. I figured she would remain in her own little CC world, oblivious to Porter's need for me, but holy cow. I was wrong!

Cecelia is incredibly sweet with Porter, never showing any aggression or attitude towards the baby. She is obsessed with helping me change every single diaper, she loves to turn on and off my breast pump, she (and Truman!) ask to hold Porter a few times per day, and they randomly smother him with kisses regularly. They obviously love Porter SO MUCH and want to be involved in his care so I have even more helpers in this village (ha!). But Cecelia has had a bit of a rough transition and it's all focused on me right now. It's really hard to see my girl so upset with mommy, crying uncontrollably for no apparent reason, refusing to use her words to communicate with us. Her emotions are heightened to the point that if I tell her, 'No, you cannot have chocolate for breakfast today but maybe after dinner for a dessert,' she will lose.her.stuff. Sobbing, falling to the floor, and she will demand 'carry me, mommy,' more often than not. It's really fun to nurse Porter while attempting to diffuse a two year old crisis with my nonexistent third hand. She needs to be held and carried and needs 100% of my attention much of the time. Exhausting, for sure, and obviously impossible to keep her happy while also keeping the boys alive at the same time.

Maybe this has nothing to do with CC becoming a big sister and everything to do with her being two years old. And an emotional little girl;) Because Truman was 27 months old when Cecelia came around, and she is 25.5 months older than Porter---same spacing, but holy man. Truman NEVER had meltdowns like this when he transitioned to big brother! At least, not to this degree. I will say that CC seems to be mellowing out a little bit with the Mommy-Mommy-Mommy-Carry-Me-Mommy! stuff. We are doing our best to keep her included and give her praises, show her how much we love her, and I've been trying to spend some time with JUST my girl whenever possible. It's just a phase, it's just a phase, say it with me's just a phase.

I don't mention much about Truman's transition to being the oldest of three because if anyone is a pro with this stuff, it's our big boy. He has his whiney moments but truly seems unfazed by the adjustment to three kids. Mostly he just loves Porter, loves and puts up with Cecelia's antics, and is my big helper especially in the van. I'm really glad we have his car seat in between the other two kids because Truman can reach Porter's pacifier and will replace it for me to help with what little soothing P will tolerate in the car seat.

Another thing I wanted to mention in the 'really freaking HARD' section of this post? Parenting three kids alone in the evening hours. I would gladly have them all day long every single day instead of managing them in the hours from 4:30-7:30pm. It's just a rough time of day for everyone and all four of us seem to hit the wall, needing Nate to hurry home and help us pull it together. Making dinner (even freezer meals!) while wearing a crabby baby, trying to hold a raging two year old, and tending to a very particular four year old is no walk in the park. Dinnertime in general is just a madhouse on the evenings when Nate isn't home until later. Some nights are better than others, of course, but this is when I feel totally owned by mothering three little ones. Thank goodness for baby carriers, wine, and the promise of a new day in the morning.

Anyway, things have gone really well at this six week mark of having three children. Once Truman starts school things may change. Once I return to work things will certainly change. As all three kids get a little bit older, things will change again. So I will try to update on this topic a few more times if possible because I'm not naive enough to say, 'Everything is AWESOME!' and leave it at that;) Things are mostly awesome but there are some challenges, too. And yet (total cliche alert!), I would not change it for anything and I'm thoroughly enjoying these kiddos of mine. All of them. Three is a lot of kids but three is an awesome number, too;) 

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Love teaching my crew the art of a group selfie. Truman's annoyance? Cecelia's new smile? Porter's face in the last one? ALL OF THESE CHILDREN are hilarious and I still can't believe they are ours.


  1. Oh gosh, this totally seems like how my life will be in a few months (if I can predict). My two year old is just like CeCe, so independent and able to play alone well, but I fear he will turn into mama's boy when he can't have me! My 5 year old is just like Truman, the perfect little helper and will likely be the best when baby gets here. And... the evening hours, ugh. They are already my most dreaded time when Andy has to work evenings and I fear most the days after my maternity leave when I get home at 5:15 and have to make dinner, handle three kids and get them to bed alone! But, like you said, it will all pass and soon enough it will be "easy" again and just our new normal!

  2. Glad things are as peachy as you predicted :)
    The solo dinner/bedtime routine gets easier with time - promise! Or maybe you just get used to the chaos. I'm still not sure!
    As you know, our 3rd was a pretty tough baby which made the transition to 3 more challenging than we expected, but that being said, our older two were total DREAM BOATS that whole first year. I've learned over time that it's pretty much guaranteed that one kid is always challenging you, but they seem to just take turns ;)

  3. Love this post! I am so curious what it's like with 3 kids. We have 2 and think we are stopping here, but there's a little part of me that is not certain we won't end up wanting one more so I love a little window into that world! Sounds like you're handling everything great so far with a flexible attitude!

  4. I feel like you've just peeked into my life three months from now and wrote about. What you describe is pretty much exactly what I'm expecting. I think Isaac will be an old pro, the baby will be fairly laid back with random fussy times, and Miriam will be a hot mess. :) And YES to evening hours being tough. Always. 1, 2, 3 or more kids...that time of day is just not nice!

  5. Leighton cries MOMMY HOOOOOOLD MEEEE all the time now. It hurts my heart and drives me nuts at the same time! Poor little emotional big sisters!

  6. Ashlynn went through the same thing as CC when we had Kenley. She was so good with her (still is, although did go through a short possessive phase when she got mobile) But all she wanted was some extra mommy attention, being carried, being held, etc. From time to time she still wants mommy hugs, but its pretty much subsided. I'm still in awe of you managing three!

  7. So glad it's going so well, lady! Can't wait to join you in this adventure!! :)

  8. I like that you keep the older kids at Lori's so you can have one on one time with Porter. Good idea!

  9. Oh I agree with all of this and can so relate. And like the other comments - OOF those evening hours when you are just spent. Tonight is the third night out of four of putting all three to bed on my own and I'm so over it. Well, to be accurate I'm still putting them to bed an hour after I should have been done because Bella still manages to be my most demanding child somehow. She's helpful quite often but at bedtime...yow. So needy.

    Hopefully Cece settles in very soon and this tough transition for her will be a thing of the distant past. Sounds like she is still doing quite well, all things considered.

    So glad to hear how well you are doing at six weeks out!

    PS - Such cute kids!!

  10. Glad that transition is going well!!!!!! Oh those evening hours...... they are rough no matter what. Hope CC calms herself a bit someday...... or at least in a way that is less demanding of you! It's a hard transition for a 2 year old!

  11. Loved this! For us, our challenging child is Henry at age 3...though I think it's just age 3 in general.

  12. Love this post so much! I always love reading posts like this, too. :)

  13. So glad you guys are doing well (for the most part!). We are getting ready to do the one to two transition over here and I'm super scared my independent boy that will be 26 months older than my little gal is going to do the same as CC. Here's to hoping not...but at least I know it is a possibility and it can be managed the best you can! :) Love the selfie with Porter's cute little face!

  14. Ahhh, yes. Going from two to three. I remember being obsessed with reading other moms of three blogs. I was scared, excited, nervous, happy - every emotion you can think of I felt it! You are right - it totally depends on the kind of baby you get. More often than not I hear that the third baby turns out to be pretty chill. I guess these third babies knew they needed to give their parents a break! Sawyer is so easy ::knocks on wood:: Of course, we have our moments. But for the most part I have been pleasantly surprised!


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