Seven years ago we were blessed with the most perfect little boy. It was a textbook pregnancy and birth from start to finish. He was the happiest, sweetest and friendliest baby- our world revolved around him! He made us want a million more kids, because he was that good.
Enter baby boy number two. Another perfect pregnancy, this time even better than the first! Our sweet second boy brought just as much joy to our home. When he turned two, he and our older son had really started to bond, playing more together and becoming friends! Our little family was becoming exactly what we had hoped and dreamed it to be.
When my husband and I decided to embrace the insanity of adding a third child to our family, we heard all the classic lines.
“The third time’s the charm!”
“Once you have 2, adding another is no big deal! What’s one more anyway?”
“3rd babies are always the easiest!”
“Maybe you will get your girl this time!”
“I’m the third child and my mom always says I was the best baby!”
“A third boy would be so easy now that you have already had two!”
“Three kids is just like two, just a little more juggling, that’s all!”
After two kids we thought we had parenting down. Two awesome little boys and with news of another boy joining our family, how could a third boy be any different?
Enter boy #3, Ryker.
From conception, our sweet little Ryker had already thrown us for a loop. I started my pregnancy with a subchorionic hematoma, went into the ER several times for hemorrhaging, weeks of home and hospital bed rest, Placenta Previa causing an early delivery, and an unexpected C-section.
Ryk was our smallest newborn, with the biggest and strongest personality. He was a gem at the hospital but once we were home, he just cried. And cried. And cried. This was something that we hadn’t dealt with with our other two boys. Nothing worked, we had never had a colic baby before! It was exhausting trying to soothe him and deal with the other 2 boys who had other needs of their own.
Ryk continued to be a hard baby. It seemed he was upset all of the time, and that there was nothing I could do to comfort him. Multiple ear infections led to tubes, which we hoped and prayed would “fix” his irritability.
Fast forward to today. Ryker is now 22 months and is still a very difficult child. He is not up to speed with other kids his age as far as speech and communication, and has a very strong personality! It is hard to not compare him to other kids his age and wish he was doing things that other kids are doing. He isn’t anywhere near where his brothers were socially at this age. And while we know these things will change over time, I write this to hopefully reach other parents who are feeling the same way as we are right now.
How do you cope with your difficult child? Here are a few things I have learned and tried to apply to help me when I am at my wits end:
Take breaks. When mama needs a break, GO. If that means scheduling a pedi with girlfriends or just hiding in your closet with a Snickers bar and a Diet Coke—go! Sometimes all it takes is a breather to gain composure and clear your mind.
Ask for help. I know this is a hard one for most of us, it is for me! If you have family or resources around you that you can ask for help, this is a game changer.
Special one on one time. When I spend alone time with my little one, where I can give him the attention he truly needs, I appreciate and love him even more. When I can get special time with my older boys without the distraction of my youngest, they feel validated and everyone is happier.
Talk with other moms. There’s something therapeutic about sharing stories and frustrations with mamas who GET IT.
Don’t play the comparison game. Focus on the good! Every baby and toddler and tween and teenager is DIFFERENT, and that’s what makes the world so beautiful.
Not everyday is blue skies and rainbows in motherhood. In fact, there are lots of thunderstorms. But I have learned that through those storms is when I grow the most as a mother and have greater appreciation for the peaceful moments. There’s always a calm after the storm, and sometimes we are lucky enough to see a rainbow too.
While we have been taught a lesson that maybe we didn’t have parenting in the bag like we thought we did after two kids, and maybe that third child isn’t the “perfect” child we hoped he would be, we most definitely have learned how to love harder, be more patient, dig deeper, and to hold on tighter- because it truly is a wild ride.
We couldn’t imagine our family without our crazy number three and we wouldn’t have it any other way! Do you have a difficult third child? How do you weather the occasional storm?