As you may know, I’ve been licenced to father children, and thankfully, unlike some people who haven’t been screened and licenced like me, I am not producing these children at an alarming rate. Our two kids are 4 years apart, and we’re expecting another one roughly 3 years since the last one arrived. This rate of reproduction suits me just fine. I feel like I got some quality time with each of my two kids right now. I have no issues with those parents that pop out offspring in rapid succession – hey you have to do what works for you and your family. We decided to space them apart a bit, and it has worked out for us. We got 4 great years with Abigail, and now we will have had 3 years (almost) with Amalie when Peanut arrives in late December.
I’ve been putting a little thought into the what ifs of our new family member. So what if we have another girl?
We already have two girls, and so, in many ways, having a third girl would be a blessing. It would feel comfortable. I feel like I know my girls now, and I’m pretty easy-going when it comes to my girls. I think it would be straight-forward to add another girl to the mix. Amalie is such a little mother hen, and absolutely gushes and fawns over any baby within a 20 mile radius of her, so we think she’ll take to a little sister really well. Abigail, well, she’s Abigail. She’s definitely a head-strong little woman. Let me tell you a story about Abigail.
One day when Amalie was 2 weeks old and sleeping in her crib, and Abigail was 4 years old and watching some loathsome show on Treehouse, my wife was in the shower. She heard the phone ringing multiple times, but knew she was getting out of the shower shortly and so she didn’t rush to the phone. When she finally got out, dried herself off and ambled casually to the answering machine to see what she may have missed, she was in for a shock. There were 3 panicked messages from her twin sister. Her sister indicated that my wife needed to call her immediately and that she was very, very concerned. My wife looked around – no noises from the baby monitor, and Abigail was laying on the floor, quietly watching Dora. Puzzled and anxious, she quickly called her sister. Her sister relayed the following situation: Abigail, who had memorized some people’s numbers at that age, had called her to report that Amalie had a bleeding nose. She was worried about her little sister, but couldn’t really help her out of the crib, and her mommy was in the shower. Upon further questioning, Abigail admitted that it was her, in fact, that had caused the nosebleed. Further pressing revealed that she had punched Amalie in the face until her nose bled. Aimie hung up and ran to Amalie’s room – sure enough, our little 2 week-old angel was laying peacefully in her crib, sleeping – her face bloodied and crusted over with blood and the bed sheet full of blood. You can imagine that I got a call next. We were absolutely astounded and when we talked to Abigail about it, she admitted freely that she had done this and that she had been upset at Amalie for getting all the attention. As freaked out as we were, we certainly learned a lot from this too. We punished Abigail and clearly outlined what was acceptable behaviour towards a baby in the house. It never happened again, and I think we all learned something that day. It scared the daylights out of us, to think we might have a little psychopath on our hands, but we quickly gathered that we certainly weren’t alone in this and this happens more than we thought.
So Abigail – well, we’re not sure how she’ll take to the new addition. But she certainly has the ability to be a wonderful big sister – for the most part, she is a caring, responsible child and takes very good care of her little sister. Do they fight? Heck yes! Do they make up as quickly as they started and move on? I’m glad to report that they do.
Another girl would mean 3 girls. And I’ve seen only too closely what the “middle child” syndrome can do to a child, as well as a family. There appears to be a human trait that causes us to focus most on our first-born and our last-born. Ridiculous, you say? It’s not – it’s been documented. That works out really well for families with 2 kids. Add another into the mix, and I firmly believe you have to actively watch your own behaviour towards your children, such that favoritism (intended or not) doesn’t shine through. It can be devastating to a child’s psyche and their development. A child, I’ve learned, can quickly read into our behaviour, even into the little things like body language. When you are focused on your first-born and on the baby, it will quickly become apparent to the middle child where they fit in. And that might feel like nowhere. I do NOT want this to happen in my family. Amalie is as precious to me as Abigail and as whatever we have now. And one thing I’ve heard over and over from folks with 3 kids is this: if you have 3 kids of the same sex, the middle child syndrome is also perpetuated amongst the children. There is a kind of pig-in-the-middle thing going on and often 2 of the 3 will band together against the other. I’d hate to see that happen. We’ve been told by people who have 3 kids, with 2 of one sex and 1 of the other, that it appears that less infighting takes place. Why that is, I don’t know.
I suppose I should just come out and say it. Having a third girl would be easier. We’ve got the clothes, the toys, the experience. We could easily bunk up two of the three girls. I could use the same baseball bat on all the boyfriends that come along. I’ve fallen in love with my two girls and I know I would fall head over heels in love with another one. I’d look forward to that instant bond with my baby girl – the one that causes me to get up in the middle of the night to hold my girls and just stare at their faces in the moonlight – amazed at how blessed we are and thankful for their lives that have been entrusted to me. I would think it would be an easy fit into our family, and I would welcome another little girl. The honest truth, and I’ve said this before, much to most people’s surprise – if I could pick, I’d want another girl. Our only real issue is the name – we ain’t got one picked out for a girl yet.
But what if? What if it’s a boy? My thoughts on that are coming up in my next post… Do you have experience in the parenting department? How many kids do you have? A mix, or all the same? How have you played the hand you were dealt? I’d love to hear from you in the comments if you care to share.