The Third Baby Reality
I took my youngest to a Mommy n Me class this week. He’s 15 months and it was his first one. His sister, who is seven years older, went to a Mommy n Me almost every day. No really, I signed up for an unlimited package and took her every single day. I also took her to baby gymnastics, the park, on countless walks in the stroller, and even a baby immersion Spanish class.
In comparison, this kid has really been jipped. This was his first time in a room full of babies, toys, and bubbles. He came alive. He climbed, he played, he danced, he laughed.
My heart was full watching his joy.
And then Mom-guilt sank in. Fifteen months and this is the best I can do? One class, once a week.
We went home and waited for his siblings to get off the bus. The siblings that hadn’t been so deprived of fun baby friendly activities. They have been thriving socially, probably because of all the wonderful activities we did together when they were young instead of me carting them to the grocery store and Target.
They ran through the door with a boatload of energy, and I set about getting snacks and unpacking their lunch bags, washing Tupperware and going through their folders.
Life is so different with three instead of one. Even if I wanted to take him to a baby class daily, I couldn’t. Between volunteering at the kids' school and the sheer volume of household tasks to maintain my home with five people, it’s just not an option.
As I was contemplating this and what it would mean for him and his future, I heard peals of laughter from the family room. I poked my head in to see what was so funny and I saw the two older siblings playing football with him. They were essentially playing Monkey in the Middle but letting him get it sometimes and then tackling him. He was hysterical with laughter. And the two older kids were having fun too.
I handed them their snack bowls and the baby demanded they share, which they both did, breaking up pieces of their crackers and peppers for him to have. He went between them like a little prince, letting them feed him.
Then they started a band while I made dinner. Each had an instrument and they paraded around the house, helping the baby switch between instruments.
The baby was delighted. Maybe even more delighted than he’d been in the Mommy n Me class with all the other babies.
You forget as a parent that circumstances change so much between your children that comparison is faulty. While my first may have gotten to interact with lots of little friends, she didn’t have older siblings to run a circus around her when she got home.
So I smiled to myself…. And I gave myself some grace. Because he’s going to be just fine.