The Third Child Will Be Mellow, And Other Lies People Tell

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. Hell, I’ve been wanting to write any post at all for a while. But I have to make it quick, because I have a very limited window before my 19 month-old attempts any of the following:

  • Pulling discarded food out of the trash for snack time
  • Attempting to remove, with mixed success, the electrical outlet covers
  • Opening the oven
  • Manning the stove
  • Locating a steak knife in the bottom dishwasher rack and setting off a potential Barbie hostage situation
  • Resisting sleep at gold medal levels
  • Breaking childproof locks clear off the cabinets from sheer brute force
  • Moving my car keys to various undisclosed locations

Maybe my mind has gone soft over the last year and a half, but I really do seem to remember hearing the following generalizations about third children when I was pregnant with mine:

“They just go with the flow. They have to.”

“They’re soooo mellow.”

Things like that.

Interesting, I say. Also, the term bullshit comes to mind.

I know that generalizations are just that. But still. I’m starting to think these are the same people who told me that, one day, I’ll forget the pain of childbirth. Or that one small square of chocolate can satisfy a sweet tooth.

Friends, my cabinets are locked down. My outlets are covered. My doors are all closed when rooms aren’t in use. These are things I did not do with my first two kids. In fact, I think I might have rolled my eyes when others did. (Truth. Sorry.)

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I admire this child and his desire to make his mark on our family. I further admire his clearly-defined plan to do so. It seems to have four basic components:

  • Stay awake, all the time, at all costs
  • Carve out a distinct path of destruction
  • Move, with abandon and whim, any and all important objects to top-secret-toddler locations
  • NEVER, ever lose contact with the giant colander

This last one is key. My sweet boy has an obsession with my kitchen ware. No kid-sized pots and pans, thankyouverymuch — I tried. Trust me. So while the Tupperware and various serving utensils really are his Toddler Toy Holy Grail, you’d better be prepared for 31 pounds of sheer fury to unleash upon you at the mere suggestion of taking that colander from him.

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Some kids have security blankets or lovies. Mine holds a pasta strainer near and dear to his heart. It’s really no surprise, I guess, coming from a long line of carb loaders.

When not poised in a warrior-like position and wielding stainless steel cookware, he can often be found hoarding and stacking and nesting any and all things he can find. Like DVDs, princess accessories or perhaps random spices. They are found days to weeks later in unlikely places. Just before throwing away an old gift box leftover from Christmas the other day, I realized something was still inside. Oh, look, there’s my paprika, my sunglasses and my older son’s overdue library book, along with some half-eaten crackers.

Ask me how many minutes in an average day I spend trying to find the remote control for the TV. We should all thank him for helping us cut way back on our screen time.

So, the mellow third kid stereotype? Not happening.

He wants to be in the mix so badly, to participate in the orbit of his older siblings and join their craziness, their noise, their games. He wants to be busy busy busy busy busy.

He wants to be non-stop and he wants to be held.

He wants to not miss a single thing.

He is not mellow, this third child. He does not go with the flow. He wants to be heard.

And yet, once in a seemingly blue moon, he is still.

Just long enough for me to find my keys and wash out the colander.

 

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