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.)

photo 1-4


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.

photo 3-4

photo 1-3

photo 5-3

photo 4-4

photo 5-2

photo 2-3


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.


photo 1-4

photo 3-2



Did you like this? Share it:


  1. But he’s soooo cute, though! I think the youngest ones know all the things they can explore and get into, and they see it being done by others. They definitely grow up quicker and bring all that comes with that.

  2. Francie says:

    That boy is so adorable! Great pictures! My third also upset my applecart! 😉

  3. If I could catch that kid I’d totally eat him up.

  4. April Dobson says:

    My third was sick from day 7. She followed busy boy (11 years older) and neverstillneversleep girl (4 years older). I heard the same nonsense. Our lives revolved around baby girl because of her food allergies, OT, PT, ET and VT, learning disabilities, seizures, panic attacks and everything else that can make life hard. I hired help, because life was unbearable and my husband traveled 5 days a week (coincidence? I have my doubts).

    She’s 13 now and mostly a regular teenager (God help us all) and she asked me why she was born last. “Because if you were first, you’d be an only.”

    Also, #2 always hid lunches in the play kitchen and keys in my underwear drawer. Hope that helps.

  5. Aww that boy is gonna be a chef and make some lucky girl very happy– pasta every night? YES I’ll marry you!

  6. Hillary says:

    But…my third baby is so mellow. Please don’t tell me this is only a brief stage! Waaaahhh!!!!

    At least that colander-wielding baby is adorable!

  7. Allison Hart says:

    Whoa boy! I will just read this again if ever my ovaries give me a pang of “it’s not too late…” My first was like this and holy hell were those years exhausting! There’s good news and bad here: you will always know all hidden dangers in any environment, good. You will know them just seconds after he does, bad. You will never sit down, bad. You will burn more calories every day than everyone else, good!

  8. Toulouse says:

    You have a future celebrity chef on your hands! I’m thinking Italian food.

  9. Thanks for the birth control. I mean, good LORD that kid is adorable. But yeah. No. I’m all done. And when Hubs starts itching for trying for a man-child like he was the other night, I’ll have him read this.

  10. Holly says:

    Haha! Adorable & hilarious. That’s how my second child & my fourth child were. My third child was a very mellow baby & toddler, but now that she’s getting older, she’s not quite so much anymore. But, it’s good.

  11. Kristy says:

    Oh my. Are you sure you aren’t talking about my 3rd child?? My almost 17-month-old? Seriously. He couldn’t be more opposite of mellow. He’s crazier than the other 2 combined were. And my kitchen is also his favorite place to be. Sigh. His favorite pastimes are unrolling the aluminum foil rolls, pulling the kitchen towels off the stove and stomping on them, and completely emptying the sippy cup and Tupperware cabinets, making sure to try drinking from all of the cups while he’s at it. I joke that his little tornado self merely needs to walk through a room and everything is destroyed behind him. For real.

  12. Chelsea says:

    This is spot on in my life — and it’s even more so with my twins who are #4 and #5!

  13. Christy says:

    This should make you feel better.
    You just described my second exactly all the way down to the pasta strainer. I have to laugh at his antics because he is the easiest of my two children. It could be worse, much worse, trust me.

  14. Elaine says:

    Oh my gosh he is so cute! I have never known a mellow 3rd child. You are spot on about them wanting to be right in the mix of things.
    And that colander – too funny.

  15. Jessica says:

    One of my middle ones was like this. I remember going to other people’s houses and wondering how they could NOT have everything locked down. We purchased a shop-vac just because of him and I used to dream up ways to just attach it to his waist so he could vacuum his disasters as he went. You will survive. With plenty of blog fodder, but you will survive.

  16. Anna says:

    My third is like this too — without the colander obsession. Just be glad he’s making himself known, you won’t have to listen to “forgotten youngest” stories when he’s older at least! And the cuteness, for serious, should let him get away with it all!

  17. Ah, he’s running you around!

    I think some of this rings true for my youngest. He was the only one able to draw on walls with markers long enough to recreate the Mona Lisa. That was probably mommy inattention, more than anything else.

    But, he does all do all those mellow things. Like, his tolerance for waiting around is greater. He’s a better self-entertainer.

    I think I got the typical third child. Sorry you got screwed (however, oh so cutely). 😉

  18. Danielle says:

    great. I’m due with #3 in about 3 weeks. #2 was a handful, I was counting on this one bring calm.

  19. Alison says:

    We planned to have a third, instead we got a third AND a fourth. People say twins are a double blessing, but I have a feeling they will be double trouble.

    Your third is adorable. Colander and all.

  20. So funny! And same story at my house. My third is now 6 going on 16. His favorite phrase: “Here’s the deal, Mom…”

  21. Tanya says:

    lord help me my third is only four month old and he’s already getting away with a lot more that the first two. If he’s any thing like his older brother I’m doomed holy hell I’m doomed his older brother is a monster child already at 5 kid thinks he’s chimpanzee climbs on every thing nothing is ever put up out of reach he just climbs to get what ever he is after. I have this feeling they are going to team up and be the dynamic dual. My husbands thinking a fourth child will be a good idea we need an even number he says we need to try for another girl he says hahahahaha not a chance in hell

  22. Elaine A. says:

    Maybe the fourth one will be mellow?!? 😉

  23. Sarah Adams says:

    Love this! As I type, it’s 2:05am, and my husband and I are trying to corral our 19 month old (our 3rd) between us in bed so he won’t get down and run wild!

  24. Francie says:

    Just catching up on your posts, and this made one me laugh out loud. This describes son #1 AND son #2. Hence, there is no #3! I call them both Dr. Destructo! Now that they are 15 and 12, they have calmed a little. I stress A LITTLE. It’s still crazy – just different. They use stuff, and never put it back; they tear through the food like a pack of ravenous wolves; they’re constantly throwing a ball, swinging a bat, wrestling in the house – oh and the master bed seems to be the favored wrestling arena. EVERY.SINGLE.THING is a competition between them. They use my new white towels to clean their new clay-covered baseball cleats. At least once I week I lament, “I CAN.NEVER.HAVE.ANYTHING. NIIIIIICE!!”

    My husband used to ask me if I was sure I didn’t want to try for a girl. My response was always a swift, “NOPE! Might be another boy.” But all of that said, little boys sure do love their mommas; and they often surprise me with little hand made cards or will bring me a “flower” (weed) they picked in the yard. **sniff** Time passes so quickly.


  1. […] awesome post about her third child. It’s irresistible, I tell you. Go have a laugh about how The 3rd Child Will Be Mellow And Other Lies People Tell. You’ll find out why a colander sometimes makes the best soothie. Would you change your […]

Leave a Reply to fordeville Cancel reply