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Two’s company, three’s a crowd: What my third child taught us all

Nikki Stevenson

Nikki Stevenson

Nikki is a parenting writer and a mom to three wild boys who keep her on her toes (and occasionally make her question her sanity). With over 15 years of experience in the parenting industry, she has more tips and tricks than Mary Poppins on speed dial. When she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can find her sipping on coffee, hiding in the bathroom for five minutes of...
Created on Oct 30, 2023 · 5 mins read
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In the beginning, there were four of us: my husband, our two sons – Tyler, aged six, and Tiago, aged three – and me. We were a tight-knit family, navigating life together as best we could. However, as our little ones continued to grow, we couldn’t shake the feeling that our family wasn’t quite complete. We decided to try for a third child, secretly hoping that we would be blessed with a baby girl this time. I was just hoping not to be so outnumbered.


My dreams were filled with pink bows, tutus, and dance recitals. We spent many nights discussing our hopes for our future daughter and even named her after my grandmother Lovella. But life has a funny way of throwing curveballs. When we went in for the ultrasound, we were met with the hesitant news that our doctor thought the baby MAY be a girl (after spending much time convincing her to give us a guess even though it was early).

A few weeks later, low and behold, our following scan showed we would be welcoming another boy into our family. I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that I burst into tears (if my son is inadvertently reading this sometime in the future – my bad, I still love you madly). However, after my kneejerk reaction, I pulled myself together, and the excitement of a third child took over.

With the arrival of our third son, Alex, it quickly became apparent that our family dynamic had changed entirely. As any parent of three will tell you, adding a third child to the mix is not just about dividing your time and attention among more children; it’s about adjusting to a whole new way of life.

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One of our first challenges was fitting three car seats into a normal-sized car. We had to get creative with the seating arrangements, and it quickly became apparent that our family car wasn’t quite up to the task of transporting our growing brood. After much research, we finally settled on a 7-seater – a decision we now jokingly refer to as “surrendering to parenthood.” I did manage to resist the SUV family stickers, though.

Booking holidays also became a whole new challenge. The majority of hotel rooms are designed for families of four (gap in the market here, people!), and finding accommodations that could comfortably house our family of five proved to be quite an adventure – and still does. It took a fair amount of searching and negotiation, but we’ve managed to create some unforgettable memories.

Another element of holiday bookings is that I point blank refuse to share a toilet with them. The bathroom can quickly become a war zone with my children, especially being boys. From fighting over who gets to use the toilet first to an inexplicable inability to aim, we’ve spent more time than we’d like to admit cleaning up after our little soldiers. Or closing their toilet door and using mine instead.

Aeroplane flights were another hurdle to overcome. Long gone were the days when our family of four could sit together in a row, sharing snacks and giggles while soaring through the sky. With three children, we were now forced to split up, taking turns occupying the dreaded middle seat as we navigated the not-so-friendly skies.

Mealtime with three children can feel like a high-stakes game of Tetris. Fitting everyone around the table and ensuring each child has the appropriate utensils, plates, and cups can be a juggling act. We’ve had our fair share of spills, dropped food, and impromptu food fights as we tried to manage the chaos of feeding our brood.

Speaking of food, Alex seemed to be born with an aversion to any food his older brothers like, with an extra dose of stubbornness to round it off. I was always that Mum that would say, “Children must eat what you put in front of them”. Now I think back on that version of myself and laugh hysterically as I cook two different dinners every night just to get a little peace during the witching hour.

However, amid all the challenges and adjustments, we discovered the incredible joy our third child brought to our family. Alex’s arrival turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He was a bundle of energy and enthusiasm, always ready to explore the world around him. His infectious laughter and boundless curiosity soon wrapped us around his little finger.

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Our older boys took to their new roles as big brothers with gusto. They formed a strong bond with Alex, and their love for him was evident from the moment they laid eyes on him. We watched in awe as they helped teach him to walk, talk, and navigate the world around him.

Sitting back with a cup of coffee and watching them huddle in a circle (now 6, 9 and 12 years old), inventing games and being each other’s best friends is one of the most heartwarming moments I have experienced as a mum. Even when their huddles inevitably lead to a prank on me!

Alex also taught us, as parents, the importance of adaptability and patience. We had to learn to let go of our expectations and embrace the chaos that comes with raising three young boys. We discovered new ways of juggling work, school, sports, and family time and new strategies for maintaining our sanity amid the whirlwind of parenthood (It’s coffee. The strategy is coffee.)

In the end, we are grateful for the unexpected journey that our third child has taken us on. Despite the many hurdles and challenges that come with raising three children, the laughter, love, and learning experiences that our family shares make it all worthwhile. Our third child may have brought a whole new level of chaos into our lives, but he has also taught us the value of patience, resilience, and finding joy in the unexpected moments.


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