Dear 3rd child, I am sorry you have always eaten in the car, that your brothers lick you, and that you smell like a foot. I'm trying my best, I promise.
Humor Parenting

Apologies Owed to the Baby

Dear 3rd child, I am sorry you have always eaten in the car, that your brothers lick you, and that you smell like a foot. I'm trying my best, I promise.

By Ashleigh Wilkening of Bless this Beautiful Mess

My newest bundle of joy, as you’ve reached one month old, there are already so many things I need to apologize for. You’re the third child and in the short amount of time you’ve spent on this earth, I’m realizing there may be some truth to this ‘third child syndrome’ and the vastly different parenting styles associated with each subsequent kid. In comparison to your brothers, it feels like you are already being raised by a completely different set of parents.

What is that smell?

You smell like a foot. I’m not even going to sugar coat it.

Recently, when I found myself catching random whiffs of an unpleasant aroma, I couldn’t figure out what it was, leaving me walking around the house, sniffing everything in close proximity. As a parent to two toddler boys, you’d think I’ve experienced enough distinguishing smells to easily recognize a stench’s originating source. Then you came along.

Between the baby-wearing in the Florida summer heat, non-stop nursing sessions and your brothers’ constant need to touch you, it’s no wonder the mix of sweat, breastmilk and whatever toddler residue imprinted on you has created a foul odor.

When we had your well-baby visit, I was waiting for the doctor to comment on your scent. My response would’ve blamed my concern of excessive bathing and a fear of drying out your skin. Who are we kidding?

Yes, you’ve had baths, just not as often as your siblings did at this age. Every time I plan to give you one, something comes up to deviate us from our intended course. Yesterday, I got caught up playing referee to your brothers’ wrestling match and completely forgot afterwards. The day before, we were running errands only to come home to dinner time chaos followed by the bedtime routine. Tomorrow, I promise, my top priority will be to give you a bath and return you to a deliciously smelling infant.

Newborn Photography & Monthly Photos Can Suck It

With both of your brothers, I did the newborn photography thing. Instead, you’ve had to suffer through a mom pretending to be a photographer. You patiently watched me look up ideas on Pinterest and attempt to recreate them in real life. Many hours were spent interrupting your sleep, contorting your body to fit into a rustic wooden box or laying uncomfortably on a white rocking chair. You even put up with me trying to catch those classic pictures of you on your belly and your bum in the air. It was safe to say you were over it when you pissed and shit all over the blankets. 

Monthly photos? Your one-month photo was supposed to be taken 5 days ago. Every morning, I wake up with the best intentions to put you in a cute outfit, plop a bow on your head and take that damn picture already. As usual, something came up or by the time I remembered, it was too late. I’m not going to lie, if a few more days go by without a photo being taken, I might just scrap the whole monthly photo idea entirely. The commitment is enough to make me not want to do it.

Sleeping & Eating On The Go Is Our New Normal

With your brothers, I guarded their sleep with my life – always at home, on time, in the comforts of their own bed. An occasion would have to be pretty momentous to interrupt this schedule.

With you, my dear, car naps will be a welcomed rest and flexibility will be given to bedtime. We are always on the go to a doctor appointment, school drop-offs and pick-ups, errands, and activities. Three children under the age of four, each with unique sleeping schedules, can be a logistical nightmare to figure out. If I let you all only sleep at home at specific times, we would never leave the house, and never leaving the house sounds like a horrible nightmare.

Along with sleeping, eating has also been happening on the go. The last breastfeeding session we had without interference was in the hospital post-delivery. You’re probably so accustomed to eating in motion, it feels unnatural to eat without movement. Every nursing session is usually interrupted to get one of your brothers a milk, snack or whatever they so desperately need at that time. I knew being a mom involved a lot of multitasking, I just didn’t know this extended to breastfeeding well. I dream of the day I can sit down and relax while nursing you for an entire session. One day.

The Two Wild Beasts Running Around, AKA Your Brothers

As I look over to you this morning, your brother is licking your hand because, well, he’s two years old and he’s pretending to be a cat. Not 5 minutes pass by without your brothers needing to pet or touch you in some way. They love you more than anyone has ever loved anything; they just show their love in a funny way.

Every time they are near you, they can’t help but to scream, “HI, BABY,” or show you all their toys, which more times than not ends up with dinosaurs being dumped on you. I don’t think you’ll ever know what personal space is with them around. If you’re being changed, nursed or even carried to the car, they are right there by your side, wanting to ‘help’ in any way they can. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always feel like help, but because they love you so much, we’ll keep up with the charade.

On the rare occasion your brothers aren’t by your side or in your face, you can hear them. From sun up to sun down, the noise is constant. If a suspiciously random silent moment does happen to fall upon our house, it’s only because they’re up to no good. Screaming, yelling, dinosaur roars, animal sounds, doors and drawers slamming is what you are used to. Thankfully, I’d like to think it’s preparing you to sleep with noise because up to this point, you’ve have no problem napping through it.

Wish There Was More Of Me To Go Around

Most of all, I’m sorry I’m not able to devote 100% of my time and energy to you. So often, I just want to hold you without a distraction requiring me to put you down. You have to share me with your brothers who are two highly demanding toddlers. It’s a juggling act and even with my best effort, I still feel some mom guilt when I’m not able to run to your side upon the first cry or whimper. 

Dividing myself equally amongst you three is not an easy task and more often than not, I feel like I’m failing. Someone always needs to be fed, changed, put down for a nap, or some good ol’ fashioned snuggles and kisses from mom. While you watch me running around like a crazy person trying my best to give everyone the attention they need, remember just how much I love you, even if you smell like a foot.


About the Author

Ashleigh Wilkening is a SAHM of three children under the age of four who spends most of her days on a never-ending quest for a lost toy. She is a lover of caffeine, naps and a generously poured glass of cabernet. On the rare occasion she gets free time, she contemplates taking a nap in the family van, but finds herself exercising as it’s a more legitimate excuse to escape the house. She writes at Bless This Beautiful Mess and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.