Many of our friends, all happy to have two children, have nevertheless asked the question of a third. With three children in four and a half years, my husband and I have gone through this ordeal (the question of whether we have survived has not been resolved yet) and we are frequently asked our opinion on the issue. That’s why we came up with the idea of making a very useful list of the differences between two and three children. Make sure you have it on hand before committing the irreparable. As to whether the difficulties related to the education of four, five or six children – or more – are exponential, their mere evocation is enough to make us adopt a fetal position, which is not very practical to write an article.
- The household. Parents of two children often feel that they can’t clean up as quickly as their dirty offspring. This “treadmill” effect, very destabilizing, leads to a sensation of complete helplessness against the heaps of toys, clothes, and books that accumulate in an uncontrolled way. Be aware, however, that dirt and disorder will pass the higher gear with one more child, and you will suddenly discover a multitude of objects that you did not even suspect existed. At the end of the day, you’ll also find used towels, pieces of plaster tape, bits of raw meat, medical waste, a 77-meter roll of scotch tape, and a rusty acoustic horn.
- The stories before going to sleep.
When one settles to read a story to his children, having two allows them to be comfortably positioned on each side of the parent and the book. When we have three, there is always one who feels excluded. This results in conflicts quite similar to those of the Ultimate Fighting Champions game, where each faction tries to preserve its living space by any means necessary, including the use of physical violence.
Raising three children rather than two costs about 1.49752 times more expensive. Logic? Absolutely not. Do these figures come from rigorous mathematical analysis? Of course not. We had to sell our calculator so we could buy shoes for our third child. Let’s calculate how much does a baby cost for parents.
- The “parents’ bed”.
Yes, I know, we should never have made an exception and stick to the rule: “At night, children sleep in their own bed. But our state of exhaustion got the better of our determination (see Sleep, below) and we have just realized that our gigantic bed would prevent our three intruders from elbowing, kneeling and in their sleep, like frantic Morse messages.
- The triple relationship.
Nobody talks about it, but it’s extremely important. Between two children, there is only one relationship, and only one. Factice! So, three children, the number of relationships is not content to double, it triples (go ahead, count, we wait). Three simultaneous dyads, three complex temperaments, three times more reasons to blame, three victims of potential jokes, three possible fighting motives, three endless retaliatory measures because there is one who has deliberately farted on the presentation of the other.
- The noise.
Parents of two children sometimes complain of having a house a little too noisy. Those who have three do not even hear what these couples say (and no one else, by the way).
- The car parks.
When a parent of two children is frolicking on a parking lot at rush hour, he can easily hold them by the hand. But in a frantic race with three children, it is necessary to apply the so-called caterpillar method: “Do not let go of your sister’s hand. Give him your hand! Give him the hand!!!! STOPPED. YOU. AND! GIVEN!! HIM!!! THE!!!! HAND!!!! Even so, you can be sure that your five-year-old daughter will run while you pray to the sky that she does not cross the road of a young driver texting behind the wheel a few meters away.
- The strollers.
In case of absolute necessity, you can always manage to hold two children in a single stroller when they categorically refuse to climb the last meters of coastline that separate them from the entrance of the zoo (you will later wonder if the lemur enclosure was well worth it). With three children, do not even count on it. Of course, you will still try to stack them on top of each other in the stroller, but this sculpture in unstable equilibrium will provoke forbidden looks among passers-by, uncertain of attending a Cirque du Soleil performance or a terrible accident. of the road.
- School reports.
The number of school reports, colleges and presentations you will need to take a look at will sometimes seem insurmountable. With three children, these stacks of documents will mate and multiply while you sleep, to the point that your old worksheets will eventually not leave you: they will serve as a napkin, pillow to sleep, towel after the dishes and washcloth.
- The open house at school.
It remains between us but … what a chore! (No, we love teachers!)
Do the math: 50% increase with a third child, and it’s everywhere.
- The cars.
With two kids, you can keep the Toyota Prius. One more and the probability of having to invest in a Renault Space increases considerably, especially since a sliding side door is now essential. Which brings us naturally to:
- Archeology in a vehicular environment.
It is quite possible that the parents of two children stumbled upon one or two rather unpleasant things in the folds of the car seats, sometimes in the form of fossils, which makes their identification impossible. But with three children, some residues will require a specialized research unit.
- Leisure while traveling.
Discounts on tickets to promos in restaurants, recreation are thought for families with two children. Also, know – and this is the strict truth – that you will not be able to book a hotel room in Manhattan if you have more than two children: reservations for five are not possible (probably because rooms in questions are smaller than your younger sister’s head).
- The restaurants.
When a couple with two children waits in a table for four gets free in a crowded restaurant, he knows he can take place in less than six months. With three children, on the other hand, he has the choice between pitching his tent for the night in front of the waiter who makes him wait or to be ingenious in discreetly setting one of his toddlers under a plate.
Gastroenteritis has no secrets for the parents of two children, especially when they start to evacuate their bodily fluids through two orifices at the same time. One more child, however, and the virulence – and frequency – of these gestures, and all kinds of illnesses seems to be growing exponentially since everyone is in contact with more peers and friends of his age. . Do you want to know the commonality between lice, angina, conjunctivitis and the Norwalk virus, at the molecular level? Ask any parent of three or more children. He can explain what happens when all these diseases are declared at the same time – for the twelfth time.
Huh? Wait. The what?
- Babysitting. If you have two children, you may know several families with two children where an exchange of good procedures, or a request for babysitting at the last minute, is organized easily. At three, these exchanges are more rare and difficult because taking away three children to a couple who has only two makes you feel guilty. No worries, you will say to me. Just find another family with three children! Except that you will quickly realize that said parents are lying on the floor, exhausted, in the living room, and you feel guilty more. For you, babysitting is not an option!
Parents of two children may have the misfortune of having to take their offspring to the emergency room for stitches, heavy coughing, or stitches related to a strong coughing fit (this has happened, ask someone who has three children). More families are more likely to go to the emergency room so quickly that they will quickly beg the staff to implement a loyalty card system that allows them to enjoy a free sandwich from time to time.
- The strategy.
With two children, parents can share the task. From the third, they will spend hours separating the wrongs of each one, and determining who of the two had the idea to have another one.
- The partner who relieves you.
When you have a child and your partner takes him for a walk so you can breathe, you are deeply grateful to him. When you have two and there is one who is going to walk around with his father or mother, your workload will drop by 50%. But when you have three and your half tries to slip away with one, catch up and remind her that she is exposed to severe consequences by not fulfilling her part of the contract.
Two children are two pairs of eyes watching the world with wonder, two little mouths smugly smiling when you talk to them about marmosets, and two little voices that tell you “I love you” after you’ve patiently responded to their questions about life in space or that you taught them how to cut an apple into slices. With three children, there is all that in three copies, and that’s about the only difference that matters to us. Besides, we would not change anything in the world. And we’ll tell anyone who wants to hear it, as soon as we find a pair of clean jeans and our ears stop whistling.
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