3 is a…

There is so much to be said about the blessing, the bustle, and the brightness of our newest family member and the associated changes to everything and all that was before!

People have so many comments about life with 3 kids. I cannot and will not blame folks- strangers and friends alike- who have something to say about their experience with the trifecta of children; I myself almost always have something to say and a comment to add!

The most common refrains, isms, and platitudes include:

1. “3 kids…have to change your defense from a man-to-man to the zone”

2. “3 kids…now you’re outnumbered!”

3. “The 3rd kid really puts you over the edge.”

4. “The 3rd kid has to be more laid back and flexible..they live their life on the go”

5. “The transition from 2 to 3 is a hard one but now that you have 3, you might as well have 4. You’ll hardly notice adding another kid”

6. “So, are you guys done? Is 3 the magic number?”

I have no answer for statement/question number 6…too early to say!

I have no great response to any of the comments so far because the newness of it all is still settling upon us. We are growing into the family we have become. Rhythms, schedules, identities, memories, habits, rituals, and beliefs will morph slightly to include who Oakley is, who Oakley has made us as the Osbornes, and what we have to do to live well as a family of 5.

So far, I’ve noticed some marked differences of my own in having 3 kids instead of 2. We were living in a pretty set way, I knew what I could expect and how things were going to go last year. We’d had 2 kids for 4 1/2 years…there was a certain normalcy established. Now, things are different- not different bad or necessarily different in that things are better now than before. Just change, plain and simple and good…change that makes us grow and makes us better. We love Oakley and what he’s done to shake us up, move us forward, and show us joy. Here are a few small ways however, we now live a little differently:

1. THE WRITING ON THE WALL: I haven’t written a blog in over a month. I way overshot what I would be capable of after Oakley was born. Being a pregnant mother of a 4 and 6 year old left me lots of time and energy and the aforementioned status quo schedule that I was accustomed to. While pregnant, I planned 2 big Young Life retreats, a conference call, Halloween party, and visits with family members for the first four postpartum weeks. It seemed doable with the baby on the inside and the sleep coming in 7-8 hour blocks. Living it out with a newborn, interrupted sleep, and no semblance of a normal schedule was much more difficult. What wasn’t necessary for life, limb, or my YL job got left in the dust…ie: this blog. (Case in point: as I write this paragraph Oakley is crying on his way to a nap (hopefully) and I have phone call from my boss to return. I’ve left the computer chair and returned 3 times already)

2. CHANGES IN THE KITCHEN: Sometimes I find myself at 9:30 in the morning, having been awake since 7:20 (after of course waking up to feed Oaks at 1am, 3am, and 5:30am) but not yet eaten anything for breakfast. More importantly I have breastfed but not drank any water…or coffee! There is lots to do and one thing often leads to 5 other things to do next. It seems I can do a bang-up job of rinsing dishes but rarely these days do the rinsed dishes find themselves all the way to the dishwasher! I have decided to give myself the gifts of just-add-water pancake mix and pre-ground coffee beans. It’s simplicity over homemade and freshly ground to get through the mornings these days.

3. WITH SIBLINGS: Oakley is loved and hugged, carried and bugged, by his adoring, busy, and proud older siblings. Having three kids in the house instead of two, having a baby in addition to a kindergartener and preschooler has meant:

-As I walk around to burp or bounce a fussy Oakley, I often walk over or into Nerf guns, a Captain America shield, and the Barbie jeep. I smile thinking of the blank- un-toyed carpet I walked with infant Eli over my shoulder!

-While nursing Oakley, I can also read a book to Andi, practice phonics with Eli,  play a game with Andi, or eat dinner with everyone. I don’t remember so much multi-tasking the first two rounds!

-The volume is high! At the same time, or in a continual fashion, we hear kindergarten stories and questions about how things work from Eli, Andi singing and Oakley crying!

-Tears abound. Oakley cries, I cried at least twice a week in the first month of his life due to hormones and the overwhelming pace of life, and Andi has entered an emotional state herself- so many tears!

-There are extra helpers- lots of low jobs can be handled by shorter people- grabbing things off the floor, running to get a bink out of the car seat etc… Eli loves to read to Oakley and does so with kindness and voice inflection. How fun that Oakley hears so many different voices throughout his days!

-Andi is my helper, shadow, and friend. She takes initiative to help Oakley with a head rub, a shush, and a binky if he’s sad and alone. She can’t stand to not hug him and kiss his head when she wakes up in the morning. She likes to remind me of reasons he might be crying: “Is his diaper clean Mom? Maybe he’s hungry or maybe he’s tired”.

-Eli acknowledges Oakley’s personhood. He hears phonics sounds in his cries and celebrates how smart he must be! He’s “training” him to “pound it” and wants him to sit up and have a place in pictures!

-When Oakley is out of his diaper and sprays a shower of pee into the air, it has found itself landing on Andi’s stickers or Eli’s schoolwork. Ooops. When Eli had a pee shower, there was nothing for it to land on but me…now we’re wetting perfectly good papers/stickers!

-The Boppy nursing pillow is used not just for feedings but as a landing pad for Eli’s ninja moves.

-Infant baby toys have dual purpose as additions to the Barbie world Andi plays in or “Ok-go” chain reactions that Eli builds. Who knew simple toys for 1 month olds are also fun for imaginative older siblings!

-There are coughs and kisses and love and it all just gets all mixed together!

-Joy is shared not just between Drew and me as parents but with Eli and Andi as well. Daily, each of us point out cute and precious things we adore about Oakley, how much we love him, and how happy we are that he is here.

We love the newness, celebrate the sweetness, share the chaos, and try to soak in every moment. We know from Eli and Andi’s infancy that this precious time flies fast. Indeed, that is also what “people” always say: “Pay attention, slow down, time goes so fast. They’ll be in college before you know it…”

So we will sit with you Oakley, sing to you, read to you, jump over you (carefully Eli), cartwheel for you, cuddle you, tickle you with our unbrushed morning hair, and bounce you around our full little house…caring deeply for who you are and paying attention to your brand new days. You are the third kid in our family and what we know to be true will continue to present itself. We’ll be sure to tell people how great it is to have you and that we couldn’t imagine life without you!




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