I feel like all the posts I read before having our third child (Emma!) centered around how crazy you are for having a third child, ha! Really, it was not the most encouraging information I’ve found. Even separately from that info, going from two to three had caused me to encounter all of those emotions.. you know—terror, fear, excitement, freaked out, scurred, elation, super scurred, more.
As you may have surmised, many of these feelings were perpetuated by these small people outnumbering me, their ages at the time (3.5 + 1.5 + newborn), etc. This is all we’ve ever wanted to be sure, but there were some practical points to it all that freaked us out a bit. Because I couldn’t find a ton of positive content about welcoming a third kiddo, I thought I’d share a few saving tips that have kept me functioning and—dare I say—totally loving this ride!! Down below, I highlight some gear that has literally saved my life every single day.
Be brave! It’s not as scary as you think! Really. There were a few days right away that really made me nervous, and going anywhere was a huge feat! But I talked it over with the kids (mainly Luke) and we just went for it! It feels a little bit like Russian roulette, never knowing who’s going to break down, run away, be unexpectedly hungry, or urgently have to go potty. The first few outings to the doctor’s office were practice for us 🙂
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Maybe any sort of parenting will en you up in this conclusion, but if I got too hung up on every small detail, I would go crazy. Sometimes I just have to let something go, sometimes I won’t catch it all, it’s a marathon, not a sprint..
The tide ebbs and flows, work with it, roll with it. Maybe that’s a little abstract, but what I mean is that you’ll figure out each child in their separate seasons as time unfolds. When we first began the journey of three, Emma just needed to eat and sleep all day, I needed much rest, Kate was in a busy 18 month stage and Luke did well to have personal one-on-one attention. We hired a helper for one day a week and had other arrangements for little moments of respite here an there. It was HUGELY helpful.
Receive help and enjoy it! When James offers to take everyone on a Saturday so I can do everything or nothing at all, I learned after modestly declining once to never under any circumstances do that again.. enjoy the help moments and do whatever you want to—whether sleep, Netflix, cleaning, working out, no expectations.
There are so many amazing moments we encounter on a daily basis that could not be possible without each and every member of our family. I can’t picture life without any one of our children and despite roller-coaster days, there are extraordinarily quiet days too. I forget to mention them because they contain less dramatics, but they sink deep down into the joyful part of my soul, and I treasure them!
Lastly, as much as you can, figure out the right gear. I say this because you don’t always know what works for your family or your kids until you’re in the moment, but these ones have helped us!
1) The stroller: this by far required the most investigation work. I had a stroller that connected to my car seat that I’d used for Luke and Kate (this one), and then a double stroller for jogging and walks with the two of them (this one by Thule, still have, still use multiple times a week and love). This time, I knew I wanted something that could flex to the need I had in the moment, for when I only have the carseat, or only one of the big kids, or both, or one carseat and one toddler, or one carseat and the big kid kick board, etc etc. I need flexibility!
There were two strollers that seemed to be closest to my needs and I ultimately ended up with the Uppababy Vista (I have the Henry blue colorway). We purchased the frame that comes with a bassinet and carseat and then purchased separately the rumble seat (which you can see here), upper adapters (which allow for the carseat and seat on stroller), the kick board and I’ll probably get the cup holder one of these days.
Maybe this seems like a lot of bells and whistles (well, it really was..), but we’ve use every last one and it really is awesome (the bassinet the least of these, which is included pretty much no matter what, so there’s not much saving on that one). I have these few key accessories in the back of my car at all times so that no matter where I end up, I have every configuration necessary. This thing is my third, fourth and fifth arm, it’s been so smooth to use, perfect for a long walk, quick trip into the grocery store, tons of storage, easy fold up. I could go on.
TWO Sleeping arrangements. Because most of our stuff was already falling apart from the two “big” kids, or already had because they were hand-me-downs even before us, I knew I needed to reassess what sort of sleeping gear I would need. I wanted a Moses basket for the beginning months, and one with a stand so I could have a spot downstairs to set baby down. I went with this one and we use it for daytime and nighttime sleep (I found the stand there too).
THREE Carrier. Oh bless you carrier creators. I have the Happy baby wrap, which I’ve had since Luke. I’ve loved it, and want to try this Tula one next, available at Anthropologie. So I’ve got a Wildbird too. Instead of taking time to wrap on like the Happy wrap (or any of the like: Solly, Moby, etc), I’m able to slip the ring sling on and be on my way a little faster.
FOUR Backpacks. Instead of a diaper bag, I went with a backpack this time—for myself and for the big kids that are old enough to carry their own items. Luke easily grabs his and he uses it for preschool or for days we want to pack a few books or toys or snacks. I’ve also slid in an extra pair of shorts and some flushable wipes, just in case. Kate is able to carry hers and I keep her diapers/wipes and a few things in there for her. I keep Emma’s items in my bag, but she has a pack waiting for her when she’s ready. I opted for the Fjallraven Mini Kanken for the kids because the colors are classic and they are great quality.
FIVE Car seats. Before our minivan rescued us from eternally tight spaces, we found that we needed specific car seats fit three-across in our car.. OOF. I hadn’t expected that and three new car seats at once is not what I was necessarily thinking about. MUCH research was done—The Car Seat Lady was a great resource. I needed car seats 17″ across. Spoiler alert, there aren’t many! I ended up with the Uppababy car seat for the baby in the Henry color way; it was nice to stick in the same family as the stroller. For the big kids, we picked out Diono car seats. These seats are easier to use forward facing in my opinion, because they take up quite a bit of room backwards. They are super safe and super heavy, and don’t underestimate how long it takes to install them! I’ve gotten much better at it 😉
Once we purchased our van, we stuck the big kids in the far back in their Diono seats and Emma is in the center bucket seat in her Uppababy carseat. She will soon upgrade to a backward facing convertible seat, and then most likely end up with a Diono, three across in the back of that van with Luke and Kate 🙂
Well, there you have it! I will keep these tips and items updated as much as I can, especially as we learn and grow in this adventure. If it isn’t clear yet, please hear my message of solidarity! We’ve got this! Meanwhile, thanks for reading and godspeed!