As summer says goodbye, I tend to feel an anxiousness - usually because of a new school year starting (I’ll be working with high schoolers this year, so that’s a huge change) or this year because our oldest son’s entering kindergarten. But there’s definitely something even bigger that gets my nerves a little twitchy. Not-so-slowly but surely, the due date for our third child is closing in! Due at the end of October, we’ll be welcoming our third and most likely final child. There are SO many emotions that go along with this, but I’ve noticed that our prep this time around has been a bit...different. Today, I’m sharing a few of these marked differences that have accompanied a third child and seeing if anyone else has had a similar experience. Here it goes! We’re buying fewer things. We didn’t have a shower (or sprinkle, or anything) with our second-born. However, when she was born and we found out that she was a girl, we added to our neutral clothing and cloth diaper stash to round them out with some “pretty” colors. (Mind you, she’d still rather wear some of her brother’s clothes a lot of the time, so hand-me-downs are a huge thing for us.) But, now that we’ve had a girl and a boy, we feel pretty much prepared as far as clothes and supplies. We’ve had people ask what we need and the answer is, genuinely, nothing. We’ve purged as much of our kiddo clothes are possible and still have WAY more than we need, so this babe’s set. We ARE in the midst of figuring out our three carseat scenario, though. That will most likely be our only real cost as far as getting ready this time around. (Suggestions for 3 carseats that work together in a not-too-huge backseat are GREATLY welcome!) A lot of our prep involves our other kids just as much as the bundle of joy. With your firstborn, it’s ALL about that child (and your own learning to be a parent). With a second, it’s about the baby and helping the older child adjust (and less and less about figuring out how to be a parent, although there are still “but your brother never did that!” conundrums). With more than two, there’s a lot of “prepping to keep things relatively normal” for your littles...plus the baby. (And you’re not too worried about the parenting because you already know things will fall in line - you’ve been through postpartum AND helping little ones transition already.) So, aligning both with back-to-school AND this transition, I’ve been trying to do as much in advance as possible to have things under some sort of control later. I’ll be making some freezer meals, making sure that things are set for child care when baby comes, and doing as much Halloween costume-making, birthday prep for our daughter, and in-advance Christmas shopping done for EVERYONE. Whew. I keep forgetting! This happened a little bit when we were expecting our second, but this time the fact that we have both an energetic 5-year-old AND a 20-month-old toddler simultaneously means that...yup, I keep forgetting that I’m pregnant in the first place. It’s weird. And kind of hilarious. I’m one of those people who brushes off aches and pains, or quickly but politely answers those same questions when out and about. With the other kids to focus on, I just kind of keep moving. Not to say that I haven’t been really tired or found that my errands take way more time than they used to, but I just kind of...forget. Until I have to shave my legs. Or catch a glimpse of myself spinning my daughter around in a mirror...and realize that she’s perched on a huge tummy. We’re entering a simpler stage. It may not sound like it when I mentioned getting things ready early for the holidays and everything, but we’re definitely feeling a shift in the family and what matters most to us. Time together, simplifying life to feel less stressed (and to HAVE the ability to enjoy our time together rather than lose our patience), and deciding what our priorities are is the new normal. Things are all about simplicity. So, one thing, we’ve started purging - not just the kid clothes but ALL of our stuff. We recently had a garage sale and I don’t see this trend ending for us. Our hope is just to be able to surround ourselves with what we need and actually love, but also to give us all enough breathing room (and organized systems to make the day-to-day run smoother). And while I mention doing Christmas shopping and birthday prep, I’m requesting FAR fewer gifts (and doing less shopping, myself) and only buying things we know the kids will LOVE and truly enjoy. So, it’s all about quality (AND saving time and money). Our daughter’s birthday will be a small-ish family event (since our baby will be 2-3 weeks old, ack) but I’m setting it up to be special by prepping in advance. There’s less worry. When we had one child, we worried A LOT more. Then, when our daughter was on her way, we worried tremendously about how he’d handle the change. Our son is super smart and funny, but also has a sensitive soul, so we were very concerned about our transition (and while he loved his new sister, we were right; he had a very rough time). But, we all made it through and are so thankful for the lessons we learned getting through it all. So, who knows how our daughter will handle things? She’s even younger and REALLY doesn’t “get” it much...AND she’s a mama’s girl, so goodness knows. But, we know we’ll get through it with hugs, deep breaths, and the reminder that almost EVERYTHING - good and bad - is a phase that will eventually change and shift. The only worry worth letting into our thoughts is the health and wellness of all three kiddos. And a name. That’s kind of important, too, right? Hmm. Raise your hand if you have three or more kiddos! Or if you’re considering having a “larger” family (isn’t that such a relative term? Three kids is nothing if you have 8...or 10...or 12). What were your experiences?? We’d love to hear.