Wednesday, 9 September 2009

By the time you get to 3...

I have been truly blessed and have 3 beautiful children. I have been pondering on the quality of my mothering over my 17 and a half year career.

With my first child, Eldest Beautiful Daughter I believe the quality was akin to Jenners or for the non Scots amongst you Harvey Nichols. When she was born I peered into every cot in the maternity ward with a smug glee as my baby was the most beautiful. She was THE most precious baby in the universe and nothing was too good for her. I actually made people wash their hands before they picked her up, even my in-laws, no, I can't understand why they got bent out of shape either ! I pureed and mashed her food, every morsel home made and as pure as I could get it, breastfed and gazed into her eyes whilst telling her how amazing she was, all her outfits were carefully co-ordinated and I lovingly laundered and ironed even bibs and babygro's, entertained her every waking moment whilst providing educational stimulus, read every book and childcare theory going and would not have left her for a peko second with anyone was not her father, her grandmother or who had less than an encyclopaedic knowlege of childcare and was prepared to worship and adore her as I did. I researched every nursery and every school and moved to ensure a place at the establishment that was rated the highest as I felt it best suited her (read my) needs. I wanted to ensure she got the best, the very best of everything.

With my second child, The Beautiful Son, born and presented to his Father on Fathers Day (I know, how efficient am I ? the only son) I feel the quality moved down to maybe a Marks and Spencer level, still good but not quite as exclusive. He was not the most beautiful baby in the ward but you were allowed to pick him up without the full hygiene screen. He survived on a mix of home cooked stuff and maybe Heinz stuff from jars (there was no organic baby food then)I breastfed him too but did so whilst watching the telly, talking on the phone or even reading a book. This baby had clean clothes but they weren't always ironed and he occasionally went to bed in a pink polka dot babygro that used to belong to his sister. He was entertained in between picking up his sister from playgroup and the hoovering, he also would enjoy watching a Teletubbies or Bob the Builder video at some point in the day. I would leave him with trusted friends to babysit and was quite happy to do so. I sent him to the playgroup that was local and friendly.

When the Beautiful Baby Daughter came along, a mere 16 months behind The Beautiful Son (making 3 children born in 4 years and 7 months) we came down to functional and economy mothering, Sainsbury's own label, so to speak. I didn't even bother going to hospital to have her, stayed at home, minimum fuss, she was born at 5pm on a Sunday and on the Monday morning I dropped eldest daughter off at nursery at 8.50am and was doing my shopping in Sainsbury's at 9am. You didn't even have to be visibly clean to pick this baby up. She survived on food scavenged from her siblings and was very partial to cheesy wotsists which gave her a peculiar orange glow, her clothes were clean but not ironed but always ended up covered in snot and chocolate and orange goo and my food and parenting snobbery ended abruptly. I breastfed her too but did so whilst loading the washing machine or making the tea, if I sat down to do it I'd fall asleep. She was entertained when her siblings could be bothered and had a Pingu video on on a loop. I would have let anyone at all babysit her, anyone. I sent her to the playgroup that took children at the youngest age.

I hope I have not damaged the younger 2 beacause I had so much less time, hopefully it was counterbalanced by me being more experienced and much less neurotic. The eldest is the most self assured, the middle the most laid back and academically the youngest is the brightest despite not having baby Mozart or flash cards or my omni present attention. They are all very different characters, they bicker semi professionally but they are mine, and the most important thing of all, we all love each other, warts and all.

auntiegwen xxx


  1. This is a beautifully paced post and mirrors all us mothers of three I think, though the results differ slightly.

  2. Moannie - thank you, I often wonder how I would be now if I had a 4th? Would that baby benefit from the patience and knowledge and love of 3 grown up siblings?

    Artist unplugged - many thanks, how my youngest has missed out on so many things is and probably always will be my achilles heel.

  3. Auntie gwen, great post and exactly reflects how we fuss less and less with each child...I remember when I worried if I could love a second child as much as I did my first...and I know its a concern of all mums and dads...but the reality is that we love them to the death!!!
    thanks for making me reflect and remember...

  4. I've only had the one, but suspect I would have become more laid back with each one after the first. I think you are only in training for the first, and after that, it's a piece of cake! Loved this post.

  5. Had three too (in two years and 11 months!!!)and this is exactly how it goes - I don't even remember when baby daughter started to eat by herself! The only one that has a baby album is the eldest son and the middle son has a box of baby pictures that he put together!Loved the post.

  6. Saz - thanks for the kind praise, I was feeling very shamed that I hadn't done my turn for a wee while, things have been a bit rough here x as for the loving your 2nd as much I remember that feeling well

    Rosierio - but you seem to have it sussed with Kay thanks for commenting

    Helen - Michty God wummin, you were busy !!!! yep, I'm sure we're all guilty of the photos :) thanks for your kind words

    helen -

  7. Unless of course, you have your third so long after the other two that you have to start all over again. The nurse at the hospital thought he was my first because I seemed so anxious about him. Mind you, that could have been due to the fact that I was told not to leave him unattended (slight breathing problem there for a while.)

    Not sure about the background as it makes me think my screen needs a good wipe!!!

  8. yes Expatmum..its a blackboard so it does need a wipe!! LOL!!!

  9. Saz, well done for bringing about a new 'us' - I don wonder whether it's a little dark here on the blackboard, as I know some bloggers don't see print so well against dark backgrounds?
    But you are always such a star, my darling! xox

    Gwennie, this is an outstanding post! I've nominated you over at David McMahon's - This is just sooo funny and touching - I am in awe, as I always am of all who write here, especially Saz, but I never mention when I've nominated her, for fear she'd throw the blackboard rubber at me heid! Love you's xox

  10. Fhina you naughty girlfriend!! I have often wondered who done the deed!!

    ( I will look out a lighter backgROUND, DO TELL ME ME IF IT STINKS!)

  11. Expat mum - good point but I think anyone would be anxious if there were breathing difficulties, glad he's well now, he was merely saving his breath for all the talking he does :)))) x

    Fhina - thank you, your own prose is so elegant and I write just like I talk, fast and sometimes incoherently!

  12. autie and me both...everyone tells me to be quiter, even my Mum...but its a latin trait I think, well thats my excuse or else I need a hearing test!

  13. Sazzie, wonderful background, ma dahlink! Mercie millefois! Have a great weekend, treas'! x

  14. Even if it weren't so true, this post is delightful writing, AG. I'm in awe. Thanks for the invite to read it. :-)

  15. Saz - I can't even use that excuse, unadulterated Celt that I am !

    Shirley - I thought it might strike a chord with you, me dear x