Friday, 16 May 2014

#3 Can Lick the Cat

The arrival of spring is special. As spring arrived in 1994, it marked the completion of our little family with the birth of our #3.  It also marks the anniversary of  the day that I decided childbearing was overrated.  In 2014, it ends our 13 year commitment to raising teenagers.  Our little Bridget just turned 20 years old.  Somehow this seems unfathomable.  How did I survive parenting this little spitfire.  How did we endure these 3 kiddlings?  Now that the youngest is 20, does that mean I am officially done??  Is it over?  Is it finally over???

The decision to have a 3rd child seems crazy to many, it is a given for others and a goof up to some. Bridget's imminent arrival, though a conscious decision, was still fraught with thoughts like "OMG what have we done?" and "weren't things just getting easier?".  We had "our boy and our girl".  We had our millionaire family.   We waited for a cheque to arrive, but Bridget arrived instead.

Millionaire Dollar Family
A pregnancy with #3 was different than with #1 and #2.  News of  the first baby to be born within wedlock, at a stage when everyone is asking "any babies in the picture?" , is met with excitement and congratulations.  No mentions of the downside to parenthood.  No one really describes labour.  Everyone jumps on the Bliss Bandwagon. One hears the simple question, age old question:   "Do you want a boy or a girl?" followed quickly by "I guess you just want a healthy baby".  With a second bundle of bliss on the way, people just seem to see this child as a given.  Forget the "healthy baby" thing now, though, it's "you must want a boy."

When the leap is made from 2 children to 3, people seem more
comfortable making somewhat negative comments.  "Was this a mistake?".  " The 3rd will confirm that 2 really was enough". "Watch out for the third child, they are always difficult".  "But you already have your boy and your girl.  What were you thinking??"

"Well" I imagined saying, "this time we are hoping for a puppy".
 I mean, honestly, people, the bun is in the oven!  There is no looking  back.

Just when I had had it with Negative Nelly's hands on my belly, a lovely friend, a mother of 3 children,
slightly older than ours, confided  that  it was #3 who brightened and completed her family in a way she couldn't describe. Lynn tried to relay the thoughts she had about a relationship that she treasured and finally gave up and she extended her best wishes on the addition to the O'Rourke family.  It brightened up my last 3 months and I will always be grateful to her.  I now understand.

When we were expecting Bridget, I was informed by all whom had "never been wrong" that we were having a boy.  We were not interested in finding out the gender of the little one.  On April 14 at 1am, I was told to get back into bed and  "relax with a cup of tea".  At 4am, Bridget made her way, kicking and screaming into our world, all 6 pounds of her, soaking wet. When we realized that we had a little girl, we just laughed.  It was the first of a lifetime of laughs with Bridget.

 Katelyn was so thrilled to have a sister.  She brought pink cupcakes to
Waiting for #3
kindergarten to mark the big day.  Afterwards, when she actually met Bridget she was not too taken with the little alien. Baby Bridget, though overdue, was a scrawny scaly little thing, unlike our plump pink little baby Katie.  I know all parents feel their baby is gorgeous and the most beautiful child ever.  I am objective. I am confident that Kate was the most beautiful baby in the nursery, as I readily admit that Bridget was not.

When Kevin was told that he had a little sister, he replied "and I have new shoes too".  In addition, he also was heard to say "I am so lucky to have 2 sisters."  As Grandma would say "Oh, God love him!".

One comment that proved accurate was that there are different challenges that come with the third child. With the arrival of #3, we were effectively out numbered.  It was time to go from man-to-man to a zone defence. Her first year was manageable as Bridget was strapped in and immobilized in her car seat.   Being born into a family with 2 children on the go, meant the new baby was effectively carted from event to event.  A car seat was nothing fancy back in the day.  It was pretty much a liner and a buckle. It didn't even have a handle, let alone a Sony sound system and a built in Tassimo.  They were pretty accurately named "bucket seats".  Bridget was carted on my child-bearing hip, like a 2-4 of beer.  She came to recitals.  She came to brownies.  A baseball landed right in her car seat.  With gasps from the crowd, Derek held Bridget up for all to see that she did not in fact catch the foul ball.

It has come to be accepted that birth order has an influence on how the child is raised and affects their character.  "They" say that each child is born into a different family.  There are many studies about the traits of the high-achieving eldest, the neglected middle child and the spoiled youngest.  I am not sure how these tendencies are reflected in our children, but I do realize that the 3 kids were raised with the intention of consistency, and in actual fact, they were all tormented and tickled, but perhaps in different ways.

To best illustrate this, the 1st child can look at the cat, the 2nd child can pat the cat and the 3rd can lick the cat.

We carried Kate up and down the stairs until she was too heavy to lift.  Kevin was taught to carefully crawl backwards down the stairs, with a spotter behind him all the way.  With #3, after nap time, we would hear a series of thump, thump,  thump, clunk.  "Oh, Bridget's awake".

Birthday Party???
Bridget celebrated her birthday this year while  in the midst of exams.  There was no lavish party.  We gathered for pizza at Grand'maman's, in north Toronto.  The guest list was reminiscent of Bridget's birthdays in Florida.  We visited my parents each April and celebrated with hot dog picnics and Sara Lee cakes.

 I would like to recount birthday parties thrown in her younger years.  However, to be perfectly honest,  I don't really recall any of Bridget's birthday parties. I am aware that there were parties.  Bridget would have made sure that she was not missing out on anything.  I imagine there was a pinna-ta of some sort and day-old Easter
Ice Cream cake.  Let's face it.  I was pooping out.  I cannot find a photo of any party, so I am including
this photo of Bridget and Kate because it looks like they were having fun.  I am hoping this passes as a birthday photo.

From my picture hunt, it seems that although Bridget was apparently neglected in the birthday department, she was none-the-less baptised.  She also made her First Communion.  I am unsure whether she made her Confirmation.   It appears that she is not yet married.

Parenting Bridget for the past 20 years has been a welcome challenge and a privilege.  She came into the world making us laugh.  She continues to do this.  Apart from Crazy Bridget stories, that all enjoy, I have resilient Bridget stories and compassionate Bridget stories.  To say she "stirred things up" would be an understatement. She has always been regarded by Derek and me as a welcome addition to our Millionaire Family.

Bridget is priceless.

Millionaire Family + 1