Lucky Fourth

Three kids is the new two, right? And so now the fourth-born is the “extra” one, who lacks love and attention and tags along as the prime three enjoy the limelight.

In fact, I think my fourth-born has a pretty sweet life. He’s doted on by his three older siblings of course. But also, he has a mom who is better able to enjoy the toddler years because they pass, and who doesn’t measure herself based on the whims of a toddler. Baking with a two-year-old used to be a mandatory part of baby montessori homeschool expectations that I held myself to.  I judged myself a failure if my kids were reluctant or made a mess.

My fourth-born and I bake together only when we feel like it, expecting a little mess. He sprints to the kitchen to get in on the baking action. He loves how stirring and pouring feel, and he is willing to help clean up his spills. He sneaks handfuls of batter when I turn the corner for a second. And he is so cute with batter and melted chocolate on his face.

All in a good morning’s work:

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/ Kellie

    That’s what I think is so great about not being a first time mom. I am better able to laugh at the ridiculous and cute behavior of my toddlers, knowing that this too shall pass, and not thinking that their every moment reflects poorly on my parenting! I often think that parenting books are a bit ridiculous these days, as they are so focused on each developmental phase, and raising one perfect kid, that they miss the larger picture, and leave us overthinking everything. We are raising not just individuals, but a community of people. We are raising a family, and our parenting should be family oriented. We are all growing and changing and loving and forgiving, and I am so thankful for my 4th and 5th child, they remind me and my older children to laugh, lighten up, and keep perspective.

  • Kat0427

    Thank you for this refreshing post, JM! Wish I was right there baking cookies with you guys :)

  • Karen

    It is the same with our fourth. I think she is one of the most loved babies on the planet. Her siblings adore. Her brothers have both pledged to run into burning buildings to save her. My tween girl always talks to her in the sweetest baby voice. They call her things like “my treasure” and “my sweetheart.” What is great is the older children are no longer in their me centered toddler stage, they think about how their baby sister feels about things and shows all the good fruit in them that we have work and prayed so hard for!

    Agree with Kellie, it is so much more fun parenting because I have learn so much. People today give up on having more kids just when it gets good :-)

  • Kat0427

    Karen, as someone who may have big gaps in age between our oldest and youngest children, I am encouraged by your words – thank you for sharing! I have always loved watching families with teenagers and babies – the interactions between the kids are so sweet – and I even heard one mother say that she thinks every teenager needs a baby brother or sister :) Of course, this isn’t God’s plan for every family, but maybe every teenager at least needs a friend who has a baby brother or sister!

  • FYKW

    I know there is probably a post out there about this, but do the Builders have advice on or a strategy for keeping very active, busy-body almost toddlers/toddlers at bay during Mass? I feel like I can never pay attention more than a few minutes at a time. Being a first time mom, I worry about when I need to start establishing good habits. My little one is so fidgety the whole Mass! We try to distract with Cheerios, the sippy cup, books (on Mary and prayers with great illustrations), and her big first rosary, but that only takes us so far. We allow her to stand and cruise (she’s not fully walking yet, thank goodness–what happens when she is walking??) and then try to hold her, shift her between the 2 of us, etc. It is endless distraction. Is there anything we can do? I figured you all would know what to give up on and what works. Thanks!!


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