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To My Third: Tomorrow You Turn One

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Dear Alexander,

You just fell asleep. This, after we slow danced to a mix of Van Morrison and John Mayer until your eyes closed and I gently put you in your crib. It’s our new bedtime ritual as we embark on weaning from breastfeeding. I can’t believe my nursing journey is coming to a close; with three boys under five, I feel like I’ve been breastfeeding the past five years.

It’s not particularly easy being the third born. I’m no longer a “new mom” …I’ve been-there-done-that with the other boys, so you have a different side of me, whether good or bad. It’s a more chill side. A busier side. A chaotic side. And a side that has to be divided. While I try to give you and your brothers 100% of me 100% of the time, I’ve learned to surrender striving to be supermom: it’s just not humanly possible.

As I embark on you turning one tomorrow, I want to thank you for a few things. For being patient. For being understanding. And for bearing with me as I juggle balancing motherhood.

My pregnancy with you wasn’t planned, but from the moment I found out you were in my tummy, I knew you were meant to be. I always believed three is a magic number, and now I know that’s true: you and your brothers are my trifecta.

A year ago, you arrived right on time. Thank you for that, as I really didn’t want to mess up my plans for your brothers (one of whom was born way premature; and the other, a few days early after grueling contractions). But not you... you kept to schedule, born at a perfect 10am via my third C-section. Aerosmith’s “Dream On” was playing when you came out of me; dream on... dream until your dreams come true.

I also want to thank you for your transition coming home. There I was- a mom of three young boys, worried someone would feel left out… but that never happened. You entered our family with ease, seemingly understanding- even as a newborn- to be patient with me, and with your brothers. You let them hold you. You let them kiss you. I’d bring you in their rooms, put you on a lounger, and you’d fall asleep as they loudly played around you. In fact, you preferred the noise, the chaos, the laughter, the love.

I didn’t really hesitate bringing you out of the house, either. Starting at a few weeks old, you had no choice but to play backseat driver as we schlepped your brothers to and from school. I want to thank you for being born flexible; that go-with-the-flow attitude is very much appreciated. In fact, you’ve adapted so well, that we’ve been on numerous trips over the course of your first year… even when I flew solo with you and your brothers. You made it easy, and for that, I’m extremely grateful.

You’ve also given me the gift of being way more chill. While it might be the curse of the third born, I know now what I didn’t know with your brothers: babies are resilient and won’t break. I once had all those “new mom fears,” barely letting people breathe on your brothers… but with you, I’ve totally relaxed. I’ve witnessed you eat dirt, sand, and even swing in a public playground without disinfecting it first (how dare I?!). You’re still here. Still alive. And as happy as ever. So thank you for giving me this fresh experience with motherhood.

Speaking of happy, you are seriously the happiest baby on the block. You smiled at four (or six?) weeks (sorry, I don’t have all your milestones accurately written down). But for the record, you’ve been smiling ever since that first grin. You’re a joy to be around. Funny. Curious. Lovable. Magnetic. Your brothers bring out your most beautiful giggles, bringing me the greatest joy in the world. I pray your naturally happy spirit stays strong.

But on the flip-side, I do let you cry. Often. I have to. As much as I wish I could hold you every time you need me, I sometimes have to put you down, in tears. For example, mid nursing sessions are often the optimal time for your brothers to have to poop, and so duty calls for me to wipe their tush. In turn, our time is disrupted, which results in your tears. I’m sorry, and thank you for understanding. I’m trying.

And as for your bothers, well, that’s where I want to thank you most. They call you King Kong because you destroy their block towers and Lego castles, but it’s only because you love playing with them. You flock to them. You find comfort in them. They make you smile. They adore you- you adore them. The three of you have embraced such a magnificent brotherhood that makes me so very proud. You were born wanting to be part of their gang, and they accepted you from the moment you were born. I’m very thankful for that.

You’ve also taught me to seize the moment. Because you are my last, I’ve somewhat changed. I used to leave your brother’s new clothes in the closet “saving” them for something special. (And by the time that special event rolled around, the clothes often didn’t fit anymore.) With you, I let you wear the new clothes. I let you eat ice cream. I let you crawl right into the ocean and belly laugh when the water knocks you over. I did a pre first birthday cake smash photo-shoot (I used to poke fun at the whole idea). We listen to music way too loud. And I’ve even given you packaged baby meals because truth be told- they’re so damn convenient. With you, my third beautiful baby boy, I am different. But that’s OK. Our dynamic works perfect because of your sweet little soul.

Alexander, I want to wish you a very happy first birthday. I want you to know how much I appreciate you. I love watching you blossom- you just started taking unassisted steps; I’m savoring all your firsts, as they’re my “last firsts,” and I thank you for making it all so enjoyable.

Dream on, my love. Dream until your dreams come true.

Love,

Mama


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