Wednesday, 19 October 2016

An Ode to Many Arms

I once wrote, “ For one thing, once you have three children you've run out of arms, unless you're an octopus of course.  Not being an octopus, and only having the normal number of arms, I am concerned about what is going to happen once we have our third and I am left an arm short.”   Yes, that Wildeian wit really was me. Honestly.  Look, just go here if you don’t believe me.

That was about 4 months before the birth of our 3rd child, and one of the very last things that I managed to write on the blog.  It turns out I had seriously underestimated the number of arms that I would need.  Also the amount of time I would need to do everything.  Not to mention the total chaos that an extra child would bring into my life.

It was not that long since we had had our second.  S was born exactly 659 days before L, or 1 year, 9 months and 21 days, roughly.  This is not a long gap between children, and in fact we had 3 children under the age of 5 for a couple of months. It was, unfortunately, a long enough time, it turns out, for me to have forgotten everything I ever knew about babies.  And the birth of your third child, apparently, is not a great time to be struck with total amnesia when it comes to handling a very small human.  Firstly, babies are not easy at the best of times.  And when there are two other children who are desperate to pull and poke and prod the new fun thing it is a very long way away from the best of times.  

Really, if you have never tried to change a nappy whilst one child is climbing on your back and the other is doing their best to hide all the wipes and the nappy you carefully left out for yourself then I don’t think you can say that you have lived.  It really is an experience which everyone should enjoy endure at least once in their lives.  Especially because the moment of existential terror you feel when you realise that you are so hopelessly overmatched gives you such a jolt of adrenaline that in other circumstances you could probably wrestle a bear, or outrun a speeding cheetah, or something.

Anyway.  There are now three children in my life and the tales of my failures would probably fill a rather large book, so hopefully I will be able to entertain you with them in the days and weeks to come.  Please keep checking back as I will be updating the blog more regularly (which I know could mean once every 12 months) than I have been recently.

Hope to see you again, and remember, if you are planning any genetic mutations to cope with your third child, don’t stop at three arms, 12 might just do it.  And don’t get me started on how many eyes you need.

I never thought I would say this about a lamp, but I currently have serious arm envy.


  1. Great post, glad you're back.

  2. Hahaha! Excellent! I can totally sympathise with you, going from one child to two seemed so easy, two to three....well, we just weren't expecting that! (And number 3 was the one who was a good baby!!)

    1. Thank you! They certainly don't tell you in the manuals that the difficulty just goes up exponentially.