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Katy England Katy England
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First and last

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My sister is the baby of the family. My brother-in-law, similarly placed as the last child. Both have mentioned that there are more pictures of the older siblings than themselves. 

It got my husband and me thinking about where that places our kids. When you have multiples you're skipping steps. First and last? Sure, but it's by minutes instead of years. But there is a weird similarity that can happen. We realized we have all the issues of first time parents, but coupled with the logistics of three kids. The baby of the family often realizes that they are missing the full attention of the parents our triplets get that from the beginning. We can't just gaze adoringly at one baby or toddler because usually someone else is in need of some kind of attention. Diapers, stealing, general malaise you get the idea. 

Very occasionally, I will get to socialize with just one child at a time. These times are usually divine. My daughter was having a tough night. She's getting her two-year molars, and was just a mess, very upset and crying. I wasn't having much success cheering her up until my husband suggested I take her outside while her siblings were occupied with coloring. It was wonderful.

I could play with her, stacking rocks and watching her stack them and climb up and down the stairs to get a few more rocks, or to just throw them amongst the gravel. It was nice. She was having a great time. She loves the undivided attention (what kid doesn't?) and I loved being able to give it without two other, equally cute kids asking something of Mama. Within 10 minutes she was laughing, blowing raspberries and being a goofball instead of crying her little heart out.

They are each so awesome. And each of them deserves undivided attention. But you can't just give it to them at least, not without someone coming to grievous bodily harm or going entirely without food.

It's the exact same quandary any parents will find themselves in when they go from one to two kids (or from two to three or seven to eight). We just found ourselves in it all at once. Even when they were at their littlest, we had to put them down so we could pick someone else up. It's hard.

We do our best to make sure each kid gets some one-on-one with Mom or Dad. If not, we play the juggling route: a story for you, a story for you and a story for you. It's as fair as possible, but fair is such a boring word. Sometimes I don't want to be fair. I want to clone three copies of myself to snoodle each one of them to bits, to spoil them in ways I know aren't good for them to hell with society and raising well-adjusted kids. They're sad. I don't care if it's because she slapped her brother or whacked me upside the head when I asked her if she wanted peas. I just want to give her a hug.

But fair is what happens when you can't always do those things. I look at the bigger picture and I know that a time out here will help quell those biting episodes before she starts preschool. It doesn't mean I have to like being fair. But I guess I'll keep doing it.

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