I can’t be the only mum who heard about Kate and Wills having a third child on the way and immediately thought they must be doing it because:
a) They’re being forced to by some evil royal protocol
b) They got really drunk at a boring ambassador’s receoption and, well you know how forgetful one can be
c) Any other reason apart from actually wanting a third child
No-one actually wants a third child. Do they? The reason against the idea are so adundant and full of good sense! Apart from the very real horror for the mother of a third pregnancy – weeing eight times a night and not being allowed to drink wine – and going through it all with two other small children still not sleeping/ only eating Cheerios/ pooing on the landing – there are some very practical reasons for not having a third, that i wonder if Kate and Wills have really considered.
Firstly, they’re going to need a bigger house/castle. Yes, children can share but there is a good reason not so many of us do that anymore: no-one gets any sleep. And have you tried changing the sheets on a top bunk recently? Kate’s not going to like it one bit. If the third one does manage to get their own room, it’s usually what used to be an airing cupboard, and they know they’ve got the rubbish room and they never forgive you for it.
They’ll need a bigger car/carriage too. Yes, technically you can get three kids in the back. But then the youngest one always has to sit in the uncomfortable bit in the middle where everyone would rather have the arm rest out and the seat belt seems suspiciously less safe than the other. It’s not like anyone is having fun on a family car journey where there are two kids, why would you choose to throw another one in the mix? It can only be a grenade.
Then there’s choosing a name. What can be quite a fun process with the first two – especially if you get one of each – becomes just another decision no-one has got time to make with the third. Plus, parents seem to feel a bit more gung-ho about it, taking that last punt on creative naming that they didn’t feel brave enough to do before: everyone, meet Emily, Oliver and Lemon! It’s even worse for royals, who must surely roam the palace galleries trying to find quirky names from long-lost ancestors, but find the only one is Eugenie and it’s already taken.
Of course none of these issues are real issues for Kate and Wills, who have quite a big house already and a team of nannies with double-barrelled surnames to support them. Which makes me wonder – if the finances and the practicalities were less of a worry, would I have a third child?
For me the answer has always been no. As the third child of three sisters I’ve spent far too many wine-fuelled family get-togethers complaining about what a bum deal the third kids gets, to then put one of my own through it. Because, for all the talk of being spoilt and doted on, it can be a lonely outpost down there for number three. Always trying to catch up. Feeling like the odd one out. Always the middle seat in the car.
And yet recently I’ve come to realise that many of my favourite adults are third children. They’ve grown up fighting for their parents’ attention, and they’ve had to be cunning and strong to get past their older siblings at the dinner table. They’ve learnt that to survive they need to work harder, stand out more and be more creative with their lot than the two who came before them. As a result they’re often great company in adulthood: fun and adventurous and highly individual, third kids often seem to march to a different ntune in life.
So while I’d still say no to a third child of my own, I’m looking forward with fascination to watching the third royal baby grow up. Good luck Kate and Wills!