Andrea Mara

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Third man

My third child is discovering nursery rhymes. For the first time ever, I sang Baa Baa Black Sheep for him this week – he will be two years old soon, so this is not something to boast about.

I also showed him Round and Round the Garden for the first time – he loves it. And I’m teaching him animal sounds – so far he is mixing them up completely so that lions sound like birds and “woof woof” is his answer to almost everything else.

At the same age, his two big sisters knew their animal sounds, their nursery rhymes, and could do Round and Round the Garden blindfolded (I never blindfolded them, just for the record).

My third child is wearing a top today that I bought a year ago – it still fits, though it’s a little snug. He gets new clothes when he really, really needs them. His sisters got new clothes every time a season changed or they moved into the next age-range as prescribed by Mothercare.

runs just as well as a blue trike
runs just as well as a blue trike

My third child has a pink tricycle. He loves it. He doesn’t seem worried that his boy-buddies might laugh and point at his girlie trike. Anyway it goes well with the pink pyjamas that he wears when his parents lose control of the laundry mountains again.

He eats food that has dropped on the floor, and we don’t wrestle it from his mouth. He slides down the stairs on his belly and we laugh. He tips his uneaten dinner onto the table because he has been raiding tomatoes and cheese from the fridge all afternoon, and the world doesn’t end.

He has no daytime routine to speak of and he ends up in our bed most nights. He’s addicted to Mickey Mouse and he loves cake. His big sisters hardly knew either existed at the same age.

Our standards have well and truly slipped. In fact they’re on the floor, along with his food.

Yogurt rubbed into hair, nice
Yogurt rubbed into hair, nice

But this third child is the centre of our family, the centre of our universe. He smiles all day, he keeps us smiling. His sisters forgive him every slight, over and over; broken dolls and torn books notwithstanding. His dad melts when he hears the familiar, delighted greeting on his return from work – “daddy! daddy!”. And all of us would do anything for a hug from this cuddly, fun-loving bundle of charm.

He is snuggled and hugged and held and carried, he is showered with love and attention and kisses. We forgot about nursery rhymes this time around, but I think we’ve finally worked out what’s important.

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