My mummy once read a fabulous article, ‘The Gift of The Third Child.’ It’s still one of her most favourite pieces of writing EVER. Since having me, however, she’s realised that I’m not just a gift to them. But also a gift to myself. Because, my oh my, is it a privilege being number three. Here are a few reasons why.
1. Our older siblings were raised when our parents actually gave a s***.
They wanted to do things right. The best way possible. They read parenting books. Agonised over routines, feeding and EVERYTHING. By the time we came along they were jaded and a bit drunk. (This is why our siblings are slightly neurotic and we are not.)
2. There are no such things as table manners.
We can stand on the table. Help ourselves to WHATEVER it is we want. Or walk around eating a pitta in one hand and a chocolate bunny in the other. Not only will NO ONE tell us off for eating our pudding before we’ve finished our dinner, but they also won’t notice we’re walking around eating. Even though our siblings have been forced to sit at the table and have actual manners.
3. Any form of routine, rules or discipline have gone out of the window.
Gina WHO? No idea who they’re talking about, have you? Me and my third child mates just wander around aimlessly doing our own thing. And making up the rules as we go along. Basically? We do what the hell we like. It’s not like anyone is going to pull us up on anything.
4. No one expects anything from us.
Because our parents know they haven’t given us the attention or the guidance they’ve given the others, they always feel just a little bit guilty. And responsible. So they let us get away with murder. As a sort of, ‘Sorry and thank you,’ all at once. Whilst praying we don’t turn into actual murderers.
5. When we do do something naughty, it’s never our fault.
We were only copying our brothers and sisters, after all. Following their lead. So they take the fall for our bad behaviour whilst we get an empathetic pat on the head and a chocolate button.
6. We’re cuter than the older exhibits.
Our siblings are a constant reminder to our parents that babies and toddlers get older. Quickly. So this makes us very precious artefacts to be relished. Held. And carried around. Every time something of consequence could happen, they remember we’re their last ones and indulge us just a little bit more.
7. We’ve completed our families, albeit, in a slightly chaotic way.
Not only that, but we’ve also removed that agonising third child niggle they couldn’t shake, ‘Should we, shouldn’t we?‘ So basically? Our parents are indebted to us. ALWAYS. Even when they occasionally look at us and know it’s us, that third child, that has pushed them over the edge. And that debt they feel? Is going to come in VERY handy as we grow up. Wink wink. Nudge nudge.