I am that person who loves babies and kids. I am that person who would probably just keep having babies! My husband was good with two kids. I begged him for a third! Seth is made for me in every way! I get super frustrated with him when he says he was good with two – but he is here to protect me from myself! How much work do I think I can handle? Am I trying to test my limits!? I will admit….I get sad about my baby (3 year old) being so big and have many moments of wanting another. I will also tell you that Lillie has been very good birth control! Ok let’s be honest here – if Seth said lets have a fourth you all know I would say YES!!!

Max just turned 9 years old. He was super high energy from the time he was born. I had trouble keeping up with him and knew he needed a ton of stimulation! Max is so smart and ate up everything I taught him. Numbers, letters, colors, shapes, he went into three year old preschool knowing all of it. I couldn’t imagine what they were gonna teach him! I was frustrated at the time but looking back Max needed to learn how to be in school. How to take turns. How to share. How to stand in a line. How to listen to your teacher reading a story. I quickly learned that consequences did nothing to change Max’s behavior. I was frustrated until I started to think about what worked! Positive praise and incentives work with Max! Max is incentive driven! Give him a prize to earn and he will work! Just when you figure out your first your next child comes out and she is completely different!

Seth begged me for number two. I had this sweet mama’s boy who always wanted to cuddle his mama. I was content and busy! Max kept me on my toes! Seth was longing for the daddy’s girl that he had been dreaming of! Well, guess who came next! Sweet Ella who adores her daddy! I didn’t believe them when they told me I was having a girl. I thought for sure I would end up with three boys! They were right! Ella came out sweet and wanting to cuddle and be held. I kept Ella in a baby carrier most of the time because she wanted to be close to me. I nursed Ella forever! Ok, it wasn’t forever but it felt long to me! Ella is my sweet easy middle child. She is the child I have to remind myself to give attention to because she doesn’t demand it. Ella made me want more children. I can’t really tell you the last time I disciplined Ella. At 7 years old she is getting a bit of an attitude but she is my sweet girl!!

I begged for Lillie. I worked on Seth for a long time! He reminds me regularly how much I begged for Lillie. My warning to all of you reading this: once you have a baby your body seems to very easily know how to get pregnant again. Let’s just say Ella and Lillie came before we had planned!

I could write pages and pages about my third child. After hearing for years that Max and Ella look like Seth it is truly a special feeling to hear people tell me that Lillie looks just like me! Finally! I could never wrap my mind around how I did all the work and Max and Ella came out looking like Seth!

Lillie is a force of nature! Lillie is fierce and independent! One minute she is throwing something at me and the next minute she is hugging me so tight I can’t breathe. I remind myself every day that she loves me dearly. I remind myself every day that her strong independent personality will serve her! She wants to do everything by herself! Max and Ella have always asked for help so this one is so totally different I am back at square one. It doesn’t matter how many kids you parent! Every child is different and we have to figure out as their parents what works with them. I have to stay so calm and sweet and patient to get anywhere with Lillie. I fail daily. I end up yelling and / or hurrying her on a daily basis. You would think I would give myself more time to leave the house knowing she will want to do her own coat and shoes. You would think that I would take deep breaths and be patient when she is refusing to listen. I try! On a daily basis I “start over” and remind myself who Lillie is and what she needs from me. If I give Ella a mad look she does exactly what she knows I need her to do. If I give Lillie a mad look she gives me a madder look back. You know what? Good for Lillie! My strong willed child! I hope you fly far and I hope I survive the ride!

For Ella: Things I needed to be taught as a child: it is most important to please yourself! Stop worrying what other people think! Stand up for yourself! Have a voice! I consistently work on giving Ella what I wish I had as a child! When I saw a child push her out of her chair and Ella did nothing I was all over that! My sweet girl is sandwiched between a brother and a sister who I have a feeling will not let her get pushed around! My wish for Ella is for me to help give her a voice that took me 30 years to find!

So there you have it: 3 very different kids!! My advice to myself and all of you is to remember that every child is truly different and deserves for us to figure out how they need to be parented! Wish me luck! I am off to deal with the strong willed 3 year old!