Peter and I are both the 2nd of 3 kids. We both have always wanted 3 kids. (No, this is not an announcement that baby #3 is on the way.) When we say we want 3 kids people always say “oh, but you don’t want a middle child.” Sure I do. I was one, Peter was one, and we’ve agreed that in the middle is a great place to be!
Growing up I hated being a middle child. But my brother hated being the baby and wanted a younger sibling to play with. And my sister hated being the oldest, she had more responsibilities and didn’t get away with as much (so she says). I think as a kid you just like to complain.
Now that I’m grown up, I love how close I am to my siblings. As the middle child I’m obviously closer in age to each of them than they are each other. This makes it so I can relate to both of them more than they can each other. I’m not trying to say anything negative about my brother and sister’s relationship with each other, they love each other very much and are great friends. But each of them feel closer to me than they do each other. I wouldn’t trade the relationships I have with them for anything in the world.
Another thing I love about 3 kids is that there is a peacemaker. If 2 siblings are in a disagreement, I feel like it’s resolved quicker through the 3rd sibling. The 3rd sibling (not 3rd one born, but the one that’s not part of the disagreement) can typically see both sides of an argument and help their siblings see each other’s side. Even if the uninvolved sibling stays out of the fight, just the fact that this sibling exists can bring peace. Neither of the arguing siblings wants to put the uninvolved sibling in an awkward situation, they don’t want to give up time with the other sibling… they know that they have to make amends with each other for the sake of the family.
After I had Lennon my body was so tired of being pregnant I told Peter maybe 2 was enough after all. But we want 3 kids not just for our own sake, but for our kids. Peter and I agree that 3 kids is the perfect number to foster close sibling relationships.
I feel like with 2 siblings arguments are more likely as 2 siblings only have each other. They are more likely to tire of each other. They don’t have another sibling to vent to and blow off steam. I also feel like it’s easier to let one of these arguments damage a relationship for life. I’ve seen pairs of siblings just write off their relationship with each other, it’s easy to write off a single person when you aren’t getting along and it’s easy to let that decision be permanent when no outside party is invested in mending the relationship.
4 or more kids is an exciting “big family” fun and crazy dynamic. I love big families. But I don’t think I can handle 4 kids. And my house isn’t big enough for 4 kids. And I just don’t want to be pregnant 2 more times or recover from 2 more c sections.
As far as siblings getting along, I feel like sometimes the siblings tend to just pair off. The boys and the girls, the older ones and the younger ones, etc. This doesn’t always happen, I’m sure many people have 3 or more siblings and feel equal love towards all of them. And the pairing off can be a very positive thing. When it comes to raising kids, it’s probably great! The girls are playing together upstairs, the boys are on the swing set, nobody is complaining that the other 2 are leaving them out or picking on them. But I fear instead of a peaceful the older ones and the younger ones, it’d become the older kids vs the younger kids, that the siblings would feel so close to one other sibling that they find fault in the other ones. That if two siblings argue, the other 2 or 3 or however many siblings will chose a side based on that sibling being the one they’re closest to. My Mom is part of a huge family. She loves her siblings. But I can say that she is closer to some than others and that there are some she barely has a relationship with. When there are that many siblings, it’s hard to find time to keep in touch with all of them.
Bottom line is there are pros and cons to any number of children. Peter and I have great sibling relationships, so naturally 3 seems the perfect number to create these relationships. To us. It’s not necessarily better. But 3 is what we know. And 3 is what we love. And 3 is what we’ll try for (not yet) because the middle child is nothing to be afraid of. Being a middle child has made me a natural peacemaker, it’s made me empathetic towards others. I’ve been babied by my older sister and got to baby my little brother. I was the annoying little sister and I was the bully big sister. And I hope Lennon can see all the positive aspects of being a middle child someday, as I do now.