a letter to my youngest son on his third birthday

My gorgeous boy,

You are my third child, my youngest son and most definitely my last baby.

You have two big brothers and, when I was pregnant with you, many people speculated about your gender. Some couldn’t seem to help but make assumptions about what we’d want and about what would be ‘ideal’. There seems to be a notion out there that it is best for families to have children of both genders, you see, so this time round a girl would be perfect, right?

Wrong. Oh, so wrong. You see, YOU, my lovely boy, have always been the perfect third child for this family. Before you were born I used to hope for a ‘laid back’ baby – one of those ones that sits around smiling and isn’t bothered by anything much. I didn’t seriously think I’d get a baby like that though… not really, I mean, how could I be that lucky?!

joanne mcneil photography maddy bennett 2013-6338

The five of us on a rainy walk. Photo by Joanne McNeil Photography

But from the moment you made you entrance into the world (after nine days of stop/start labour – see, you’d already decided to take things slow!) you were so chilled-out I could hardly believe it. The moment of your birth was by far the calmest of the three I’ve experienced (let’s just say I don’t give birth easily!) You didn’t even cry. You were immediately placed in my arms and just gazed up at me with a rather serious, inscrutable expression. I cried. You pooed copiously. We laughed. All was well.

When you came home, your brothers fell in love with you immediately, and as soon as you were capable of anything other than gazing inscrutably, it was clear you loved them too. To this day your big brother claims “you gave me your first smile” and I think he might be right. You fitted in to our family like a jigsaw piece – once missing, now found. Absolutely that calm, happy baby I’d hoped for. Ok, sleep was an issue (for two and a half years… ) but during daylight hours you were Mr Laid-back, takes-it-in-his-stride, ‘I’ll just lie here and watch everyone, and bestow smiles and gurgles’.

brotherly love change

Your big brother wrote this for you when you were a baby. Translation “X’s cute, best of all he always smiles, he’s the best baby brother in the world. Specially he loves all of us.”

Your middle brother started school when you were six months old so you and I have spent a lot of quality time together these past three years. You’ve been such a good companion – happy to just be with me at home, ‘helping’ (?!) with the housework and always perfectly content to come along when I meet friends for coffee. In fact, once you got old enough, you even started requesting “We go for coffee?” as soon as we’d dropped your brothers off at school! “You wouldn’t even know he’s there!” is a comment I’ve heard about you in many a cafe as you sat calmly chewing some toast or playing with your toys.

Of course once you hit the terrible twos you got… an opinion on things. I don’t want to pretend you’ve been perfectly reasonable at all times. But then you’re a little person with big emotions, so stroppiness is bound to appear at some points. You’ve always impressed me with your ability to get over tantrums quickly and your insistence that “I’m not naughty, I’m happy!” has been enough to win me over in your difficult moments numerous times.

You’re such an imaginative boy and are able to entertain yourself for ages. Listening to you playing with your toys always brings a smile to my face. Toy cars for you aren’t just vehicles they’re little people with personalities who talk to each other. Last week I overheard a taxi and a london bus having a chat about “going to the shoppings” (one of your favourite pastimes) to buy “bread, crisps and chocolate mousse” – your cars clearly have good taste!

boys doing shape challenge

Your other favourite activities (aside from casting magic spells by yelling “I got a zebra!”) are doing jigsaws and drawing. It’s lovely to watch you and your brothers sitting side by side, concentrating on your art work. You mostly just scribble but have now begun to proudly put your pictures on the fridge yourself. You even managed to draw a picture of me the other day where I had a recognisable form. When I say ‘recognisable form’ I do of course mean I looked like a hammer with a moustache… but you’re getting there!

You are so loving, so sweet and so funny that your Dad and I can’t help ourselves but say “He’s so cute!” far too often. I know it’s ‘far too often’ because this morning you put some teddy-bear slippers on, admired your feet and said, beaming “Oh, I’m so cute!”. I should probably stop calling you that so obviously but, well, you just are!

Now you are three and I’m certain that three boys was exactly right for me and for all of us. I wouldn’t change a thing. I couldn’t be luckier than to have my three little guys and I’m so very glad you’re you.

Lots of love from your doting (and very sentimental but it is your birthday) mummy.



21 thoughts on “a letter to my youngest son on his third birthday

  1. OneDad2Sons

    Thanks for sharing, this was a lovely post. We’ve just had our second son, and love this for helping with memories that can be shared when they’re older. #abitofeverything

  2. Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    Ah this is such a lovely post! It’s awful how people guess if you have two boys that you are wanting a girl or that it’s a shame if it’s a third boy. A healthy baby is the best gift of all. It’s lovely that he was so laid back – that’s perfect for the third baby. #abitofeverything x
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted…Behind a Thomas Moran LandscapeMy Profile

  3. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    What a beautiful letter to your youngest son and I love that card from his big brother – so sweet. I love your comment about how your son fitted into your family like the missing piece of a jigsaw – what a beautiful way of putting it and his comment about “I’m not naughty, I’m happy!” made me smile. It’s funny how people assume that everyone wants at least one child of each gender when it really isn’t true! Hope your little man had a wonderful birthday and thank you for sharing this with #ftmob :-)
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) recently posted…Win 2 tickets to The Baby & Toddler Show at Sandown ParkMy Profile

  4. Agent Spitback

    What a beautiful letter! It is so true about it is not the gender of the child that matters! It is just “your child” that completes your family. I had to giggle though at the “Oh, I’m so cute!” remark!! They do tend to copy whatever we tell them and yes, mine used to also ask for “baby-cinos” and then I realised oops, he’s been going to too many morning coffees! Thanks for sharing with #abitofeverything
    Agent Spitback recently posted…Cinder-Frecker : A Fairy Tale for The Modern Feminist and Her ShoesMy Profile

  5. tracey bowden

    What a beautiful letter Maddy. I hate how people make assumptions. Me and my sisters were always put out when people said to my mum when each of us were pregnant. Oh, more girls you must be so disappointed it’s another girl! She has 4 daughters, then 4 granddaughters came before we finally got a boy in the family!
    tracey bowden recently posted…Bacofoil Foil Sandwich Bags ReviewMy Profile

  6. Sophie Lovett

    Awww such a lovely post :) I’ve been meaning to have a read when I saw you’d written this, being the doting mum to a recently three year old myself! Arthur also has become quite accustomed to going for coffee, and generally pottering around with me. And I just love the imaginary worlds he is starting to create! It’s an awesome age xx
    Sophie Lovett recently posted…In praise of tiredMy Profile

  7. Susan Mann

    Aww what a lovely post hon. Happy birthday to your son. When I had my third after two boys, eveyone thought I wanted a girl. But I just wanted a healthy baby. I assumed it would be a boy. Boys are great and a healthy baby is the main thing. I love this and it’s so sweet. Time just goes so fast xx

  8. Trista, Domesticated Momster

    Beautifully written. My third child was a surprise. My husband and I thought we were done…he was even scheduled for a vasectomy. Then one day while standing in the beer isle at the grocery store I felt tired…really tired…so I put back the beer and bought a pregnancy test. She arrived on my 39th birthday. She’s so different from my other two. She’s super sensitive and will probably be living with us until she is 30 but she completes this family. I am visiting from #abitofeverything.
    Trista, Domesticated Momster recently posted…Quote Of The Week ~ Feb 29, 2016My Profile

  9. Yvette @ Big Trouble in Little Nappies

    This is just beautiful – and a little weep-inducing to a heavily pregnant woman! Your son will treasure this post, and you put everything about your family being just as it is meant to be so perfectly. I hope your little boy had a brilliant third birthday :)
    Yvette @ Big Trouble in Little Nappies recently posted…You and MeMy Profile

  10. Verily Victoria Vocalises

    This is so beautifully written Maddie – definitely something to treasure by your youngest one day. I love that, as bloggers, we are able to not only share these moments but have them as keepsakes too. He sounds like a very happy, contented and loved little boy. Belated Happy Birthday wishes to him and thank you for linking to Prose for Thought x
    Verily Victoria Vocalises recently posted…Prose for Thought Thursday 10th March 2016My Profile


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