An Update – Life with a 5 Year Old, 3 Year Old and 6 Month Old

It’s been a while since I last wrote an update specifically about you kiddos – somewhere between Jack starting school, pregnancy, moving house and giving birth, there just hasn’t been the time but as I lie in bed with you Abey baby snoring next to me after a miraculous night’s sleep (you slept through – and after months of wake ups every hour, this truly is miraculous although also I’m assuming, a total fluke!), I suddenly felt an urge to document where you’re all at.

Well first of all, gosh – there are three of you! But let’s start with you Jack. You’re 5 years 10 months, half way through year 1 and growing in to such a special, sweet-mannered young boy. You’re like a proper friend to me now, we chat about everything and there’s very little I don’t tell you in one form or another (I think you just about get what it is I do for a job…). You’ve always loved playing alone but whereas it used to be with wooden tracks and trains, it’s now about making solar systems (“Is Venus blue?”) out of pieces of cardboard and writing out lists of your favourite football team players. You absolutely love learning, you really do. On the school run we sometimes play a game where we have to teach each other something new every day. You ask me how I am first thing in the morning and check in on daddy’s sore knee, you care deeply Jacko.

You’re like a proper friend to me now, we chat about everything and there’s very little I don’t tell you in one form or another

You are also sports and books and board game obsessed! Even just last night I was encouraging you to put your book down to go to sleep at around 8pm and you tell me “I just can’t stop reading.” You love nothing more than talking about or watching sport – any sport! (yesterday it was woman’s cricket) and you and daddy support Watford football team – going to a match is a huge highlight for you, you told us it makes you feel “grown up.” Your drafts skills are second to none and your grandpas struggle to beat you in a game – and unlike your younger self, if you do lose, you shake hands and congratulate the winner and know not to get upset.

I’m hoping we’re through some of your more emotional moments – we still talk about ‘Rude Jack’ (the name we give Jack’s cross self) as he does sometimes pop up now and again but boy, you’re navigating your emotions amazingly and I’m proud of you. Last night whilst bathing you, I tried to explain to you that though we’ve sometimes talked about it being a battle with you and ‘Rude Jack’ (keep with me here…), actually the strongest thing to do is to not even get angry, and to walk away. I watched and was sure I could almost see the cogs turning in your head as you tried to work through that idea. Every time I think you’re a big boy, you say or do something that reminds me how little you still are (‘mummy, what do teachers do in the stuff room?”). You’ve taken on your role as biggest brother so so wonderfully – whilst you’re not as openly affectionate and all over Abe as Sonny, I catch you sneaking kisses with him and singing little songs to him when I’m out the room and you’re the one that holds him in the bath whilst I splash you all about. Don’t change Jacko, or to put it another way – keep being you, keep growing, keep learning ‘cos you’re doing pretty OK kiddo.

Sonny, our sandwich, firecracker of a boy, now aged 3 years 9 months, unlike your big brother who I never worried about, when we’re home and you disappear for half an hour, I get nervous! I’ll find you and you’ll be wearing a pair of sunglasses you’ve found somewhere, have put a pair of pants over your trousers and be balancing a full glass of something, which you’ll be on the verge of dropping. Or you’ll have prized opened a jar of black ink and be lovingly stamping elephants all over the back of an important letter. Or something like that. You’re a total liability and there’s never a dull moment with you Sonny chops. You are also Abe obsessed! Ever since we brought him home from hospital, you’ve been the one that smothers him with kisses…or wakes him up from his sleep. He’s the first person you want to see when you wake up or return home from nursery and you are starting to really make him laugh. You have SO. MUCH energy – you’ll do a series of jigs and songs as soon as you wake up – and I have ask you again and again to sit down at the table when eating as the silly face you’re making is probably going to make you topple off your chair.

You’ll have prized opened a jar of black ink and be lovingly stamping elephants all over the back of an important letter. Or something like that

But you’re also navigating complex changes within yourself, I can tell. Within the last few months, your emotions are getting big and I sense you’re struggling. A few months ago, hanging out with you was the easiest, funnest thing and taking you food shopping, for example, was a delight. These days, things have changed: melt downs are getting more commonplace, you’re raising your voice and getting cross and demanding things. I stay calm and firmly but gently explain that no, we’re not going back to Sainsbury’s on your whim and no, that you don’t get things by screaming. Or pushing (scratching, on occasion) your brother. It’s like you’ve had a sudden injection of testosterone !

But you’re still my cuddly babe. You love cuddles more than anything and continue to be very attached to your ‘Ishy’ (Ewan the sheep, who is by now a nice shade of grey), your dummy and you love your sleep – you’re always the last to wake up at around 8.30am. And you’re totally dry at night now – wahoo! With your advanced vocabulary (“let’s just go home and chill out”) but super high voice, I cannot believe you start school in September. You’re going to love it, though – you’ve become so sociable at nursery with a little crew of friends – and you’ll look darn cute in your uniform. We’ve discussed how you and Jack will fist pump each other when you pass by in the corridor. You two definitely have the odd tussle – especially with your new found emotions – but mainly I just leave you to get on with it. It’ll often be Jack who ends up in tears but you quickly patch things up and I’ll find him reading to you in your bedroom or on the top bunk of your new shared bunk bed. You’re the best of friends and watching your relationship grow brings me and your dad untold amounts of joy.

And finally…Abe. Abe! You entered our lives seamlessly (thank you Spotify playlists amongst a few other tricks) and fitted right in. The boys are obsessed with you and know they have another best friend in you and in fact, you three all share a bedroom. Well, sort of. Whilst you go to sleep beautifully with them anytime between 7.30 and 8.30pm, your personal party tends to kick off around 1am. Sometimes you’re up every half an hour, sometimes you sleep a few hours, it totally depends. You spend the night somewhere between your cot, a crib in our bedroom, the buggy, our bed…wherever works because to be honest, it’s all about getting sleep in any way we can. Sleep deprivation is a killer and I suffer badly with it. It means a weekend in bed, often teary eyed and I find it hard to function. I’m thankful we have an au pair – a decision we chose to make a few months back when things felt a bit much – who steps in when I literally cannot feel my legs from tiredness or do much more than stick my boob in your mouth.

You spend the night somewhere between your cot, a crib in our bedroom, the buggy, our bed…wherever works because to be honest, it’s all about getting sleep in any way we can.

I haven’t spoken much about our sleep journey on here just because honestly, I find discussions about sleep a little tedious – I know there’s probably a reason behind it (too much sleep in the daytime, too little sleep in the daytime, not enough food, teething, nappy…) but I find it futile and even more exhausting to try to diagnose it. Stupid, I know, especially when I struggle without sleep. It’s just I know you’ll find your way Abey – hopefully sooner rather than later! (Still in shock from last night, though…)

You’re six months 24 days old and there’s no sign of any teeth or rolling, but that’s OK. We’re not about milestones over here. You’re tugging your ear a little so I’m thinking some could be on their way but in the meantime, you’re eating so well. SO WELL! From eggs to fish to leafy greens, you enjoy it all and nothing phases you. I’m breastfeeding you on demand with a bottle once or twice a day as I’m thinking this *could* help the sleep? As for routine, I just don’t get it, and never really have. But how do mums of multiple kids make that work? That’s another level. We recently took a 15 hour drive to Spain which you were a TROOPER throughout – I think your brothers helped keep you entertained with some supporting role from your dummy. It’s difficult to know who you look like – I think perhaps a mix of Jack and Sonny or perhaps you’re just you’re very own you. Either way, I love you and I’m so excited to get to know you…

If you got this far, thank you and well done. I so enjoy writing these updates and the words just seem to flow so easily.

Emma x

P.S Life With a 3 Year Old and a 1 Year Old and What’s Your Look?

Photos by Coralie Monnet


  1. Angela
    November 21, 2020 / 6:22 pm

    Really appreciated reading your blog about not having a routine! And to see that that’s still the case several kids on. I have no routine with my 4 month old and whilst he seems happy and I’m good, I sometimes worry that I’m messing it all up by not having a routine! And he does wake a lot during the night! And seems a bit reliant on feeding to sleep! But it’s somehow working and I just really enjoyed reading your blog! Thankyou!

  2. Nell
    March 3, 2020 / 9:57 am

    Its really nice to read this post as we re in the same boat you and me. I have Louis 5 years and 10 months but here we re struggling with emotions but he and we re getting help. Then comes Aksel 3 years and 4 months, a positive, independent and lovely boy. Finally we have little sister Juni, 6 months and 2 days, who is very attached to me, shy and happy. I agree on the sleep thing. As long as everyone gets sleeps it doesnt matter where and how. Well we have kind of rythm with Juni as the older to are at pre school so it helps. But gosh its hard sometimes to make all those small people happy.

    • Emma Ross
      March 6, 2020 / 2:26 pm

      SO MANY NEEDS right?! they all need such different things but i do also believe through all this comes such amazing bonding, for us and for them. thanks for reading Nell!

  3. March 3, 2020 / 8:00 am

    What a lovely post for the boys to read in the future. You’ve definitely inspired me to write something for mine. I’ll probably go old tech with some letter writing. My 3 guys are a bit ahead of yours, nearly 10, just 8 and 3. I can’t believe I’ve been a mother for a decade! The early days are a blur of tiredness and tears now, mine and theirs, although I remember thinking that they were interminable at the time.
    Watching them all slowly growing into amazing but very different people makes me so fiercely proud. I think that’s the payback for all the love and support we give as parents. Enjoy the journey. X

    • Emma Ross
      March 6, 2020 / 2:27 pm

      ah your boys sound so wonderful! yes, i know these times pass by so quickly and soon sleeplessness and trains will really be a thing of the past! hope you get around to writing your letter! thanks for reading and for being here liz x

  4. Sally
    March 2, 2020 / 11:25 pm

    I loved reading this, it was so easy to read and you articulate your feelings and observations so well… it makes me think i don’t know my two (3.5 and 1.5) well enough!
    But i just wanted to say, about this –> “I know there’s probably a reason behind it (too much sleep in the daytime, too little sleep in the daytime, not enough food, teething, nappy…)” — I truly don’t think there is a reason, except some babes just don’t sleep well (and who’s to say what ‘well’ is anyway…). Both mine slept badly (until 20 months and 14 months respectively) and I felt like I tried everything, but, it was just them. I just felt thankful at least my firstborn prepared me for my second!! 😀
    …written with love from one mamma to another… hang in there… it really does suck…

    • Emma Ross
      March 6, 2020 / 2:28 pm

      ah thanks for this sally! sleep is such a weird and powerful thing. and yes, we are all different and so are babies! thanks mama x

  5. March 2, 2020 / 8:07 pm

    Loved reading this, I find I relate to your posts so much. Beautiful boys!

    • Emma Ross
      March 6, 2020 / 2:28 pm

      thank you so much mary!

  6. Teresa
    March 2, 2020 / 3:26 pm

    Emma. What a beautiful and personal blog post! Thank you for sharing it. Your boys are gorgeous and your doing amazing! I have 4 girls and 2 step children ranging from 21 years to 22 months. It’s tough going and amazing all at the same time! I’ve never got the routine thing either and think that anyone that can get all their kids in bed by 8 is literally practicing magic. All I can say is these sleep deprived days filled with breastfeeding and teething are short and before long they are over so I guess dealing with it anyway you can with a smile on your face is all you can do! Well done mama!! Your ace!!

    • Emma Ross
      March 6, 2020 / 2:28 pm

      ah thanks for this teresa, and i know that these days pass by indeed so fast. haha and yes to the magic ! x

  7. Jenn
    March 2, 2020 / 2:44 pm

    Oh I love reading your posts. My three kids are within a few months exactly of your three (5, 3, and 4months here) and it is so fun and interesting seeing where others are at in a similar journey. My second struggled so so much with sleep that I kind of lost my sanity a touch, so I feel you and I’m so sorry. Sleep is the toughest thing! I love your mothering insights, your honesty, your kindness that seeps from everything you write. Xo

    • Emma Ross
      March 6, 2020 / 2:30 pm

      ah this comment has made my day – thank you Jenn! lack of sleep does crazy things to a person, does it not?! and yes, ours are such similar ages!!

  8. Nicole
    March 2, 2020 / 10:16 am

    I have two girls and a boy – similar in age to yours – and this could be my kids you’re describing – what is it with second/ middle kids and death-defying antics?? My youngest is also a total sleep thief although at nearly 10 months we seem to be making headway…although 5.30am starts are not my favourite thing. You’re right, they all get there with sleep eventually and it’s just a matter of hanging on in there in the meantime. x

    • Emma Ross
      March 6, 2020 / 2:32 pm

      aww the middle kid – so full of energy and emotions! glad your sleep is a little more in order, albeit with very early mornings – eeeks. hope they get a little later… lots of love nicole x

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