Things you only know if you have three kids

Children painting at the beach

With your first child, you take a leap into the unknown and discover that you can cope. With your second child, you have more of an idea of what to expect and wonder how your PFB will handle the new order. But what happens when a third child comes along? We’ve drawn on the wisdom of Mumsnetters who've been there and done that – three times over.

A new order is established

Three kids upside down

With the arrival of your third baby, your second child, who has until now been your cherished youngest, becomes the middle child. This is tricky territory – and there's no guide book on how they'll react. Good luck!

Life's about to get loud

Loud noise gif

By now, the elder two will probably be playing nicely/falling out, playing nicely/falling out, but when a third enters the mix the dynamic will shift and the extra voice could make for a cacophony of squabbling in your house. On the other hand…

Your other children might show their nurturing sides

Two kids with baby

The first and second child might have competed for your attention over the years but the arrival of the third could mean they put aside their differences and try to help the little one along, especially if she's several years younger. (OK, so this probably won't happen – but you can always hope for peace and calm, right?)

Table for five? Good luck with that

Pizza gif

Children are fussy eaters, so more children means more fuss. Good luck finding a restaurant where there’s something on the menu for the one who only eats margherita pizza, the one who only eats plain rice and the one who keeps throwing her carrots around.

Holidays really won't be holidays anymore

Children at the beach

Holidaying with two children is difficult enough – the sunburn, the tiredness, the tendency for them to wander off – but having three to keep an eye on means your days in the sun will be even more demanding. Sorry.

You're going to need a bigger car

Seinfeld car gif

Most cars fit three children in the back but three in car seats? Get ready to spend every Saturday of your pregnancy in car showrooms. Once you've got a lovely new (wider) set of wheels, you can look forward to an extra voice in the back, asking: “Are we there yet?”

And maybe even a bigger house

Family view a house for sale

If this isn't an option, pile all the kids in together and learn to ignore the endless territorial battles and talking way past lights out.

Your children might pester you to… have more children

Tired woman gif

Once they’ve got over the surprise of a third arrival, your children might decide it’s a case of the more the merrier.

And you might think that's a brilliant idea too

“My second and third children were conceived within 16 months of each other and it has been the best thing that has ever happened to us. Three is hard work but so worth it.”