Congratulations, Kate! With the impending birth of Baby Alice (or Arthur, as the case may be), you are about to enter the elite ranks of parents with three or more children. This achievement will draw equal parts admiration and scorn, depending upon whether the royal brood is sleeping peacefully (heh heh) or ransacking Cadbury Dairy Milks in the grocery line. Being a royal will insulate you from some but not all of the challenges before you, so please consider these inevitabilities:
• Divide everything into three equal parts. This goes for pizzas, bedroom square footage, yourself. No exceptions: If there is only one M&M recovered from the car seat cushion, it must heretofore be divided into three.
• Some good news: You will get a free pass from life's demands. Late? Store-bought cupcakes for the bake sale? Stain on your dress? (OK, maybe not your dress.) Roll your eyes helplessly and say, "Ugh, three kids."
• Your belief in essential human goodness will be shaken by the unspeakably horrible behavior you witness, some of it your own.
• One child will always be mad at you.
• One will always be antagonizing the other two.
• Your oldest child will be only as mature as the youngest one.
• You will be angry at William 50 percent of the time.
• Families of five need two hotel rooms instead of one. They cannot hail a cab in the street; an extra large car must be called ahead of time. You will have a mini-van.
• Air travel is to be avoided, mostly for the sake of others. Any time a foul smell erupts in an airplane cabin, someone in your brood will be to blame, no matter how vigorously they deny it.
• There will only be two hours a night when everyone is asleep at the same time.
• Any night when you and William are in bed unaccompanied by a child automatically qualifies as "date night." Make the most of this rare gift by ... sleeping.
• "Me time" will no longer be a mani-pedi or a massage; a bowel movement will suffice.
• Overall dinner quality declines with each additional child. There are at most only three foods every member of the family will eat, and two of them are macaroni and cheese.
• Out of the spotlight, convenience and ease will become your guiding principles, replacing "good taste" and "sophistication." The term "dry cleaning" will be key.
Being a royal, you're lucky you can afford help; hire all the nannies you can, and get a spare for yourself as well. But remember that even with this army, your children will really only want you. So really, you're just like every other overextended mother. Good luck!