When I had my first child, I wanted to do everything by the book. I was so nervous that the tiniest misstep would somehow break the baby. In fact, one of my first pieces was about how shocked I was that they just let me leave the hospital with this infant.
What were they thinking?
I had no clue what to do with him. In fact, the only requirements were that I show them my car seat and make the obligatory poop, which I later found out wasn't even TRULY obligatory. (I had to do more to get a library card! Not that my library asked me to poop before giving me a card because that would be suspect... though I did anyway -- for good measure). Anyhoo...
I was determined to rise to the challenge -- All toys were sanitized before they came within 10ft of my child. People were sanitized too, they were also grilled as to when they were last sick, if they knew proper baby handling techniques, the date of their last TB test and if they were taking any meds that would prohibit them from operating heavy machinery (well, if that can't drive a crane, they certainly can't hold my baby).
Then came child number two, and I raced to get her home ... it's amazing how much changes between your first and second. You can blame it on the lack of time needed to be as anal, ahem, meticulous as you were with the first, or maybe it's simply a gain in experience and confidence, but the differences are undeniable. Do any of these first child vs second child differences sound a wee bit familiar...
1) First Child: "Oh, no First dropped a teething toy/pacifier. I need to go home and sterilize that puppy even if First cries the whole way back… it's too unsanitary.
Second Child: "Look Second dropped her teething toy/pacifier. Is there any hair on it? No? Good." *huffs on with mouth, wipes on pant leg and gives back to child*
2) First Child: Is only allowed to watch super educational videos (so we thought) like Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby - and you watch with First and follow along with a pointer while clapping and humming, like they demonstrate in the videos.
Second Child: Whatever First is watching should be fine. "Oh, it's Annoying Orange? OK, then I'm sure there's some value in that. Fruit is really healthy." Then you smartly excuse yourself from the room as this may be your only free time all day and the last thing you want to do with it is watch some ear screeching orange do things your child will imitate for the rest of the year.
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3) First Child: "I can't use these wipes straight from the bag. They'll need to sit in the wipe warmer to reach the optimal temperature for First's precious bottom."
Second Child: "I can't use these wipes from the wipe warmer. Then Second will scream when we use cold ones … We should throw that addictive thing away before Second knows its powers."
4) First Child: "I will breastfeed until that kid gets teeth, and on a perfect schedule in the comfort of my home while I rock in our glider to the tunes of Raffi."
Second Child: "This cafe looks like a great place to whip out my bosom, to the tune of people dining and gawking … well screw them, do they not have the National Geographic Channel?"
5) First Child: You're signed up for Mommy and Me and Kinder Music and Gymboree and Baby Sign Language and Baby Massage and Youthful Yoga because they are all stimulating and wonderful for their mental and physical growth.
Second Child: You're not wasting your money on most of that stuff, the park is awesome!
6) First Child: You keep an awesome baby book with every detail of First's days. What else do you have to do but marvel at your creation and log First's every milestone and experience?
Second Child: You pick that book up every 6 months and try to mentally back track. "Crap, when did you start walking? Rolling? Eating solid food?" Sadly, your memory is shot and that first year is mostly a blur, so you write in rough estimates. "Second took first steps somewhere between 8 and 14 months. It was amazing, I think."
7) First Child: (While staring at every blip on the baby monitor) "Oh G-d First's been crying for 2 minutes straight!!!! I can't Ferberize this baby, it's cruel and horrible, I must go to First.
SecondChild: "Oh is that crying? I had the monitor off -- Real Housewives Reunion is on."
8) First Child: Having first child's swing/exersaucer/play-mat is just adorable mixed in with our adult furniture.
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Second Child: All of our adult furniture is hard to find, mixed in with all the exersaucers/swings/bouncers/toys/dolls and play-mats.
9) First Child: "You'd like to babysit my precious little darling? Well, I'll need to do an interview get 5 references and do a lengthy background check. Leave me your SSN and resume."
Second Child: "You want to babysit my adorable yet rambunctious kids and you're free Saturdays? Do you have references? Great, no need to give me their numbers, I'm sure they'd say nice things."
10) First Child: You think you can never ever love anything as much as this little being. Part of you feels bad for the second child before he or she arrives.
Second Child: You realize you can actually love more than one person so deeply and you're in awe of how true that statement is.
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