Wednesday, May 22, 2013

B.K. vs. A.K.

One of the best and truest quotes I have heard lately is "I was a really great parent before I had kids."
I was very quick to pass naive judgment in my energetic carefree kid-less 20s. 

"I will NEVER have a toddler running around in public with a pacifier in his mouth."
"I will NOT have a kid who only eats 4 things."
"Our kids will NOT play video games."
Blah blah blah.

Well, who has two thumbs and is guilty of letting her kids do all of the above? THIS MOMMY!

I recently stopped in at our local gymnastics facility to sign my daughter up for classes. There was a mother there watching her daughter practice while also trying to keep her other children entertained in the waiting area. She had brought a slew of books, toys, snacks, etc. to keep them occupied. She had 4 kids total (=3 "watching" sister in gymnastics). One of her kids looked to be between 1 1/2 and 2 and had a pacifier in his mouth. I realized while talking to this adorable little guy how much I had changed.

Old me -- B.K. (Before Kids) would have thought: "Oh my goodness. Get that thing out of his mouth so he can talk. Ridiculous. I will NEVER do that."

A.K. (After Kids): "Soldier on, Sister. Soldier on."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

1st child vs. 3rd child

It is not that we loved our first child more than the others. In fact, I feel a greater attachment to child #3 as a baby than I did to #1, likely due to the fact that I know what I am doing this time and am not terrified or overwhelmed to the point of tears. Also, I know how cool the future will be -- the other two have grown into such amazing humans that on my worst day with #3, I still find joy in imagining what he will become at 2, 3, and 4 years old.

However, life for this little guy is drastically different from the baby days of #1. There are quite a few major changes in our parenting as we have progressed from #1 to #3.

Feeding: every time I nursed #1 (at least for the first couple of months) I had to sit at my nursing station. I had a specific chair, a glass of water, multiple burp cloths, and of course my trusty Boppy. It was all essential for a successful feeding. Child #3 is usually fed on the Boppy, but gone are the glasses of water and I am usually scrambling for a burp cloth, or I just let him puke right onto my shirt. Also, many times he is NOT nursed on the Boppy, but rather, is fed on the floor of the playroom, at the kitchen table mid-Lego project, or in the car in the midst of multiple errands. Also, I kept a detailed chart of #1's feedings for weeks -- which side, how long, etc. When my pediatrician asked how often and for how long #3 eats, I had no idea. Um.... when he's hungry? Um.... until he's full?

Age: When asked how old child #1 was, I had very detailed answers at the ready: "4 weeks and 2 days." How old is child #3? "Ummm.... 2 months? Ish? When is his birthday.... oh the 25th! Whenever the 25th is, he will turn 3 months."

Music exposure: Child #1 was only exposed to either children's CDs or classical music in the car to stimulate brain development. If Mommy is out and about with only #3, the poor kid gets to rock out to Pit Bull.

Diapers: Child #1 wore the most expensive Pampers Mommy could find, since she whole heartedly believed they held in the poop better. #3 gets the biggest box of Kirkland diapers Costco sells.

Clothing: Child #1 had his clothes changed multiple times per day. Mommy had time to care about him wearing all of his cute clothes at least once. She also was willing to deal with jean overalls, Nikes and other completely impractical clothing items for infants. Child #3 does not wear overalls, shoes, or really anything except onesies and one-piece pj outfits. And he does not get changed unless he needs a bath or pukes or poops all over his clothes. This means that yes, he may wear the same outfit all day, all night, and into the next day. If it does not smell, it does not come off.

Naps: Life revolved around child #1's "nap schedule" even at 2 months old. Stay at a friend's house past 8 pm?! I need to get home to put him to bed! Meet up for coffee at 10 am? Cannot do it. Child #3 is dragged all over town every day, bringing his brother to and from school, running errands, going to play dates, and you better believe Mommy would not think twice about meeting a friend for drinks and letting him sleep in her lap while she has a glass of wine in her hand. "Schedule" for him = sleep when you can sleep, kid. If that means your morning nap is on the living room floor at a play date, or in your car seat at the park, you might as well take it because that is as good as it is going to get.

Laundry: Child #1's clothes were all washed separately in Dreft. Child #3's clothes are thrown in with his siblings', Mom's and Dad's and it all gets washed in Costco brand detergent.

Bedroom: #1's room was all set up weeks before his arrival. Crib set up, complete with fancy $200 bed set (matching sheets, bumper, curtains, wall hangings, and diaper hanging thing we never used). #3 is over 2 months old. He is sleeping in his own room. The crib is set up and the walls are painted. And that is about it. There is no matching bed set. He is getting hand-me-down sheets. The curtain has not been hung up and the walls are bare of any decoration.

Journals, albums, and picture frames: I kept a detailed pregnancy journal for #1 and all of his ultrasound pictures are in an album, which we brought to a family picnic while pregnant. We forced all of our family members to swoon over those alien-like ultrasound pictures that really show nothing of what the child will look like. We also spent hundreds of dollars on a 4-D ultrasound (did not even know there was a 4th "D") and framed the color photo. It is still on my dresser. #3's ultrasound pics are.... somewhere in this house. There was no pregnancy journal. There was no money spent on any D ultrasound -- only the freebies from insurance!

Don't worry kid -- we love you to pieces. You are going to be a better kid this way -- less high maintenance and more understanding that sometimes things around here are... well, mediocre at best.