Hey there, parent of three or more kids. I see you over there with your lukewarm coffee and rapidly declining parenting standards. This one’s for you.
The small stuff sure seemed like big stuff when you were expecting your first kid. Nursery décor, laundry detergent brand, socks that match – they were all big deals. But a lot has happened since that first baby. You’ve been around this parenting block. You’ve seen some stuff. Like invincible baby puke stains that laugh in Tide’s face, or car seat diaper explosions that defy the laws of gravity. Oh, yes. You’ve seen some stuff. And now you know that the little things are indeed, little things. So you let them slide. And slide. And slide a little more.
The We’re the same, you and me. So go microwave your cold coffee and then come sit with me as we reminisce and giggle together about our two-children-ago selves and our deteriorating parenting standards, one category at a time.
Baby #1: You can hardly wait for a passerby to notice your bump and ask how far along you are. Not only will the first-time mom recall this weekly number effortlessly, but she will also remember her fetus’s corresponding fruit size.
Baby #3: By the time baby number three is in utero, you never really remember exactly how pregnant you are. So when a passerby asks, just buy yourself some time to do math by feigning inaudibility: “I’m sorry, can you repeat the question?” [math time] If pregnancy brain fails you in the math department, just smile and sweetly respond, “I’m due in March.”
Baby #1: There is a time and place for hand-me-downs, but now and your precious first-born’s room is not it. For something as epic as this, only Pottery Barn Kids bedding will do. The nursery will be complete at 6-months gestation, and will include a DIY lace mosquito net. There will be an Etsy-crafted mobile of woodland animals and the changing table will boast three $40 wicker baskets used to hold…diapers. You’ll obviously accent with whatever colors have been scientifically proven to bolster an infant’s IQ. Carefully design a montage of reclaimed wood art and framed, matted ultrasounds of your uterine dweller. As soon as the Italian leather glider arrives from Restoration Hardware, you’ll finally be ready for the 8 lb person whose vision will not even work properly for her first few months of life, but whose bedroom is 17 times fancier than your first apartment.
Baby #3: Remove storage boxes from spare bedroom. Start referring to it as “the nursery.” Grab those hand-me-down sheets from the back of the linen closet. Run ‘em through the washer with a cup of lavender-scented Tide (that’s basically an essential oil, right?) and you are in business.
Baby #1: Purchase organic vegetables to boil, puree and freeze your own homemade baby food. When your paper-chain countdown to six months finally ends with Baby’s First Solid Foods Party, bust out the video camera you purchased specifically for this monumental event. Gently warm the organic veggie puree (but do not microwave it, lest you kill all the nutrients and baby gets scurvy). Applaud and obsess over baby’s hilarious expression as she adorably rejects every food that you spent hours preparing. How cute!
Baby #3: Did baby just reach for your forkful of dinner on its way to your mouth? It must be time to begin solids! How old is the kid again? Six months-ish? Perfect. Check the date on the jarred green beans in the pantry leftover from last kid. Microwave. Bon appetit!
First Birthday Party
Baby #1: Select party theme 6 months in advance. Hire photographer, order cake and send save-the-dates. Schedule pre-party baby photo shoot in orchard for birthday party centerpieces.
Baby #3: Pack the family up and head to Round Table Pizza with your Tupperware cupcake carrier filled with baked-from-a-box cupcakes. If you forget the birthday candle, a match can be used in a pinch.
Baby #1: If you see a speck of dirt or something resembling a stain, promptly change baby’s clothes. Same goes for mom’s clothing. If baby sneezes with mouthful of banana, by golly, you deserve a change of clothes.
Baby #3: The laundry situation has become dire. Please send help. Stains on yours and baby’s clothing are equal parts inevitable and NBD. The only two reasons to change an outfit are 1.) Clothing is wet and it is below freezing outside, OR 2.) The stain is a bodily fluid. Trust me when I tell you that mud is the happiest brown stain you could possibly discover on yours or baby’s clothing.
Baby #1: Did baby’s binky fall on the ground?! Quick! Burn it! Also, be sure to bathe your child nightly to relax him after his busy day of baby gym class, napping and refusing to eat your homemade solid foods.
Baby #3: Did baby’s binky fall on the ground?! Quick! Pick it up and give it back to him. (Unless it fell in standing water or a public restroom floor.) It’s good for his immune system, right? Bathing will only be necessary after baby has been mistaken for a coloring book by an older sibling, or if you find food scraps stored under baby’s neck and/or cankle folds. This will usually happen twice a week. Baby wipes will suffice for the in-between days.
How did your parenting style change between your first and last baby? Share in the comment section below!More On