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 little being (it was tougher to get a library card), and frankly I didn't feel ready.
But 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, and the date of their most recent TB test.
Then came child number two, and I was racing 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. Here are just a few of them ...
1st Child: While pregnant with my first, we took pictures every month with an arrow drawn down my belly that said "Baby" and how many months I was at.
2nd Child: I think I have one picture of me preggers with my second and it was taken at a Chuck E. Cheese during one of my First's birthday parties.
1st Child: "You'd like to hold my baby? Ummm, could you fill out this quick questionnaire: Have you washed and sanitized your hands surgeon style? Have you been sick in the last 3months? Travelled outside the country in the last 3 years? Been tested for TB, Tetanus, or Bird Flu?
2nd Child: "Hey random work acquaintance of my husband's who came to see the baby, would you mind holding Second while I use the bathroom/go for a walk/get a pedicure?
1st 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.
2nd 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*
1st Child: "I can't use these wipes straight from the bag. They'll need to sit in the wipe warmer for to reach the optimal temperature for my little one's precious bottom."
2nd Child: "I can't use these wipes from the wipe warmer. Then Second will scream when we use cold ones … I thought we threw that thing away."
1st 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, like they demonstrate in the videos.
2nd Child: Whatever First is watching should be fine. "Oh, it's Annoying Orange? OK, then I'm sure there's some value in that." 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.
1st Child: Your entire day, ahem, life, revolves around First's napping schedule. First naps in the crib or bassinet like clockwork. Missing said nap/naps will throw everything off balance and you're pretty sure you'll pay for it for the rest of your life. PS - being woken in the middle of one is even worse.
2nd Child: Second usually falls asleep in car or stroller while running errands for First and then you're either stuck driving around or parked in your own driveway reading a magazine until Second is done, or you try to do the switch to the stroller and keep your fingers crossed. Hey, there's always tomorrow.
1st 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."
2nd 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?"
1st 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.
2nd Child: You're not wasting your money on most of that stuff, the park is awesome!
1st 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?
2nd 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."
1st 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.
2nd Child: "Oh is that crying? I had the monitor off -- Real Housewives is on."
1st Child: Everything must be new new new and perfect and pristine ... I'm sure it'll stay that way.
2nd Child: Yeah, um I guess I didn't consider that a baby would be using all that new stuff. It's been puked on peed on snotted on? Well, hose it off and reuse it!!! Oh, and I'll take your hand-me-downs if you have any.
1st Child: You and me and baby make three. "I love doing everything as a family. Let's go to the zoo and get a yearly pass."
2nd Child: "First has this class. Second has this party. I have these errands. You take one I'll take the other and we'll meet up for dinner. Annnnnd BREAK!"
1st Child: Having first child's swing/exersaucer/play-mat is just adorable mixed in with our adult furniture.
2nd Child: All of our adult furniture is hard to find, mixed in with all the exersaucers/swings/bouncers/toys/dolls and play-mats.
1st 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."
2nd 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."
1st Child: I kept a list of every feeding -- how many ounces or which boob… each poop was logged by time of day, color, consistency, and um - odor.
2nd Child: Second got fed when hungry, and changed when soiled. Nuf said.
1st Child: Gets compared to everyone else's kids. First must hit all milestones, be potty trained, speak, walk, and read in a timely manner, or total anxiety and frequent calls to the pediatrician ensues.
2nd Child: Second get's compared to First, but just for nostalgic purposes. Second does stuff when he/she is good and ready. In fact, if Second wants to wait on a few things, like walking (which you now know opens a whole new slew of worries) you're OK with that.
1st Child: We listened to CDs of Little People, and The Laurie Berkner Band and Hap Palmer videos. I had We Are They Dinosaurs stuck in my head for about 3 years, straight.
2nd Child: We listen to my music which is, 80s pop and 90s grunge, plus today's hits. Second's favorite song at two years old was Fergalious... Oh, and The Real Slim Shady.
1st 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.
2nd Child: You realize you can actually love more than one person so deeply and you're in awe of how true that statement is. You also decide you don't need to treat them like glass.
Spill did you see a difference as you had more?
Image via Jenny From the Blog/TheSuburbanJungle