first vs. third

by humanmama on December 5, 2013

There are so many differences between having no kids and having a baby. It’s unimaginable. At first you said things like “We can’t! We’re busy!” and “We’re so broke,” but you didn’t really feel it. Then suddenly you have a baby and you can’t even imagine what you did with all your free time and money that you had that you thought you didn’t have. It’s astounding.

Then, you have another kid. And then another, if you’re like me, and you’re left thinking about free time and extra money the way that scientists theorize the creation of the universe, with just absurd ideas and abstract math. But, I can only imagine how my kids would feel, if they actually noticed. Because the differences between the first and third are colossal. Take, for instance, putting them to bed:

First Child: Half-hour bath, soothing lavender lotion rubbed on in an infant-massage, three books with the light on, two songs with the light off, maybe some silent rocking, bed. Creep out of room, creak stirs baby, go back in and rock to sleep, perhaps singing 2 more songs.
Third Child: Change diaper. Wipe face with wipe. Throw in bed. Say “night night!” and run out the door.

First Child: Play peek-a-boo. Lay on floor for tummy time. Get nervous about how much tummy time seems to be causing baby distress. Read about tummy times. Wonder if tummy time is even necessary. Notice that doctors say it is a must for strengthening baby’s core and neck muscles, which is a must for baby learning to crawl. Resolve to just two minutes a day, and remain steadfast during those two minutes of grunts and cries from the baby.
Third Child: Never, ever lay child on tummy. Hope he never knows there is another way to exist but laying on one’s back. Suddenly realize he’s crawling.

First Child: Suddenly realize there are dangerous things that she can reach, everywhere. The lovely glass dish from your wedding will be far above her head, now. Spend time crawling around with her, removing items to higher, safer shelves. Plug all outlets with outlet covers. Put cords out of reach.
Second Child: Remove all items. Now that lovely glass dish is in the basement. Wonder where all those outlet covers went.
Third Child: Notice that he is sitting next to an open electrical outlet and banging on the (now vintage) glass dish with the remote. Shout “THAT’S where the remote went!”

First Child: Spend hours holding her by the ribcage, “walking” her around the room. When she finally can stand up on her own, spend hours holding both hands and encouraging her to walk on her own. Finally, sit with your spouse and encourage her to “walk to MOMMY!!!” and please, get this all on video.
Third Child: “Wow! I can’t believe he’s walking already!” says a friend. “What? He is? Where’d he go?”

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