What’s different the second time around

About 3 1/2 years ago, when I had my first kid, I didn’t know much about having kids. All I knew was that after the birth, I thought, “I don’t want to do this again for at least 5 more years.” Little did I know that I would be doing it again 3 years later.

So, my son came a little earlier than expected…which is fine, really, because after having been a parent for a few years, I feel equipped with a little bit more wisdom, although some days I feel like I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. Looking back on it now, I remember being SO excited about becoming a parent for the first time. Not that I’m not excited to be a parent for the second time, because I was… but James did come about two years early…I feel like this time, as many parents do, I know a few things I didn’t know before. Take, for example:

-You don’t need to buy an entire year’s supply of clothing & accessories for your kid. Seriously – this is the most important thing I’ve learned from having my daughter. Having a girl induces you (no pun intended) to buy cute little flowery headbands, because gosh darn it, you want her to have the BEST newborn picture so you can do those birth announcements, right? In addition to cute, flowery headbands that sells for the cost of a new perfume that you want to get for yourself (because being a new parent means you don’t have time to shower so you need to cover up your stink), there are also thousands of products in the baby industry that sounds like it’s so necessary to get at the time, like wipe warmers…because gosh darn it if your baby’s butt isn’t warm when you wipe her stinky, poopy parts in the middle of the night! (Psstt: here’s the secret: the baby doesn’t care). It is incredible how much new parents feel obligated to buy – from cribs that cost as much as your plane ticket to see your mom to strollers that are in the $300-400 range, you would need to stop going out to dinner for 5 months before you can actually afford all this stuff!

Luckily, you have generous parents, grandparents, friends and family members who is going to shower you with gifts for the baby. Suddenly that baby monitor is yours. Plus 50 new outfits, all with cute little sayings like “The cutest baby on the block” or “Man of the house.” And did I mention that there is a much bigger selection of girl’s clothing than boys’ clothing? So, you can’t help yourself – you end up buying a million outfits for your baby, and then you realize that by 2 months, they no longer fit in the 0-3 month clothing, and you’ll shed several tears as you sort out the brand new clothes that they never got a chance to wear into the “Donate” pile.

This time, when I had my son, I was smart enough to only look for gently used clothing and discount items. Thinking that I’m so clever, I bought a lot of $3* onesies for him…turns out, he grew even faster than my daughter, so I still shed a tear every time I think about getting rid of those cute little outfits that he never wore several weeks ago.

Courtesy of: The Ugly Volvo

You’re not a terrible parent if you let your kid falls off the bed/sofa/chair/whatever they’re laying on at the moment. I recently started reading a parenting book called “Welcome to the Club” by Racquel D’Apice and she mentioned having done this, and I felt a huge sigh of relief. It’s not just me. My husband has done it. I’ve done it. I bet thousands of other parents have done it – your baby is a few months old, they just started rolling over, and you leave them on a surface for five seconds and during those five seconds, they managed to roll over and fall off the bed, or sofa, or chair, or table. You wonder if your child maybe has developed some sort of magical grasp with gravity, because even YOU can’t roll off a surface that quickly. You then hear a blood-curdling scream of an infant, and with horror, you think your child is dead. You rush to their side only to discover they are *whew* NOT dead, just a little traumatized, because they’ve never bungee-jumped off the bed before. And you’ve never let them do it before. Then you feel so terrible that you vow to never let that happen again…and in my case, never mention it to my husband (unless he confesses to having done it first – which he did).

-You don’t need to come to their beck and call every time they cry. Look, babies’ needs are very basic: 1) they have a dirty diaper 2) they’re hungry 3) they’re hungry and tired, and in my son’s case 4) they need companionship. (Don’t leave me alone, Mom!) You shouldn’t have to feel terrible if you don’t. When Lily came into our lives, my husband and I would be so worried that we’d often come to her call every time she cries. After awhile, you start to learn what their cries mean. Nowadays, whenever my son cries, we let him have his moment for about 5-10 minutes before we come check on him. Honestly, I don’t feel terrible about doing this, because I know he’s not seriously injured, so he can wait another minute for me to drink my coffee before he gets his morning breakfast.

You don’t need to wait for them to fall asleep in your arms. For f**k’s sake, just put the baby down even when he’s not fully asleep! Babies need to learn to fall asleep on their own. Just like they need to learn how to use a fork and a spoon, how to use the bathroom, how to spend money…but let’s take it one at a time, ok? Nuff said.

-You don’t need to be worried about taking the baby out. So, for god’s sakes – take your baby out! It may be a surprise (or not to those who know us) but we didn’t go out very much when Lily was a baby. (Proudly wearing “The Most Boring Parent On the Planet” hat)…as in, we didn’t take trips, or take her out on any outings besides to family member’s houses, on a walk in the stroller, or to the grocery store. Then we had James, and we’re like, “Why the hell not?!?” In his first two months of life, he’s already gone on more road trips than Lily ever did in her first two months of life. (Sorry kiddo).

I believe that the fear lies in the fact that you think you’re going to forget something if you take your baby out on a longer-than-30-minutes trip. Let me tell you: if you forget something, it’s going to be okay. All three of you will cry a little bit, but then the world will continue, and you will forget about that incident. Unless you want to record it in the baby book**

*Speaking of money, a baby costs a lot.

**Who has time to write in baby books anymore?? the unofficial “baby book” is now called Facebook.

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