As my youngest child moves further and further from the baby stage, I can’t help but reminisce about how different I was as a mama to my first child versus my third (and last) child. My first child and third child are about seven years apart, with my first and second being 16 months apart. Now, everyone raises their children differently and this is just my personal experience (so no judgements!).
With my first child, I remember the joys of registering for everything under the sun and having two baby showers. Our friends and family blessed us with more than we could possibly imagine and we thought we needed every single thing. We had a theme for our nursery and the room was ready for the baby well in advance.
Fast forward seven years later to the third child. We got rid of all our baby items because we thought we were done having kids. So for baby #3, we borrowed whatever we could from friends who were done having their kids. I realized with the third child that there’s really only about a handful of baby necessities. Poor thing. His nursery walls are bare (actually I think there’s a flower sticker from his sister’s old wall clings).
With my first child, I read every single book I could find so I would know what to do when the baby got here. I finished my pregnancy scrapbook with ultrasound pictures and monthly belly photos (the last scrapbook I ever finished!).
Reading when I was expecting my third child? Who has time for that? Unless I am on my lunch break getting an oil change and I could skim through some gossip magazines while I had a few minutes of quiet time to myself.
With my first (and second), I stayed in the hospital the entire two days and had staff help out. I could barely walk after delivering the first child. I remember going home and thinking that I would never leave the house again for the next 18 years now that we had this new baby to take care of.
With my third, I sat on the couch in my recovery room, cleaned the room and was packed and ready to go the next morning. I also took advantage of having my in-laws in town one more day and had a birthday lunch date with my husband the day after I got home.
My first child is a girl so this Mommy went crazy before and after she was born buying the cutest girl clothing. I think my husband banned me from Gymboree. And while boy clothes are cute as well, girl clothes are just so much more fun for me to buy.
Poor third child (who is a boy). I think I buy most of his clothes on clearance at Kohl’s, Target or go to Once Upon a Child. I also love getting hand me downs from my friends. And most times around the house he just ends up wearing a diaper.
With the first child, I sanitized everything. If I went to the grocery store, I made sure we had our floppy seat cover. Same for restaurants and high chairs. I had antibacterial soap at all times. I even sanitized the pacifiers in the microwave every week.
With the third child, the five second (heck, the 30 second) rule applies to a pacifier on the floor. Just remove the dog hair first and you’re good to go. Half the time, I forget the seat cover when we go out to eat and I don’t think I’ve used it once at the grocery store.
With the first and second child, I took them to get their portraits taken every three months until they turned a year old.
With advances in cell phones and technology, I do believe the third child has the most pictures (though none were taken in a photography studio). And, I’m quite sure they’ll never make it to a physical photo album.
TV and Firsts
We swore with our first that she would not watch TV until she was at least a year old. With our third, he watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and became mesmerized the first week. It kept him quiet and occupied. The same with chocolate or anything sweet. We didn’t give anything like chocolate or sweets to my daughter for the longest time. I think I even scolded my mom when she sneaked some chocolate to my daughter before she turned one. With my third, he definitely had his fill of chocolate before his first birthday.
We held our first two children to comfort them, but were quick to put them in their swing or crib as not to have them get used to being held. They also had jaundice so we would have to lay them down for their light therapy.
With the third, I knew this would be our last baby so I held this one as much as I could. People would tell me that I was spoiling the baby and guess what? I didn’t care. Those moments are few and far between and I know he’ll grow up too fast so I savor every minute he still lays on me.
Regardless … Some Things Never Change
With all of my children, I took 10 weeks off to rest, recover and spend time with each child before I went back to work. It was definitely easier leaving the third in daycare than the first since we had grown to know and love our daycare (and to think we thought we no longer had daycare payments! That lasted a whole six months.).
Most importantly, there is love. Love for each child and love that grew as our family grew. While we did things differently between the first and the third, we never lacked in our amount of love. And regardless of how crazy things are with three children, I wouldn’t have it any other way.