I just came across a post on Scary Mommy on the difference between parenting a first and third child. It made me chuckle with recognition. But she left out a few things, so I thought I’d add my own.
First Kid: Introduced one food at a time waiting three days in between each new food to make sure there was no signs of allergy. No sweets until his first birthday. On his second birthday he asked “can I have cake again on my next birthday?”
Second Kid: Introduced nutritious whole foods as she seemed interested in them. Didn’t worry too much about a cookie here and there.
Third Kid: Let him grab food off my plate whenever he wanted. Cookies are a perfectly acceptable breakfast, and if he whines for the “whole bag” of Doritos, well, so long as it keeps him quiet, why not?
First Kid: I was totally neurotic about his exposure to television. If I watched TV while nursing him to sleep, I did it with the close-captioning on. He was not exposed to television at all until he was 2. Isn’t that what the AAP recommends?
Second Kid: She watched whatever her big brother was watching whenever he was watching it.
Third Kid: On the nights he wouldn’t sleep, I’d let him watch Weeds with me.
And speaking of sleep. . .
First Kid: I had a very strict schedule for him. Not that he ever followed it. And man would it stress me out when he didn’t fall asleep at 9am for his nap. If it took me until 11 to get him to sleep for his morning nap, what the hell was I supposed to do for his afternoon nap? I was clearly a failure as a parent because my kid did not sleep by the book. And if you happened to be the unfortunate fool who woke up my napping baby? God help you. (Sorry, Dad. You were recipient of my wrath on more than one occasion.)
Second Kid: She was just naturally a better napper than the first. Whether it was experience (mine) or temperament (hers) this just went much more smoothly for me the second time.
Third Kid: He’s just as bad a sleeper as big brother was, but it doesn’t bother me nearly as much. In fact, having to be home for naps is rather inconvenient. You don’t want to nap? Fine. We’re going to the museum. You don’t want to sleep at 7:30? Fine. Play in your room with your trains until you do want to go to sleep. Just don’t make too much noise. Mommy’s watching Fringe. (Hey, I still have some standards – that show is way too scary for a 2 year old.)