6 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was the typical type A “prego”. I read all the books, all the message boards, journalled my pregnancy experience, and was determined to be as prepared as possible for my little bundle. When she was born, my OCD didn’t stop there. I was dead set on nursing her even if it took 8 weeks for her to latch. I made her baby food. I practiced attachment parenting. And have since, taken tons of parenting courses and seeked support for every milestone.
Now baby number two rolls around. And boy are things different. You would think I was a pro by now, right? I am wet behind the ears. I don’t need to read books, I go with my intuition and hands on life experience of my parenting. HA!!!! Are you kidding me? I am just plain lazy now. I am tired, and overworked. By now with baby number two, if he just survives the day with all the activities of my daughter, chores, work, school, etc, I feel satisfied. For example:
- Nursing. No one tells you when you are pregnant that nursing may not be an option for you. I just imagined my baby would come out stuck to me like a leech. But oh no… She didn’t want anything to do with me. It took 8 weeks to get her to latch. I cried in the lactation center many of times. But holy hell, I was determined. The thought of one drip of formula touching my precious baby’s lips was just out of the question. She needed my magic, all healing milk, and I needed to burn the calories so I could continue eating a carton of ice cream every night. When I cut her off at 18 month, we both cried.When my son was born, luckily he latched right away. But as much as I loved nursing him, you better believe I had a formula body ready to pop in his mouth at any given second that I was too lazy to pull a booby out. As long as his belly was full and he was gaining weight, I didn’t care if it came from me, or a can. I just wanted to make sure he was full at all times. He decided to stop nursing on his own at 10 months. I cried.
I have to say, one thing that didn’t change with number one and two, is that I would whip that boob out anywhere. I didn’t care. As long as there were no perverts staring at me, I would nurse those babies in anywhere. Boob in everyone’s face, no shame. I feel as though, once you are a nursing mother, your boobs are just natures bottle. They aren’t technically boobs anymore.
- Sleeping. My daughter slept with us every single day of her little life until she was 8 months old. I could not fathom the thought of her sleeping without me breathing down her throat. Once she was 8 months old, she squirmed too much and started sleeping in her own bed. She still comes to our bed often. But I have to admit, 3’s a crowd. And our little queen sized bed is a bit tight with two adults and a six year old. With my son, he has slept in his bassinet or crib every single day of his life. Not sure why to be honest. When we took him home from the hospital, that very first night, neither one of us could sleep unless we had at least a 12″ space between us. Maybe cause my daughter was still in the bed as well. But he has never slept well with us. On trips, it is a nightmare to get him to sleep if we have to share a bed. I usually end up with the hugest kink in my neck and about 20 min of sleep total.Speaking of sleep. The idea of my daughter having to cry herself to sleep at all was unthinkable. I would always make sure she was dead asleep in my arms before putting her down. With my baby boy, he goes in his crib with his pacifier and that is it. He is out like a light. And if he does wake, I let him cry a little before helping him. Usually he goes back down. It builds character.
- Routines. Routines are good for kids, right? It helps them transition from one activity to another. Helps calmly move them from one series of events to another. With my daughter, we have always had routines. As a baby she had an evening routine of dinner, bath, maybe a massage, read three books, nurse, and sleep. And even now she has an evening and morning routine that is clearly stated on her wall to get ready for school. Now my little baby boy. No routine…. He just tags along and when it is time for bed, we brush his teeth, stick the pacifier in, and put him in his crib. Done! I am sure as he gets older, he would benefit from a routine. But for now. It works for him. Despite what the books say.
- Speaking of reading. Baby number one, I read to her every night from probably six months on. We would pick out three little board books a night, sit in the rocking chair, and read together. We loved it. With my little boy, he is now 18 months old, and pretty much eats books. I take that back, he actually really likes books. He will look at the pictures, flip the pages, and likes the pictures. But god forbid you try and actually read him a book. My goodness, he won’t have it.
- It’s the little things. It is the daily things that crack me up. For example, I just throw the baby in the stroller, no strap. Hell, if he falls out, it builds character. Ok, that is an exaggeration. But with my daughter as a baby, she was always be strapped in with the five star strap system. I always made sure my daughter ate a well ranged diet of fruit, veggis, protient, grains, etc. Now with baby number two, if he eats what would seem like a large meal, I am stoked. He could have yogurt for dinner and I would be happy, if it meant that his belly had enough calories.With my daughter, she did baby sign language, baby play groups, swim lessons, etc. With my son, he pretty much comes along for the ride for whatever my daughter is doing.
Both of my kids are experiencing two totally different upbringings for their early years, but they are both happy and thriving. And I know someday my son will be a reading champ, vs just eating the books. I am sure my son will be in swim lessons, a co-op preschool, and explore all the wonderful activities that my daughter is experiencing now… someday soon. And I know that there will be a point in time where my daughter won’t want to sleep with us, and I will miss it dearly.
I do at times get worried that I will send of them into therapy as adults because of their upbringings. But shit, isn’t that what a Type A, OCD mother is suppose to worry about?