(Things You Should Say To Parents…With More than One)
You think you know what parenting will be like before parents, and you think you’ve got it all figured out while loving on that newborn in the hospital. And then you go home. Reality sets in. This baby cries more/eats more/needs more diaper changes/is awake at night, more than you ever thought possible. And that’s just the easy stuff. You muddle through, then you have baby number two and begin to repeat the process. And it doesn’t work. Sound familiar to anyone?
Our first was really terrific. The best labor/birth out of my three. He never cried. People used to pretend to teach him what a cry sounded like, because he obviously didn’t know how to do it. Slept through the night at about 2 weeks. Ate all the time. This boy liked to eat. But while the first couple days were painful and a learning process, we quickly corrected his latch and had smooth sailing in the nursing department. Enter peanut #2. Every night she would cry for hours, no matter what I did… I felt so helpless. And so unprepared. Eventually I realized that I was treating her the way her older brother had wanted/needed to be treated, but this little girl needing something entirely different. She was picky about the way she was held and how she was laid down. It turned out she needed a couple weeks of chiropractor visits, but in general, she still needs to be parented different than her older brother. And our youngest was an entirely different baby too. He hated to be in a wet diaper. No matter how tiny the amount of wetness. He’d cry and fuss, you’d change him, and he’d be back to being a happy camper. And while the first two were what I refer to as “add water and stir” kind of babies (meaning if they were a little cranky, toss them in the water and stir and they’d be fine!), number 3 hated bath time for at least the first 9 months.
Now that they’re no longer babies, there’s a whole other level of parenting to be discovered. One thing is for sure, parenting is not a one-size-fits-all kind of a deal. You have to invent yourself as a parent with every child you have. Big E craves freedom to roam and wander. Miss E craves reassurance- that you’re still there, that she’s behaving herself, that she’s doing things right. And Littlest, well, we’re still learning, but rest assuredly, it will be something entirely different than his siblings.