I THOUGHT made a rookie mistake this week; I started out Monday morning with no coffee in the house. I went into immediate cardiac arrest when I saw the crumpled Starbucks bag in the freezer (first of all, WHO puts the empty bag back?? - I think we all know who. And he had already left for work and was probably sipping his Grande Latte at that very moment and I silently hoped he had to stop short during his drive therefore spilling some of MY coffee and scalding his crotch) Obviously I am not over my bitterness for having to jump into Monday sans coffee. I should ALWAYS have two bags in the house....and with further investigation, I of course did. The heavens parted and angels sang when I opened the extra freezer and there she was smiling at me. This near "incident" and the blog from yesterday made me think about the changes that we make from the first born to any child thereafter; mistakes we made and hopefully learned from. I think we all have stories of how MOST of us have grown increasingly laid back with each subsequent spawning. Don't get me wrong, there are some out there who are nearly as neurotic as with the first. You know who you are.
I went through my eldest's baby book a few weeks ago (difference #1- the eldest actually HAS a baby book. I think my third child has one, but I am sure it is still wrapped in plastic) and saw the LIST OF THINGS TO TAKE TO THE BIRTH. I wanted to kick myself in the ass, not only for saving it but for the crap we brought....a bag of quarters? What? For the pick-up poker game with the other dads-to-be? There are no payphones anymore, and I suppose maybe for vending machines, but don't all hospitals in the 21st century have some sort of modernized cafeteria? But the list in my "book" said to bring change, so we did. Speaking of this list I saved, I saved other weird crap too. But then I heard about my friend who saved that belly-button thing that falls off - you know that thing that made me forever stop eating raisins? - ewww, ewww, ewww - and I didn't feel AS bad about keeping the little tshirt and hat from the hospital (the ones we weren't supposed to keep..oops). My first kid will have a baby book, scrap book, video and sometimes journal. The third kid is in MOST current pictures. Good enough, right?
#2 - the diaper bag - My first diaper bag was the size of a small Volkswagen and held 3 outfits for both of us, 4 nuks, 1 bottle of sterilized water (don't premix the bottle of course) a container of formula - just in case, my breast pump, the breast pump manual, 12 diapers, a full package of wipes, hand sanitizer, changing pad, germ-free shopping cart protector thingy, bags for dirty diapers, bags for dirty outfits, bags for dirty bags, 2 teethers, 3 toys, Annie's All Natural Cheese Bunny snacks, and food safe, kid safe, pet safe sanitizing spray in case any of the above touched a surface other than my baby. TODAY - a purse with one diaper, a baggie with some wipes thrown in, goldfish (preferably not in the same baggie as the wipes, but baggies don't grow on trees, so do what you gotta do) and if we're really lucky, odds are pretty good there are some fruit snacks scattered along the bottom...just pick out the lint.
#3 - Playtime - My first never left my sight. The baby Bjorn made sure that in his infancy we could do everything together (new moms - DO NOT BAKE COOKIES WITH YOUR BABIES IN THEIR BJORN - their eyebrows look funny for awhile after that) Anyway, I followed him everywhere; and if I wasn't following him, I was holding/wearing him. By the third, I figure as long as they can walk, they don't want to be where I am anyway, so why force the togetherness? That is one of the reasons we moved to the country...for some fresh air "roam where you want to" attitude. I just make sure now that they are all in at night at a decent hour.
#4 - Babyproofing everything - You name it, we had it; outlet covers, cupboard locks, drawer locks, door handle covers, foam corner protectors, spray to clean the foam corner protectors, stove knob covers, door chimes (this would have been handy when our 2nd child wandered away from home on his 2nd birthday and was brought back by the police - Ok, the policeman was a neighbor and our kid was "mowing" the sidewalk 6 houses away from ours, so take your hand away from your mouth in horror. We figure it is not the last time that particular child will be brought home by the police, we just got an early start) Anyway, we got rid of the aforementioned "baby proof" items mostly because they were adult proof too. We couldn't get into any damn cupboards or open doors, and the straw that broke the camel's back was the toilet lock; one husband stumbling in from the neighborhood poker game at 2 am + toilet lock = very embarassing story. By the third child, I just started keeping the knives in a lower drawer anyway because I didn't want her to hurt herself climbing on the counter to try to get them.
#5 - TV time - the first child and I spent a half an hour every morning after his first nap watching Baby Einstein together. I thought this Dr. approved learning series would surely stimulate his brain and make him the genius I knew he was going to be. Besides, too much tv rots their brain (let me say that my first child - the Baby Einstein one - is currently the one that would lose his head if it weren't attached - sweet as pie but as we like to say about him "Common sense isn't too common") Now by the third - well, you all know. Dora is like another family member (AND she teaches them spanish), Phineas and Ferb are heroes(teaches creativity), Martha Speaks (teaches you that if you feed your dog weird crap she might talk to you) and Yo Gabba Gabba (ok, that show is just plain wrong and teaches you that unitards and orange afros don't look good on anyone - and if you do decide to wear it FOR THE LOVE OF GOD - DON'T DO JUMPING JACKS IN FRONT OF PRESCHOOLERS!)
Well, you get my drift. With each child we either get more laid back, or the sheer number of kids wears us down into a submissive, passive state where we just don't feel like fighting it. I like to think that we get smarter and more efficient. Truth be told, the more you try to keep the little buggers out of or away from something, the more they want to get at it. And the little Houdinis will find a way. To us, childproofing, limiting TV time, and being fully prepared are part of being a good parent; to our kids those things are only obstacles in their path to do the exact opposite of what we want them to do.
Have a great epidural day!