When our second child came along I expected it to be different- but I don’t think I realised how different it could be. With our first child we were sooooo diligent about doing all the right things, and I had the time and ability to follow through with our decisions on how to best parent our child. Some of the decisions we made to ensure that Reid had the best chance at life were as follows. I have put in brackets the difference in how we parent Ari:
- No TV (my new rule is no TV during the day, and even then I sometimes break it to save my sanity)
- Three meals and two snacks throughout the day, as well as four breastfeeds. Five serves of vegetables, two serves of fruit and at least one serving of protein every day (Ari gets whatever he will swallow, and whenever I happen to think of feeding him- or what he steals off his brother)
- Not too many toys, as an active imagination is more important- and we don’t have the space for lots of things (we have now moved into a house with a toy room, and the toys spill out of this room into the lounge room. Our backyard is a haven for ride-on things).
- No dummy (quick- where’s the dummy? Stuff it in that baby’s mouth until he falls asleep!!). In my own defence I broke this rule on my first child before he was even two days old.
- I kept a baby book and record all of the important moments in Reid’s childhood, for him to look back on (I wrote the date that Ari started crawling on the back of a receipt- and then promptly lost it).
- I took Reid to get weighed at the Medical Centre every week, and recorded the measurements in his Blue Book, just to make sure he was developing properly. (I missed Ari’s six month development check)
- I took Reid to New York, San Francisco and Samoa before he was 11 months old – ok, this one was for me (Ari has been to the coast once or twice to visit my dad)
- I used to read books to Reid every night and every morning, and sprinkled throughout the day. I pointed out the names of everything so he would learn the words (my 2.5yo son reads to Ari and makes up the words to the story)
- We had a baby monitor so we could hear every sigh from Reid, an alarm that went off if he stopped breathing in the night, and a special ergonomical mattress for his cot (Ari sleeps in a port-a-cot in the spare room, with a few blankets on top of the very thin mattress – under the sheet -to try and disguise the hardness)
- Reid visited the doctor about monthly for various ailments (Ari has been three times and twice he ended up in hospital from these visits)
- I kept a fairly close eye on what Reid put in his mouth (Ari contracted a rare bacterial infection from eating gross black sand at the beach, which landed him in hospital).
So- that is my list of shame. For those lovely parents out there who have been through the same thing, what have you noticed is different in how you raise your first child to your second? And does it get even worse when you get to your third?