Third Baby: No New Clothes, But Easier Going Parents
July 28, 2011
When my doctor said, "Now's about the time in your pregnancy when we recommend patients go see our nurse practitioner to talk about breastfeeding and post-partum preparation," I chirped, "No, thanks!" And my doctor, because she is The Awesome, was all, "Well, I guess it IS your third baby!"
And I just want to say: the fact that this is my third baby doesn't mean I'm an improved parent. If you could have seen the chaos in my house today you'd agree. But I think it DOES mean I'm a more relaxed parent, easier on myself and my husband, and just generally not as WACKED OUT. (And everyone around me breathes a sigh of oh thank goodness.)
There's something a teeny bit sad about the third-ness (really, the not-the-first-ness) of New Baby. All that baby stuff was just a huge new world to Younger Worker Bee Me and it was FUN to go all crazypants looking at diaper bags and cribs and cloth diapers. There were so many THINGS! Walking into the giant baby box store was overwhelming, yes, but all that stuff helped me imagine what my life was going to be like. I could sit in our powder blue rocker and anticipate. Even things like bottles and pump parts and pacifiers and swaddling blankets and the nine zillion different creams and lotions and ointments you could buy to stock your changing table - it was all wondrous and exciting and fed my anticipation. People, I packed my diaper bag for our first outing MONTHS in advance. It's not like I believed a brand new baby NEEDED all those things or that we were required to have them, they just got me all excited and it was ME who needed them!
Now I'm all, "We spent HOW much on that stupid crib?"
So poor Third Baby, I have not bought her a single stitch of clothing or bedding, I have not given one thought to decorating her nursery because she's not going to have one, and I recently saw the box of bottles and pump parts in the garage and involuntarily shuddered.
But that does not mean I'm not excited. I am SO excited. I think I am more excited for Third Baby than I was for First or Second. (Sorry, First and Second.)
See, First Baby was a vague, floaty, somewhat baby-like image hovering around my extremely low expectations for having a newborn. I was so not one of those women who thought breastfeeding would be easy and my baby would sleep well and everything would be fine. I assumed from the get go that breastfeeding would be torture, I'd have a colicky refluxy screamer, and life would basically be hell for the first twelve months. Imagine my surprise to score a happy chill baby who, once he (and I) got the hang of things, nursed easily and pretty much never cried. Dudes, I won the baby jackpot with that kid. I don't think any of my real newborn fears ever happened.
As for Second Baby, she showed up so quickly after First Baby that (SORRY SECOND BABY) I barely remember anticipating her. I DO remember finding out she was a girl and getting super excited about that. But otherwise... shoot, I was TIRED. I was happy, but I was tired, and my first baby was still a baby. I hadn't got around to feeling nostalgic for the baby stuff yet!
Now with Third Baby all I can think about is the good parts. Oh sure, I remind myself that I'm due for a screamer or allergies or tongue tie or something bound to make both our lives miserable, but honestly? I just think about getting to hold a warm little bundle in the middle of the night. I think about gazing into an entirely new face. I think about giant cheeks and big fat cloth diaper bottoms and the itty bitty dresses Molly only wore once. It helps that I really love babies, I know, and the fact that I had two relatively easy ones. But I don't care. I'll be tired and worn out and stressed and frustrated with the older ones and annoyed with my husband and my house will most definitely be a disaster, but then I think about a whole brand new little person and I get all shmoopy again.
And the hard stuff? Eh. I've knocked myself out breastfeeding and was a slave to the pump - I've also bottle fed and and weaned early and you know what? Everyone seems to be doing just fine. We hard core sleep trained one kid and didn't sleep train the other kid and I don't think either of them is headed straight to therapy. There are days when we eat way too much sugar and watch way too much TV. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I'm inconsistent. Sometimes we're too lazy to do baths, sometimes we have Cocoa Puffs for dinner. And all of that seems to be okay. I don't feel like I need to read any parenting books this time around or get extra breastfeeding help or figure out where I stand on all sorts or parenting decisions and philosophies. We've tried a bit of everything, and while we've mostly figured out what works for us (where "works" means "keeps us sane"), we're also open to the fact that each kid is totally different and something else might be needed.
So while it was super fun and super exciting to be in New Parent mode, and I do sort of miss that excitement you get from washing new baby clothes and putting tiny socks in the dresser drawers, I have to say, Soon-To-Be-Parents-Of-Three mode is an easier place to be.