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Mistakes I Hope I Don’t Make the Second Time Around

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

I’ll never forget it: The first thing my husband said when we got the message from the nurse that my pregnancy test was positive, he turned to me and blurted out: “We get to have a do-over! This kid will be potty trained by the time it’s 3.”

I just wrote about how much I adore my kid. He is by far my proudest accomplishment. BUT, as perfect as I think he is, there are some things we as parents did along the way that were not so perfect. I know my husband is as excited as I am to have another baby, but I also know he wasn’t entirely kidding when he mentioned a do-over.

If I’m being totally honest, there isn’t much I’d do differently with this next child—whatever we did, whether it was deliberate or not, we did it right with Preston. He’s not only an incredibly smart and conscientious kid, he’s also very sweet and polite—and that makes me happier than any early milestone ever could. I love that he says “please” and “thank you” at all the appropriate times, without anyone prompting him, and I also love that he’s a people person (and always the last to want to leave a party, like someone else I know—me!). He makes fast friends with people he’s just met—not only kids his own age, but my friends too.

But no kid is “perfect,” so there are a few things we’ll probably try to do differently with the next one, in no particular order:

1. I will shove any and all real people food in my baby’s face as soon as she’s ready to start eating. The first foods Preston ate are the same foods he eats now—I wish I’d been more aggressive about this. He definitely likes to eat, but has a very limited palette (like me).

2. We will not give this baby apple juice. Period. When we weaned Preston off the bottle, we thought we were being so sly by putting apple juice in his sippy cup, so he wouldn’t care that we weren’t giving him a bottle anymore. Well, guess what? He became addicted to apple juice in a sippy cup! In our defense, we only give him Mots for Tots, which is 40% water, and we water it down so much, it’s really just water with a splash of juice (which tastes disgusting). But it’s a psychological thing: He says he “hates” water and it drives me bananas. (He drinks plain water at school of course, but when he’s home he will let himself dehydrate until we give in.)

3. We will start potty training earlier and more consistently with the next baby, and we will be better at it! Preston’s almost 3 ½ and still wears Pull-Ups to school. For all intents and purposes he is potty trained, he just seems to prefer not going number two on the toilet. I’m also convinced it's a psychological thing with him—either something to do with control, or wanting to still be babied, I'm not sure, but we’re working on it…

4. This goes back to no. 1: This next child will eat vegetables, dammit. I love vegetables—I make huge salads at home at least once a week. it’s my biggest pregnancy craving. He sees me doing this, and knows what all the vegetables are, yet he still refuses to try a single one. It makes me crazy. His new saying is, “I’ll eat that when I’m older, and I’m not older yet, Mom.” (I used to always say to him: “When you’re older, you’re going to love [fill in the blank]!”)

5. Preston’s a big TV and movie watcher—and part of me thinks we shouldn’t have introduced him to the tube so young (he started watching “Yo Gabba Gabba” when he was six months old, and still loves it, god help me). But the other part of me thinks, What's the big deal? He watches only good stuff that, I swear, is teaching him something—and will sit through a two-hour movie with us ("Annie," "E.T.," "Harry Potter," "Star Wars," you name it, he's seen it). We’re a TV family; I grew up in a TV family (my mom worked in television for 30 years!). I don’t think this is holding him back in any way—he’d still rather play outside or do something more productive. But we could probably be better about limiting the amount of TV he watches before bed. Still torn on this one, because cuddling before bed with him, watching a kid's show or a movie, is still my favorite time of night. (We also read books before bed, so it's not like this is taking the place of that.)

Is there anything you’d do differently, if you had the chance?