|Elise Laine aka "Baby" at 10 months|
I've always prided myself on being calm and collected, but when my first child was born, all that level-headed confidence melted into a puddle of raging post-partum hormones. I was a wreck. I remember being afraid to leave my sleeping newborn in the house while I went out to check the mail because what if something happened in the 23 seconds I was gone??
Needless to say, I'm a different mother with my third baby than I was with my first. It's not that I'm more confident, it's that I'm more tired. After we brought Elise home, there were times I forgot I even had a new baby until I heard her crying in the next room. With my first child, my goal for parenting was to raise a brilliant, caring, highly-motivated, super-successful individual. My new goal for parenting is to raise children who are successful enough to pay for their own therapy.
Here are some other differences:
1st Child: Was named before he was conceived. Named after cherished family members.
3rd Child: Was named in the hospital while Mommy was on a post-surgical narcotic high. Named by her 3-year-old brother after Superman's girlfriend. (It's where we got the "Laine" in Elise Laine. Don't judge.)
1st Child: Came home to an impeccably decorated aviation-themed nursery.
3rd Child: Came home to a used bassinet next to Mommy's bed. Occasionally slept in the closet. Finally got around to getting a room at 6 months old.
1st Child: We prepared for his arrival by purchasing half the inventory at Babies R Us, including a wipes warmer so his little tushie wouldn't get too cold and a special shampoo rinse cup for bath time because, goodness, a regular cup would just never do.
3rd Child: We prepared for her arrival by vacuuming the cracker crumbs out of the car seat.
1st Child: His first food was rice cereal mixed with breastmilk at 4 months of age, as directed by the pediatrician.
3rd Child: A lollipop? Maybe it was ice cream?? I really don't remember.
1st Child: Has a completed baby book, documenting his every milestone.
3rd Child: Maybe I should get started on one of those...
It has become apparent that after 10 and a half months of neglect, Elise is finally seeking some revenge.
If my first child had not crawled by 10.5 months, I probably would have made an appointment with an occupational therapist. Now, I figure that as long as my children are somewhat independent by the time they get to Kindergarten, the when and how of their milestones don't really matter that much. Although it is beginning to feel like I will have a child on my hip for the rest of eternity.
I've been trying all the usual tricks to motivate her, but she has a secret weapon: her brothers. You see, they ADORE her. From the minute she was born they have been enamored with her. They call her "Baby." Every sound she makes is adorable and every time she gets food on her face they erupt in a fit of giggles. Their sole purpose in life is to ensure she wants for nothing.
|His face still lights up like this every time he sees her.|
So when I plop her down on the floor and she starts squealing and pointing because a toy is just out of reach, a brother will immediately come to her rescue. "Oh, Baby, DON'T CRY! You want your toy? Here you go! Look, Mommy, I made her SO happy!"
I can't say I blame her. If all I had to do was squawk and point and an adoring family member rushed to bring me whatever my heart desired, I would never leave the couch.
I hope this is not her master plan. I think I will begin to worry if she is 25 and still sitting on the floor yelling, "MOOOOM! Can you hand me my lip gloss and make me a sandwich??" And I suppose I will have to oblige because I will feel so guilty about never making her a baby book.
Maybe we should start warming up her wipes after all.