Two years ago, back when my older son was a tiny toddler, and I thought parenting was hard, I wrote about what I learned in my first year of parenting. Now, I have two kids. My son is three (going on 13), and my daughter is a fresh babe at four months old. I’m laughing at my old naivete and how I handled all the firsts as a new parent. Looking back, I was a frantic mess. Now that I am a bit more seasoned and a little less messy, I see a significant difference in how I am handling all the baby firsts the second time around.
The first doctor appointment
First time: I’m a little embarrassed to admit how I handled my son’s first doctor appointment. The bris was a couple of days away (more on that later), and I was frazzled, to say the least. The thought of another person handling my tiny newborn, someone that used to be a part of me but was all of a sudden not, put me on edge. So many baby firsts were hitting us, rapid-fire, and we were just trying to stay afloat. I hadn’t showered, put on makeup, or thought about my well being at all. The doctor could not have been more patient with me, and she was sympathetic when I burst into tears, hearing that my son needed to get a foot prick test for jaundice. I’m sure the poor nurse administering the foot prick test could feel my eyes glaring at her as my son was completely unfazed the entire time.
Second time: Our daughter had a quick visit to the NICU right when she was born, and seeing her IV’d up didn’t give me heart palpitations as it would have before. I knew she was in good hands. By the time we took her to her first appointment, we were just happy she was healthy and were willing to do anything to ensure she remained healthy. We were also focused on how our son was behaving during the visit because we decided to bring him with us. Oh, and I showered and put makeup on this time. My self-care took a top spot the second time around, and it showed.
The first clothing size change
First time: Surprisingly, I handled this better the first time around. To me, it was very exciting that my son was moving up in clothing sizes. Knowing I wanted another child, I didn’t think twice before shoving the old clothes into bins to sort and save for me or someone else later.
Second time: Whenever my daughter moves up in clothing sizes, I hold each piece of clothing to my chest and try not to cry. My husband is adamant that he doesn’t want to have more kids, so this is possibly the last time a child of mine will be in this size. It’s a little sadder this time.
The first sleepless night (and the many after that)
First time: This is one of those things that my husband and I look back on and remember how dumb we were starting in parenthood. We got home and just looked at each other like what do we do now? For the first few nights at home with our son, we stayed up together. We “slept” in our living room, and we were both constantly tired and angry. It took us a few days to figure out that we should be sleeping in shifts. My husband will tell you that I forced him to stay up with me those first few nights. Lies.
Second time: The second time around went a lot smoother as far as sleep schedules went. We got home and just looked at each other like so you want to take her tonight orrrrr…? We immediately took shifts until our daughter started sleeping in longer stretches since I knew I wouldn’t be breastfeeding. Now we have a schedule worked out where I sleep next to the bassinet during the weekend, and my husband sleeps next to the bassinet during the week. It works for us. We figured this out much quicker this time.
Check back soon for Part Two of this series. There are too many firsts to narrow down into one post, and I have so much more to say!