Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mom of One vs. Mom of Many

I had a very entertaining conversation with a friend of mine a while back. This particular friend is mother to 4 little girls, the oldest of is about to turn 6. She and I were talking about "when we only had 1...or maybe 2" and being mom to the family that's the smaller end of medium.

When I only had one (and maybe 2)...

  • We actually had a "nursery."
  • The nursery was actually decorated in a baby theme....and was ready by time I was 7 months pregnant.
  • We had every imaginable baby gadget (swing, baby gym, high chair, exersaucer, etc.) and it was all perfectly arranged throughout the house months in advance.
  • I reported every unusual pain and discomfort to the obstetrician.
  • I never ever missed a doctor's appointment.
  • When we left the house, the kids had on adorable outfits, which often matched mine.
  • When we left the house, our kids always had their hair combed and faces/hands wiped just before walking out the door.
  • Pacifiers, toys, bottles, cups, etc. were boiled and sterilized on a regular basis.
  • Any pacifier which fell on the floor, even at home, was set aside for sterilization.
  • If a pacifier was dropped in public, it was replaced by a spare, one of many spares in the diaper bag.
  • The diaper bag was stocked with anything possibly foreseen as a need: at least 10 diapers, the whole pack of wipes, little baggies for a smelly diaper (wouldn't want to offend anyone's nose), 2-3 changes of clothes, extra socks and shoes, thermometer, medicine for fever, gas, allergic reaction, a pediatric manicure kit, toys, a variety of snacks, multiple sippy cups, 3 burp cloths ... did I mention we were just going grocery shopping?
  • If baby got too fussy, I abandoned the grocery shopping trip.
  • If baby got hungry, it meant stopping the grocery shopping trip to head out to the car (or back home) to nurse, and drove the car over to a more secluded part of the parking lot.
  • We took the kids for studio portraits every 3 months.
  • The pediatrician's office number was in my speed dial and I called for every incidence of fever or other ailment.
  • Any deviation from the pediatrician's recommendation for the introduction of solids was unacceptable.
  • No one was competent to hold baby without my supervision. Of course, I tried to look like I wasn't looking...
  • When #2 came, #1 could not even look at him without constant supervision.

With #5 due in September...
  • We do not have a nursery.
  • The only things we need for new baby: newborn-sized clothes, bassinette, the Moby wrap (which doesn't get put away from baby to baby) a few burp cloths and baby blankets ... maybe the swing (if we can spare the space).
  • We don't get most of the other baby gear out.
  • Discomfort comes with pregnancy. The older you get, the more uncomfortable, tired and crampy you get too. Comes with the territory.
  • I have been known to ditch a doctor's appointment with a really crummy excuse...especially when you have to come to the doctor twice a month or once a week. Doesn't she know what it takes for me to get all these kids out of the house? It takes an hour and a half to get ready, 30 minutes to drive there. She comes in, stays in for 5 minutes and says, "everything looks good, see you next week."
  • When we leave the house, we don't stress about looking like we stepped out of American Baby Magazine.
  • I do clean the kids up (hands, faces, hair), but they usually manage to get dirty again before we leave.
  • Pacifiers, cups, etc. dropped in public get washed in hot soapy water...that is only if the mouth part touches the ground.
  • There are no spare pacifiers usually. I was glad to have remembered to bring just one!
  • The diaper bag has 2-3 diapers, depending on the length of the trip. If baby is very young, I may bring a change of clothes. With one as old as Josiah (21 months), I barely bring the diaper bag on a short trip. Really...what can happen in 45 minutes that is so catastrophic that we need such an arsenal?
  • If baby gets fussy in the store, the public can deal with it. I don't care if his crying irritates you. Babies cry.
  • I don't think twice about nursing in public. I also nurse while pushing a shopping cart, continuing to shop, and herding up the other kids. Do I get looks from other people? Sometimes. Do I care? Not at all!!! How dare I use my breasts for what they were intended for...and do it so unashamedly?!
  • We count ourselves blessed to have a portrait once a year.
  • The pediatrician only gets called in dire emergency. The last time I called her was when Josiah ended up being hospitalized.
  • A taste of solids won't hurt a baby. No really, they'll survive. I'm not meaning supplementing their diet with solids. Momma's milk is still perfect for baby.
  • It's okay for siblings to pick up their little baby. Even toddlers seem to have a sense that babies need special care and generally aren't too rough. (at least this has been the case with mine) If it does happen that a baby gets whacked on the head by an excited toddler, little baby will get over it very quickly.

Now, I know that most mothers are like the first description. In all those things I listed, I was gleaning from personal experience. By that I mean that those things are all things that I have done. But when I was talking to my friend, she worded it this way: "Once you have a few, experience teaches you what's important. Some things just aren't worth the effort."

5 edifying expressions:

Bobbin Aubins said...

"Do I get looks from other people? Sometimes. Do I care? Not at all!!! How dare I use my breasts for what they were intended for...and do it so unashamedly?!" -hahaha I laughed out loud while reading that!
Such truth in it all. :-)

Kimberly said...

Reality! I was talking about this with the Momma of the babes we watch and how, even I had first baby syndrome with her #1 and now that #2 is here, were not so picky. I experienced that with my own children I was just surprised that it happened with the children we watch. Great post!

Sarah said...

Hahahaha!! I laughed out loud so much with this post Elizabeth!

I actually skipped my doctors app's througout my ENTIRE last pregnancy (bar one) I did go for my midwife check ups however.

Yeah, we also do 'spit' sterilization on pacifiers! Mmmmm floor fluff, yum!

Elizabeth said...

Sarah I am laughing outloud at "floor fluff!!"

Aliene said...

Elizabeth. Thanks so much for praying for Logan Watts. There seems to be some improvement but this family needs prayer desparately.
So many are praying. If you would like you can go to caringingbridge.org
put your e-mail and name and type in loganwatts. Leave Britney and Jonathan a message of encouragement.
Love you. Aliene