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."