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Like fingerprints and snowflakes, no two kids turn out the same. Is it just their genes, or is it us? I didn't plan on parenting differently the second time around, yet I feel like I've become such a different mom. Here's how I've changed:
1. I'm Smarter - As a second-time mom, there's a healthy sense of "been
there, done that." It's not that I don't
appreciate my baby's unique journey, but I know what to expect, and I'm ready for it. Which is why my second baby hasn't accidentally rolled off the bed. (Sorry, first kid.)
2. I'm Calmer – I wasted a lot of energy with my first
baby just full-on panicking. What's that noise she made? How come she only scoots backwards? Why is her poop green? This time, I'm not racing to the pediatrician with a perfectly healthy baby unless she suddenly turns into a unicorn.
3. I'm Less Rigid – Baby #1 ate the recommended rice
cereal. Baby #2 nibbles on my
sandwich and occasionally drinks the bath water. Speaking of which, gone is the
infant tub with the protective hammock; I tossed the second babe in the big tub with me. (It saves my back, and I get clean, to boot.) I'm breaking minor parenting rules left
and right, and we're both having more fun.
4. I'm Older- My kids are four years apart, which means I've aged about 20 years in mom time. My knees make noise when I go up the stairs. I get winded playing tag. And I'm So. Damn. Tired. On the bright side, I may also be wiser (see #1).
I'm breaking minor parenting rules left and right, and we're both having more fun.
5. I'm Quieter - One of the best things I did raising my first baby was to speak to her constantly. I narrated her experiences, labeled sights and sounds, and generally never stopped singing and talking. Perhaps as a result, she's highly verbal with a great vocabulary. And now she's the one who never stops talking. EVER. When I finally have a peaceful moment alone with the baby, I'm so relieved, I might go 20 minutes without opening my mouth—except to smile.
6. I'm More Distracted - My preschooler is great at playing by herself—until the moment I start paying too much attention to the baby. Then, all of a sudden, my big girl needs milk and a snack and a toy from a high shelf and help drawing a heart and where is her tiara and Oh My God I forgot about the baby who, thankfully, is just hanging out on the floor watching us.
7. I'm More Focused – Contradiction! But let me explain.There's nothing I can do about the four-year-old pulling focus from the baby, but I find I'm better at controlling my reaction to other, more minor distractions. Phone ringing? Dishes piled up? Screw it. As any second-time mom knows, the baby phase goes way too fast. I'd rather just stop and smell her head.