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Having a Baby 10 Years After My First

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So much change has happened in my life in the last 10 years since I've had my son. He has grown up, I've grown up, and we've welcomed a wonderful husband and stepfather into our lives. And now we have a baby. And as you can imagine, things are quite different in the baby world after a decade. In some ways, I'm an old pro at this (no emphasis on the "old"), but let's be real—I'm the Class of 1994 dork who is going back to high school wearing a headband and a Hypercolor t-shirt thinking I'm pretty sweet. And I'm getting schooled.

The baby gear is different now. When you wait 10 years to have another baby, the hand-me-downs have already been handed to others. It's just as well because I wanted updated gear anyway. But WHOA, a whole new world of baby products have emerged. I feel like Encino Man lumbering around the baby store, curiously pushing buttons with my neandrathal fingers, covering my hairy ears and letting out Chewbaca-like yelps as I run from the swings section only stopping to pick up and eat a fruit snack which was on the floor. Many of the products that were available when my son was a baby have already gone into extinction, much like Brendan Fraser's career. I've had to familiarize myself with all the new options. Shopping for baby gear is overwhelming.

Buying a stroller is like buying a car, especially since I felt like I was reading "Car and Driver" when I read the reviews. The choices range from a base model Graco to top of the line Stokke, whose price tag is just as annoying as trying to pronounce "Stokke." And then there's the Kids Kustom's stroller, "The Roddler." Its price starts at $3500. It's the Rolls Royce of strollers boasting a fender design based on classic Buicks, stainless chassis inspired by aircraft design and tops that come custom in ostrich, stingray or alligator. I call that "I hope your baby blows out and makes poo angels in it."

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And now there are nursing cover-ups such as the Hooter Hider. Love that name, but I can't think of a better way to draw attention to the fact that I'm breastfeeding in public than to put a circus tent around my boobs. It's telling bystanders that "There's a circus going on in here!" Come one, come all.

Ten years ago, Evan had some serious baby gas. His sister has the same. But now there's The Windi, a rectal catheter that whistles when gas comes through it. It sounds as amazing as it does hilarious, and with the kind of gas Stella's been ripping, I was expecting to hear the theme song to the "Andy Griffith Show." Instead I heard that voice in my head say, "SUCKER!"

Ten years ago, baby monitors allowed me to hear my baby cry from the other room. Now they allow us to see the baby with infrared night vision and speak to them through the intercom. Am I watching my baby or a scene from Zero Dark Thirty?

How we once ever knew when the Ziploc bag was sealed, when our beer was cold, or when it was time to change junior is beyond me.

The baby training philosophies have changed. When Evan was a baby, the Ferber Method was leading the way. "Let the baby cry it out," was the counsel. I tried this for a short period until I realized it was crazy. The idea was to let the baby self-soothe and cry until he fell asleep on his own after he realized crying would get him nowhere. Yes, let's create horrible feelings of abandonment and emotional scarring in the baby by letting him use his only method of communicating his basic needs of love and attention then letting his very own mother ignore him for hours. Thankfully, now people have decided that parents shouldn't start emotionally scarring children until they're much older.

There is now a "wetness indicator" on diapers. The yellow line on the crotch of the diaper turns blue when wet. Thank God for color-indicators. How we once ever knew when the Ziploc bag was sealed, when our beer was cold, or when it was time to change junior is beyond me.

Ten years later, my body is different. I was 26 when I had my son. Things were getting back to normal within days of giving birth. This time my hormones are out of whack, things have been thrown out of joint and it has taken longer to heal. Let's just say back then I bounced back like Tigger, but today parts of me are resembling Eeyore.

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I'm less worried and more worried at the same time. Sure, I've done the baby thing once before so in ways I'm more relaxed. I know that babies are resilient, that the weird-looking stuff in their diaper is usually normal, and that babies reach milestones at their own pace. But with all the stuff on the Internet, I started questioning my knowledge and experience. On a nightly basis, I frantically nudge my baby awake to confirm that she's breathing. And up until three weeks ago when it was clear that her vision was healthy, I was constantly doing the "Three Stooges" eye-poke gesture stopping just short of her face to see if she could see it coming and blink.

Yes, much has changed from when I was first a mother a decade ago. There are more options, things are cooler and sleeker and I'm feeling my age. I'm also more aware of how quickly it all happens. How my baby boy became a 10-year-old in the blink of an eye. I am aware of the precious nature of every moment, and I appreciate it more now. I vow to enjoy my baby daughter and her brilliant older brother in both the milestone and quiet, subtle moments. I don't want to take anything for granted. And, if someone wanted to invent the "she's about to poop so hard that it explodes out her diaper and goes up her back" indicator, I wouldn't take that for granted, either.

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