Things That Were Different the Second Time Around.

I have three children, though one of them is not born yet. I was just thinking about how different things were with the second child than the first.

1.) The second time, I pushed my own baby out, in the safety of my home without the horrors of a hospital transfer, induction, and caesarian. I had learned to trust my body, and that it was I, not my caregivers, who was responsible for getting this child out safely. I took full responsibility for the birth of my child and didn’t once think of handing it to someone else.
2.) The second time it didn’t matter nearly as much if the Girl was diapered or even clothed in her first few weeks of life, she was almost always naked and swaddled in a blanket or next to me in bed. I became addicted to her skin, I still am.
3.) The second time, strangely, I was in less of a hurry to get her out of my bed and get her off of my breast. The Boy weaned himself at 16 months, he just forgot, she is still nursing at 27 months, though I’m trying to gradually bring that to a close.
4.) The second time I already know when a child is playing me, and I am way less vulnerable to cuteness.
5.) The second time I expected that a two year old can help set the table, put her own dishes in the sink, pick up toys, get herself dressed, understand and obey instructions, and be expected to already contribute to the life of our family. The Boy got away so lightly, I had no idea I could teach him to do those things.
6.) The second time I had PPD but wouldn’t admit it, and I learned that regular exercise is the thing that keeps me sane. It’s so much harder to fit in with two children, with the first I would strap him on and we would walk for hours in the woods behind our house. It took me months to realize that that was something I still needed after the second was born.
7.) The second time I was more likely to listen to other parents with different styles and not condemn those whose decisions were different from mine. We all want what’s best for our kids.
8.) The second time I experimented with natural infant hygiene and wished I had learned about it when I had only one child and time to figure it out.
9.) The second time the Girl encountered dairy before her first birthday, and peanuts before her second and I didn’t freak out. I remain firm on sugar however, maybe because I’m hypoglycemic.
10.) The second time I realized you really can love all of your children just as intensely, that loving one doesn’t take away from your love of another.

I wonder what the third time will bring.

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