When I Had Two

October 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm (Family, Parenthood)

We can all look back upon the days when we had our first child(ren) and see how our ideals/methods/activities have changed.  As expectant parents, we develop fairy tale stories of parenting.  As we have more children we grow the family and our parenting skills.  We choose some fairy tale scenarios to concentrate on and abandon others.  Some tales we still long for, when they don’t come true despite our best efforts.  Our lives change profoundly in the process.

I never had just one child, but changes have certainly occurred since I had two.

When I had (just!) two children:

  • bathing a child was not a noteworthy event.
  • pictures of each child hung on the walls.
  • children left the house fully dressed and matching.
  • I had no gray hairs.
  • I worked full time.
  • I weighed as much as 55 pounds less.
  • toys were regularly picked up and shelved in bins labeled with pictures of the contents.  (Now toys are picked up to vacuum occasionally, by throwing any and all into whatever giant tub I can find.)
  • the children ate apple carrot cakes made without sugar on their first birthday.
  • I sang each child to sleep each night.
  • I never ever let a child cry without picking him up, even for five seconds.
  • laundry was washed, dried, folded, and put away all on the same day.

As one has more children, parenting is distilled into what one decides are the most important facets.

Now I have four children, and still:

  • every child is greeted each morning and goes to bed each night with a giant hug.  As many as possible are squeezed into the time in between.
  • many many books are read to each child (and I’ve just begun to be read to!).
  • I usually cook nutritious meals at home, and bake healthy(er) yummies often.
  • I do my very best to attend to each child’s needs, whether it be play or problem-solving or cuddles or a snack; they just might have to wait until I finish putting the laundry into the washer.  I no longer think I have to drop everything the moment a child peeps up.
  • playing and art messes are encouraged.  Helping clean up the messes is also strongly encouraged.
  • each child’s individual interests are fostered in the conversations we have, the books we read, the events we attend, the home activities we choose.  Hence, I’ve gone to Dinosaur Night at the Burke, outings involve seeking grasshoppers for Harry the Tarantula (I know, yuck), regularly mix together food coloring, baking soda and vinegar (“chemistry”), and read more monkey books than I’d care to.  I wonder what we’ll be doing in a few years with Willa!
  • all four children are respected and loved for their differences in making up this family of ours.
  • I haven’t learned to sit down to nurse a baby with a rag to catch the inevitable spit-up.
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1 Comment

  1. Jenn @ Juggling Life said,

    The important stuff is still there for sure!

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