The Evolution of Infants
May 11, 2016
At Mom Rush Hour at Chick-fil-A a few weeks ago, my toddlertastic son broke out of my grip and sprinted full speed into the crowded parking lot. I took off after him with his baby brother on my hip. (I would say the baby was “hanging on for dear life” but the truth is he is THE WORST holder-onner I’ve ever met. There’s no 50/50, Floppy McFlopperson let’s you do allll the work and then some.)
As I maneuvered between parked cars trying to grab the toddler, I failed to notice where the baby’s head was in relation to a vehicle’s side mirrors…which is how I ended up ramming his face directly into one. Hard. Like, head-snapped-back hard.
He cried. I apologized, never slowing my pace. No time to check for blood with a feral brother on the loose.
This is my sweet third baby.
A third is a far cry from a first in so, so many ways.
When my first was 2 weeks old, I was sobbing uncontrollably trying to figure out how and when to go pee.
When my third was 2 weeks old, I was 3 hours and $200 deep in Nordstrom’s semiannual sale.
The evolution of parenting a baby is hilarious.
It starts off different from the beginning with response time to a crying newborn:
First child: .02 seconds
Second child: 3 minutes and/or after a Daniel Tiger episode has been turned on (whichever comes first)
Third child: sometime after the overflowing toilet has been fixed/hangry toddler has had a 3 course meal and before the return of Jesus…so roughly 17 minutes. Which, generally, is just long enough for said newborn to work it out on his own.
The differences only continue with feeding.
Like a baby’s first food.
First child: homemade, non-GMO spaghetti squash puree drizzled with breastmilk reduction
Second child: Gerber carrot puree in a jar
Third child: Fazoli’s meatball
Speaking of food, first babies are cleaner and wear bibs approximately 18x more than their third baby counterparts. They also have a better diaper changing situation.
First child: “The Pampers wetness indicator line is showing 3mm of blue. Time for a new diaper. He has sensitive skin, you know.”
Second child: “Have you changed him in a while? Me either. We should probably check.”
Third child: “Don’t you dare change that diaper. It’s not sagging yet which means there is at least 12% more capacity. Good stewardship, that’s what that’s called.”
Even their milestone development is different. With the first baby, your camera is at the ready at all times. By the third? The first “person” to see them hit a milestone is usually the wall of their pack ‘n play. There’s a lot of, “Hey, babe…did you know he could crawl? How long has he been doing that??” and “Oh, crap. I didn’t know he could reach that yet.”
The pediatrician is well aware of the discrepancies. At well-check visits:
First child: “He has scooted a total of 12.4 feet and has 4 consonant sounds. Would you like to see my list of foods he has tried, ranked in order of favorite to least favorite as identified through baby sign language?”
Second child: “I’m pretty sure he has said ‘mama’. I know he’s pulling up because he pulled my coffee off the table this morning.”
Third child: “Can he pass a toy from one hand to another?? What kind of a question is that? He’s alive, isn’t he?! WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM US. Also, he doesn’t have toys. He played with a clean diaper for 30 minutes before we came here.”
The last time we were at the doctor, another family was in the waiting room with us. The dad looked at me several times before finally getting up and moving seats to be closer to us. I looked at him questioningly and he replied, “Ma’am, you set your son’s car seat directly in the sun. I’m sitting here to block it from his eyes.”
Well excuuuuse me, sir. Maybe he just needed a little extra Vitamin D to go along with his singed retinas. He’ll be fine.
It’s funny, too, when my husband comes home from work and I give him a rundown of our day:
First child: “We watched 1 Baby Einstein, read Moo, Baa, La La La 4 times, tried spinach (bleh!), sang Itsy Bitsy Spider…”
Second child: “*gives recap of first child’s day* Oh, and the baby thought a solo cup was hysterical.”
Third child: “*gives a recap of first two children’s days* …aaaand now I’m trying really hard to think of something to tell you about the baby. What did I do when we only had one? Did I really tell you everything our 7 month old did?? What do 7 month olds even do that’s noteworthy besides be cute???” (actual conversation recently)
Sometimes I feel guilty about how different our third is from our first. But then I remember that I can now shower every day without the fear that he’ll die of exasperation in the 10 minutes I leave him alone and the guilt quickly dissipates.
Also, though? Third babies are kind of awesome. So much less stress involved. Way more time to just enjoy their baby-ness.
Our third is the snuggliest bundle of chill. He’s truly one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever encountered.
What I lack in written baby book memories, I make up for in kisses and adoration, little nugg. (And intervening when your older brothers inadvertently try to kill you off by shoving Hot Wheels cars and pennies in your mouth.)
Our love for you is fierce and borderline dangerous, but it couldn’t be bigger.
PS I loved writing this post because it doesn’t seem like that long ago when this sir was in my belly as I wrote The Evolution of Pregnancies. I’m glad he’s out of the womb for many reasons, but mostly because he done near broke my insides.