Children are a blessing and I am very thankful to have three of them. When I compare the type of parent I was with my first to who I am with my third, I realize each child has literally had a different woman for a mother. I changed and grew with each kid.
Like most new mothers, I treated my first child with a great deal of love, disbelief, and fear. Obviously I loved this little life with all my being. I couldn’t believe he was really there in my arms. And I was scared out of my mind. What if I poked the bulb syringe too far into his nose while trying to get rid of all the boogies? I’D NEVER FORGIVE MYSELF. What if I didn’t burp out ALL the gas bubbles? He’d have a tummy ache and I would die of being the WORST MOTHER EVER! It probably took me twenty minutes to change a diaper.
The disbelief and fear waned slightly with each child. I’d like to thank the lack of brain cells for the some of that, but more than anything, I was simply more comfortable dealing with babies and all that they involved. I didn’t call the doctor when she sneezed ten times in a row and the projectile ejection of bodily fluids didn’t faze me in the slightest. If anything, I was impressed by them. “That was a lot of poop. Good job!”
By the third kid, my mind was officially gone and I could probably change a diaper on a water buffalo if the circumstance called for it. I also figured out that I would never be a perfect mother. I discovered that my older children could wait five minutes if they asked for something. Believe it or not, THEY WOULD SURVIVE WITHOUT GETTING THE JUICE IMMEDIATELY. In summary, I simply calmed down. I relaxed. Life was easier if I didn’t stress over every little thing.
Pacifiers. If one fell on the floor with my first child, I had a pot of boiling water ready and waiting for sanitization. With my second baby, I simply ran some cold water over it. My third? He was lucky if I brushed it against my pant leg.
Eating. With my oldest, I made all his baby food from organic fruits and vegetables myself. I blended sweet potatoes, bananas, peaches, and carrots. He only ate proteins, fruits, and vegetables. His first birthday cake was the first time he had sugar. I didn’t let him eat much because I thought it’d make him sick. My second child ate a cinnamon roll at nine months. My third kid? At six months, we were like, “Let’s see if he likes pumpkin bread!”
Boo boos. There are few things worse than watching your child fall down, skin their leg and start to cry. When my first child would get hurt, it was the end of the world for me.
“OH MY GOSH! HE FELL DOWN. DID HE HURT HIS HEAD? CAN HE MOVE HIS ARMS? CAN HE SAY MOMMY’S NAME? SAY MOMMY. OH MY GOSH. CAN HE FOLLOW MY HAND WITH HIS EYES? SHOULD WE CALL AN AMBULANCE? HE FELL DOWN. DON’T MOVE ANYTHING. OH MY GOSH HE FELL DOWN.”
My second child I would see fall and hold my breath. I’d wait to see how she reacted before I moved. If she looked like she was close to tears, I’d encourage her.
“Did you fall down? You’re okay! Come to Mommy. I’ll give you a squeeze and make it all better.”
“Oh, rub some dirt in there. You’ll be alright.”
Harley May can be found in a fetal position craddling a jar of Nutella. She'd really like it if someone bought her house.