This weekend, my family and I were at the town pool and I was stopped by a new mother. I was sitting on the side of the baby pool enjoying the cool water on my feet. Peanut (the baby) was about 10 feet away splashing in the water. He would fall down, dunk his face under the water and stand back up laughing. I was enjoying the performance from a distance.
Anyway, the mother, was sitting in the water holding her 10 month old on her lap. She asked me how I was so calm with him so far away. My older two were in the big pool, so I think she assumed that he was my first. It got me thinking about the differences between my oldest and my youngest.
The biggest difference: me!
I always had Little Man dressed to the nines. His outfit matched and was changed immediately if dirty. I’m sure I would have paid to have the fancy diapers with cool prints on them as well. My Peanut wears his brother’s hand-me-downs and sports Target brand diapers. Sometimes he is a total mess…but I don’t care. I just don’t spend so much time making sure he is clean and tidy…I let him explore and get dirty.
I was always playing with Little Man. I showed him how toys worked, I made up games and I constantly entertained him. The child still has a hard time playing by himself. Peanut gets my attention, but not the same focus. He plays by himself well, he is independent and he is more creative with toys. He doesn’t take the linear approach to play that I did and as a result discovers new uses for toys, new ways to entertain himself.
Little Man never watched TV. Even as a baby we always kept the tube off when he was in the room. Today, if Little Man sees a television, he cannot pry his eyes away. As a result of older siblings watching the occasional show, Peanut has already seen some TV and he isn’t interested. I guess by relaxing this a bit, it lost its appeal.
Taking Little Man to the pool or the park was a mission. I had my eyes and arms ready to catch him at a moments notice. Since my two eyes have to be constantly watching three kids, I am aware of what Peanut is doing, but probably not right next to him. We have had some close calls, but we have survived. Peanut now goes up and down stairs by himself; rockets his little body down the slide; fiercely dunks his head in the water and I’m OK with it. He has learned by trial and error and so have I.
I think back to myself as a first time mother and I was cautious, tentative and a bit insecure. I think of the time I wasted questioning myself or being concerned if I was doing things right. If I could go back and tell myself it was going to be OK, I would; however, I probably needed all those experiences to be the confident mom I am today.
My first, Little Man, is a little more cautious about life, but he is still brave. My baby, Peanut, is all about the laughs–the joy in life. There is a little of me in both.
What are some of your first verses second child experiences?
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