My children had to learn that parenthood is forever and ever. Once a mother, always a mother. And the only real way to figure out if you really want children is to have a couple. Then it is too late to change your mind.
Now my grandchildren are learning the same lesson. They’re also learning that just because they successfully raised one child past teething and potty training does not mean the second one is going to be a clone of child number one. But then why should it e. We, as parents, did not raise all our children alike. Heaven forbid! Give us come credit for learning from our mistakes.
Every “day one” of a pregnancy is different. When I found out I was expecting child #1 I rushed out and bought a whole wardrobe of cute little maternity clothes. When the doctor confirmed I was pregnant the second time, I wore bigger tee shirts and held my jeans together with a shoe lace. Works pretty good if you tie it into the button hole and wrap it around the button about a dozen times. With the third child, I didn’t bother with the shoe lace, I just used a diaper pin from the first child. (Some of y’all might not remember diaper pins but there was a day when disposable diapers were a thing of the future).
And the baby’s name…with the first baby we looked the ink off the baby name books and practices pronouncing and writing all the combinations of our favorites. Second child we simply had to name her after Great Aunt Gert. We gave thanks her middle name was acceptable. With the third one we found the baby name book under the sofa, opened it up, closed our eyes and pointed.
With the first baby we practiced all that breathing stuff until we had it down to perfection. Second time around we didn’t practice anything because it didn’t work with the first one. Third one, I asked for an epidural in my seventh month.
Clothing was another thing. First time around I pre-washed all the baby’s clothes, coordinated everything from socks to pacifiers. With the second one, I checked to see which clothing was clean and discarded the ones with the worst yellow stains. The third one, I wondered if it was all right for a girl to wear a Dallas Cowboy’s onesie home from the hospital.
First child could whimper and I’d have him in the emergency room. I had the doctor’s office phone, his home phone and that fancy car phone number all memorized. If my baby was crying, I didn’t care if they had to call the doctor away from the Presidential Inauguration Party. Second child, I did pick her up if she wailed loud enough the neighbors started turning on their lights. The third one? I taught number one to wind up the swing.
Read to your child. That’s what the books said so I did with number one. After a guilt trip provided by the grandparents, the second child got read to exactly three nights before she was five. By the third one, not even Mother Theresa could lay a guilt trip on me.
So now it’s time for the next generation to learn what we already know and we’ll sit on the porch in our rocking chairs and smile, just like our grandmothers did!