The Parenting Learning Curve

Baby Food


First child: Made baby food by hand, selecting each apple carefully from the Farmers’ Market, asking the apple lady what chemicals were used on them, if any. Peeled, sliced, steamed, pureed, delicately seasoned with just a touch of organic cinnamon.

Third child: Ooh look the Target brand baby food pouches are so much cheaper!

Baby Monitor:


First child: The newest video monitor on the market, which I would obsessively look at while the baby was falling asleep, during his sleep, as I was falling asleep, in the middle of the night if I thought I heard something, in the morning waiting for him to wake up.

Third child: Monitor? No, I guess we never put it back up, I mean, he’ll just bang the Sleep Giraffe battery pack side on the wall when he’s awake.

Crib Bedding:

cribFirst child: a complete matching set of bedding which I painstakingly picked out, nay, AGONIZED over, changing my mind multiple times. Came with sheets, bumper, sham covers, blankets, smaller blanket, matching window valance, a little thing to hold diapers that you hung on the door knob, a hamper, mobile, wall decor, small area rug.

Third child: Crib sheet. Blanket when it gets cold out. Sleep giraffe. AND go to sleep.


sterileFirst child: Avent microwave sterilizer got busted out if a paci so much as grazed a floor, no matter how spotless it was.

Third child: 5 (okay maybe like 30+) second rule applies in nearly all cases. Germs are good for you, right?!

Baby Bag:

baby bagFirst child: an ACTUAL baby bag given to you by a friend, which you stock religiously for any outing with extra everything. Bottles, wipes, diapers, pants, socks, hats, blankets, pacifiers, brain stimulating infant toys, neosporin, infant Tylenol, changing pad, changing pad sanitizing wipes. You panic if you left ANY of these items at home.

Third child: my purse is my baby bag. I think there’s a diaper in there. Oh wait there is, but it’s two sizes too small.

Baby Shower:

showerFirst child: Fifty of your closest friends and relatives gather bearing gifts to tell you how amazing you look and ask to rub your belly. Little sandwiches are eaten and punch is consumed and little baby themed desserts are oohed and ahhed over. You go home with a billion onesies and immediately wash them all with Dreft before putting them away.

Third child: Plans are made to go out for drinks once the baby is born.

Baby Clothes:

babyoutfitFirst child: You get so many outfits as gifts (and buy so many yourself) that you have complete head to toe ensembles including shoes, hats and accessories ready to go at all times. You have so much stuff some of it goes unworn and you find it in the closet with the tags still on it months later.

Third child: Hand me downs galore. You find yourself saying to your spouse “These pants will hide that stain” and “I think we can get at least a couple more months out of this one”.

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8 Responses to The Parenting Learning Curve

  1. Amy says:

    So awesome and so true!

  2. TN Lizzie says:

    My 17yo first-born read over my shoulder, and we both laughed at how spot-on this is! And what about toys? 1st born got the lovely organic, wooden rattle and wool + 100% cotton lovies. 3rd born gets the Duplos that also fit the Lego table – everyone can play with them!

    Perspective is a wonderful thing; Thanks for writing this!

  3. Jessica says:

    I feel completely offended by this. You think your children won’t notice? I always tell my friends who are going on their second or third child how they need to put as much effort and attention as they did the first time around. If you won’t or aren’t able to DON’T HAVE MORE BABIES! I don’t do anything with my first that I am not committed to do with my second and that’s where I’ll stop.

    • Shelly says:

      Offended? Really? Be offended by people who are abusing their children. Don’t be offended by a little humor offered up by a mom who has gained wisdom over the years. Does your comment mean that when darling #2 comes along, you will have to stop holding, hugging, reading to, playing with, and caring for darling #1? Because that’s the only way you’ll be able to devote the same time and attention to #2 that #1 got. Moms with more than one child always reflect fondly on they time they had with the first because it will never be the same again. We do things differently with #2, #3 and beyond because we’ve learned how to go with the flow, we’ve learned that we don’t need all the STUFF that came with #1 (we don’t have room in the house!), we’ve learned that life happens and we can deal with it. I sure hope that you can experience the joy of having more than one child, and I hope that you are willing to show yourself more grace than you’ve shown in your comment. You’ll need it – it’s a wild ride.

    • Nicole says:

      Hahaha, bless your little heart, Ms. Jessica. Spoken just like a mom of only one child could! So let me, as a mom of 3 offer this up…this lady is absolutely correct. You have no right to be offended or judge as this post does not relate to you…yet! I wish I could be a fly on the wall when it does. Because it will! Bwahahahahaha!!!!! Btw: there’s nothing wrong with not micromanaging your parenting. I enjoy time more now that I let some things go that I truly had no control over. Get messy, stain clothes, forget the now done days, leave the toys on the floor for a while, just enjoy the moments that are gone so fast, and never come back!

  4. Kate says:

    Well said, Shelly!! I have four and I am so proud of how far I’ve come in prioritizing what is necessary & important. I’ve learned to adapt while life just got more and more hectic & I’m blessed by the evolution of it all!! My children are happy, social, kind kids that get to go to aquariums & libraries & farms, museums & parks regularly because I’m no longer getting caught up with “the small stuff”! There’s widely recognized characteristics that stem from birth order because NO child born after the first can ever live the life the first experienced & that’s what gives life a rich variety of personalities, thank God!!

  5. Jessica says:

    The words in my post weren’t coming from me as a mom, they were coming from me as a second child. I know how dynamics change when another child enters the picture, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about all the STUFF that mothers do or buy for their first that they don’t do with the rest of their kids. Whether you notice or not, it makes a difference to some children and I just hope more moms pay attention at the fact that this is happening and make a conscious decision not to let it ALL go. I guess I never really went overboard with my first child, most items were hand-me-downs and re-purposed, I don’t freak out easily and am not afraid to let things slip or get dirty, if I don’t NEED it I don’t get it and if I have to buy high ticket items, I make sure they are sturdy enough to be used the second time around . I do the best with what I have, but in the back of my head I have my future children in mind. I figured if my second will most likely get hand-me-downs why can’t my first. I guess first time moms should keep this list in mind before they start getting carried away with things they will not be able to keep up with and moms second time around should make an effort to at least continue some of these things for the rest of their kids.

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