I was such a good mom to my oldest kid. The first kid gets the best parents…and the younger ones are screwed. My oldest is turning 11 this weekend. I keep thinking about how wonderful it was to meet him, all the wonderful “firsts” we had. I remember the first time he rolled over, first belly laugh, his first steps, the first tooth he lost. The hundreds of photos we took of him. His younger brothers, they got nothing.
My middle son? I remember vaguely seeing him walking in the other room when he was about fourteen months. The youngest? No clue? I don’t remember his first anything.
Oldest’s first birthday party? We went all-out with decorations, cake, baby-cake for the best “first bite” picture, etc. Youngest? I honestly don’t remember anything about it. I know, I’m a crappy mom. But I do remember a frog on the middle kid’s first birthday cake!
When the youngest turned 3, I forgot to get him a “3” candle. I used his brother’s 9 from the previous month and turned it around so it wouldn’t show in the photos. No need to officially document what a crappy mom I am. I’m sure I’m not the only mom who has dropped the ball on things like this…right?
The first week of kindergarten I would drive by the playground when Oldest was at recess just to check on him. I didn’t do this only once…but more times than I’ll ever admit. The youngest is six months and ten days away from starting kindergarten. And yes, I’m counting!
I’m sure when they are in therapy as adults, my younger two boys will point to this as an admission of my guilt. I remember all the baby classes I took Oldest to. Middle went to a couple music classes. Youngest? Well, he got nothing. Now to be fair, I was bored out of my mind when transitioning from marketing director to reluctant stay-at-home-mom. We needed to find ways to get out of the house. Once the younger two were born it was quite a production getting everyone out the door.
Your first kid gets all the excitement. Ours was not only the first grandkid for our parents, but also the first great-grandkid for two sets of our own grandparents. It was a big deal. What we have forgotten as “parents in the middle of raising kids” – how scary it was. They sent me home with this little peanut and I was terrified. I held him while I showered because I was worried he would cry. (I’m lucky I didn’t drop him!) By my third I would put him in his crib and be happy to get a few minutes to myself. I knew he was safe in the crib for five minutes and that if he was screaming it was his way of telling me he was alive. No worries! How I’d evolved as a mother in six years!
My middle has the least photos. Poor kid. Oldest has dozens of him simply sleeping because we were so in awe. By the time I had the last kid, smart phones were handy and I snapped pictures all day long. The middle? He kind of missed out. I’m more than making up for it now that he’s playing sports. Side note: Middle always has his tongue hanging out…whether he’s diving for a soccer ball in the goal or dribbling up the basketball court. It’s adorable!
Once you’re a veteran parent there are a few great things. For example, I fell in love with my second kid immediately. I remember exactly when. His dad was carrying him into the recovery room and I remember the moment I saw Middle’s face. I fell in love. I wasn’t terrified or overwhelmed like with the oldest. I knew I could do this.
Deciding to have a third child was a three year process for us. But I think I cherished every bit of it because it was the last. I remember feeling him move for the first time. I was curled up on the sofa reading near the end of my first trimester. Just thinking of it still brings a smile to my face. Fate was kind to me – my third pregnancy was a breeze compared to the hormonal mess I was with the first two. I was sure it was a girl this time. Nope. Boy #3.
Oldest is counting down the days until middle school, his own phone, high school, getting a car, college and all that comes with becoming a “big kid.” I’m going to try and share in his excitement because it’s our first time doing this as a family. And I’m sure it will be a blast going through this with Youngest because we will be one step closer to freedom. AKA – empty nesters. (Only 13 years and six months…not that I’m counting!) And I’m sure I’ll be somewhere in-between with Middle.
Raising kids is tough, it’s a marathon. It’s constantly repeating yourself. It’s feeling guilty that you’re not a perfect parent. But, as my sweet baby boys grow up, my favorite thing is seeing all the photos of three smiling faces together!