8 things I do pretty much daily that I NEVER would have done with my first kid

by Janelle Hanchett

So that last post I wrote about waking Georgia up for no reason made me think of the many things I now do that I NEVER would have done with my first kid.

It’s funny. Sometimes when people ask for my advice on something parenting related (okay admittedly this doesn’t happen very often), I feel like responding, “Sorry, you should have asked me when I only had one kid and knew everything.”

Don’t get me wrong. I was still confused. I’ve always been confused.

The difference is, I guess, that I used to think there were really right ways to parent and other ways were really WRONG no matter what. Now I realize it’s all basically one giant crap shoot and we do the best we can in the circumstances we’re facing and just as soon as you think you’ve got it figured out, you get your brilliant ideas handed to you on a silver platter, all chewed up and spit out and useless.

In other words, I’ve fucking relaxed my Captain Justice parenting approach. Out of necessity. Life made me do it.

Or maybe I’ve just lost my ethics.

Or gotten lazy.

I dunno.

You decide.

Anyway, here’s my list. Oh, 22-year-old self, if only you could see me now as I…

  1. Feed her formula. Wah? Huh? No she DIDN’T. Yes, she did. Apparently, babies do not die from formula. And apparently, I can’t quite swing the fulltime breast-pumping extravaganza and YES I felt a little guilty about it and YES I am now over it. The baby still nurses AND she takes a bottle when I’m not around AND the sky has not come crashing down on my formula-feeding sinner head, thus far. As an added bonus, I do not yet see signs of brain damage or emotional distress. Obviously, there’s still time.
  2. Let her cry in her crib for 5 minutes. I don’t do the cry-it-out thing. Nope no way. Not my deal. However, when the Georgia has been asleep for an hour or two or five and suddenly starts that irritated “wahhhhh-ahhhhhh” half-awake thing, or is just too tired to sleep (you know what I’m talking about…) I leave her for a few minutes, usually 5 or so. If she gets amped up, I go in there. But sometimes, I’ll be damned the kid goes to sleep. This never would have happened with my first, cause at the FIRST faint whimper I would have darted in and grabbed her up. Oh wait. That wouldn’t have happened because my first never left my bed until she was 2. Guess that’s another one for the list.
  3. Let her eat sugar. Ava didn’t have any processed sugar until she was three. Rocket didn’t have any until two. Georgia had some on her first birthday and now eats it, well, sometimes. Not candy or juice or soda…but the occasional nibble of ice cream, cake or cookies? Yes. I admit it. It just makes her SO HAPPY – and you try keeping your two older kids from passing her bites when you’re not looking.
  4. Let a nine-year-old watch her for 30 minutes. Oh come ON, I don’t leave the house – it’s only to catch a few extra ZZZZZs in the morning, when I’m particularly exhausted. Can that get me arrested? Let’s talk about something else.
  5. Not bathe her every day. Or every two. Or week. No we do more than that. Every week at least. For sure. I think.
  6. Feed her the same thing every day for a week because it’s the only thing she’ll eat and I’m too lazy to force feed or explore other items. Pretty self explanatory.
  7. Stay home to let her get a long morning nap. With three kids, that nap is the most important event of the day. All cleaning happens during that nap. All chatty phone calls with friends. All carefree blog writing. All peace. All joy. All meaning. You think I’m exaggerating. But I’m not.
  8. Put on lame shows from Netflix in the distant hope it will amuse her for 5 straight minutes so I can get something done. With my first kid, if somebody turned a television on IN THE SAME HOUSE MY BABY WAS IN, I’D LEAVE. Okay not that bad, but I was definitely what you’d call a no-television extremist. I thought T.V. exposure would like fry her brain cells on the spot. Like you could watch them sizzle right there in front of you – “boom!” – dumber, one cell at a time…now? I put on Sesame Street and dance around trying (in VAIN) to get Georgia to even glance at the damn T.V. Incidentally, she hates it.

What about you? What sort of sins do you commit that you’d SWORE you’d never do?

Come on. Hook it up. Make me feel better.

  • Dee

    I do most of the above now. I just consider them survival techniques. I’m too old and too tired this time around…and I just don’t have any toddler fight left in me. Oh, I also recently decided I would carry around a bag of lollipops in my purse so I could give one to the babe in case of a supermarket tantrum emergency. Winning!

  • tiffany

    My baby is 1 month old and she is surviving on formula and I am giving her a pacifier. While I was breastfeeding – I used a nipple shield – I still felt connected to my darling girl but I did not feel the pain. My daughter grabs the remote and points to the TV signaling that she is ready to watch the Wiggles shows that I have DVR’d. A video of her singing/dancing to a Wiggles song will soon be posted to facebook as a testament to my substandard parenting skills. The truth is – I love my girls and I do the best I can and if that means formula, a paci, or the Wiggles so that I can be a more present mother then so be it. I truly believe that they will benefit more from my love and sanity than any other “parenting style”. But, to each his own

  • not blessed mama

    Dude, bathing is SO over-rated. Plus we’re like building immunities over here.

  • Michael Ann Riley

    None of that will matter when they are teenagers. You will look back and go, “Why did I waste my energy?” I did all of the above and I DID let my kids cry it out. They were sleeping through the night after 2 nights of this. I got my rest and was a much better mom.

  • Sara

    ok, so i only have one right now, but it took about 45 seconds after he was born before i broke an “i will never….”
    the biggest-cosleeping
    french fries
    formula (i was THISCLOSE-3 weeks before his first birthday, the ladies gave up and closed up shop, right around the time he completely lost interest….)
    1 pee per diaper…
    i am sure there is more too

  • Casey

    Um……my kids bathe twice a week, and one of them eats yogurt for almost every single meal. Parent does not mean you have to be perfect and anyone who says they do EVERYTHING right is a total effing liar.

  • Lisa

    Ummm, if I had three kids and went to college and had a blog. . . . I’m pretty sure feeding the baby a little formula would be the LEAST of my issues. . . . And I would NOT be posting a list on the internet that’s for sure!
    So I have ONE child and was pretty anti-TV too, until she was four months old and I put on this “Signing Time” DVD my friend had loaned me (as it was the only thing her infant daughter would watch). And my fussy, clingy, busybody little girl stared up at the TV in wonder. She went absolutely ape, squealing and squirming and looking up at the TV. I ran back and forth trying to put in a load of laundry and scoop something into my mouth, sure she would start screaming any second, but she didn’t. . .
    You see, my hubby works two jobs (ever since I was laid off before our little one was born). And she needs Mommy a LOT, like, 24 hours a day. . . . except when signing time is on. Now at 18mos she could care less about other TV, even the cartoons her daddy wants to watch with her, maybe a minute or two and she is done, asking for “Signing Time”. . . . and she knows SO many words and signs! So I tell myself it is educational, whether it is or not, and put it on when I need a shower. (Or need to read your blog HAHAHA!!). Ut oh she is signing “shoes” and “outside,” I gotta run, good luck!

  • Elena

    Around 5:30 I turn on the tv so I can attempt to make dinner. Makes me look like such a good mom when my husband gets home and gives me a look, but seriously he has no idea. I also bring a lollipop when we go out to eat because it gives a good ten minutes of uninterrupted conversation. There are many more and she’s my first. I am sure my list will stretch around the world with our new little guy.

  • Cailin

    When I was pregnant with debilitating morning sickness, I put Eadan in front of the TV with a giant bowl of dry cheerios and went back to bed for HOURS! On weekday mornings PBS has kids programs from like 6:30am to 11:30 am.
    My second kid is 15 weeks old and has had maybe 8 baths.

  • Carrera

    Hi Janelle,

    Okay, I know I just come in every once and awhile and say, “I know I don’t have kids, but…”

    I know I don’t have kids, but are mothers really that horrible to each other based on the choices they make for their children? That’s horrible. I thought they were all in it together?

    Maybe I’m just ignorant.

    • Lesley

      Some, maybe lots or even most, are. Some, maybe lots or even most aren’t. I just know people w/o kids judge people with kids on how they are raising them all the damn time. And before you have kids, the vast majority of peeps, really think they know what they will do when THEY have kids.

      • Carrera

        Oh, I won’t pretend I’ll know what the hell I’m doing. It’s just that the whole “Crunch vs. Silky” mama war is just a little intense at times. Don’t they all screw up? Even a little? At some point? So why judge?

        But, it seems to be what they do. And well!

  • Stephanie

    Ok, I do all that stuff (and then some). But I never swore I wouldn’t do them haha.

  • Lesley

    My kids are 11 and 14. They play a lot of video games….even the “mature” rated kind. Even, gasp* first-person-shooters. Call of Duty – we like killing zombies, and frankly we like seeing them die – especially when their heads explode and the “Dr.” is hilarious….Halo (which is rated “mature” because of the blood and gore – but really, there is none! NONE!), cause map-building is a blast.

    It all started with WoW. I blame WoW for all my parenting-ills. Plus, the internets.

  • Justin

    I know I’m late to the party. We SWORE up and down that we would never let our kids watch TV. We did fairly well with the first one. Her cuteness was enough to occupy our energy.

    This second, while also cute, has the disadvantage of living in a house with a 2-year-old. The two of them cannot be left alone for any length of time as the older tried to drag or pick up the younger.

    I’ve been known to use the phrase “Watch TV for a minute. Daddy has to poop.”

  • Katie

    Am I a terrible mother in confessing that I think TV watching has made my kid smarter? I mean, she knows her damned ABCs and she’s 2!!! Maybe that’s not groundbreaking and she’s a complete moron compared to non-tv’d kids I sure as hell didn’t do THAT! I owe Disney/Nickelodeon/PBS a great debt of gratitude. Seriously, because of people worrying that it will fry brain cells, kids TV is not what it was when I was little so I’m not too worried.

  • Jenn

    This makes me so happy! I was the super anal crunchy attachment mom the first time around… And now, I do let my baby fuss for 5 min because I’m too damned tired to get up and I hope she will go back to sleep. I go through phases where I just don’t feel like using my coveted cloth diapers and revel in the bliss of a bag of pampers, oh the convenience! But so damn expensive. My 2 year old does watch tv at breakfast so I can have a coffee. He does get ice cream, and jelly beans, and eats too much delivery pizza. I honestly look back at myself and want to throat punch that ridiculous woman who knew it all, and set so many rules and boundaries.

  • Debra

    I was “that” mom the first go round. The one who thought she knew everything, who refused to turn the TV on before he went to sleep and who never though she’d let him have sugar or steal drinks of soda (he is ubber fast at grabbing unattended cups!) or let him sit and stare at the TV to let me get something done. Then I got pregnant with my daughter and had horrible morning sickness and that all went out the window. He loves Thomas the Train when we go to anybody’s house that has cable. When we’re home (living in the middle of nowhere, cable is darn expensive!!!!)he has a million cartoons that he’ll watch while playing with his cars or running back and forth between his play room and the TV in the living room. He gets sugar whenever his dad or I eat something sugary and if noodles or hot dogs are the only things he’ll eat I’ll make him as much as he’ll eat! He is a great well adjusted 2 1/2 year old who knows left from right, how to count to 4 and we’re starting work on his ABCs. 🙂 Things will work out just fine for my daughter too.