The age counts

I’ve learnt that age makes a difference.

Before I get lynched, let me say that some of the best parents I know, had their kids very young. Some of the worst parents I know had their kids very young. Just like some of the best parents I know, had their kids at a more “respectable” age. Along with some of the worst. I don’t believe that age defines how you parent your children.

Your age, and how many children you have combined however, make one hell of a difference.

When my first daughter Lucy was born, I was 21. I’d been married for two years (almost), and I was very happy with where my life was at. The sleepless nights were frustrating, recovering from her birth was a challenge and working through my undiagnosed PND also caused a few ripples. But for the most part, I felt like I was a pretty good mum. My daughter was well-adjusted, happy and independent. I could look back on my parenting, and feel proud. Admittedly, I was neurotic. I checked one hundred times a night to make sure she was breathing (She probably would have started sleeping through earlier if I hadn’t felt the mad need to poke her constantly!), I worried about germs, on people’s hands, on dummies, on bottles, on toys. I washed toys religiously. I washed her clothes separately. I vacuumed her room twice a week to keep dust at bay (across the road was a construction site!). I may have did go a tad overboard.

Know when I realised?

When I noticed that I was picking up my newborn son like he was a football.  Lucy was born 7 pound 5 ounces. Oliver was born 5 pound 14 ounces. By far, Oliver was my “fragile” child, born four weeks premature, potentially with a life threatening illness (he is fine, by the way!).

I parent both my children the same way. Lucy was given a dummy if she wanted it, Oliver is the same. Both had / have extensive tummy time. I don’t believe in carrying a baby around everywhere with me, they both had/have significant floor time because honestly? I have stuff to do, and it’s summer, and I don’t WANT to carry a baby around all day!

The only thing that is different this time around, is my confidence level. I know my way around a newborn. I know the sound of a baby who is doing a “hungry” cry. I know the difference between a “burp me” cry, and a “I need to poop” cry. I know that although the SIDS guidelines say BACK.ONLY, that Oliver has enough neck strength to lay on his tummy during his day naps (while I’m awake) if he wants to.

I never realised how much stressing, worrying and nervousness I carried around with me when I had Lucy. She was the light of my life, and I was So.Scared most of the time. This time around, I’m just enjoying being a mum. I’m not scared. I had a few days, in the early days where I was convinced I would lose Oliver, that something would happen to me. That crazy part of me has since passed, and now I just feel more relaxed.

I learnt a lot from Lucy. I was a younger, more energetic version of myself then. I was more active with Lucy, but less confident, less sure. Now I’m older, fatter (it’s true), and slower. But now, I have confidence in my self, and in my parenting abilities. Remind me to thank Lucy for letting me muddle through it all with her. She made me the mum I am enjoying being today.

She made me be a better Mum now.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Flooded « Nearly Not Quite
  2. Rainbowg
    Jan 14, 2011 @ 21:30:58

    I can see that having had one child already would make a huge difference. Having only had one for 4 months so far I can already see where I have worried needlessly and where I won’t worry as much next time around. I couldn’t imagine having had a child at 21, I still felt like a child myself… but I am guessing that nothing would make you grow up more than having someone else that you are responsible for.

    Reply

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