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How to parent your first kid like it’s not your first time

Reuters/Aly Sly
Do you even care about me?
By Jenny Anderson
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

First-time parents, by definition, are clueless. They intensely study, and worry, about every little thing. With a second child, they adapt, cutting corners to manage life with two little beasts. By the third or fourth, the editing becomes hyper-precise: it’s not about options, but efficiency.

Ask any parent of three or more kids, and they have stories that would give first-timers palpitations. Like the dad who left his newborn (#3) on the kitchen counter when he dashed out the door to take his other kids (#1 and #2) to preschool. “He was in a carseat,” he said. “He was fine.”

And how do those third and fourth kids turn out later in life? Very well adjusted. (Full disclosure: I am a third).

This is what parenting looks like as it evolves, or devolves:


Kid # 1: Research sleep-training methods. Talk to pediatrician. Allocate a week for sleep training regimen. Monitor sleep patterns. Fret.
Kid #2: Whatever it takes to let kid #1 sleep.
Kid #3: She will sleep when she is tired.


Kid #1: Scrub it with warm soap and water every times it falls out of his tiny little mouth.
Kid #2: Pop it in your own mouth. Good as new!
Kid #3: Dirt builds immunity, right?


Kid #1: 7:00pm.
Kid #2: 30 minutes before the first one.
Kid #3: When I am damn well ready.


Kid #1: Organic, washed, cleaned, Vitamixed. Homemade everything.
Kid #2: Baby food was made for a reason.
Kid #3: Is two months too young to give a kid Oreos?


Kid #1: Petit Bateau, Baby Gap, Hannah Anderssen.
Kid #2: Hand-me downs.
Kid #3: There is no reason a baby should wear anything but pajamas.


Kid #1: Educational, wooden, Nordic.
Kid #2: Plastic.
Kid #3: No weapons.

Making little Mozarts

Kid #1: Classical, in utero.
Kid #2: Laurie Berkner.
Kid #3: Beyoncé.


Kid #1: Complete Beatrix Potter collection before one-month mark.
Kid #2: Whatever #1 is reading is also good for #2.
Kid #3: That’s what school is for.


Kid #1: Visit every nursery possible. Interview school heads like they are potential candidates for president. Survey neighbors. Study up on Maria Montessori.
Kid #2: I’m not doing two drops-offs.
Kid #3: Preschool is too much money wasted on finger painting.


Kid #1: Strike perfect balance between “helping” and “enabling.”
Kid #2: “Ask your sister.”
Kid #3: Social Darwinism.

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