Mistakes Parents Make

21/Feb/2007

With the impending arrival of #2, Mr. Flinger and I often find ourselves discussing how a family of three now incorporates a fourth. The transition from two people to three was a difficult one but with a mature outlook and (at times) patient attitudes, we found a rhythm to the family that works for us. LB meshed in to our lifestyle fairly easily and we meshed in to hers. Our personalities go well together, for the most part, with only tiny rebuttals at almost predictable times.

This pregnancy is so different to me. Last time around I was unaware of what I was growing, of the person living inside of me. I worried like one would worry about a cancer tumor. Pregnancy was a medical condition to me and while I felt LB moving inside of me, she was a concept I couldn’t quite grasp. The thought that there was a baby in there was beyond anything I could understand, so I just didn’t.  Two years later, watching my child do a little dance with her daddy in the kitchen or hearing her tell me “Mommy, hold this one second while I’m busy” makes me see that the person that grew inside me two years ago is an actual little person. She’s real now. I fell in love with her.

The process of falling in love with #2 happens a lot earlier. He is a little HIM in there now. I whisper to Mr Flinger, “I like this one more in my belly” but what I really mean is that I already understand that he will become a little Who. He will tell me he would prefer cheerios to oatmeal one day. He’ll let me know he is ready for his superman undies. He’ll tell me when I drop him off at school to not kiss him in front of his friends. I know this now. I’m a mom this time. I already know I will love and miss him when he is at school and care for him when he is sick.

This understanding brings me to another level of wonder; How will he fit in to the family? I knew with LB we would have to adjust to her personality. We were two adults who chose to make a baby so our meshing to her needs seemed like a natural step. This little man, though, now has to mesh in to our world. We’ll make the initial changes, the welcoming of a new person, having LB adjust to being a big sister and sharing mommy and daddy, but then, at some point, he will share a room, share a table, share the crayons. He will have to live up to the rules already in place. LB has pioneered an entire path of expectations and he will follow in these footsteps while maintaining his own individuality. As a parent, I’m not exactly sure how to facilitate this.

Mr. Flinger and I are both the eldest children in our family, which according to some books means we’re doomed to have over-achieving and obsessive children. It also means we should never have meshed as well as we did and one of us should end up in a straight jacket in the hospital down the road. In actuality, we work well and we realize our second child may not posses the same compulsive behaviors that we do. Which brings up the question: How do we help him feel independent but encourage him to achieve if that’s not his natural state of mind?

We both went to college and expect the same of our children. They will do well in school because we did well in school. They will enjoy learning because we foster a sense of learning at all times and LB adores showing off her knowledge like the true people pleasing type A that she is. :: cough just like her mom cough :: But what if #2 is like both of our siblings? The sibling that chose to rebel? The one that rejected the idea of college and embraced the fun-loving life-enjoying path that Mr. Flinger and I were too anal to enjoy?

I’ve had many conversations with my own Mom about choices she made as a parent and what she would choose to do differently. She’s told me, repeatedly, that her worst mistake was not being around as much when we were in Jr. High and High School. That if she could do just that one thing over, that’s the thing she would choose. I’ve listened to her tell me this and her own guilt and I remind myself to learn from her mistakes. I’ve never been a parent before and she’s been one for thirty years. In this case, I think experience counts. And I’d be a fool to not listen.

I think about how hard it was for my Mom to bring home a collicy baby when her first one was so quiet. I’ve heard my MIL say a similar thing, “#2 was not a sleeper while Mr. Flinger loved his naps!” I wonder if I’m destined to have a #2 that is full of life and energy with a hate for sleep and quiet. I wonder if he’ll beat up on his sister when he finally outgrows her. I wonder if they will play nicely or if they’ll pick on each other until I yell at them in the grocery store to knock it the fuck off already, don’t make me turn this cart around! I wonder if I’ll remain me or if I’ll end up in that straight jacket.

For now I have hope. I believe I can learn from other parents. I believe I can grow a baby that will mesh with our little family and one that will enjoy sleeping as much as I do. For now he is a little man, all 1.25 pounds and 8 inches, who has an entire family waiting to meet him and welcome him in to our home. I just hope he’s as happy to have us as we are to have him.

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Comments

  1. My hubby and I are both first borns too, so we probably do that over-achiever vibe all over our kids also… but, hey, therapy is TRENDY!  They’ll be so cool when they’re paying for hours of “my parents put so much pressure on me to succeed” someday.

    I found the jump from 1 kid to 2 a challenge, but once I nailed the logistics of how long things took to do, it was fine.  You’ll be fine, really… I promise.

    By Sonia on 2007 02 22

  2. The initial “new baby” will of course change the family, but the deeper meaning you’re talking about…will come gradually.  Evolution of a family takes time, just as it did with the addition of your first child.  Our family is still evolving into what it will become, and each “addition” has added something unique.  It’s a great feeling, and I’m sure you’ll embrace change just as much as we have.
     
    Look at your little family thus far…you have a great track record!

    By Little Miss on 2007 02 22

  3. Your little coffee bean is very lucky.  He will be born into a family who is excited to have him and will love him to pieces.

    By Emily on 2007 02 22

  4. it’s fun being anal….i like it here.

    By Mrs. M on 2007 02 22

  5. He will be happy to have you. Who wouldn’t?  smile

    By Colleen on 2007 02 22

  6. If LB is a bossy big sister like my girl, then she’s gonna LOVE helping you with her baby brother and he’s going to absolutely adore her and think she’s the coolest kid on the planet.

    All you need is love, babe. All you need is love.

    (and chocolate and wine)

    By Jamie on 2007 02 22

  7. Keep an eye on LB..cause fah reals..Maddox is just over a week old and Calix is doing that jealousy thing and likes to try to throw shit at him. Poor kid..all he wants to do is sleep and he’s got his big brother trying to take him out.

    Adjusting to the 2nd’s a bit hard..but it’s getting so much better. You’ll do just fine! He’s a very lucky baby to have a family like yours to come home to.

    By Abby on 2007 02 22

  8. He and y’all will do just fine! The rebel in my family growing up was my younger sister… who snuck off to drink, smoke cigars, etc. But then she went on to get a PhD in applied math.

    Don’t worry! The role he assumes in the family doesn’t determine his lot in life… and y’all will be welcoming him with loving arms. That’s what makes it work!

    By Marie on 2007 02 23

  9. Great post there, Fling. He’ll fit in perfectly, and soon, you’ll be wondering what life was like without him.

    By Renee on 2007 02 23

  10. You are a freakin crack up!  Just Relax and enjoy your pregnancy-he’s going to turn out however he wants to, whether you like it or not unfortunately.  I think you’ve learned how to be a terrific mom already and thats all you need to do. So keep up the good work and grow that baby boy! Quit worrying so much-you might turn grey before he gets here!

    By Ronell on 2007 02 23

  11. I loved that.  The mystery of wondering what type of person the newest one would be.  He will be wonderful and unique and you won’t be able to imagine your family without him.

    Then, he’ll turn 16 and you will want to sell him to savages. wink

    By Friglet on 2007 02 25

  12. I found my adjustment to #2 was easy - not so sure #1 felt the same way at times.  (he was convinced we’d bring him home a little sister, and argued with my husband when informed he had a brother - ah, 3 yr olds!) 

    Interestingly (or unfortunately, depending on my state of mind), our two are completely different.  # 1 was Mr. Good Sleeper, agreeable, easy to deal with from day 1.  #2?  Not so much any of the above.  I like to say he cured me of wanting any more, but I’m only half-serious.

    By Refinnej on 2007 02 25