Mommy Minute
The Second Time Around
By Rachel Greene
Apr 1, 2002 - 11:50:00 AM

A mother corrals her children at The Getty in LA. Jenna Skarzenski / Canyon News
LOS ANGELES — For those of you who may not already know, I have two sons. Ryan just turned four in March, and Cole will be one on April 12th. It struck me the other day how different Cole's first year has been compared to Ryan's first year. Some of you fellow parents are sure to understand what I mean.

We don't vacuum every day. Let's face it. Kids spend a lot of time on the floor. We have two cats and one dog, which amounts to A LOT of hair. For Ryan, we vacuumed all the time. God forbid that our pets would pre-dispose him to allergies, rashes, sneezing, etc. Now, with the typical morning rush, we just don't have the time. Plus, vacuuming requires picking up toys, and that doesn't always get done either. A vacuuming once or twice a week is more typical. Cole doesn't seem to mind having fur stuck to his fingers, even when those fingers are in his mouth a lot. Ick.

We aren't as safe as we should be. Having an older child means toys with small parts. Of course, when Ryan was young, anything smaller than a golf ball was banished from our home. But, Cole is exposed to Legos, tiny dinosaurs, puzzle pieces, etc. as well as things that can poke, pinch and scratch. I am quite diligent about checking for these potential time bombs, but sometimes diligence is flawed. Just the other day, he had found a small cap from a water bottle and was enjoying gumming it until I pried it out of his mouth. Ugh.

We don't dote as much. There have been times when Cole has had to cry longer than I ever would have let Ryan. Usually, it's a case of being busy with Ryan, having my hands full with one of the umpteen things that don't get done around here, etc. and I just couldn't give Cole the attention he needed. Now, I'm not talking about letting Cole cry endlessly; just a difference of a few minutes probably. Heck, Ryan got picked up and carried around at first peep. I'm not so sure that's always the best thing anyway.

Brothers climb the wall at the Getty Center in LA. Jenna Skarzenski / Canyon News
We don't follow the books. Before Ryan was even born, I had read several books, magazine articles, etc. on baby's first year. And, I pretty much followed what they said. Well, that's not so much the case with Cole. For instance, it's recommended that you don't give babies under one any dairy products. I held fast to that with Ryan; not a sip of milk or a taste of ice cream. Let's see, Cole has already had ice cream and frequently pilfers Ryan's sippy cup filled with milk. Plus, yogurt has become a staple with him as he is a picky eater and that's one of the few things I can count on. Another example is the "never wake a sleeping baby" rule. Well, that'd be nice to follow, but if said baby is sleeping and Mom has to pick up the older child from preschool, any solutions?

We don't buy / accept many gifts, clothes, etc. The good thing about having two boys is the hand-me-down factor. They were both born in the spring and thus any clothes of Ryan's will get worn by Cole. Also, I have plenty of Ryan's toys, books, etc. that Cole will also enjoy. In fact, I try to steer people away from getting Cole toys. Besides, any age-appropriate toys get ignored as he heads for the aforementioned Legos, tiny dinosaurs, and such. Right now, Cole doesn't know the difference if his clothes are hand-me-downs or if he doesn't get as many gifts, but that may come back to bite us in the butt as he gets older and a clue.

Well, now I'm pretty much feeling like the worst parent ever to Cole. And, what you readers must think of me? But, trust me, Cole may be lacking in clean floors, by-the-book parenting, and new pants, but he is very loved and knows it. His happy demeanor tells me he's getting what he needs. Yes, I feel guilty, but realistically, I know that people with multiple children are more likely to be like this rather than perfect, efficient and sane.

NEXT MONTH: Preparing child #1 for child #2.

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