Your first baby is the little miracle you’ve been dreaming about. You’re over prepared for their arrival and ready to put all the lessons from the baby rearing books into action.
#1 typically gets their parents’ full attention and the best of everything. And why not? There’s little doubt the world, nay universe, revolves around them.
However, once you get to baby #3 things are, well, a little different. Though no parent could love any child less than another, things start to slide by the time your third kid is on the scene.
Here’s a tongue in cheek look at the stark difference in parenting between baby #1 and #3.
First birthday party
Baby #1: One word: Extravaganza! We’re talking more people than were at your wedding, a birthday cake 12 hours in the making, pony rides for the older kids and a selection of cocktails for the parents. Don’t start me on the presents.
Baby #3: You put on a casual Saturday BBQ, even if #3’s birthday fell on a weekday. Dad’s best mate heads over (sans present), the siblings begrudgingly put on clean t-shirts, a few cousins get last minute invites and we all sing ‘Happy Birthday’ around a candle in Coles muffin.
Baby #1: Naturally, the whole day revolves around #1’s nap times. The Ubabub Pod Cot is the ONLY sleeping spot, as such all outings must occur close to home. Absolute silence is mandatory. Dare to sneeze or step on that creaky floorboard? Not on your life!
Baby #3: The handed-down stroller will do just nicely for #3’s nap at the local farmers’ market. Back at home, you and your partner do rock-paper-scissors to see who sits in the car where #3 has crashed out again.
Baby #1: Locally sourced, organic produce portioned and prepared in line with the latest research is the only way to go. Not a minute passes the deadline for each feed. Routine, routine, routine people.
Baby #3: ‘Baby-led weaning’ is the new way forward. Some say it’s just a convenient term for ‘lazy parenting’. Have these naysayers not seen how much #3 enjoys hot chips as their first solid food?
Baby #1: Like clockwork, #1 has a relaxing bath every second night just before bed. We start by getting the water to a perfect 37C before adding a few drops of chamomile oil. After a gentle hand wash, we have a little splash around and then off to sleep.
Baby #3: Bath time is whenever #3 fails the smell test – unless it’s too late in the day, then tomorrow will always do. If the weather’s hot, running through the backyard sprinkler in the nick will do just fine. #3 had a swim today? Job done.
Baby #1: Only the best will do for our little miracle. OshKosh B’gosh and Ralph Lauren are the order of the day. All outfits must be matching, gender specific and spotlessly clean – multiple changes of clothes for all outings take care of this.
Baby #3: Whatever fits and gets us out the door quickly. ‘Outfits’ are usually handed down from older brothers or sisters. Nailing gender colours is pure luck, though more often than not a combo of pink and blue (or orange, brown and mauve). Cleanliness is optional. Costumes can be a fun (and easy) option.
Dr Tania Nishimura is a senior GP at Doctors of South Melbourne and a mother of three.