First Child: He shall have absolutely no refined sugar until he licks the icing on his first birthday cake.
Third Child: No hard candy before 6 months. (Just kidding! But if the grandparents want him to teethe on a cookie, I'm not going to pitch a fit. Don't bite the hand that gives you free babysitting!)
First Child: He shall not watch any television until he is at least two years of age, at which time he will be allowed 30 minutes maximum per day.
Third child: I'll turn his Bubmo seat away from the television while I hop in the shower and his older brother and sister watch a show, but if he turns around, c'est la vie!
First Child: He shall consume only organically grown well-balanced meals. [Note: This lasts for less than one year.]
Third child: I wonder how old he has to be before he can eat a french fry??
First Child: I will give him whatever sippy cup he wants if he will just stop screaming while I drive.
Third Child: Cups/drinks of any kind are banned from the van which still emits a funky odor from milk (or who knows what drink) spilled eons ago. Let the wailing begin!
First Child: He is toted to the bathroom with me on every trip, often placed in a bouncy seat so I can monitor him at all times.
Third Child: He is placed in the care of his older siblings [read: baby is in a swing and siblings are told to get me if he stops breathing] while I enjoy a closed-door bathroom break.
First Child: Older children are directed to be gentle, gentle, GENTLE! Don't squish [actually, don't even touch] the baby!!!
Third Child: Kids, please don't press on his skull that hard.
First Child: He is dressed to the nines to visit the library, grocery, doctor, etc. Matching socks, shoes, bibs, hats and outerwear.
Third Child: I know he had on bottoms when we left the house...
First Child: He shall only be left in the care of medically trained (or at least infant CPR certified) adults for very brief periods of time (during which I will call several times to ask how things are going, and by that of course I mean how closely is the caregiver following my three page schedule, notes, and contact information).
Third Child: Anyone over the age of 12 who lacks a criminal record, has a pulse, and can dial a phone is a potential babysitting candidate.
First Child: His bedtime routine is of the utmost importance and shall not be altered: feeding, leisurely bath, pajamas, books, prayers, and lights out at 7:45.
Third Child: It's 9:30. I think he ate about an hour ago. Diaper change, kiss him on the head, whispered I-love-yous, and
The list goes on and on. I remember when Parker was my only child and I heard mothers of multiple children chuckling about how their own standards and routines had changed. Where was the structure? Where was the order? How were they surviving?
I never imagined I'd be one of them. My plans were ironclad. Ha!
What I came to realize is that, for me anyway, multiple children and the demands they impose absolutely necessitated a change in my standards. I had to re-evaluate. I had to give myself a little grace. I held on to what I felt was essential and released my white-knuckled grip on complete control.
So Maddie refuses to brush her hair and wants to wear her elastic headband Chuck Norris style. I can live with that. Parker chooses his own outfits; blue and brown striped sweater with gray and navy striped sweatpants...okay.
Jack sometimes has to wear princess pull-ups that were left over at Grammy's from Maddie's potty-training days because I forgot the diaper bag again. No worries.
This is life now, and I'm still loving it!