When Harry Potter was a baby we were pretty cautious of his schedule.
I remember carefully packing him snacks, extra clothes, and enough diapers to last a week, just to go to story time.
Things are a little different with the Princess.
I keep a couple of diapers in the the car just in case, but she sure as heck doesn’t have a change of clothes, and most of the time her “snack” is whatever I find in my bag.
I made sure that Harry Potter participated in intellectually stimulating activities, we attended story time and music class religiously.
We read together several times a days and “explored” topics he was interested in.
He knew the names of his body parts, animal sounds, and letters early… because we practiced forever.
I tried to save errands for a time when he didn’t have to come.
The Princess has gone to baby story time maybe twice in her life. There’s no music class, and while I care about her interests, we just do not have time to sit down and “discuss” them like I did with Harry Potter.
She can point to most body parts, but she can’t say them, she doesn’t make animal sounds, and she doesn’t understand letters.
I drag her along everywhere, within the last two weeks she has gone with me to the dentist, optometrist, and to get my haircut… I never would have dreamed of taking Harry Potter along on those errands (actually I still wouldn’t take him). I can’t count the number of trips to HEB, Costco, and Walmart that she has had to endure.
But you know what?
She is OK!
She isn’t entertained with kid appropriate activities every minute, but she is fairly well behaved and well adjusted.
She can entertain herself, find something to do, and wait.
Seriously, the waiting is the best.
I’m way more relaxed with the third kid…she doesn’t need a bath every day, some days she can drink juice, and we can call milk a meal, and if she has a screaming fit in the middle of the store (gotta love that at 16 months that’s a thing) I am perfectly happy to continue with my shopping and pretend like it’s not happening.
One kid me would have been so anxious about the constant hitting and yelling in my house… three kid me says “let me know if someone is bleeding!”.
I’ve learned a lot between the first and third kids, things like:
-Naptime is mandatory. Everyone needs alone time, especially Mom. “I don’t want to”, isn’t a good enough reason to put that off.
-It’s ok if they’re bored. No really, life is boring, better prepare early. They will live… really.
-Kids can wait. They can’t wait forever, and you need to time it right, but under the right conditions they can sit patiently and wait for a few minutes.
-Snacks are nice, but not required. Though if you’re dragging your kid along to yet another store, a bag of pretzels, distributed one at a time, makes a huge difference.
-They won’t starve themselves. Adapt the meals accordingly, but they don’t need separate food. So what, they don’t like spinach, lettuce, squash, or really anything else that resembles real food… if you offer it enough times they will (however grudgingly), eventually eat it. This was a hard lesson to learn with Harry Potter, he hates vegetables. AsthmaMan and the Princess have grown up with the expectation that they will eat vegetables and things have gone much smoother.
-They don’t need to take a toy everywhere they go. If you do opt into taking the toy along, prepare yourself for fighting with other kids, crying because the toy is lost, and retracing your steps to find that stupid lost toy.
Three kid me is much more relaxed… and sloppy.
And that third kid… she’s awesome.