Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post as part of the Luvs #ShareTheLuv campaign. I have been compsensated for this post, but the words are my own.
Squeezing my son to my chest as close as possible, I tightly wound my right arm around his lower body like a boa constrictor with my hand strategically placed under his bottom. My left bicep held his head firmly, while my left hand reinforced the opposing hand on his bottom. I puffed my chest out to its fullest extension and slowly passed him to an awaiting friend. That was how I relayed him whenever someone new wanted to hold him. I was proud to show him off and wanted everyone to get a taste of how great holding my new baby could be, but I was also acutely aware of how delicate and fragile he was. That was my firstborn. Number four got a pointed finger and, “there she is, go ahead and pick her up.”
Just kidding, I’m not quite that lackadaisical and I cherish both my first and my last, as well as the two in between. But if you look through baby pictures of our children, there is a marked difference between the first and the fourth. Number one is perfectly clean and stylish. Number 4 probably has remnants of lunch still stuck to her chin and quite possibly is wearing the clothes she slept in. Because why clean her face thoroughly when I’m going to have to give her a bath. And why change her clothes when she’ll dump her food on them anyway? Am I right parents? I’ve got 4 kids in my house to keep clean and a mountain of laundry!
Okay, collect myself. 3… 2… 1… and relax.
I’m good again.
Luvs has launched a hilarious ad campaign comparing the firstborn with the second child. And anyone with multiple kids can identify. What they aren’t showing you, though, is the difference between the firstborn and the fourthborn. Because that is a deep dark hole of parenting that has no place being shared publicly. But here I go anyway.
For the first kid, I would place a towel on the floor to catch food and liquids to keep the carpet looking clean and new. Number 4 walks around with a juice box and a banana, leaving a purple squishy trail of her day’s journey.
When my firstborn had a poopy, I would carry him into the nursery and change his diaper on a changing table. Number 4 lays down on the living room carpet, where I change her and hope nothing rolls out. And nope, I don’t even put a towel or blanket down first.
Bath time for number one was a cherished night time routine, where I spent time giggling and playing along with water toys. Bath time for number 4 is my excuse to sit for a few minutes and do nothing. And whatever I do, I stay far away from the bath toys. You do not want to squeeze one of them. Parents know what I’m talking about.
I think number one just tasted his first candy bar. Five minutes later, number 4 got hers.
Get the picture? When my oldest was a toddler, he took a tumble into a rose bush, causing a cut to his right cheek. I was freaked out and quickly cleaned his cut and held him tight as I thought about all the horrible possibilities that could’ve happened. He could have had his eyes gouged out like Rapunzel’s prince. (The Grimm Brothers’ version and not the Disney version.) But his eyes were fine and his cheek healed, leaving behind a little scar. The scar is a reminder that unfortunate things happen from time to time, but parenting is about rolling with the situation. Parenting is full of scrapes and bruises and your favorite shirt receiving puke stains. Parenthood is unpredictable, but there are things that are set in stone, like cuddles, bedtime routines, and unimaginable love.
I joke around with my first born that he was our test baby. Our parenting experiment began with him and continues through our current toddler. Just because our firstborn is out of the diaper-wearing phase, it doesn’t mean we’ve passed all the tests and are flying free. We’ve had to figure out how to talk about sex and gender roles, and how to limit too many hours of video games. We still have high school to get through and college, if he chooses that route. My fatherhood journey continues. Now, can someone help me find number 4? I swear she was sitting next to me a minute ago.