By Alan Smith
One of my daughters recently gave birth to a son! This is my third
grandchild, but it is her first child, so she is discovering the joys
of parenthood. Like most first Moms, she tends to get a bit stressed at
the overwhelming responsibility of taking care of a child. So, I share
this bit of advice with her (and with you) on how having a second and
third child differs from having your first (the author of this piece is
unknown to me):
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.
THE BABY'S NAME
1st baby: You pore over baby-name books and practice pronouncing and writing combinations of all your favorites.
2nd baby: Someone has to name his or her kid after your great-aunt Mavis, right? It might as well be you.
3rd baby: You open a name book, close your eyes, and see where your finger points.
PREPARING FOR THE BIRTH
1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don't bother practicing because you remember that last time, breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.
1st baby: You pre-wash your newborn's clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can't they?
1st baby: At the first sign of distress - a whimper, a frown - you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your 3-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.
1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.
1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.
1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of every day watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.
Parenthood is quite a challenge. But it is a blessing from God (though we sometimes have to keep reminding ourselves!).
"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the
womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the
children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of
them." (Psa. 127:3-5)
Some quivers are larger than others, but there is no more awesome
responsibility in all the world than the responsibility to instill
within our children a love for God and His Word. May all of you who are
parents be blessed and encouraged as you raise your children in the
- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister
for the Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, NC, may be
contacted at email@example.com