It's funny. When Husband and I look back at parenting one little one verses three we giggle. Man were we type A! (I should add a disclaimer here ... When Little One was born I was a full time grad student and Husband was a full time grad student AND had a full time job! Schedules = survival.) So to our families, thanks for cutting us a little slack for those few years.
Everything seemed like such a big deal. The time poured into finding the perfect stroller or carseat because it makes SO much difference if the stroller reclines with a zipper verses a strap. Do we get the orthodontist approved pacifiers? Do we dare give our little one a nuk before 8 weeks old ... gasp!(we did ... and he survived:) Our little one's entire success in life depended on those big decisions and their schedule ... or so it felt like.
Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say we are seasoned parents, after all, Little One is only 5, but we've learned a few things over the years. We've changed somethings, we've relaxed, we've taken a deep breath, all while the crazy factor has increased exponentially. Newborn bath time, that once sweet and peaceful time cooing over Little One, has now been reduced to a quick squirt of dish soap on the head, rinse, and dried with a paper towel (don't judge!) for Little Three. Nuks that fall on the floor are no longer cleaned and given back to said little one ... they are just given back. They are not always put together in cute nice clothes (although I like to make people think so). You will probably find food stuck to their bottoms right after a meal because that is where they hide it. The importance of the question 'so how long has the bottle been out?' is directly proportional to how long (and loudly) Little Three has been crying. Things change; our priorities, our abilities, our desires.
Some where between three little ones, two masters degrees, four moves, and two job changes in the last five years we've found schedules aren't the end all, invaluable to the sanity of day to day life, yes, but not the end all ... in fact, sometimes the best memories have come when we ignore them. When we put our kids to bed somewhere else so we could hang out with friends, skipped the afternoon nap, or went outside instead of going to bed in the summer. Messes, mistakes, and chaos are going to be made. But in the middle of all the poop, spit up, and dirt (and there is quite a lot of all those) ... the little ones are thriving. Not because we had the latest and greatest car seat, stroller, or bottle, but because we've let go and let life happen to them. Yes, sometimes they get sick, they don't always have the best, most efficient (insert baby thing/gear here), and yes, they have been disappointed ... but when we've chilled, so to speak, our little ones have thrived. They have learned to adapt. They have adjusted. They have grown. And perhaps, so have we ... although we are still pretty type A most of the time and I'm ok with that.