I got a mothering jolt yesterday. I was talking to my friend who has a baby just five weeks older than Olivia, so obviously we enjoy trading war stories. She confided that she was really glad that her son would soon be coming on a year of age, and she could finally stop sterilizing things.
Sterilizing? Okay, listen, this is one of those friends that you have to choose whether her advice can apply to you. Not that she isn't truly smart (really is) or genuinely kind (shirt off the back), it is just that she's one of those people married to an incredibly perfect husband, and she herself looks like Elle McPherson. Well, if Elle McPherson were even more attractive. So you don't always feel that she can understand your simple, mortal, non-perfectly-accessorized issues. But on children, take her words to the bank; she was the best pre-K teacher I ever met. And I do remember reading about sterlizing anything that the baby put in their mouth.
Looking back, I remember that I sterilized everything right before Olivia came. And then I got, well, sleepy. I relied on the dishwasher, and providence. And here my more maternally-qualified friend is boiling nipples still. I'm not lazy about the germ thing; I wash my hands diligently. When her pacifier drops on the ground, I still rewash it. But by about 9:15 every morning she has already had her two second french kiss from the dog. (Simon has figured out that after her a.m. oatmeal there are always remnants to be had.)
And it got me thinking about second child syndrome. Do I do everything differently (i.e. less protectively) than I did with Jake? I do remember that with Jake I read about what stage he should be in. I don't even remember now (or care obsessively) when Olivia "should" walk. I only needed for Jake about three working pacifiers at a time; I always knew where they were and what stage of cleanliness they were in. For Olivia, I have to keep a drawer full, because I am always losing them about the house. Am I destined, because of apathy, to let Olivia eat more sugar, dress less meticulously, play on the freeway?
Maybe I will boil a couple of her pacifiers tonight. Or maybe I will, like every night, drop off to sleep at 8:15, cuddling my good intentions. Dang it, I keep messing up my chances for mother of the year.