What Would You Do Differently?

I spend a lot of time railing against the idea of parenting “experts”. But everyone needs some advice once in a while.

Pretty soon, I’m going to have a new child upon whom all my hopes and dreams will rest. In order to ensure things go smoothly, I got some advice from fellow members of the dad blogger community.

Then I mocked it.

It must be terrible to blow your parenting so badly that you need to have a second kid just to correct your mistakes.

That’s not why we’re having number two, of course; Detective Munch is pretty damn flawless, which is obviously thanks to my heroic and peerless parenting skills. And also, my wife’s, blah blah blah…

Just to make sure the new recruit turns out just as good, or somehow even better (as if that were possible), I asked some dads I know what they did – or would do – differently to fix their abominable screw-ups when they had the chance for a do-over.

As I suspected, they were little to no help.

    What Would You Do Differently

  • UGH. SOUNDS EXHAUSTING. “One thing to avoid with a second child is pigeon-holing him or her using your experience with the first kid. It’s tough, because you figure it went a certain way with No. 1, so it ought to at least be similar with No. 2 and beyond. But no. Everything will be different. Everything. Forget the little tricks and conveniences you worked out with your first. Screaming baby in the middle of the night for no reason? Thinking of trying that little walk-and-rock thing that worked with No. 1? Sure. Go for it. Be prepared for split eardrums. You’re going to have to learn it all again. Even diaper changing. Even feeding. Even hugs.Carter Gaddis
  • BACKFIRED! “My first is a picky eater. Pretty much always has been. So, with our second we started introducing her to different foods, textures, and solids earlier on. And, she’ll eat anything now. So, I guess that worked? Except that now she wants to eat MY food all the time.” – Nick Browne, Papa Brownie
  • BLIND GUESSWORK FTW! “I am now convinced rice cereal is the devil. Our first two are picky as hell and we fed them that shit a lot early on, honestly, cause it was easy. We never gave it to our youngest and she tries everything. It could be a coincidence, and I am done with kids so I can’t test the theory again, but it makes sense to me.” – Jack Parkin
  • SLOW YOUR ROLL, PAL. WHY DON’T YOU CHECK BACK WITH ME IN 15 YEARS. “My sons are 4 and 6 with fifteen month age gap. I was too busy to think about what to do differently. What I did the same seems to have been ok, spending as much time as possible with them and as much time outdoors together as possible. This became the inspiration for the theme of my blog in fact.” – Conor O’Gorman, Outdoors with Dad
  • THREE KIDS?! SORRY BUT I DON’T TAKE ADVICE FROM LUNATICS.“We have three kids and to avoid always asking the oldest to help out with the youngest, we found that it worked well to ask the youngest child present, who was capable of the task, to help out. That way, the help was spread out among both of the older kids.” – Daniel De Guia, Fit to Be Dad
  • LOOK AT THIS GUY WHOSE KID MAKES HIM FRUSTRATED WHAT A JOKER! “I should have done a lot more on table manners sooner. I was a bit lax at the time – partly because my own table-manner-training from when I was a kid was a bit fraught, and I didn’t want a repeat. However, the upshot is, I procrastinated about it, and my kid’s table manners don’t measure up, and now both she and I get a bit frustrated.” – Daniel Phnut
  • THANKS FOR GETTING FROZEN BACK IN MY HEAD. WHO’S THE JERK NOW? “I wish I had “let go” a little more. Be more in the moment and not try to control everything. Let the kid be a kid. Just laugh more and enjoy the jerk for who he is.” – Mike Cruse, Papa Does Preach
  • DO YOU KNOW ANY THAT WOULD BE WILLING? “Have them with a different woman.” – Doug Zeigler, Good Men Project
  • TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW. “I probably should’ve sterilized myself.” – Danny Cameron, DadLabs
  • GOT IT: CAN’T WIN, DON’T TRY. “The only thing I can think of is that, with my second child, I didn’t sweat the little things as much. Even when my daughter (my second child) refused to take a bottle from me and screamed her head off, I didn’t get upset because I knew a lot of tricks to get her to take it. None of them actually worked, and I had to call my wife to come home so the baby could nurse, but I didn’t freak out.” – Matt Blum, Geek Dad
  • I LIKE THE WAY YOU THINK, GLAD STORK! 12224623_324963307627491_1458795223_n
  • SERVES YOU RIGHT FOR HAVING THREE, PSYCHO. “I spend a lot more time not knowing where the third baby is at any given point in time than I did with the other two.” – RJ Licata, Lessons and Love
  • IF WISHES WERE FISHES… “With my first child, I wish I could have laughed more and stressed less during his first year on planet earth. I also wish I had more sleep as I would have realized how ludicrous and hilarious being a Dad could be. – Vincent Daly, Cute Monster
  • “AND WE STICK TO IT.” HAHA. HAHAHA. “Consistent much earlier bedtime and we stick to it.” – Neil Cohen, Dad on Third
  • HIS MOUTH WAS SHUT. SO WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM? “We did not give a pacifier to our second kid. He didn’t seem to need it in the same way and it was tough getting the first to get off it. He got addicted.” – Larry Bernstein, Me Myself and Kids
  • I HOPE MINE MOVES OUT THAT EARLY TOO. “Our first child slept in our bed for the first 4 years. Our second came 6 years later and was sleeping on his own within 2 months. That was a game changer.”Rusty Koss
  • PRIORITIES! “I wish I would have done that foot and hand print thing when she was a baby. Procrastinated and by the time we wanted to do it, she was too big. #importantshit – Seth Burleigh, Forty Weeks Later
  • HATE TO BREAK IT TO YOU, BUT ALL OF OUR THEORIES ARE COMPLETELY OFF. “We actually worried less (which I think is common) with #2. What I began to realize is that when there are two kids they form a natural buffer to some things – ideas, stories, situations that may have scared my eldest didn’t faze the youngest – partially, I think, because he knew his sister was there and that was comforting. It could also simply be a difference in personality and my theory is completely off.” – Creed Anthony, Tales from the Poop Deck

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