The Stuff of Life

5 Benefits of Being the Baby

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Blessed are the youngest children, for they shall reap the benefits of parents who have relaxed the rules.

As my six-year-old zombie ran door-to-door trick-or-treating, I couldn’t help but think about the ways I have changed as a parent over the years. I’m sure I could come up with many examples, but here are five that came to mind quickly.

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1. Halloween Costumes

There’s no way I would have let my other two be such scary characters for Halloween, but Lewis went as one of the brain-eating-undead. And you can see by the photo, he played the zombie role well. Maybe we’ll see if we can get him a part on The Walking Dead.

Happy Meal

2. Happy Meals.

For the older two it was a treat just to go to McDonalds. Happy Meals were an extra special treat on those rare occasions when I decided to splurge and veer off the the Dollar Menu. For Lewis, Mcdonalds and Happy Meals are pretty much synonymous.

This is one of 2 shirts he wore from age 3 1/2 to 4 1/2/

This is one of 2 shirts he wore from age 4 to 5

3. Clothes.

I’ve always been relatively lax about the clothes my children wear. If you knew Owen from age two to age four, you remember that he went E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E in costume. But I generally made the older two vary the clothes they wore to school. It’s a different story with Lewis. His shirt might be too small. His pants might be ripped. He might be completely mismatched. And it’s highly likely that it’s the third time he’s worn it this week. But hey, if he’s got all the major body parts covered, I’m good with that.

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4. Gum

I never gave in to the requests for gum and candy while I stood in the check-out line with the older two boys, but I almost always buy gum for Lewis. I don’t even chew it, but I always keep a supply for my little man.

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5. Video Games

I fought hard against the introduction of video games to our household. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m the only girl around here, and being seriously outnumbered caused me to slowly lose the battle. The older two were thrilled to get a Leapster when they were six or seven so they could play educational games. I think Lewis could kick my butt in Mario Kart on the DS when he was three.

So there you have it. I’m not recommending my parenting choices or saying I’m right. I’m just telling it like it is. I have changed. Now I think I’m going to go play some Minecraft before lunch 😉

How about you? Did you ease up on the rules somewhere between baby #1 and the caboose of the family?

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Author: Kim Harms

I am a contributor at CT Women (previously known as Today's Christian Woman where I was a regular contributor as well). I blog monthly at inspireafire.com and have freelanced for a variety of publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guideposts, Thriving Family and Creation Illustrated. Cancer made an unwelcome visit in my breast in January 2016, and I am now working on a book about breast reconstruction after having gone through the insane process myself. My incredible husband of 18 years, Corey, is my biggest writing cheerleader and together we are having a ball raising our three growing boys; Carter 15, Owen 14 and Lewis 10.

4 thoughts on “5 Benefits of Being the Baby

  1. I definitely parent the youngest differently. Just ask the older two. But, I tell them that there are benefits to each birth order.

  2. Absolutely. I agree totally with Melanie. My oldest son was always dressed nice, had his hair combed to even to leave the house and go to Target. My youngest could wear shorts, a shirt, cowboy boots and have bed head and I didn’t care. I could go on and on. Some was because of their personalities that I was willing to change but mostly because from 1st child to 3rd child you loosen up. The first is your first and you don’t know what might hurt them, etc. After you realize something wouldn’t hurt them you loosened up. The 3rd child also was drug to the older kids activities so you had to have things to keep them occupied when you were gone from home 3-4 nights a week.

    And, if I had a child now, there would be a lot of changes in parenting, that’s why they will be grandchildren! (No news, just saying someday)

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that gave in. I’ll bet if you had another one Kim, there would still be parenting differences between Lewis and the next.

    I enjoy reading your blogs!

  3. Yeah. It was almost like I was practicing with Carter because I didn’t know what I was doing. He has always been so laid back, so I had it pretty easy with him 🙂 Then came Owen, who was either on top of the world or hating the world with no in-between. I had to change how I parented him because of his personality. Then when our happy and content little guy came around 4 years later, I just felt so relaxed with him. Hopefully not too relaxed though….we’ll see how he turns out!

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