Second one first?
It comes from my favorite piece of advice to give to new parents: Have the second one first!
In other words, the only way to maintain your sanity through your first child is to avoid having a first child altogether.
Just skip straight to the second one.
No one reads parenting books for their second kid. No one baby-proofs for their second kid. No one sterilizes every item in the house 15 times a day for their second kid. You simply don’t have the time, or the energy. More importantly though, you’ve figured out that you are unlikely to break the baby. You now know that failing to sign your child up for 82 enrichment activities – at which you must also be present and sober – will not result in your child growing 7 heads. You realize that your baby can cry for the extra 20 seconds it takes you to finish brushing your teeth without them turning into an emotionally-scarred axe-murderer. You are confident enough in your own abilities as a parent that you let some of the small sh*t slide. And you and your kids are better off for it.
So have the second one first and skip the whole maddening anxiety of first time parenthood. You’re welcome.
From where exactly, you may well ask, does my authority come?
Like everyone else on the interwebs I am just another schmoe with a large quantity of opinions. But I’m also the parent of two small children, the former nanny of several now very large children, and a bona fide doctor.*
I also like to bake overly elaborate cakes for my children’s birthdays. And since cake is an ephemeral medium, I thought I’d document a few of my efforts here.