I've come to realize that I have continued to treat Owen like a baby, far later than I did his older brothers. Possibly this is due to my increased busyness. Possibly it's a desire to keep the baby that (for a time) I expected to be my last from growing up too fast. Or I suppose it could be pure laziness....
When it's time to change a diaper, my routine is the same as it was 6 or 8 months ago: lay the child on his back on the changing table, and proceed. I don't name body parts as regularly as I did for the older boys. It didn't occur to me until a few months ago that I rarely encourage Owen to participate in the process of getting dressed - although I distinctly remember sitting on the floor with Benjamin, and Kyle too, showing him how to put his leg into his little sweatpants.
Also (and I am ashamed to admit this) I don't read to Owen as much. I never have. I love books, and I believe in reading to children - but somehow reading to my youngest child rarely works its way into our regularly schedule days. Continually I resolve to do better at this, but I have yet to follow through very consistently. I suppose the summer has brought a little improvement, but I obviously need to really focus on spending that time reading to my sweet boy.
With my first two children, I tirelessly named things: animals, colors, objects, body parts. But these days, I just forget, far too often. I suppose I'm a bit preoccupied lately. That's not a great excuse, but there it is. It's an explanation, anyway.
I adore this child. As an infant he was a balm to me, and aside from his immense tendency to spit up and his resistance to napping away from his bed, I no complaints about his babyhood - not one. We have a great bond, regardless of my neglect to verbalize the minutiae of the daily routine.
And I suppose I hope that the process of family life, and living with two big brothers, will fill in the gaps of what I've left unsaid and undone.
All the same, I'd better get on it and start teaching this boy to dress himself. Because in about 6 month I'm going to suddenly get a lot more busy!
What about you? How has your parenting changed (for better or for worse) as your family has grown?