by Christina Fain
In 2011 my family entered a phase of what I call “Family 2.0.” About a week before my son took his driver’s test, two pink lines showed up on the stick. My children would be 16 years apart. After the shock, terror, and disbelief wore off, I simply looked at my son, saw the fine young man he was becoming and said to my husband, “It’s OK. Let’s do this again!” I would be two months shy of 40 when my second bundle of joy arrived. Thus started our venture into Family 2.0.
I coined this term to identify other families like ours: families with noticeable age differences in their children. I wondered if these families found the parenting-again experience as bizarre as I did. There wasn’t a single book on it. No “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting to Parent Again.” I knew a lot had changed, but I was determined to handle it with grace and humor. So here are some things I learned as I started my Family 2.0 venture.
- An amber teething necklace. People swear by it. (If I had put anything around my son’s neck in the ’90s I would have been reported to Children’s Services, but if this helps everyone sleep at night, why not?)
- Nose aspirators. These are used mouth to nose. You heard me. Place tube in the nose of stuffy child and the other end in the mouth of Mom 2.0 and suck. There supposedly is a barrier that prevents any “matter” from passing through to the “sucker” (who purchased this apparatus).
- Ties that attach to the child’s car seat and the driver’s door so when you exit the car, you won’t forget your child is in the back seat.
- Baby Brezza. This is like a Keurig for your baby formula.
- Touchless thermometers. A wave of the wand will tell you if your child’s fever warrants a trip to the ER.
- Sports gear. Be prepared to invest in it every year starting at age three.
- Pre-schools and Kindergartens. There are now applications and sometimes interviews.
- Baby cams, nanny cams, live feeds connecting you and your child 24/7.
- Internet-requested doctor appointments and access to records. Just log in, request appointments, and check to see if your little one needs the chicken pox vaccine.
- Emojis -it’s a language. Learn to speak it. Your children and grandchildren are learning these modern-day hieroglyphics at a young age. It’s a trend. Poop emoji’s are an OK thing!
- YouTube – our kids will spend hours watching other kids explain how to put toys together. Don’t be surprised if you hear your child pretending to make their own YouTube show. You will know when you hear them say, “Be sure to like and comment below.”
- Move over Barney, Little Bear and Ed, Ed and Eddy. Make way for Bubble Guppies, Bob the Builder, and. . . . Who am I kidding? Kids don’t watch cartoons after age two any more. They building universes in Minecraft.
- If you’re a new mom, beware: breastfeeding is a hot topic. Do you? Don’t you? Are Facebook posts acceptable? To cover or not to cover, that is the question.
- You will find yourself correcting people about your role. The first time I heard someone refer to my husband as my daughter’s “grandpa,” I knew it was time to try that fancy underwear they keep in the adult diaper aisle.
- You will form a bond with like families. At a recent high school reunion, a former classmate asked me, “Do you have that walker ready yet?” I looked at him, puzzled, and he explained, “We’re going to need one to attend these kids’ graduation.”
As a Family 2.0 matriarch, the most important thing I want to share is this: Do not for one minute think that you are saying goodbye to Family 1.0. Family 2.0 does not relieve you of Family 1.0 duties. You may find yourself consolidating student-loan debt at the same time you are completing emergency medical forms for a field trip. Learn to laugh at the Family 2.0 moments. Consider yourself fortunate that you have the opportunity to do it all again. It doesn’t matter if you’re 40, 50 or rounding 60, the world can never be too full of willing people to nurture the children of our village. Change things up, accept the new gadgets, and listen to the new ideas. Sit back and let the kids Snap Chat your face with bunny ears. It will keep you young, and someday you will look back and say, “Hey look, we did that again!”
Tina began creative writing at a young age. Professionally, she has written for legal professionals spanning more than 20 years. As an over-thinker, mother of two, she draws her inspiration from her adult son and much younger daughter, as well as her personal experiences trying to navigate life’s beautiful complications. When not writing, she spends her time reading, hiking with her family and planning her next travel adventure.