I once mentioned to a friend that I am a lot stricter with my first born, than I am with my twins. She replied by saying that this is usually the case. It got me thinking....
With the little man being the first, it was 'learn as you go' sort of parenting. He was already 11 months by the time I introduced a sippy cup (not that it was needed all that much because I was still breastfeeding at the time). At 12 months, I was still spoon feeding him pretty much everything because for one I didn't know better, and two it was less messy than letting him feed himself. Then one day, I came across a book (or it could have been a website) that said that by 12 months, babies should be given a spoon to experiment with.
Nowadays, at 3 years 4 months old, both Daddy and I are still too controlling. We've found ourselves steering him off of a toy that he really wanted because we think he's too old/too young, too big/too small. In the most mundane things in life, both Daddy and I sometimes control too much with this little boy, who just happens to be the most independent kid you will ever meet. Everything is "I can do it myself!", "let me do it", "Mommy, I did by myself!". I still remember when I took him to new playground at about 14 months. He took off from me and got as much as 20 feet away without ever looking back if I was still behind him.
Today, the twins enjoy less "fussing over": I gave them a sippy cup at 7 months, I let them self-feed as soon as they could bring their hands to their mouths, they can make a mess without me freaking out about the amount of mess I have to clean later. I don't know if it's because since there are 2 of them and it's harder to control 2 compared to 1.
It is a little unfair for everyone involved and I feel a little guilty. The boy received a lot of one on one time but always on the receiving end of experimental parenting. The twins get a lot less one on one but is the recipient of 'wiser' parenting techniques.