The Differences Between Raising First and Second Children

I had always heard that parenting strategies differed between your first child and any subsequent children, but I never knew how true it was until our second came along! Our first child is now 8 and my parenting strategy with him can be summed up neatly into one word: overprotective. I washed his bottles/sippy cups separately from other dishes in the dishwasher and his clothing separately in the washing machine until he was well over a year old - with my daughter I only did that for the first few months. Whereas he wasn’t allowed to climb on to the sofa by himself or go anywhere near the stairs, my daughter is a little monkey who will climb anything and everything and loves spending hours at a time climbing up the stairs and sliding down on her bottom (with either Daddy or me right behind her of course, just in case!)

I think several factors contribute to these vast differences in the way we parent her compared to the way we parented him. The main one being the differences in their personalities. Our son was a shy, quiet child and was more interested in playing with shape sorters and puzzles than tumbling and climbing. He loved to sit and read books or just cuddle. Our daughter on the other hand is more rough-and-tumble and prefers a more hands-on approach to her exploration of the world around her.

Another factor that helps to explain the change between our parenting styles 8 years ago and now is our age. My husband and I were 19 and 20 when our son was born. At that young age, we were nervous and unprepared and therefore highly overprotective with him. Now that we’re older (and wiser), we are comfortable with giving our daughter a little more “breathing room” to grow and explore, while still keeping a watchful eye and arms ready to rescue her when she gets a little too adventurous!

Keep Calm and Parent On

Also, from our own experience and talking with friends who also have more than one child, the common theme seems to be that second children are more energetic and adventurous because they have an older sibling to try to keep up with. That definitely holds true in our house! So for those of you expecting or contemplating adding a second child (or more) to your family, my advice is to remember that you will more than likely have to change up your parenting style a bit and remain flexible, and not to worry if you find yourself doing things completely differently than with your first. It’s definitely an adjustment, but so worth it – change can be a great thing!

About the Blogger:

Hi! I’m Beth Ann and I live in Central PA. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and have an 8 year old son and an 18 month old daughter who both love BabyLegs. I’m a stay-at-home mom and also do part-time work from home as a legal transcriptionist. I enjoy working on my photography hobby, remodeling our house, going to sporting events, pretty much anything that involves spending time with my family!

*Image from Living Mi Vida Loca

 

“Itchy Spots” (or Eczema, as it is Called Elsewhere)

Four years ago, the extent of my knowledge regarding eczema was its existence as some kind of skin rash. Having worked with a person who had psoriasis, I somewhat (incorrectly) equated the two and felt bad for people who dealt with them but didn’t give them much thought myself. So, when my son had a circular patch of red, bumpy skin on his arm, I never considered eczema but thought it was ringworm. Daycare thought the same and the nurse at my son’s clinic confirmed the suspicion and said to use Lotrimin on the area. A few days of Lotrimin, however, brought about no change and my mother, a RN, was visiting, so I asked her opinion. She thought it looked like “contact eczema” and suggested we change laundry detergents.

This change seemed to do the trick at first, but it wasn’t long before what came to be called “itchy spots” in our house started popping up all over my son’s arms and legs and occasionally his back and stomach. All of these spots were circular in nature (similar to ringworm), not like the eczema photos I’d seen on posters in the doctor’s office, and daycare was concerned that this was some type of fungal infection and therefore contagious. So I did some research and saw a pediatrician and it turned out eczema appears in more than one form and the form my son had was Nummular Dermatitis or Nummular Eczema which is often misdiagnosed initially as ring-worm due to its circular appearance. So, no ringworm (phew), but still the unpleasant “itchy spots” remained. Typical eczema remedies – cortisone on the “itchy spots” when they were red and Aveeno when they were not, no use of soap (just Aveeno bath wash), free & clear laundry detergents, and no bubble bath became the routine at our house. Still, for a long time my son would go through periods where he had these horrible “itchy spots” that he would often pick at and worsen. The crease on the inside of his elbow was particularly bad and I had difficulty getting the eczema to clear from that area. Of course, this is also an easily accessible spot to itch, so I took to covering it with Band-aids to keep my son from picking at it.

ScratchingIn the meantime, I kept researching and came across a link between eczema and milk protein allergy. I spoke with the pediatrician about the possible connection between that two, but was told that it was unlikely and there was no proof of a connection (the same thing I was told about my son’s reflux and a possible milk allergy) and so, we just continued our “itchy spot” routine. It wasn’t until this year, as my son’s “itchy spots,” all-but disappeared and then were gone, that my daughter (who is eczema free) was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy. When we saw the specialist regarding this, the conversation with him resulted in the following conclusions:

1. According to the specialist, it was surprising that my daughter did not have eczema given the obvious milk protein allergy.

2. Milk protein allergies are often the cause of night-waking (something my son has always struggled with).

3. My son likely had a milk protein allergy which caused or at least aggravated his reflux and eczema and was no longer struggling with it because he had outgrown the allergy (as most children do by the time they are six) or reduced his milk intake to a level where it was not affecting him.

Having one of those, “if I had only known then” moments, I wished I had just taken my son off dairy a few years ago to see what happened despite the pediatrician’s assurance that a milk allergy was not likely. It certainly would’ve been nice to ascertain a connection between the two four years ago, but hindsight is always 20/20. Still, I would be curious to know how many out there have found an obvious connection between their child’s eczema and a food or other allergy. I also encourage any of you dealing with eczema to explore the possibility of it being caused from a food allergy – and follow your instinct even if your doctor says there is little chance…see a specialist or try eliminating dairy. It might be worth it.

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About the Blogger:

Hi! My name is Shawna. I am a married mother to two adorable children and love being a mom. My children throw me unexpected surprises more often than I can count, but I wouldn’t change that for the world. Thanks for reading!

Cloth Diapering in a Modern World

When I had my son, I was not living in a modern world. I assumed cloth diapers were rags and pins, and it seemed like a whole lot of work. At the time I had no internet, and resources in the community were limited (they have since grown).  We got the internet when my son was 2 months old. I started researching cloth diapers, and by the time he was 6 months old I was part time cloth diapering.

I was so completely overwhelmed with all the choices and I had no idea where to start. Cloth diapering to start is a bit expensive, but over time you save a ton of money.  My first assumptions about cloth diapering were that it would be a lot of hard work, and not worth saving the money. I was wrong. Cloth diapers are cute and they make ones you treat just like disposables they just go into the diaper pail and washer instead of the trash.  Once you find a good wash routine, cloth diapering is simple to do.

I prefer to use diaper covers, and flats folded inside of them. They dry quicker, and just work well for us. However, I do have all in one diapers too since those are more dad friendly. Getting dad on the cloth diaper bandwagon was a chore when I had my son. I went about it differently this time. Instead of trying to convince him how great cloth was, all I did was make sure that I changed the baby for two weeks. I didn’t make a fuss of it, I just used cloth diapers.  Living paycheck to paycheck, during the second week my boyfriend couldn’t figure out how he had an extra $20 in the budget. Ever since then he has been hooked.  At first he’d only use the AIO’s , but he’s starting to get the prefolds and flats down.

I am refusing to give opinions on brand of cloth diapers, detergents, and wash routines, because it is truly something you have to find out for yourself. When my son was in cloth diapers, I swore by two brands. They worked, and worked well. I never had any problems with them. When my daughter was born I figured I already knew what I liked, so I’ll stick with it. Wrong! It was a disaster. They didn’t fit her right no matter what I did, and they leaked all the time. She is just over one year old now, and I’ve finally found diapers that I like, and work well.

My advice to people going into cloth is research. Talk to people, and be ready for a lot of work in the beginning. It took me over a month to get a wash routine down that works with my front loader washer, and keeps the ammonia smell away. If you don’t have a large chunk of change to start up, check consignment stores. When I started with my son and daughter I went to a few consignment stores, and shopped craigslist for very little money. It’s a great way to get a feel for what’s out there.  Keep an eye out online at the baby stores. If you need to buy baby equipment check to see if the stores are having any deals. When I bought my front pack, every order over a certain amount of money came with a free one size diaper.  If you have a local baby store, check to see if they have cloth diaper classes. I attended one and it was great to hear other people’s tricks and tips about cloth diapering, and having a strong support system.


About the Blogger:

I’m Renea P. I’m a stay at home mommy to a one year old girl and three year old boy. I love spending time with my family, couponing, crafting, and doing fun activities with my kids.

Testing the Waters

PhotobucketWhen I was little, my brothers and I would spend every day swimming at a neighborhood park. It was a lake, and it was FREEZING, but we always had a ton of fun in our inner-tubes & jumping from the high-dive. My mom made sure we knew how to swim well, and it wasn’t until later that I realized that not all kids swam like we did.

My mom was a certified lifeguard for over 10 years. Over the years I have heard her tell countless stories of the horrors that can happen at a pool when no one is watching, or even when they think they are watching. I won’t go into the details but a lot of them involve moms, just like you and me, who are talking with friends and not necessarily keeping their eyes on their children. In fact, a couple of close friends of mine have had a couple of similar swimming scares as well. 

What can we do? My mom believed the best thing she could do for us to be safe was teach us to swim at an early age. My brothers Photobucketand I would take swimming lessons every day, all summer long, every year. I didn’t know that it wasn’t typical for kids my age, and it didn’t really cross my mind until I got married (one of many other previously undiscovered differences between my husband’s upbringing and mine).

We started our oldest son in lessons when he was 3. Our goal was to get him used to the water since he was a sensitive child, and hadn’t yet grown into the coordination he needed to truly swim. At age 4 he started taking lessons more regularly, could float by himself, and glide underwater. At age 5, he took off! He started swimming by himself, and we kept him in lessons as much as we could. Now at age 7, I would still never leave him unattended, but he has the basic skills down. 

PhotobucketWith both my children, it just CLICKED. Once they realized they could actually SEE things under the water with their cool goggles, they were hooked. It was getting them to that step. Then they spent half their lessons scoping out the underwater view and sneaking up on their classmates!  Learning to swim is a necessity in my home. It may be different in other homes, and that’s okay.

For me, I feel much better knowing my kids have been taught water safety in a controlled environment. They know not to go in without an adult. They know what to do if someone falls in the water. They know what it feels like to wear a life jacket. The more I can prepare them the better off they will be and I can’t think of a better way to prepare them than by giving them the opportunity to swim at an early age, in a safe environment, as often as possible (and it’s amazing what you can teach in a bathtub).

I am so grateful to my mom for the countless hours she spent with us swimming at the park (amongst a million other things my mom did for us) and I can only hope I am being a pinch of the mother she was to me, for my children. I am grateful my children have had the chance to get to know her, swim with her, and laugh & love her.


About the Blogger:

My name is Alee, and I am a stay-at-home mom to three kids. I love to make crafts, scrapbook, and help out at my kids school.