How much to do with kid #2? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 10-05-2010, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My kids are 4.75 and 2. We're still pretty young. When my son was little we did tons of stuff--puzzles, collages, painting, games (we played by his rules) etc. I offered him so many opportunities for things to do at home and he loved it and flourished. Plus we went somewhere every day. I tried to have one outing planned each day. Maybe storytime or preschool open gym or a parks and rec class or just meeting friends at the park.

Enter baby number 2. I just didn't have the energy for so many at home activities. And as she started getting older, I didn't have the money to pay for the two of them to do open gym or whatever. I did just enroll them in a parks and rec class (she's finally old enough for that.) Even though they love to paint at home, she never wanted to participate in the class and he is kind of a homebody who would paint, but didn't really want to go to the class.

So, when we're at home, mainly the kids play. Which I'm a big supporter of. I just don't do a lot with her that I did with him. I don't pull out the shape sorter or puzzles or whatever. I'm feeling guilty that I'm letting her down. I just saw video of him at 18 months. He was an expert at puzzles. She's 26 months and is barely competent. (Each kid is different and he is really fast, but still...)

Our place on the unschooling spectrum is heavy into strewing. I buy the sonlight books. We have a nice supply of art supplies. We have costumes, musical instruments, tons of really great open ended toys. (Other than flashlights, I can only think of one toy, a shape sorter, that has batteries.) I just introduced him to starfall.com and he loves it so we do lots of identifying letter sounds in the course of normal conversations (I'm not into rushing reading, but thought I'd see if he would enjoy letter sounds and he does.) We start our day reading (our daughter has an amazing attention span for a 2 year old,) we read throughout the day, we finish the day reading. We go to Spanish playgroup once or twice a week and storytime when I remember. She does musical play once a week (he doesn't like it, but chooses to go with us rather than go to his dad's work.) We get together with friends for playdates.

But I just don't have the energy to do with her what I did with him. Mommy guilt is probably normal for kid #2. It is especially high with this one as I have concerns that she is going to need a lot more repetition than he did to learn stuff and I'm not giving her as many opportunities. Our outside home and friend interactions are fine. I just don't play with them/her like I did with him. He's very good at entertaining himself. At 2 she still has times when she gets whiny when she's bored.

What have other folks experienced with kid #2. Did they grow up fine without too many tics and drools?lol Any suggestions for finding a bit more energy deep inside so I can give her the attention I gave him?

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#2 of 12 Old 10-05-2010, 06:38 PM
 
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well i can't tell you how they do yet but i have mommy guilt too. My littlest one just doesn't get the same things ds got.. I just don't have the energy for each little puzzle or 'baby book' i don't do all the baby classes because the older dc wont go for it ... sometimes i just hope/pray he will turn out as well.

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#3 of 12 Old 10-05-2010, 07:55 PM
 
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Whenever I feel guilty about what child #2 didn't get compared to child #1, I just remind myself that probably the most natural form of learning is to just BE as part of a family unit, and tag along and be witness to daily life. They learn so much just from that, and I've come to see it as a very valuable way to be.

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#4 of 12 Old 10-06-2010, 08:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post

What have other folks experienced with kid #2. Did they grow up fine without too many tics and drools?lol
They're fine.

I think it's pretty typical for subsequent children to not get as much 1:1 with mom--how could they? With dc1 mom doesn't have any distractions from other kids.

The "up" side is that with each kid, it gets harder to over-do things. They have more opportunities to learn by trial and error since mom isn't always right there to help them out. Younger kids also have more opportunities to learn through observation because there are simply more people in the family to learn from.

Dc2's life IS going to be different, (and my dc3's life is different still.) It's okay--you don't have to replicate what you do with each child.

fwiw, at 2 my kids weren't enrolled in any activities/classes or playgroups and they're all fine. If you want to do more 1:1 with her, I'd cut back on outside activities and instead put that energy into something at home, but I wouldn't worry about making each child's life the same as the previous child's--it's just not going to happen.

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#5 of 12 Old 10-06-2010, 09:55 AM
 
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I felt like this too, especially since we had a 3 year gap between our first and second and then only a 1 year gap between our second and third. I have all these great plans and hopes, but Mama is tired. DH made a great observation though. He said that subsequent kids don't need as much as the first kid, because they have the first kid. And I've noticed that with our youngest for sure. He didn't get the one-on-one assistance and encouragement with the walking that the older two did. But he was so anxious to be like them that he walked (and talked) earlier than they did. That alone was enough to help me calm down and focus on encouraging them to learn with (and from) each other naturally.

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#6 of 12 Old 10-06-2010, 11:04 AM
 
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Less with #2, and even less with #3. Partly becauce of the time issues, partly because of their personalities, and party because I believe that you can't replicate the same environment for each child. And even more so because I believe that all those activities I did with #1 I did because I was impatient to be "doing something." So my perspective has changed too. The third's child's priorities are different too, and her approaches are different. She's learning to fit into a larger family. She's socialising. She's talking earlier and interacting with children more. She repeats everything the older ones say or do. She is not as interested to sit down with board books--she wants me to read the same book I read to the older ones.

So yes I do things differently. The kids are different. The family is different. And yet I believe they are getting exactly what they need and learning about the world in different ways. No guilt here.

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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#7 of 12 Old 10-06-2010, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the BTDT advice.

I guess the hardest part for me is he is super fast at everything he does and her path is more typical. I know it's just who they are, but part of me thinks if I gave her more time she would be attaining her greater potential.

This is highlighted by the fact that his verbal skills are through the roof. At 29 months he said, '"These flowers smell like pollination." She has been in speech therapy for a year with a speech delay. This type of delay can be related to reading disabilities. If she does have reading disabilities, early intervention with those disabilities can make a HUGE lifelong impact. I'm so afraid that what I'm not doing with her could have a negative impact in unknown ways.

She does gain a lot from her big brother. Her attention span with books is unbelievable. She copies every little thing he does (including spitting. lol) She is so delightful and people always comment on that. I just worry she has special needs beyond typical that I'm not meeting.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#8 of 12 Old 10-06-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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Your behavior is not why she has a speech delay. If anything giving her a rich environment is to her benefit.
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#9 of 12 Old 10-06-2010, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Your behavior is not why she has a speech delay. If anything giving her a rich environment is to her benefit.
You're right, her speech delay is genetic. And she is benefiting from the very language rich environment she is growing up in. I just worry that I could be doing more for her to help her even more in non-language areas.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#10 of 12 Old 10-06-2010, 11:44 PM
 
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No advice really but I hear you on the guilt. DS's 100ish singleword but mostly only recognisable by us vocab is probably normal for 16 months but DD (now almost 4.5) spoke her first sentence at 14 months and her proninciation has always been perfect. She was tv-free and I did xyz and a-w with her lol but now we are far closer to the radical end of the unschooling spectrum which is working out great...for her. I wonder some days if it's not so great for the little one. Sigh

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#11 of 12 Old 10-07-2010, 01:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No advice really but I hear you on the guilt. DS's 100ish singleword but mostly only recognisable by us vocab is probably normal for 16 months but DD (now almost 4.5) spoke her first sentence at 14 months and her proninciation has always been perfect. She was tv-free and I did xyz and a-w with her lol but now we are far closer to the radical end of the unschooling spectrum which is working out great...for her. I wonder some days if it's not so great for the little one. Sigh
It's so hard to not compare and when their milestones come at such different ages I have a hard time trying to know when it's a problem and when it's not.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#12 of 12 Old 10-08-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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I just want to throw out there that the "neglect" works in both directions. My kids are now 9 and almost six. When dd#1 was 6, I was chronically overwhelmed by the demands of my very active 2 year-old. She read a lot of books and watched a lot of Fetch with Ruff Ruffman. Even when I had the energy and attention to provide her with planned activities, her little sister would be likely to climb into the middle of things and make it impossible.

Life is very different for dd#2--at 6, I can sit down with her for big stretches of time and read to her or work on projects or whatever. Because her older sister is interested in doing the same, and able to do so.

Not to mention that I have a lot more clarity about how we homeschool and how to meet my kids' needs than I did when dd#1 was born.

Try not to beat yourself up too much. Life is different for each child, but I'm a firm believer that a sibling is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.
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