Lee St. John, a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, is a No.1 Amazon ranked humorous author. Look for her on Facebook, Twitter (@LeeStJohnauthor), and her blog at www.leestjohnauthor.com. Her new release, “SHE’S A KEEPER! Cockamamie Memoirs from a Hot Southern Mess” can be found on Amazon.com.

Hubby and I have two sons who are eight years apart. It’s like having two only children. When our oldest graduated from high school and went to college, our youngest was just entering fifth grade.

I had such a dichotomy in those two at the same time. I jokingly told my friends while one was getting his baby teeth, the other was losing his. When one was beginning to talk, the other was learning to talk back. You get the picture.

And eight years makes a difference when you talk about advancement in baby gadgets. We thought we were getting along just fine with the inventions that The Heir used but when The Spare arrived (I was influenced by the British media’s nicknames for William and Harry), caring for a new baby was so much easier! There were many more creative tools, mechanisms, and toys to help make my life smoother.

With the first child, we had top of the line everything… hand stitched bibs and Feltman rompers with peter pan collars and shorts with decorative buttons closure at the waist; embroidered and monogrammed pillows and sheets; high-priced toys from Toys-R-Us, and such. His room had Boykin’s Bears designed window treatments more expensive than curtains in our own bedroom. Our Amish wooden high chair was no different. Do you know how hard it was to rub off caked-on food from the wood on that high chair? I should have just gotten one with the plastic tray. But, ohhh, nooo! We had to have the best for our first child.

Dropping a pacifier on the ground was certainly a biggie for your first prodigy as you either boiled it later to sterilize it before using it again, or worse, just threw it away. Germs! No 3-second rule. It was damaged goods. You better have brought a ton of passies with you everywhere you went because they were eventually going to fall out of your baby’s mouth at the most inopportune times.

The sippy cup hadn’t changed much since the 1950s and in 1986 was still a hard plastic ball cut in half with a spout on top that twisted off and had handles on each side of the bottom half. After filling it with juice, you screwed the spout part to the bottom-half-handle part and hoped that your child never dropped it. Well, that didn’t happen. They dropped it, they threw it, they stepped on it, or they kicked it. The top part popped off from this wear and tear and there was sticky spilled juice all over the kitchen floor. Yuck!

But all that changed by the time The Spare arrived. A new and improved modern sippy cup had a mechanism that used springs which held the top on better and when dropped, the top of the cup stayed on and didn’t cause a mess. I was more relaxed with the second child, too. If his pacifier dropped on the ground, I just wiped it against my slacks and stuck that sucker right back in from where it fell out. Dirt has nutrients, right?

I solved my messy high chair dinner situation, too. Wasn’t bath time always after dinner? I learned a new trick. I placed The Spare in the tub to eat his dinner. Yep, right in the tub. It was a contained mess. Afterward, I just sprayed and washed him off. Problem solved. It was a 2-fer!

I did worry later that because he ate so many meals in the tub during bath time (sometimes I just put him in the tub to feed him even if I wasn’t giving him a bath), that like the conditioning of Pavlov’s dog, when The Spare grew up he might feel hungry and crave food every time he bathed and he’d wonder why.