Reader call: dark circles and sallow complexion, toddler drinking too much water, and having a third child

There are some things I don't have any idea about, and that Lord Google isn't telling me. Please help if you can!

1. Laura writes:

"I'm trying to find out what could be going on with my 8 month old son's complexion or more expressly his general pallor. He looks unhealthy around the eyes. He always breaks out with red circles and tiny bumps. In general his skin tone looks sallow to me. I took him to a homeopath (not for this problem) and it's one of the first things he mentioned was his skin. You know when you see young babies most of them look robust in the cheeks, well he doesn't. What I'm trying to figure out is whether this is something internal or something in his environment that's causing flare ups. He has very reactive skin so when he cries, bumps himself, rubs his eyes or is sleepy it all shows immediately around the eye tissue. I haven't been able to find out any info about this."

This screams out "allergies" to me. I would go over his diet with a fine-tooth comb, looking for anything that he's been ingesting since you noticed his skin problems. The most likely culprits are the usual suspects--wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and artificial colors/flavors. I'm also wondering about his iron levels. Do you live in an area that mandates lead testing? If so, they will probably test his iron level at the same time.

Does anyone else have a more specific guess about what's causing the dark circles and rash?

2. Kathy writes:

"My 18 month old she drinks about 80-90 oz. of fluids a day (rice milk, water, water w/ a little apple juice for flavor). Is this normal? It seems excessive to me. This is my third child. She has various food intolerances (hence the rice milk). I can't tell if the drinking (cup, mug, sippy cup, bottle [of water] right before naps/bedtime) is to soothe a stomachache or if it could be a sign of something else. The doctor already checked her sugar and it was fine (no diabetes). Any help?"

The guideline I've heard that seems to be highest (higher than the standard 64 oz a day) for adults is to take your weight in pounds, divide by 2, and drink that much liquid in ounces every day. (Convert kilos to pounds and ounces to mL here.) And even if there's a higher guideline for kids, 80-90 ounces still seems excessive. I would be on the lookout for symptoms of water intoxication to make sure she's not hurting herself (lethargy and confusion from lack of sodium in the brain, or in severe cases twitching and seizures).

All the sources I'm finding mention either diabetes and hypoglycemia, but since her sugar is normal you can rule those out. Other conditions I'm seeing are adrenal hormone or thyroid hormone disorders. But there also seem to be plenty of cases of excessive thirst with no known cause.

Anyone have any ideas for Kathy about what this could be?

3. Here's one for readers with more than two children.

Ann writes:

"Though I have no perfect argument for having a third child, I just feel that a third will be a nice addition to the family.  Yet, we have an extremely bright firstborn (age 4) who is still psychologically attached to me (his mom) and is very needy emotionally.  Will I be damaging his accelerated development by having for a third child? I also wonder whether with a third I will be able to pay much attention to my second child (age 2).  I also want to add that my first is developmentally (academically and physical abilities) way ahead of the curve as well so I worry a great deal about him just as I worry that even the little (one-on-one) time I get with my second will be lost.

Our two children are currently the best of friends and I am so afraid I will shake the apple cart of seeming peace in the family by even thinking about a third, yet I don't want to regret later in life by not going for another child.

I also hope that with your answer to my question, I will be able to build a strong argument for trying for a third with my husband. I am 37+ already...so there is not too much time to wait.

Please advise."

Anyone? I was very worried about having a second, knowing that it would take time away from my first. And it did, but the interaction they have makes up for it in different ways.

For those who have 3 or more, what was the greater change--one to two, or two to three? And is there any way to avoid shortchanging the middle child?

Obviously we can't advise Ann one way or the other, but what thoughts did you have going into your third child? What do you wish you'd known?