Welcome to my new guest post series, Ponderings on Two, where I ask a different blogger and parent of more than one child, to share their experience of having a second child. This week, we hear from Katy, who writes at Hot Pink Wellingtons.
I’m Katy, and I write Hot Pink Wellingtons. My husband John and I have two boys, Max (4) and Ben (14 months). We live in a small town in Surrey and my blog Hot Pink Wellingtons aims to share our family adventures. We love being outdoors as a family, whether that’s exploring National Trust properties, gardening, playing on the beach, or heading on a day out to a theme park. I started blogging nearly 3 years ago now, and it was a way for me to regain a bit of creativity and some space for me, as well as a place to document our fast-growing family.
I’d always envisioned having two children, and really wanted an age gap similar to myself and my sister, which is just under 2 years. But when it came down to it, I couldn’t face having 2 under 2! We ended up with a 3 year age gap, which I think has been wonderful. It meant that Max could understand a good amount of what having a little brother would involve, which definitely made things easier.
I remember worrying a lot about their relationship, especially how Max would adjust to having to share me and his dad in the early days. But I needn’t have worried – right from the word go he’s been the most adoring older brother and has never had a moment of jealousy. The boys have a brilliant relationship – Ben has always idolised Max and never takes his eyes off of him. It’s definitely become a bit more fraught as Ben has started to move and Max’s toys are suddenly no longer just for his use, but on the whole they get on really well.
It’s definitely the juggle! You get so used to being able to give your eldest child all of your attention that it’s a real shock to the system when you have another child to worry about too, and not just another child, but a demanding newborn who requires constant feeding / cuddling. It’s a time when you’re so conscious that you don’t want your elder child to feel pushed out, so it’s an impossible choice. Not to mention all the hormones on top of everything! You just need to try to find the balance, and accept that you can’t be everything to everyone, but that’s something that I’m still struggling with now. It definitely gets easier as they get older and your baby becomes less demanding and your oldest adjusts to having a sibling around.
Far and away the best thing is seeing your children together – it’s absolutely heart melting in a way that I can’t put into words. If you thought that your heart exploded with love on seeing your first baby, just wait until the moment you see your children together for the first time. It’s just magical. And it all just gets better as they get older and start interacting more – laughing together and becoming friends.
Baby wearing was my lifesaver second time around! Both my babies have loved to be held, so I wish I’d embraced it first time as well, but second time I’ve loved it and have quite the collection of different slings. Ben still loves to be carried and I’m hoping that will continue for a while longer, as I love it too!
Also, CBeebies! When you’re stuck cluster feeding a small baby, you need something to occupy your older child. We definitely spent a lot of time camped on the sofa, having cuddles and watching Octonauts.
My biggest piece of advice would be don’t stress about it before the baby arrives. I remember spending so long worrying about how my older son would cope, and how I would cope. But in reality, my older son adapted far better than I’d given him credit for, and as a mum, you’ll find that you just get on with it all. The things that I’d really worried about, like the logistics of bath time with two children, just really weren’t a big deal and I wasted a lot of energy stressing about how I’d manage. The logistics are all easy second time around – you know how everything works. It’s the emotional side of it and learning to split your time between two children that’s the difficult part. But remember that the newborn days are where that’s hardest – it gets so much easier from then on and it’s worth every difficult minute when you see your children holding hands and laughing. Having two children has been the best decision I’ve made!
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