As B is now more than seven months old, I’ve decided to bring my guest post series, Ponderings on Two, to a close. Instead of letting it disappear into the ether, I thought I’d round off the series by sharing what I’ve learned about how life has changed since having a second child, and the relationship between my daughters.
Tell me a bit about yourself, your family and your blog.
I guess if you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you know! But as a summary, I’m a primary school teacher by profession. I started this blog as an outlet for my excitement, anxiety and nervous energy around trying to conceive our first child. I’d just resigned from my permanent teaching job and had started teaching supply, something I’d done to achieve a better work-life balance, so I found myself with some actual free time to fill!
Fortunately for us (myself and my husband, Matthew), I fell pregnant rather more quickly than we’d expected (I was actually already pregnant when I started writing the blog, although I didn’t know it at that stage!). As a result, the blog quickly became more of a pregnancy and parenting blog. Now my attention has shifted again to my two main interests: reviews and play and learning activities.
I enjoy writing reviews because I like to think my views can help someone make an informed decision about whether or not to buy a product. I’m a helper. As for the play and learning activities, I was conscious that M isn’t yet attending nursery, so I wanted to create some more learning opportunities for her. I bought a tuff spot, and away I went!
What age gap did you have between your first and second children? What’s their relationship like?
There’s 22 months between M and B. We had hoped for a two-year age gap, and as I’d been advised to leave at least a year after my first C-section with M before trying for a second baby, that’s pretty much what we got!
At first, M found it difficult to adjust to having a baby sibling around. She would go from wanting to give the baby kisses and cuddles, to slapping her on the head. Fortunately, there is a lot less slapping going on now, and a lot more cuddling! M is definitely enjoying the fact that B is better able to interact with her now. I’m confident that their relationship will continue to grow closer as B gets older still, and it able to play with M more.
What was the hardest thing about having a second child?
Not being able to tend to both of their needs at the same time! Unfortunately there are occasions where one of them just has to wait, while the other is seen to, and vice versa. It’s tough when you have a crying baby and a tantruming toddler – I’ve definitely learned to speed up things like changing nappies and poppering sleep suits!
What was the best thing about having a second child?
Having double the amount of joy in your life. I know, I think I just vomited in my own mouth when I read that back. But it is true! M is totally hilarious now that she’s talking more; she comes out with absolute gems, daily. B obviously can’t talk yet, but she is such a smiley, sunny little character that it is difficult to be around them and stay in a bad mood. (I say ‘stay’ in a bad mood, because clearly there are moments when M has just poured toothpaste/couscous/water/whatever-else-she-can-get-her-hands-on all over the floor, and my sunny disposition falters! What can I say? She’s in a pouring phase!)
Were there any products that made life with an older sibling and a newborn easier?
Definitely the sling. I was sent an AmaWrap sling, and found it so useful. In those early weeks, I could keep B close to me, but also have both hands free when taking M to toddler classes or even just trying to cook dinner. I stopped using it for a little while when B’s hips were in question, as the doctor hadn’t seemed sure about whether or not it was okay to use it. However, I wish I’d pushed her to check with the physiotherapist as after B had had her Pavlik harness fitted, it turned out that both the AmaWrap sling and the BabyBjörn carrier were hip safe.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone expecting their second baby?
Much the same as your first baby, remember that everything is a phase. Those sleepless nights will get better in time, your eldest child will accept the baby, and you’ll find your own way through.
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