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 Hayley, writer of Devon Mama.
Tell me a bit about yourself, your family and your blog.
Hi, I’m Hayley; the mum behind Devon Mama, owner of two little ones, one dog and a husband. Since 2016, I’ve been sharing our lives here in Devon with the internet; everything from working parenthood to home renovations to travel and most recently the addition of our second child!
What age gap did you have between your first and second children? What’s their relationship like?
There’s exactly two years and three weeks between our two children. Our daughter was due a week after our son’s second birthday, we were all convinced they were going to end up sharing the day! Little did we know she would keep us waiting a further three weeks! I always knew I wanted to have children close together both for their benefit and for mine; I knew if I waited too long I’d be out of the baby stage and not want to go back in! We decided at least two years between them and were blown away at conceiving again so quickly.
The relationship between them is still very much in the early days. Our son was two in May 2018, our daughter was born in June… obviously she has very little idea about him apart from staring at this big noise making creature who likes to poke and prod her. From his side, he flits between indifference, annoyance and extreme interest in her. Mostly, he likes to help out and will happily sit and ‘entertain’ her, mostly by pushing cars in her face!
What was the hardest thing about having a second child?
Splitting my time between the two. The biggest challenge has been seeing our son go from being an only child (and as such, centre of attention), to an older sibling. Because of his age, he doesn’t really understand why mummy can’t play all the time or why he has to sleep in a separate room to the rest of us. There have been times when it’s broken my heart to see him trying to understand and getting frustrated. Mostly, it’s the feeling of guilt on my behalf that I can’t give him as much time or do as many things with him. But then that’s parenthood isn’t it? Permanent guilt!
What was the best thing about having a second child?
Watching them interact, seeing things in them that are the same, noticing their differences, thinking about what they’ll be like as they grow up, knowing that we’ve given our son a teammate for life! There are so many things that I can’t wait to watch them do together as they grow.
Were there any products that made life with an older sibling and a newborn easier?
A good baby carrier; I use a wrap sling and my husband uses a more structured carrier. It helps us keep the baby close whilst still doing things with the toddler. A double buggy has also proved useful so far, if our son was a little older we wouldn’t need it but this way we can contain him and keep her comfortable as well. Finally, a white noise app… it means I can turn that on and tune out any baby cries at nap or bedtime for our son. Otherwise he hears her and wants to get back up again!!
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone expecting their second baby?
Not to expect things to be the same. You’re a different person to the one you were when you had your first, and this is a different baby. You’ll find that so many things come flooding back to you and some of them will work wonders again whilst some won’t. The thought of having two may seem overwhelming at first, and it will be tricky at times, but you’ll be amazed how easily you settle into a routine… after all, you’re a seasoned pro by now!
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