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 Claire at The Ladybirds’ Adventures.
Tell me a bit about yourself, your family and your blog.
I’m Claire and I blog at The Ladybirds’ Adventures. I live with my husband and our two daughters in Cheshire. F is 5 and E will be 2 in June. We love spending time outdoors, doing creative activities and reading picture books.
What age gap did you have between your first and second children? What’s their relationship like?
There is 3 years between our daughters. Their relationship is pretty standard for siblings. Sometimes they get on really well and other times they irritate each other or fight.
What was the hardest thing about having a second child?
The hardest thing is trying to split myself in two and feeling guilty for not being able to. There are many times when both girls need (or sometimes just want) me at the same time. They both get jealous of the other one too. This has gotten easier now that E is getting older and doesn’t need quite as much attention. I’m still working on find the balance and giving each of them the attention they need though.
What was the best thing about having a second child?
It’s the little moments when they are really sweet to one another that melt your heart. F always wants to give E a big hug as soon as she gets out of school. Or when F insists on holding E’s hand proudly when she is walking (E is still in her pushchair most of the time).
Were there any products that made life with an older sibling and a newborn easier?
I couldn’t have managed the early days without my Close caboo. Having a newborn in a carrier leaves you with your hands free to entertain and look after the older child. It was also useful when E was unable to settle unless she was close to me.
I’d also recommend having a box of things for your oldest that only comes out when you are feeding the newborn. Things like books, sticker books or simple activities/busy bags that your eldest can do whilst sitting near you whilst you feed the baby.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone expecting their second baby?
Try to find small opportunities to spend one on one time with your eldest. No matter how much they seem to love the new baby, they will undoubtedly notice the big change. My eldest went through a very unsettled phase a few weeks after we had E. The best way we found to manage her behaviour was to make sure I was regularly spending one on one time with her. One on one time with her dad didn’t have the same effect at all. She’d gone from being the centre of our attention the whole time to being a big sister and it’s no wonder she was feeling a little pushed out. It got a lot easier a couple of months later but I still try to have time with just her when I can, even if it’s just a bedtime story.