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With three becoming four it’s seems to be an unbelievable unequal adjustment as two to three.
With our first, Munchkin, yes everything changed but we had time to recover at weekends. With our second, Sprout, we don’t have that luxury.
Here are all our unforeseen adjustments of a second child.
It’s worth it though….right?
Or rather not keeping time at all. Late is the new early right?
Let me give you some examples of this disaster:
- 1: Swimming week 1: 5 minutes late, week 2: 20 minutes early.
- 2: One morning we got Munchkin up and got as far as getting in the car. Only to realise we would miss breakfast at nursery so had to come back inside and try again an hour later!
Its been a mess!
With the first child it’s a blur, mainly comprising of lack of sleep, sick and nappy changes.
You can find yourself wishing for development stages to speed up, that the child grows out of them and for progression to happen. It’s a feeling many parents are aware of and one we inevitably later regret.
With the second you want to stop time. Enjoy every moment. Have every snuggle and every sniff of that lovely baby smell. Because you know well now that it doesn’t last and soon they will crawl, walk and then run to school and beyond.
Less ‘us’ time
You’d think I’d be talking about partner time, but that’s a given with parenting!!
This one is for less time for Munchkin with all of us; Mummy, Daddy and both sets of Grandparents. He’s had solo play time for the first time of his life and less time with all his favourite people as they share their time with Sprout.
It’s a tough adjustment and one that invokes a feeling of guilt in me. I feel bad that I can’t give him all my time. Luckily Munchkin has adjusted well though and continues to be an excellent big brother.
Excellent 90% of the time that is with just the occasional ‘when does he go back inside Mummy’s tummy?’ in the first few weeks.
With just Munchkin I didn’t realise how much me and Natalie did together. For example, at bath time, when I would play with Munchkin, Mummy would sort out the clothes for the next day, she would then get him dry and changed while I cleaned up.
Add a sprout and I’ve realised how much extra responsibility there is with only one set of hands. Its more exhausting but, well, what did we expect?
Everything takes longer
If you thought getting one small preschooler dressed and into a car before 7:30 AM was tough imagine adding a hungry pooping crying little baby too.
It can take forever. It’s no wonder we can’t keep time.
Everything is harder
This one is no surprise. Everything is harder. You’ve really got to have all your eggs in a row and even then only sometimes it all goes to plan.
The trick is to leave time for everything to go wrong. A classic risk based analysis….
There is no catching up
With just Munchkin we could easily catch up from the tough nights of little sleep. With two there’s no catching up. And so many nights of 4 to 5 hours of sleep really add up to some exhausted parents.
You get all the snuggles again
There are positives too of this adjustment of a second child of course! You get baby snuggles again!
Baby snuggles make all the sleepless nights, the exhausting, the balancing act, the lateness and the mess worth it.
It is clear the adjustment to a second child has and can be a challenge. A challenge I did not really anticipate. It is such a major change in the family dynamic on a whole, and it can take time for everyone to get used to it.
So here it what I wish I had: some tips for adjusting to a second child:
Before baby 2 arrives, talk to your first child about what to expect and what may change. Explain that the baby will need a whole lot of attention, but that nothing changes in the way you love and care for them.
It may take some time for your first child to adjust to the new arrival. It may invoke feelings of jealousy or anger, and in turn they may act out in different ways. So you have to be super patient with them and help them through this huge adjustment.
Make time for each child individually
Even though you’ll be spending 98% of your time keeping the new baby happy, it is important to make time for each of your children on their own. Let them know its their time with you so they appreciate that you are putting them first. This reassures them they have not been replaced even if they have lost a lot of time with you.
Encourage your children to play together
It’s no surprise that getting your first child to play with your second can help your children bond and learn to get along. But equally importantly, It can also give you some time to relax and catch your breath. Because multiple children are exhausting!
Get help when you need it.
If you are struggling with the adjustment don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s so important to keep talking to your partner, as well as seeking help from family, friends, or a professional. We didn’t seek help until we were completely shattered and I regret that.
So there are all my adjustments of a second child my exhausted, running solely on caffeine, brain could fathom with a few tips I wish Id read before Sprout arrived.
But I’ll say it again, it is worth it. Every single second.
If you have two, what’s the biggest thing you learned in that transition? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading,
Daddy, Munchkin and Sprout