Wednesday, 27 January 2016

When three becomes four

When three become four - Keep calm and carry on


This is I guess as good a place as any to start my first blog on OneDad2Sons. Back in September 2015 we welcomed the arrival of our second son. Both my wife and I come from dual-child families, and we wanted to give our eldest the same experiences we had growing up. Although we both had sisters, and he now has a brother. So my wife is now out numbered, and facing what her dad had to endure in being out-numbered.

We tried preparing for our new arrival, but didn't really know what to expect, other than we were having another boy. After all we had just gotten used to having three personalities in the house, and the whole; work, nursery, life, and exercise balance had just gotten back on tack, providing some sort of normality. But now we were willingly chucking a potential grenade into the mix, with a fourth member of the family.

With our first although rewarding, it was bloody hard going physically and emotionally. My wife breastfed for six weeks, and I could see it was becoming stressful for both of them. So I bit the bullet, and got some formula. After reading the instructions because it was not covered as part of the NCT classes, and using cooled boiled water (taking 20 minutes to cool seemingly not ideal compared to the instant milk from his mum), he promptly took 8oz. What was the fuss all about I thought? That was until he bought it all back up out of his mouth and nose. Not exactly the perfect way to relieve a stressful situation at 1am. Needless to say I didn't sleep that night and kept a bleary eye on his basket. It took longer than we ever thought to get into some sort groove. We probably didn't help ourselves with all the books, YouTube videos, and varied yet well intended advise from family and friends. If I'm honest, I did have that experience in the back on my mind as the second pregnancy developed. However, this time round we had ourselves a Threenager, along side a newborn. 

Our biggest concern I guess like most having a second child was how our first would be on meeting at the hospital, and how they'd be when we all got home. I must admit we couldn't have wanted for any better a reaction. He was an absolute star. I think it helped that we ordered a bag full of 'How to Train Your Dragon' toys as a gift from his new brother, to sweeten his arrival. We had spent the 9 months prior involving him in choosing toys, clothes, singing and talking to the bump. Since then, the two of them have developed a really nice bond, with the youngest starting to smile and laugh. How long this will last for I have no idea, but I'm sure that when he starts taking those Dragons it'll change. But for now all is good, and any animosity or jealously is aimed towards us. 

Don't get me wrong, although it's bloody annoying, tedious and frustrating to deal with these outburst, they are inevitable and according to the experts part of their development. We'd rather it be aimed at us than a four month old. Even if I've only had three hours sleep, and getting ready for a big day at work. It comes with the territory, and won't last forever. Or at least I hope it won't. Plus throw in to the mix the fact he's now kicking his naps, and trying not to fall apart by the end of the day as a result. I'm still learning to pick my battles, which is a big learning curve for me. But just as I think I've got it, they're moving on to the next phase, which in itself is tiring.

Just as our eldest is learning about the new dynamics and adjusting, so are we. More so than before, as what little time we had is now split. We often find ourselves; hurrying meals, washing and drying up (no dishwasher), working our way through the mounds of washing and tumble drying, and removing a dozen toys from the bath each night. All this whilst keeping to the routine of the new addition, and making sure we spend time with the eldest. This was made easier during the first six weeks, with the on-hand support from the Mother-in-law. Even bed time is now phased, where I'll do the last feed, whilst my wife goes up early with the dreaded anticipation of getting up in the middle of the night. And before my alarm goes off somehow we've all ended up in the same bed, jostling for position to just about stay in it. Considering they're little people, they take up a lot of the bloody bed in their diagonal starfish positions.

It's my wife who I think has gone through the biggest change, and how she's managed to stay sane I have no idea. I applaud her strength, calmness and ability to entertain everyone's needs. I do try to help but in my slightly blinkered view I think I'm helping, when I'm clearly not. The intention is there, honest. That's another point I'm trying to work on. During weekends when I'm around all the time the routine goes out the window, which must frustrate the hell out of her.

Before the youngest arrived we had conversations about "wouldn't he benefit from the same one-on-one attention the eldest had?". But, you know what, given where we are now we're all having to adapt, and he doesn't know any different. We're making sure we give him all the attention he needs and deserves. Plus we love him just the same, even if he's having hand-me downs from our eldest. If anything, and this will no doubt prove to be the commentators curse, he's fitting around an active family, and everyone seems to be onboard with that. For the moment, at least. Lets see what happens in the next eight months.

16 comments:

  1. It's a constant juggling act and the balance is always changing. I have two boys. 6 and almost 2. The bond they have is amazing and I love watching them play together. The big one has always been so proud to be a big brother and the the little one idolises the big one and thinks anything he does is hilarious! You have so much to look forward to in amoungst some pretty tough days too!

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    1. Hi Claire, thanks for being the first to comment on my blog. It's good to receive, and hear your experiences with two boys. I'm fully expecting not to get much rest for the next, I don't know 15-20+ years =:0). It's exciting and daunting all at the same time. Constantly learning.

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  2. Sounds to me like you are a great dad and husband trying your best even if you mess up sometimes as we all do. I like your post - there are too many sugar-coated versions of parenthood out there. Let's tell it like it is!

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  3. Thanks Kate, that's a really nice comment and feedback. I can only do my best, and let's face it the dynamics changes all the time as they grow that it is a case of learn on the job. What's good is the community of parent bloggers providing tips etc from their experience rather than those books that say "you should do x", and "your child should now be doing y".

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  4. An interesting read as we are a family of three, hoping to multiply further. It's easy to think that baby no. 2 will be a breeze because you've already learned the basics, but then when you take the changing family dynamic into account it's a whole different kettle of fish! It sounds like everyone in the family is doing their absolute best to adjust which is all you can ask :)

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    1. Thanks Robyn for your comment. Glad you found it interesting, and hopefully helpful. We're now at the stage with youngest starting to teeth, whilst the eldest is kicking his power naps which is both exhausting and at the same time entertaining. It's all to easy to wish these moments away, but in a blink of an eye you end up missing things all to easily.

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  5. You sound like a great team and despite being hard, it is working out for you. We are thinking about another and it is scary adding another to a settled mix. A definite new challenge!! xx #justanotherlinky

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    1. Thanks Sarah, we certainly try, but I guess that's all any parent can do. Good luck whatever you decide. It is tough adding another into the mix but totally rewarding and helps bring back memories from the first.

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  6. I really enjoyed reading your experience from a Dad's point of view. We have 2 years between our two and it is "hard core plate spinning" but now that they're old enough to play together it's fantastic, and our littly is now catching up on his one to one time now that his big sister is going to nursery. It all just seems to work itself out and the kids just don't know any different anyway. Thanks for sharing. Dawn :) #justanotherlinky

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    1. Thanks Dawn for your feedback, it's always nice to receive comments like this. Sounds like your two have a fab relationship. You're right about them not knowing any different. I guess it's our own guilt, that we need to deal with.

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  7. Sounds like you're all doing really well. Interesting to read the male perspective. From my point of view, I would have to admit that there is some truth in what you say about the weekend routine! Extra person helping v the effect of changing the routine of small children often has an ironically neutralising effect on how much more efficient two people doing everything SHOULD be! :D I have two girls & they only have 15 months between them (not intentionally). The eldest has always accepted her little sister so well and, 18 months down the line they still mostly get along brilliantly, and eldest has never showed any hint of jealousy. But I've always thought the adjustment must be harder for children who are older when they get a sibling, as they've been more used to it just being them & remember it better - sounds like your son has coped and behaved very well. #justanotherlinky

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you like this perspective. It was my first post, so tried to get the tone right. Sounds like you've got a really good balance with your two. Our eldest has done amazingly well given everything he's been through. I guess when I compare it to if we moved house, changed jobs etc it would take us as adults a while to adapt.

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  8. It's definetly a big change going from 3 to 4. We have two sons so I am totally outnumbered. It's not too bad now but I know in years to come I'll be picked on lol. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

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    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. My wife certainly feels the same =:0)

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  9. An interesting read!
    I have two girls at the moment and I have a baby boy on the way.
    Thank you for linking up with #justanotherlinky

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    1. Thanks for your comment and taking the time to read. Good luck with your new addition.

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