Having a second child and becoming a family of four

A second child turns things upside down and makes family life more chaotic. But dad blogger Pierre Bel thinks the dire warnings of some of his friends were unfounded. 

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Sisters Luna and Maëlie sitting on the grass with their backs to the camera.
Having a second child didn’t profoundly change family life. They just had to adjust and find a new balance.
Photo: monpapa.fr

A year ago, Maëlie was born and our family of three became four. So I think now is the perfect time to take stock of events. Maëlie’s arrival didn’t profoundly change our daily lives, contrary to the dire warnings of several acquaintances: “Having a second child is equivalent to a cataclysm!”, “You will have to review your principles and let them go!” Yes, each of us had to adjust and find a new balance, but, in the end, becoming a family of four hasn’t been revolutionary.

How to prepare for your second child

I enjoy reliving the firsts: the first smiles, the first roly-polies, the first steps… Every child is different and we as parents also experience it differently each time. And far from being blasé, I can honestly say it’s always magical for me.

Having a second child means even less time

Having a second child is synonymous with having even less time to “ourselves”. And yes, with two young children, we can give up all thoughts of lounging on the sofa, sleeping in or following a TV series. However, it’s a choice we make and, because time passes so quickly, I know that in a few years they won’t need us as much. At which point, it will be me dragging them out of bed at six in the morning: “Wakey-wakey, it’s time to get up!”, or perhaps it will be them making us breakfast on a Sunday morning. I’m allowed to dream, right?

Father-of-three explains how life changes in relation to the number of kids

With two young children, we can give up all thoughts of lounging on the sofa, sleeping in or following a TV series.

Besides the times when we’re together as a family, I try to dedicate time to each of my daughters. Three months ago, Luna decided to learn to cycle without stabilisers. It became our challenge of the week and our moment together, just the two of us. I enjoy spending quality time with Luna, doing things that her sister can’t yet: skating on the ice rink or growing a vegetable patch, for example.

Likewise with Maëlie, I like to spend time with her as if we were in a bubble: reading a story, tickling her, singing nursery rhymes. These one-to-one moments are so precious.

We try to think “family” and organise our life accordingly.

We try to think “family” and organise our life accordingly, including having to adapt to Maëlie’s rhythm of napping in the mornings and afternoons to respect her physiological needs, which in turn makes us all more peaceful. There’s nothing more stressful than being out with a grumpy and tired baby! So we anticipate, we prepare, we organise ourselves so that we don’t get overwhelmed.

Getting a little sibling is a big event

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Sketch of big sister Luna, who promises to push her little sister around carefully in the pram.
Luna promises to push the pram with her newborn sister super carefully. But you’re allowed to have a little fun too, right?
Photo: monpapa.fr

Having a little sister has made Luna more grown up. She feels more responsible now that she’s the older one. Of course, all our attention was focused on her before, while now it’s divided. Jealousy is detectable sometimes, but thanks to our explanations and gentle words, I can say that for the moment, the girls get along well and everything about her big sister seems to fascinate Maëlie: her room, her toys, everything that’s beyond her reach is naturally more attractive. However, they’re beginning to enjoy each other’s company and play games together – what a joy to see them laugh!

Time passes and I continue to appreciate every moment. I sometimes imagine myself in a few years, and dream of faraway travels and family outings, but I’m in no hurry – it’s important they enjoy growing up at their own pace – so for the time being, life as a dad of two little girls under the age of five suits me just fine.

Read more articles by Pierre Bel

BABYBJÖRN Magazine – Daddy blogger Pierre Bel draws with his daughter.
 
Photo: monpapa.fr

Pierre Bel

Lives: Saint-Céré, in the French countryside
Work: runs the blog monpapa.fr in which he shares his stories about family life
Family: married with two children, Luna and Maëlie

Read all articles by dad blogger monpapa on This is Life