Maëlie was born one year ago, turning our family of three into a family of four. So, I think now is the perfect time to reflect on what happened. Contrary to the dire warnings of several acquaintances, Maëlie’s arrival didn’t profoundly change our daily lives. “Having a second child is like the world imploding!” “You will have to re-think 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 that much different.
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 them 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 means having even less personal time. 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 conscious choice, and since time passes so quickly I know in a few years they won’t need us as much. Then, 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?
With two young children, we can give up all thoughts of lounging on the sofa, sleeping in or following a TV series.
In addition to the time we spend together as a family, I try to spend individual time with each of my daughters. Three months ago, Luna decided to learn to cycle without training wheels. 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 at the ice rink or growing a vegetable patch.
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 plan our life accordingly.
We try to think “family” and plan our life accordingly, which means having to adapt to Maëlie’s rhythm of napping in the mornings and afternoons to respect her physiological needs. This, in turn, makes us all more peaceful. There’s nothing more stressful than being out with a grumpy and tired baby! So, we anticipate, prepare and plan so we don’t become overwhelmed.
Getting a little sibling is a big event
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.
Everything about her big sister seems to fascinate Maëlie: Luna’s room, Luna’s toys. Everything that’s beyond her reach is naturally more attractive. However, they’re beginning to enjoy one 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.
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