The question of what is the perfect age gap to have between your children is a much debated one. One thing I am absolutely certain about is that whatever it is, spacing your kids will never be perfect!
The age gap between my girls is 23 months apart. When we went for the first scan with baby no. 2, the Dr actually told us she was due on her sister’s birthday. Cue ALL the jokes about “Do you guys only do ‘it’ once a year?” – that got tired real quick!
God Has A Plan
Actually, if I had gotten pregnant as soon as we started trying for number two it the gap would have been a lot closer. Clearly God knew what he was doing because we had to wait 10 months before I conceived my youngest. I know many people have children a lot closer than my two are, but I really did struggle to cope with two littles for the first two years. I am not ashamed to admit it.
The Pros of Spacing Your Kids Close Together
That said, I love my girls and I wouldn’t change a thing. Okay, that’s a lie. But moving on and accepting my lot in life, here is a list of what I love about the fact that they are only 23 months apart.
Sharing is caring
They are close enough in age to have shared interests in terms of toys, TV programmes, friends, etc. and can play together and occupy each other when forced to, isn’t that half the reason to have a second child – company for each other?
Their birthdays are close enough that ‘hand-me-down’ clothes are seasonally relevant for the younger child, if they make it (I’m referring to the clothes).
On The Bright Side
I only spent four years in nappy hell. You know the place where you feel like all you do is wipe your kids’ butts and throw sh*t covered money in the bin to add to the pollution of the planet … those years. I am grateful there were only four consecutive years of this phase. I really don’t think I’d have coped if I’d had to stop and then start again a few years later.
Pre-Loved baby apparatus such as car-seats, pushchairs, bottle warmers etc … there wasn’t really enough time in those nearly two years to reinvent mothering enough for me to have to buy all new equipment in case my latest child was no longer safe in the equipment the elder one survived quite fine in, so it’s almost like an investment for the future when you buy the first time round.
Dealing With Trauma
You’re not really out of the trenches that going back in for round two feels too traumatic, it’s like memory-fat – your body and mind just slip back into it without even really needing to adjust. No, it’s not as fun or exciting, but you have your ‘body memory’ to see you through it.
The Cons of Spacing Your Kids Close Together
Here is a list of what is NOT good about having them less than two years apart!
You Are Naive
They might play together nicely when it suits them, but they’re actually only whispering to each other to lull you into a false sense of security before they erupt into World War 3 over who snatched who’s Barbie shoe without asking!
They Are Not!
Hand-me-downs only work if your younger child is in the ‘idolising her big sister’ stage at the time you re-introduce the ‘new’ clothes. Either she will love it and feel special, or, if her sister’s being a vindictive little brat to her she might refuse to wear it! Especially if the older child teases the younger child about her having new clothes while they younger child gets old clothes. You can’t explain to a three-year old that any item of clothing that survived the ‘threenager’ phase of her older sister, is to be treasured, honored, revered, or even put in the box labelled “She hated it and never wore it because it had fairies on it, not pixies. Stupid woman! What were you thinking?”
Their birthdays are too blady close! Three weeks! Therefore, you are broke for two months in a row and have to deal with two times all of it! ALL. OF. IT: The actual birthDAY, the school-party DAY, and the party DAY!
Timing Is Everything
Heaven help you if you were foolish enough for your younger child born earlier in the year than your older child. In my case, the younger is born in mid June, the older is born in early July! That means that for around three months prior to the youngest’s birthday, the elder will despair daily about how life is so unfair, why does her ‘baby’ sister have a birthday first! Then the three weeks between the two will be filled with the elder rubbing it in the youngest’s face about how it’s her birthday in three weeks and the younger has to wait “a whole year” before her next birthday! (FYI – Girls are b*tches)!
Did I Get It All?
I’d love to know what you wanted, and what you ended up with in terms of spacing your kids. I’m quite sure I missed a few pros and cons in my lists above. Feel free to let me of your favourites!
I’ll just leave this one right here:
Pic courtesy of Fowl Language Comics. http://www.fowllanguagecomics.com