Friday, December 7, 2012

Brotherly Love... a post on sibling spacing

Everyone has their own opinions about sibling spacing. So I thought I'd share mine. I have known for a long time now that I wanted to have my first two children close together. How? I was an only child until I was 8, and honestly? I hated it. It was lonely. Both of my parents worked a lot, and I had nobody to play with. I literally begged my parents for a little brother or sister for years. When my little brother was finally born, I was in third grade, and I was ecstatic. My brother Matthew and I have an awesome relationship nowadays, and we did back then, too... only I felt a lot more like a caregiver than a sister. Don't get me wrong- I loved helping my parents with my little brother. I would sing to him, rock him, give him bottles... but I never really got the one thing I had always wanted- someone to talk to, to explore and play with. I saw the relationships my friends had with their siblings, and even when they argued or didn't get along, I was jealous. 

So I just knew. I knew I would NEVER have an only child, and I knew I wanted my kids to be close in age.


When I found out I was pregnant with Emmett, I almost instantly started wondering and worrying about how Elliot would get along with his baby sibling. After all, up until that point, he was the spoiled only child who had his mama catering to his every whim. I lost so much sleep worrying about how I would juggle two under two.

Reading to his baby brother.
LUCKILY all that worrying was for nothing. Although Elliot was a little confused the first couple weeks, he was never really jealous. Almost IMMEDIATELY he loved his baby brother. He is always ready to help. You can bet if anything happens to baby brother that I don't see- if he spits up, or rolls over, etc, Elliot will run full speed to me saying, "Uh oh! Uh oh!" When it's time to change Emmett's diaper, Elliot is right there with the wipes. He always wants baby brother right next to him, and frequently tries to pick him up and carry him places (but I either stop or help him). Elliot always shares his toys, and enjoys "reading" to his baby brother. He also loves bouncing Emmett  in his jumperoo and giving him random, sweet kisses. Watching them together always makes me smile. 

More kisses.
I have come to the conclusion that the spacing between them, sixteen months, is pretty much perfect. ♥ Apparently, many medical professionals agree. You have NO IDEA how many times we have been told (by their pediatrician, my lactation consultant, and even Elliot's speech therapist) that the perfect/easiest time to bring a new baby into the family is before the first child turns 2. Once kids turn two, we've been told, they struggle much more with jealousy and two year olds tend to have a much harder time adjusting to having a little baby stealing all of their Mommy's time.

We are going to wait a little while before having #3, but if my husband agrees, I would like to have another set of siblings close together like these two. We shall see. Aaron seems convinced now that he only wants 3- which pretty much throws my life plan for children out the window. But I can be pretty convincing ;) and he sure does love him some babies!

Here, have a leaf!


Like I said, I always wanted to have my first two children close together. They ended up a little closer than intended, and I'll be honest, at first I questioned my sanity a little. Juggling a newborn and a young toddler is TOUGH. But, like I said, in no time at all, we settled into a routine that worked for all of us, and things are wonderful now. I wouldn't change it for the world.

Having 2 kids under 2 might not be for everyone... but I wouldn't have it any other way.

So that's my opinion. Now I'd love to hear yours!

10 comments:

  1. I love this post, and especially that photo of Elliot reading to Emmett. So, so sweet, and it makes me so eager to have that with our boys! We knew we wanted ours to be at least 2 years apart. We wanted Ethan to turn 2 before we had another child. I don't know what was so significant about that number, but I felt like, by then, we'd have mastered a lot with Ethan, and would be ready for newborn status again. And that's how I feel now. I have heard mixed things on 2 under 2. My 2 older brothers are just over a year apart, and my mom said she loved how close they were, but it was hard on her. Granted, she was in a hard situation, beyond the boys. I have friends who have done 2 under 2 and LOVED it...again, said it wasn't easy, but so, so worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your kids are the absolute sweetest! Too cute.
    I don't have the luxury of being able to plan spacing for siblings, or even the luxury of knowing I'll be able to conceive and grow a sibling for the little one I'm pregnant with now. It took us 26 months and 9 rounds of fertility treatments to make her so we know we have no guarantees in this process. I'm also really satisfied just having one after all we've been through so I don't plan to pursue fertility treatments again, but if we are lucky enough to get pregnant naturally it would be a welcome surprise.
    That said, ideally I'd love for a 3.5 year age difference between kids. The kids I nannied in undergrad and grad school have this spacing and it worked really well as the older child was able to be really helpful with the baby and now that they are 8 and 4.5 they are still close enough to play together. But there is something appealing about having two tiny kiddos at the same time- you get through all the exhausting early years twice as fast. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think a lot of it is knowing you what you as parents can handle too - and the financial aspect is a factor, at least for us it was, we are by no means struggling but you still need to sacrifice somewhat with a 2nd child b/c let's face it, kids are costly untless you are lucky enough to have relatives that buy you everything and watch your kids for you- which we have neither.
    My daughter will be 3 when my son is born and we are going to be tight for a couple years due to the fact we will be coughing up daycare for 2 kids come next september. Ugh! The other half of it is, I am older and this was our last shot at having another so it was now or never. If it didn't happen by the time I turned 42, we were hanging it up and would have been perfectly satisfied with one beautiful girl.

    There are many factors to take into consideration when having another child for sure. Everyones situation is different and in a perfect world, 16 months sounds good for many reasons but doesn't always work for everyone. My friend had her son & daughter 18 months apart (by accident lol) and she was ready to kill herself the first year the and was born lol - she had no help from her husband and the 2nd one had a lot of medical issues. She used to tell everyone wait over 2 years in between LOL. So i guess it just depends on your situation :)
    WIth that said (and this long novel) - your boys are perfect and they love each other- and it sure seems like this is the best situation for your family- god bless :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. So nice to read this! Also worried about my ability to handle two. Our little girl is expected to show up about two months before our first turns two.

    Seeing pictures of your boys together has me excited for what's to come :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. We plan to start TTC #2 a year from now. This will make the age gap around 3.5 years. This is more than I would like however there are a couple of factors to consider. Firstly financially. If we wait till Izzy turns 3.5 for #2 to arrive then by the time I am off maternity leave Izzy will be starting school and we will only have to pay for 1 lot of childcare. Also, I had a terrible pregnancy with Izzy. I would really struggle to cope with a young toddler whilst being pregnant since I am so limited physically on what I can do (severe SPD and irritable uterus). So I guess we wait. But I wish I didn't have to!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't have two kids under two, yet, lol!! but My boyfriend's sister has 4 under 5 & her life is VERY hectic. We try to help her as much as we can. But it's nice for them to all have each other to grow up with :) I love his hat in the last pic so cute.

    ReplyDelete
  7. We have every intention of Rylin being our one and only. We love and truly enjoy the way life is right now as a family of three! My husband works a lot so I can be a SAHM to Rylin and Rylin and I are able to travel, take weekly trips to the beach, lunch with friends, and actually enjoy our daily routine with minimum stress. But I still feel as if I don't have enough alone time with my husband or time for myself. Also, we intend on paying for Rylins education at a private school and college tuition. With tuition on the rise it would be near impossible for me to continue to stay at home and do/enjoy all these things with two or more children. I am often told that we are "ruining her" & not showing her how to act in society by "depriving" her of a sibling but I know for a fact that she is learning and has already learned how to behave out of the house, to share with her friends, and to be compassionate and considerate of others. I personally feel I am better able to teach her these things than I would be with two.
    I have a sister and I am very close to her and love her dearly but I have also learned that family is who you make it and I'm confident Rylin will be able to create similar bonds in life as I have with many of my close friends.
    But like the commenter above stated no family planning or sibling spacing is perfect for everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love all those pictures of your boys. They are absolutely precious!

    Carleigh and Davae are 15 months apart and I love it that way. We didn't intend for it to happen that way, but we knew the possibility since we started trying when Carleigh was only 8 months. (It took us 5 years to get Carleigh, so we expected another long journey for baby number two. God had other plans, obviously!

    I have always wanted 4 children too, but unfortunately I don't think my body will be happy with another pregnancy. I'd love to try for a boy in a few years, but I just am so afraid of repeating everything that happened in my pregnancy with Davae.

    You're right, at first it is a little hectic trying to juggle the new baby and the toddler. But, soon things just fall into place and it's you feel like that's the way life has always been. I wouldn't have it any other way!

    ReplyDelete
  9. My kids are 4 years apart, though that has a lot to do with the fact that my period didn't even return until my oldest was already 2.5 and then my husband was deployed to Afghanistan. I enjoy having them 4 years apart though because I got a lot of one on one time with my oldest and when he starts school my youngest will only be two which means I will get 3-4 years of one on one time with her. It also means that I don't have to be as concerned with what he is doing if I have to tend to my youngest, and he can help out. (though really that just consists of asking him if his sister is being dangerous if I am in the other room, and bringing me a diaper. I don't ever want him to feel like you did about being a caretaker more than a sibling.)

    They love playing with each other too, and I can't get enough of them cuddling or laughing together. My oldest never really went through any jealously either, but he was 4 and not 2, so maybe that makes a difference?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for this post jess :) I have been following ur journey for a while now and it's wonderful to see your little family is so happy :)
    Was also wonderful to read another mums experience with 2 so close together. I have just had my 2nd little boy 5 days ago and my other little man is 15months tomorrow. So far all is going well, better than I expected really but it's really nice to read along with someone else especially when u have two little boys too :)

    ReplyDelete

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”
-Dr. Seuss