Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Closely-Spaced Siblings


I remember reading an article in a Parents magazine a few years back. It discussed sibling spacing and what was "ideal". The author of that piece referred to "two to three years" as "the golden gap". Apparently, when you tally up all the pros and cons, this is supposedly the ideal space between babies.

And I guess I'm not surprised. After all, most of the women in my family, most of the mommies at the preschool, in fact, most of the families I see anywhere seem to like this spacing. I can definitely see its advantages- you're out of all the "baby" things (cribs, diapers, bottles) before welcoming another infant, your older child is old enough to "help" and feel involved, they're not so far apart as to have to worry about all your gear being obsolete. I can see that.

But you know what works for me?

Two kids less than eleven months apart.

I love it. And here's why...

My children have never known any different. There has never been one iota of sibling jealousy simply because it's like they've both always been here. My son does not remember a time when his sister wasn't around. Neither one can remember a time when they did not have to "share" Mommy.

My kids like a lot of the same toys. We were easily able to avoid choking hazards because our kids were both in that phase at the same time. We can easily fill a book shelf with reading material that appeals to both of them. There are no arguments if we choose to let them watch a video because they're into the same stuff. Somehow I think widely spaced siblings may not both be interested in Little People.

I get to stay in the same "mode". Two cribs? Why not? Changing diapers? If I'm doing it for one child, how much tougher is it really with two? Baby-proofing? Already done. I really like the fact that I just stay in the same mind-set and keep on truckin'.

I truly believe that there is no "golden gap". I think what works for one family may not work for the next. And don't think I don't occasionally envy those parents with widely-spaced siblings especially when I see how downright helpful that older sibling sometimes is. I think you just do what's best for your family or, even more importantly, enjoy whatever you're blessed with.

But for me? I love having two kids born within one calendar year (2005 was a busy one!). It Works for Me.

To see what works for other people, check out Works For Me Wednesday, hosted at Rocks in My Dryer.

21 comments:

Beth@Sportsmomma said...

Amen Sister! My boys are 19 1/2 months apart and it's great! Those first 6 months were rough! But now they always have a playmate-buddy-friend!

Mine are 10 and 11 now and I am so glad they were born as close together as they were! God knew exactly what he was doing!!!

amysfinerthings said...

I love this post. Our three are spaced in the "golden gap" but it sure wasn't by our choice. God tends to do what He wants, when He wants around here! I'd sure take those babies ANY time!

Alyssa said...

This is encouraging. Mine are 16 months apart. A girl then a boy, currently 18 months and 2 months. I have something to look forward to. Now my older child is 4 and he and the 18 month old fight like crazy.

Memarie Lane said...

My kids are just over 2 years apart, but it seems like less. At first it created huge problems. My son would not progress with potty training or any of the big milestones that 2 year olds face. It was a nightmare. He waited for his sister to catch up and they did it all together. And they still do and learn everything together. Baby #3 will be born any day now with a 3 year gap, and I find myself hoping she won't be left out due to the 3 year age gap.

Mandy said...

Great post! I brought my third daughter home from the hospital two weeks after my oldest's third birthday. That is three babies in three years! Some people think I am crazy, but I love it and they each have two live-in playmates. Doesn't hurt that they are all girls too!

Kari said...

My girls are 14.5 months apart and both were preemies! It certainly wasnt my plan and when they were little it was so much work! Now they are 3 & 4 and love to play with each other! Thank you for reminding me how fun it is to have 2 close together!

Laura said...

I agree! :) I was 4yrs older than my sister and would have loved being closer in age. My children are 16months aparts, and then 14months apart. Yes, in February, we'll have 3 under 2.5 and are so excited :) It really is beautiful to see their relationship forming!

AmyK said...

That's how my family growing up was (well, with one of my sisters; the others were in their teens when I was born!). My closest sister is 16 months older than me, and can't remember a time where she didn't have me around. And even though we bickered a bit as kids, we're best friends now--and I'm pretty sure it's to do with how close in age we are.

Family O'Foxes said...

Works for me also. :)
#1 and #2 are 16 months apart and #2 and #3 are 17 months apart. 3 kids in less than 3 years.
I just color coded everything when they were little to keep the fighting down between whose blankie was whose.

~Amy

JessieLeigh said...

I am delighted to see how many other families are enjoying those bing-bang-boom babies! : )

Amber said...

Hello!

We also have babies 11 months apart. 2006 for us! :D Great on the taxes huh? :D I agree with you! We love the closness our girls share. Our youngest daughter and our son (3 weeks old) are 21 months apart, I think that any older and we would have had problems with having to share....God knows what he is doing huh?

Amber

Catherine said...

Great point about different things working for different families. My first daughter and son are not quite 17 months apart, and my son and second daughter will be 17-18 months apart depending on when she arrives (that will be 3 under 3 for a month or so). We've never had rivalry issues either. It's probably not for everyone, but it works for us too.

amyswandering said...

I had 3 in 3 years and wouldn't change it for anything! I totally agree that the sibling rivalry isn't there because they have never known any different. Great post!

Nancy Sabina said...

I love the thought of enjoying whatever you're blessed with. We had boys just 13 months apart... a bit on accident. I wouldn't have chosen that space and I honestly wouldn't do it again if given the chance...but I try to enjoy what I was blessed with. Both my boys are wonderful angels sent to me so I love them the best I can. They are truly blessings.
(And that difference between 11 and 13 months must be a big one because my boys have sibling rivalry coming out the whazoo!)

Little Bits Of Everything said...

I love the picture of your son and daughter standing together. My two youngest (boy and then girl) are 11 1/2 months apart. This is new territory for me as my 1st and second are 4 years apart and 2nd to third 5 years. Eventhough there are new challenges everyday I love seeing them grow up together.

Farrah said...

I agree with you! My oldest were 16 months apart and the great thing was that once the youngest was born I was able to switch and keep the oldest in a toddler bed so I only had one cradle. And you're right, if you have to change one diaper why not another? Even at 7 & 8 they STILL prefer to sleep together as it comforts them and they are a boy and girl. They've always had each other to play with and always remembered me together so there were never any "mommy" jealousies. Now...the 3rd is TWO...now THAT'S difficult to go from no diapers and baby proofing to "starting all over" again!

Totallyscrappy said...

I was okay with my stair step children because they would never remember when the other(s) weren't around. My oldest was 3 when my third son was born.
Some days I do long for a LONGER space between my children because they are such a burst of energy all together.
And my poor baby son... I can't remember anything from his first year. First tooth... first words... I got nothing. But he has two older brohter to love and play with and money can't buy that!!

Robyn said...

I remember that article! Doesn't it make you laugh? Mine are 3.5 years apart, but not for lack of trying. The second just took longer than expected. And there is that golden age gap between them.
Good for you!

Superchikk said...

That's encouraging to me.

My son just turned 1, and we've had the "how long do we wait" discussion. And since it took so long to get pregnant the first time, I was a bit tentative about going back on birth control, etc.

So while we'd like for them to be 2-3 years apart, we are leaving it up to God right now. Every now and then I have an "um, maybe not" moment, but I'm glad to know so many people have done it, so I certainly can too!

Kelly said...

Great post!! Thanks for sharing it with me! :)

Aaron and Amber said...

My girls are 11 months apart and both born in 2006! That are such a blessings and "besty friends!" :)