Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Having Babies Close in Age

I have five other brothers and sisters. Growing up my parents would give us little hints tips on making parenting easier, but at the time I didn't know that's what they were. I just thought they were annoying little factoids to be ignored. I also didn't know I wanted to have kids. I thought I would grow old as the uptight secretary... a notion I entertained for a 2 year period while working at one of the most beautiful, and poorly run camps in the world (they have since undergone some changes and from what I hear are now quite classy). So when they threw out the have-kids-2.5-years-apart-rule I happily ignored them.

After having Hayden I entered a phase of mothering ecstasy. He was such a sweet and perfect baby and my hormones were obviously drugging me into a utopian dreamworld. Helmut and I decided to ignore the have-kids-2.5-years-apart-rule, thinking the addition of a baby sister as soon as possible would only make things more wonderful, but I was wrong. Things are wonderful now, but for the first 6 months after I had my daughter I wondered if I would be able to live through stress of having two small children too young.

I've decided to make a pros and cons list for those of you who haven't had your second child yet and are thinking about it. There is so much controversy on this topic that I've decided not to give my actual opinion, but if you email me I WILL TELL YOU. Feel free to add stuff if you've already had your second, third or fourth, etc.

Pros of having kids less than 2.5 years apart:
1. They can share sippy cups.
2. They can share the same sized diapers.
3. Heck, they can share baby food (because the older child will want to eat baby food again once he sees his little sister eating it)
4. At some point in their lives they will become best friends and play well together (or so I've been told).

Cons of having kids less than 2.5 years apart:
1. Unless you're very diligent while pregnant with the second child you will be changing two sets of diapers every day.
2. Your older child will still be too young to have achieved the "independence" stage, meaning they will still want you to pick them up and hold them ALL THE TIME. This becomes a challenge once you have the newborn baby, especially if the newborn is colicky and WILL NOT LET YOU PUT THEM DOWN.
3. You will basically have two babies. One very big tantrum throwing baby, and one very tiny unable to do anything baby.
4. When you go to the grocery store (if you are especially gutsy) you will probably have to put the infant in a front pack, and the older kid in the basket of the cart, or put the older kid in the basket and the baby with infant carrier baby seat in the shopping cart. You will then have to try and squeeze enough food for the week around the infant seat without smothering the child within. This can be tricky. I don't recommend it. If you choose the front pack method your child will probably become so heavy over time that a trip to the grocery store will become akin to a 14 mile hike through the wilderness, but with less fresh air and more screaming.
5. The older child has still not mastered gentleness and kindness or bodily self control (especially if it's an overactive boy). This is especially scary around a newborn baby. What used to be cute little monkey-like antics are now scary-as-heck (I don't swear, but use your imagination) moments.

If you've already had your second child, and you're living through some of this list, I feel for you and don't worry you'll make it through. Things start to get easier around month 6. If you're absolutely bent on having kids really close, then go for it, this list will just give you a little heads up.


  1. Right now I'm not even sure about one. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's great. I just don't know that I'm ready to be responsible for one human being. However they are cute... we'll play with our "niece" and "nephew". We can give them back. =)

  2. I am hanging on your every word and thanking God for the internet that will archive this and make it accessible for me when I am actually thinking about this decision. What would I do if I didn't have friends who did all of the big life stuff a few years ahead of me? I have no idea. I broke up with my would-be husband, and what do I do? Call Kari and Christina. I go to buy a house and renovate it, and what do I do? Not buy tile because of Chris and Adam's horror story. Now, I'm listening to you both again about babies and all they entail. I feel so blessed! Blessed and entertained :)

  3. from a mom who's three kids in 22 months time are now 11 & 9.5:
    you get all the "dirty" work over with in less time rather then dragging it out forever...I mean, if you have to change a diaper, you may as well change all 3...if you have to feed one, you may as well feed all 3...if you have to stay up all night w/1, stay up w/3 & get it over with!!!
    They entertain each other & give you more "peace" to clean up after them once they all are at the 6 months age & up
    They all get the chicken pox together, the flu together, every cold together...
    They never know how to be truely selfish, for they have known nothing but sharing & playing together
    They toys are all "age appropriate" vs small legos for the older kids w/a crawling baby around to pop them all in her mouth (not that I would know this from experience...oh I so wish that were true!) OR put in their ear or nose or light socket!
    If you are lucky, once they get a little older, you might wind up with one in marching band, a cheerleader & a football player all at the same game!!!
    Field trips & activities are easier because you can lump all the children into one group & not have five different places to be at one time

    you might think you are going to loose your mind, and probably will at some point, but it does come back after a while
    if they all come at once, they all leave at once & you have to go through the adjustment of all or nothing once again...but now you are attached to them & miss the noise!

    I must say kari, you are at the hardest part & coming out of it...soon you will look behind you & see the two of them sharing a snack while watching a movie they both agreed on, and laughing together at the jokes. I promise...I thought people were insane to say such things when I was where you are, but it truely does happen! Then you start bawling & can't see the road for all the tears of relief :) just pull over & let it all out...they will still argue, still fight, still bicker & push eachother & your buttons, but it does get easier then it is right now :) Next thing we will know, you'll have a post up stating "now that Mariah is 3 & Hayden is 5, I am SO excited to say we are expecting number 3 in another 7 months!" :D Just give it another year, you'll see what I mean...and don't say NEVER...cause you know what they say about "NEVER" don't you??

  4. I have to admit I laughed out loud at this post. Why does it sound all too familiar?? And yes, people always tell me one day we'll be SO happy we did it. It's just the now part that's about to do me in!