The Perfect Age Gap
Once you have your first child and decide you will, in fact, have another little squishy, adorable non-sleeping, colic-having bringer of exhaustion you start to think about that ‘perfect age gap’ between siblings and when to bring a new baby into your family.
As the first of four children with age gaps of 2, 10 and 12 years I have always been adamant that I wanted my kids close together. It’s not that I don’t love my brothers and the family dynamic but I did spend a lot of time feeling like I was missing out on things because I was looking after my younger brothers.
Once I had Ellie, I was determined not to have a big age gap. Just thinking about getting to a stage where your babies have grown up enough to be independent, at school and sleeping through the night, not to mention being on the cusp of the terrible teenage years (I was horrible) only to be thrown back into the exhaustion of newborn days sent shivers down my spine. That does not sound fun.
There is also a large gap between James and his younger sister, so he was on the same page as me in terms of having our children close. And, once Ellie was here, he was so completely enthralled with her that he was ready to have a new baby almost immediately.
Fifteen and a half months after Ellie, Kahlei arrived and 23 months after that Jasper came along. Within 3 years and 3 months we had completed our family (because James says so).
We wanted them to be close, to be friends and to get the ‘harder’ bits out of the way (although, in hind sight, having to deal with two three year olds one after the other didn’t thrill me) and, for us, our choice seems to be perfect. It’s hard and exhausting and, often times relentless but it’s also wonderful and amazing and beautiful.
They are good friends and, when they’re not fighting (which is happening a whole lot since school began), it’s something that fills my heart. Look at them, all cute and stuff.
I didn’t think about some pretty serious repercussions of having them so close together. My biggest one at this time is the fact that Ellie only just started school this year and next year I will have to send Kahlei. Right now, I wish I could go back and make them all at least two years apart. I’m not ready. Jasper is not ready. He is going to be crushed when he realises his beloved Rora is going to be leaving him daily just as his beloved Ellie did.
And in 3 and a half years they will all have started. This is not what I signed up for and I am finding it quite difficult.
At the end of last week I washed, ironed and put away Ellie’s first ever school uniform for Kahlei. She’s already grown out of it and it’s been a little tartan reminder that in about 8 months my baby girl will be going off to school, that things will again be changing dramatically, that things will never be as they once were.
It’s now that you realise that there’s really no such thing as the perfect age gap. You just make what you have work. There are times when it’s harder physically, emotionally, mentally. There are times when it’s exactly as you had dreamed it would be, smiles and giggles and warm moments.
I predict I will again be revisiting this mopey feeling just after Ellie hits her teens and then, again (again) just after Ellie gets her L’s. And so it goes.
What is the age gap between your children? Do you ever feel like it’s too much/not enough?