Friday, January 9, 2009

Miche's Take on Child Spacing

Some of my great blogging friends at are talking child spacing and the pros and cons of different spacing lengths. Since I don't have time to do a video at the moment, I thought I would join in the conversation here.

Now, the big discussion going on is "When to have your second" child. Beyond "accidents", most people feel ready when they have their frist child. But the second can be a little harder to figure out. You want another, but when is the best time to add him/her to your bunch?

Well, this sounds cheesey, but really that is different for everyone. For me though, I like the spacing of 2 or 3 years between kids. With a space of at least two years, that means that each child gets a full year of being the only baby, of nursing, my body gets a full year of not being pregnant, and it gives me the time to forget how painful childbirth is, how much it sucks to not get sleep at night, and at about a year old the children start walking away from me. So, after a few months of getting to drink again, not nursing, and hearing the words "bye, mom" come from my baby's mouth, I felt it was time to add another baby, and so we did.

Now here are the pros of having children 2 years apart:
*Your oldest is eating solid food and starting to go on the potty
*You don't have kids in school, so you can still have everyone in pjs, don't have to leave the house, and can be very lazy in those first days or weeks home from the hospital with the newborn
*They are both in diapers, and you are still in "baby mode" so you still remember what to do
*They can play with the same toys
*As the baby gets older, they will be able to play very well together
*Your oldest is still young enough to not feel "dethroned" when the new baby comes home
*Your oldest is old enough to help with little things like getting diapers, wipes, blantes
*Your oldest is old enough to hold the baby supervised on the couch.
*Your oldest is old enough to play alone and is getting into pretend play
*Your oldest sleeps through the night
*You can choose to have your oldest stay in a crib as long as possible so he is contained OR you can choose to have him move into a big boy bed before the baby comes (never do it right when the baby comes) and pass the crib down to the baby.
*Your oldest is old enough for time out to be effective disapline
*Your oldest is entertained still with very inexpensive things-like the park, going to the pet store, feeding fish in a pond, digging or rolling in the dirt, and hasn't quite gotten into the electronic gadgets or "hanging out" stuff that older kids, say 8 and up, are into.
*With them close in age, they will be in the same peer groups and be there to support each other from peer pressure
*They will be doing the same type activities at the same time, so you won't be going to a Middle School football game and trying to entertain a preschooler, and you won't be going to a preschool play and dragging a bored middle schooler.

Cons of having them 2 years apart:
*If you nurse for a year, you end up being pregnant again pretty soon after you stop-if you drink, then not much time to get it in...haha!
*You have a toddler-and all the toddler tantrums-while trying to nurse a baby
*Your toddler might want to try nursing again. Or even better, start yelling in the mall about how the baby is eating mommy, causing people to look at you strangly. Yes, I know, awesome
*It is hard to get out of the house at first, simply because you need so much stuff.
*They are both in diapers, so unless you use adjustable cloth diapers like BumGenius, you are spending a lot of money on diapers
*You are going to be potty training and going through teething at the same time.
*You are back to sleepless nights and still getting up early with your toddler who is not yet old enough to be left alone while you cat nap, like say a 10 year old might
*With them close in age, you might have to deal with competitivness in the future. To avoid this, my advice is to never compare your children and avoid putting labels on them at all costs. "Julie is pretty, Lisa is smart.." that only leads to them worrying about what happens when they stop being pretty or smart and jealous of the other label. Dr. Kevin Leman has great books about how to deal with this problem and how to avoid it. I have links to his books over on the left sidebar.

Well, those are my takes on it. My boys are 22 months apart and I am loving it. I also like the 2 year spacing because it gives me the opportunity to have 4 or 5 children before I reach 35, which is when the pregnancy risks all greatly increase. Since there are genetic disorders in my family(ex:I have a first cousin with Down's)we want to do all we can to not increase those risks. Bill and I are hoping to be blessed with a third about the time JR turns 2, but we will see. The memories of childbirth are still to clear for me to be ready to go through it again quite yet. But trust me, as soon as JR says "bye, mom" I have a feeling my uterus will start to beg for a baby again...

And you can check out the "Question of the Week" vlogs here:


Melitsa said...

First time reader first time commenter--he he like they say on radio stations right?lol

I love your eating me comment. It's something my toddler would have said too.

I have 2m 7 and 2 5mtn age gaps. I was lucky with potty training. both times only 2 month overlaps. Cloth diapering helped with the costs. I b/f for all 3 until I had to stop for medical reasons 2 mtns ago. This kept the costs down.

We're hoping that our boys will all be good friends because they are close in age.

Curdie said...

I was just reading a Kevin Leman book and the chapter on "Loving Different Children Differently" yesterday!

Interesting thoughts. I'm going to have to search for your birth story to find out what happened :)

My children are three years and two months apart.

Before I had kids I think I wanted just two children, two years apart. Now I'm way more flexible. I don't really have a plan for number of children or their spacing.

Momma said...

With our first being somewhat of a surprise, we have come to find out that God will not throw us anything we can not handle. I think there will be a long list of pros and cons for any age-spacing you want to throw out there. We decided we aren't going to worry about "planning". That never works out anyways. :)

Oh Boy...Oh Boy...Oh Boy said...

My oldest two are 13 months apart, certainly not planned that way. But for the most part I love it. Now there's 4 years between my middle and youngest and it's a little harder in some ways but easier in others. But for me the biggest pro to them being close is one you mentioneed and that's they are in the same stage, forever cutting down at least slightly on the amount of schedule juggling you have to do as a mom.