Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Six (good) Reasons to Have Your Kids Close in Age

why it's a good idea to have your kids close together
That sibling love, though.
I never thought I would say this, but I'm really glad that I had my kids so close together.  Oh sure, it's slightly embarrassing when people on the street make comments about the fact that I have Irish Twins, but other than the discomfort of strangers remarking on my sex life, having kids 18 months apart has worked out for the best. 

In the beginning, it almost broke me (even more than the tailbone did), primarily because I really struggled with trying to balance caring for a newborn with giving my toddler enough attention coupled with grinding exhaustion and a newbie freelance career.  Now that we're almost two years out I can say without reservation that had it not happened the way it did, we never would have had a second child. 

Can you imagine a world without Rose?  That just wouldn't be a world I'd want to live in.

The further you get from the baby years, the harder it is to imagine going back there.  By the time your first child reaches the age of three or four, you're so far from the world of having a newborn that you've probably forgotten what it's like.  You've adjusted to life with a little kid and, while often exhausting and infuriating, it's your present.  To turn around and walk backwards and start all over, while simultaneously trying to navigate the uncharted territory of raising a preschooler?  No. Thank. You.

Starting Over.  It takes a long time after you have a baby to return to some semblance of your "normal" self - much longer than you think it will - and once you do get your life back, the idea of putting it all on hold again to have another baby seems daunting.  For me, this specifically applies to work, but for others it may mean the physical changes, or even the lifestyle changes associated with introducing a new offspring into the mix.  When you have your kids one right after the other, you're able to reduce the baby break into one extend 18 month span of your life, which means you only have to gear work back up once, instead of twice.  

Stuff.  Do you know how much gear babies need?  A lot.  Which seems ridiculous since the largest baby I've met topped out at a whopping 9lbs.  Preschoolers also need a lot of stuff, though instead of theirs taking the form of bouncy chairs and swings, it tends to fall into the toy category and consist mainly of things you will step on in the middle of the night.  When your kids are close in age, they use the same kind of stuff around the same time, which means you only have to clutter your house with crap for one age-range instead of two different ones. 

Diapers.  Despite my best efforts, my house has smelled like dirty diapers for almost four years straight.  This is not a scent that Diptique offers in their candle line for a very good reason: it's repulsive.  You can spray the sh*t out of your house, use a scent diffuser, throw poopy diapers outside right away, but the stench still lingers.  During the initial stages of potty training, when you're running your kid to the bathroom every 2.5 minutes, you may think that diapers are a lot more convenient, but I promise that having kids who use the toilet is sooooo much better.  Once you've kissed those Pampers goodbye forever, there is no way you'll want to start all over again with wiping poop off of a tiny ass. 

Independence.  Honestly, this is a double-edged sword, because once your kids are toddlers they can be total assholes and fight you tooth and nail on everything, but ultimately it's really nice not to have a kid strapped to you in an Ergo at all hours of the day.  Having a kid who can walk, feed herself, and get whatever toy she wants without assistance is liberating. 

Words.  When the Muffin Man was first born, we spent ridiculous amounts of time searching Dr. Google trying to find out what his different cries meant.  When your kid can't tell you what he wants or needs, it's endlessly frustrating.  Once you can communicate with your kids - meaning they understand what you're saying and can answer you back - it's life changing.  No more annoying guessing games wherein you hold up every toy in the house and your baby just screams and you end up having to call your therapist to vent your frustration. 

Siblings.  As an only child, and never having experienced the joys of a sibling relationship, I kind of assumed that we would only have one kid.  Had I been more responsible with birth control and less irresponsible with my consumption of red wine, I certainly would never have gotten pregnant so close on the heels of the Muffin Man's birth.  Ultimately, I'm glad that my kids have each other.  I just hope that they grow out of their current phase of showing their love by trying to choke each other. 

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