Every night for the past couple of months, my daughter lays her head on my stomach and sings to “our” baby. That’s because I’m pregnant. Although I gave birth to my daughter in 2003, I feel like I’m pregnant for the first time. After all, it’s been almost a decade since I’ve had a bun in the oven, which also means there will be almost a decade age gap between my first and second born.
Aside from the fact I don’t remember anything from the first time around (except the weight gain), I absolutely love this age gap. While I didn’t plan or not plan on having another child so far apart from my first, I believe that this is age gap is positively perfect and is going to make my life a lot easier than most who have children 18 months or two or three years apart.
I know there are a ton of parents who want to have their children close in age, but I really think having children with a big age gap is the best way to go. There are many reasons for this.
1. My daughter is already independent. She has her own life, her own friends, her own toys and gadgets, which she will not have to share. I look into the future and think, “Well, phew, they’re not going to be arguing over toys or who is next playing Wii!” When my daughter is 12, and this child is two, do you really think they’re going to want to play with the same toys? I watch my friends with young children 18 months or two years apart, and there is a lot of “Mine! Mine! Mine!” going on. And, “He’s touching my Pokémon cards and they’re mine!” It drives me nuts!
2. My daughter is old enough to understand that I’m having a baby. And she’s excited about it, as most young girls are when they see babies, thus the singing to my belly, and calling he/she “our” baby. She can’t wait to change diapers, sing the baby songs, and hold the baby.
3. She’s been out of diapers and off the bottle for a very long time now. I watch my friends with children close in age, and just think, “Man, I can’t believe you have to change your 2-year-old’s diapers and your newborn’s diapers. That’s a lot of diapers.”
4. I will be able to take a shower and not worry about my newborn because, in my family, I’ll have built-in babysitters (my daughter plus my baby daddy’s two older children.) Not that I’ll force them to babysit (although they are old enough to want to babysit, if only for the cash) – but certainly my daughter will be okay watching the baby while I take a five-minute shower (which I was too nervous to do when my daughter was a newborn and asleep.)
5. I love the fact that my daughter already has her own life. She has her own friends at school and at camp, and her own extra-curricular activities. Again, when my baby is six and and my firstborn is 16, they’ll each have their own set of friends and activities, and won’t be envious of each other’s lives. (As an example, my friend bought her 12-year-old a phone for her birthday. Her almost 10-year-old now wants one badly, too, and won’t shut up about it. They also have to go to bed at the same time, so they are envious of each other’s lives.)
I also see my friends having to force their children who are only a couple years apart to “play nicely with each other,” and also they drag all their children with them when sometimes only one is, let’s say, in ballet. I may take this baby with me, but what will the baby care if she/he has to sit around for an hour while my daughter takes her dance class? She/he will be a baby! Unlike my friend’s son who is forced to come watch his sister in ballet class, because they are only a year-and-a -half apart.
6. My daughter and I had almost a decade to form our own bond. Since she’s been an only child for so long, we’ve built a strong relationship, without any interruptions or worry that I was spending more time with one child over the other. There has been no jealousy, and I don’t think will be, because my daughter is old enough to understand, “You love her more than me!” Our bond is so strong, thanks to years of us being on our own together, that not even another child can break it at this point.
7. Even if I have another girl, she won’t have to wear hand-me down clothes. (As if I had or will keep clothes for ten years in storage for this new baby!)
I’m not the only one having children so far apart in age these days. One of my mother friends has a child in college, another in high school, and one in third grade. She explained how her 8-year-old daughter came to be after a night out with her husband, where they decided they weren’t ready for empty nest syndrome. Once, when she couldn’t make it to see her 8-year-old during a class event, her university-aged son came in her place. I thought that was super sweet. Another mother I know also has four children: the eldest in college, two in high school, and one in third grade. The older ones watch out for the “baby” in the family and walk her to school.
8. I won’t have to deal with putting two children to bed, having to change two children at the same time. My daughter can get ready on her own now, and has been toilet trained for years. I’ll have two children, but only have to worry about getting one to sleep.
I can go on and on about the beauty of having children so far apart in age. The only downside I can think of is that I feel like this is my first pregnancy. But, hey, I figure since I’m also almost a decade older than I was during my first pregnancy, I must be more mature, too, having a second child so far from the first. Right?
Now can someone please tell me when babies start to teethe again?