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advice or happy stories about large age gap?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
i'm looking for some advice and/or happy stories about parenting two with a large age gap. My ds will be 7 1/2 when our #2 will be born (in March). I am excited but nervous, as for a long time I considered myself to be more of an "only" type of mama. i'd love to hear some nice stories to look forward to, or tips on helping things go (more) smoothly. thanks!
post #2 of 16
My two DD's are 7 years 10 months apart. I, too was concerned about the large age gap before the younger one was born. It was never intention to have our kids so widely spaced, but misscarriages and infertility came into play and that is how it worked out.

I LOVE having them widely spaced. I never thought I would, but it has ended up being wonderful. We have way less arguing (not to say there is never any) because for the most part they don't want the same toys, friends, etc. They are now 14 and 6 and they are very close. The younger DD really looks up to her older sister and older DD has enjoyed the role of being a mentor. She has been a huge help in caregiving as well.

My only tip would be what I would probably recommend for sibs of any age difference, which is...DH and I made a real commitment that we would support a strong and loving relationship between our girls at all times. We do whatever we can to minimize contention and/or jealousy by focusing on our family value of "we all love and support one another and don't say or do things that will tear down the people we love."
post #3 of 16
My friend who I babysit swap with has a now 2 yo girl and a 9 yo boy and they get along well. I only see them when I have my 2 with me, so it's a 1 yo girl, 2 yo girl, 3 yo boy and 9 yo boy. And, he is a HUGE help. No matter where we go, I can say to him, can you watch the kids while I run to the bathroom, buy the tickets, get the stroller out of the trunk, etc. He plays with the kids really well and my son ADORES him. Everything he does, my son tries to do. He loves having such an attentive audience and someone who thinks he's the coolest thing ever.
post #4 of 16
From the kid perspective, I have two brothers who are 10.5 months apart from each other (do the math on that one!!), and then there was a 7 year gap, and then me.

The boys were close growing up, mainly out of necessity, but my relationship with them went through phases. When I was little they doted on me and loved me. When I was about 8, and they were 15 and 16 I became more of a pain and an annoyance - no 16yo boy wants to hang out with his 8yo sister. And then as we got older and moved past that things got better again.

Now as adults my middle brother and I are quite close, and the oldest is distant from both of us. Our relationship really blossomed once we were both adults, and no longer fighting over things like what to watch on tv all day long. Now that I am 30 and he is 37 the age difference doesn't matter in the slightest - we both have young families (I actually had a baby before my SIL did) and relate to each other very well.
post #5 of 16
We raise our 11 year old nephew and our DD is 2. It's been wonderful! Not only because he's been a huge help but to watch him be so tender and loving with her and see her love her "bubba" so much. In fact at 4 am when she woke up she was crying for him! She cheers him on at his football games and he has the best time teaching her to play hide and seek. We've decided that if/when we decide to have another baby it will be a large gap, not that large, but at least 5 years.
post #6 of 16
We have a 12 year old, a 9.5 year old, and a two year old.

Sometimes the olders get annoyed with the little one, but they love him a lot and keep him safe when he gets into trouble, and generally watch out for him nearly as well as I do.

It's been a wonderful experience, the first couple months were rough, but it got easier very quickly.
post #7 of 16
I am 6.5 years old than my sister. My parents involved me in a lot of the fun things leading up to her birth - I picked out her nursery bedding, her first teddy bear, they discussed possible names with me, I tagged along to a few doctor's appointments. I definitely felt like she was "our" baby. I loved helping my Mom after she was born and don't remember ever feeling jealous. I looked after them (my brother is 18 months younger than my sister) quite a bit while we were growing up and yes, it was sometimes annoying once I hit my early teens, but nothing major.
post #8 of 16
My dd was about 7 1/2 when ds was born.

Our biggest problem has been "stop kissing on him a sec," "put him down," "he doesn't want to be spun around, he is saying 'no!'" or "let him walk."



She is fiercly protective and loving. She doesn't have that sense of when to let him do something on his own...which causes problems. But they do love playing together.

Now that he is two they have all sorts of fun.
post #9 of 16
I was so upset when infertility and miscarriages led to a 5 year gap between my girls, but if I had to go back and got to pick hoe close they'd be in age, I wouldn't have it any other way. My girls are only 6 and 1, but they love one another and I am amazed at how much they actually play together. My older dd got so much one-on-one time with me. Now, I get to spend all day with the 1YO while my 6 YO is in school. Last year, for K, I homeschooled the older one (wasn't ready for full day) so they had time to bond. Older dd was easy to keep busy while I nursed the baby round the clock in the newborn phase.
post #10 of 16
Cons: I'd forgotten how hard or intense having a baby is. That led to a lot of depression and anxiety for me. I'd just been away from it for so long I was shocked how needy she was. (year gap)

Pros: So many! With no toddler in the mix, it is a lot of fun to focus on showing them what a baby is like. I feel it's such a positive example of breastfeeding that they aren't too young to miss. They can help a ton. The babies love the older sibs and they are a great second to mom!
post #11 of 16
I'm eight years older then my bro. I still felt like an only and he became 'my' baby it was the two sisters that came when I was 10 and 13 I had trouble with. I love the age gap now and each of them (the youngest is 16) considers me their fav sibling.
post #12 of 16
I don't know about them being siblings, but I know an 11 year old who is utterly fantastic with her 2 year old brother. Of course, she's the sort who is just generally fantastic, so that probably helps.
post #13 of 16
My oldest is 8 1/2 and 10 1/2 years older than his sister and brother. I think how much he truly loves them is so cool. One of the things he thinks about often is being a good role model for them and that has helped him to make good choices as well.

We very carefully didn't go into this having an apologetic attitude towards him for having more children (if that even makes sense). I see that a lot with some parents when there is a large age gap as in they are sorry for infringing on the oldest child. Our attitude from the very beginning was how lucky he was to have another sibling and how lucky we were to be able to have more children to add more love to our family. Of course, it was going to change our family dynamics and we discussed that but in a very matter of fact way.

The obvious big bonus is being able to have help from him. However, we have been very careful not to take advantage of that. It has never been his responsibility to take care of the littlest ones. He is still a child and deserves to have his childhood respected. He knows and has always known that he has the option to refuse to babysit at any time. We've chosen to pay him for any babysitting that he does, although at a reduced rate, and he loves earning money.

The most challenging aspect we've run into is the fact that it can be difficult to find things to do that are appropriate for 4 and 6 year olds that also appeal to 15 year olds. But we do occasionally find babysitters for the littles and take him to special movies that he wants to see, or go paintballing or whatever he wants to do. Spending one on one time with him has always been important for our relationship.
post #14 of 16
My sister is 8 years younger than me. When we were growing up my parents were good about not making me entertain her and not always letting her hang out with me and my friends. I did play with her, though, on my own. Now that we are adults (30 and 38) we get along really well. We talk almost every day and are actually going to be going out of town together this weekend, just the two of us.
post #15 of 16
My kids are 6 years apart. I love it.

My 9 yo is intense in all ways, and that includes her in-the-moment love or hate for her 3 yo brother, lol. Most of the time, their relationship is very loving. Every day they play together, she reads to him, and they hug, kiss, cuddle, etc. Sometimes they share a bed (they shared a bed every night until about 6 months ago when dd moved out of the family bed. She sometimes still comes back.)

And....every day they aggravate each other and she declares that he is "EVIL!" or some other drama. I think a lot of that is just being 9, or being dd

Some things that I think have helped:

When the older sib is jealous of some percieved "special treatment" that the younger sib gets (a toddler getting extra help getting to sleep, or being expected to clean up when the younger sib is not), I tell stories about what it was like when the older sib was a little one. I tell her stories of all the ways we doted on her, all the undivided attention she had, how patient we were with her, etc. It isn't in a nasty "you aren't a baby anymore!" tone, but rather in a "remembering her babyhood with fond memories" tone. She LOVES those stories, and I do think it helps her understand why things are "fair" if not always "even".

Also, we foster a friendly attitude of "us against them" Again, this is playful--not serious. But getting them to "team up" against the parent/parents in playful ways fosters a sense of closeness and interdependence in them.
post #16 of 16
I'm the youngest. My sister is 18 years older than me. One brother is 16 years older and one is 5 years older than me.

Sister went off to college when I was a few months old (and was pretty much out of the immediate picture as she had her life from then on). Older brother thought I was interesting, but he was busy with high school and then off to college (again, out of my immediate life for most purposes). Next oldest brother was always awful to me, I think he wanted all the attention focused on him.

I do know my sister and oldest brother said they were, at the time, embarrassed that Mom was pregnant (it made them realize, of course, that our parents were having sex!). Apparently, there were a couple of gals in my sister's sorority that asked if I was actually my sister's baby and that Mom was covering for her!

I don't know how much of an impact I made on their lives when I was little, but they sure didn't make much impact on my life! Which is okay, as that is all I knew, so I can't compare my life against another!
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