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#91 of 106 Old 01-13-2009, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
I'm sorry that you think my opinion isn't a worthwhile one, since I haven't BTDT. But I have repeatedly said, the divided attention issue is one of the reasons I don't want closely spaced kids. If that isn't an issue for you, then why are you taking this so personally?

And to be totally honest here, the mamas I know IRL with closely spaced kids, well, I watch their kids constantly compete for mama's attention and time. There seems to be a lot of fighting, whining, crying and stress for everyone.

If this doesn't reflect YOUR reality, then that's great!

We're all trying to be good mamas here, why don't we stop feeling so defensive about other people's choices and opinions?

In any case, I think the OP has made her decision.
And I did also ask for perspectives from BOTH side- those with closely spaced kids, and those with kids further apart, and what reasoning they had behind it and what they enjoyed/ didn't enjoy.

It does seem to me that you're just stating a perspective, an opinion, and to me it doesn't sound as though you are criticizing anyone.

I believe I have made my decision, but part of me is still not 100% opposed to it either. I'm still sleeping well and babies really are so darn cute I can't say I'd be all that upset if we had a surprise at some point.

Grace - wife to Jeff and mama to Nigella (11/08) and Orrin (01/10)- expecting a new addition (05/12)! Life is a whirlwind, but I'm learning to enjoy the ride!

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#92 of 106 Old 01-13-2009, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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On the shortchanging the older child issue-- I do wonder how much of it has to do with the older child's personality. I think if your older child was the jealous type, or high needs, demanding, etc then you would feel more like you were neglecting that child occasionally while caring for the younger child.

I also again think the mother's personality has a lot to do with. For example, my sister-in-laws sister is pregnant and has a 14 month old son, and she is terrified. She is the kind of mom who tries very hard to do everything perfectly, who has a 2 hr long bedtime routine, whose husband is an airline pilot and is gone 2 weeks or more at a time, and doesn't have family near by to help. She has a tense, perfectionistic, "need to be a perfect mom" mentality (not just about motherhood, but about everything I think). And I think based on her personality she'll have a lot more trouble than, say, my SIL who is laid back to a fault.

I'm not sure anyone is trying to say parents with close-together kids are harming their kids or short-changing their kids by doing so, but are saying that THEY personally would feel bad. And that's OK, that's why they didn't do it :P And of course no one with only 1 child or with children 5 years apart can understand what happens in the daily lives of people with 2 kids under 2, just as it would be just as mysterious the other way around.

This is getting a little bit more tense than I had anticipated it being!

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#93 of 106 Old 01-13-2009, 07:46 PM
 
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No offense, but if you only have one or have a 5 yr age gap, you really don't have the experience to make blanket assumptions regarding sacrifice and how it could negatively impact the children's well-being.
I have a 6 year age gap , but I wonder if some of these opinions and assumptions begin with the people we are and the children we have? I am a highly sensitive, easily frazzled woman with a highly sensitive, easily frazzled daugther (first born). I never even considered having a second child for a moment before my dd turned 3.5, and then dd start ttc until she was 4 (months of ttc + miscarriage = 6 year age gap). When I only had dd, I could not imagine adequately meeting two babies' needs, but my experience of "needs" might not be the same as another mother's, kwim? After having my second child, I have a completely new experience. I could easily have taken care of two babies like him at the same time.....but two like dd? Totally different story. (she is a really awesome kid, btw )
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#94 of 106 Old 01-13-2009, 07:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
I think the best perspective honestly comes from mama's who have BTDT and have closely spaced children.
Well the OP did ask for both perspectives.

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For those of you with kids close together- did you do it on purpose? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? To those who waited longer between kids- I guess same questions? For comparison purposes.
There are good reasons to space children father apart just as there are good reasons to space close together. Only considering one side wouldn't paint a very balanced picture.

ETA - I had this sitting on my screen for a bit and didn't see that the OP already addressed this. Carry on.

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#95 of 106 Old 01-13-2009, 07:56 PM
 
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I think it has a lot to do with the personalities involved! I have posted in a few of these threads, and there are a few people on here who are serious advocates for long age gaps. It always seems lopsided, but to me that's an awfully personal and situation specific thing to be blanket "advocating" for. Watching my older two (17 months apart) develop their truly amazing, close relationship has been one of the greatest joys of my life thusfar, and is absolutely in large part owed to their close age gap. They could be peers from a very young age, before the oldest could ever remember the younger not being there. I can imagine plenty of scenarios where it would have gone poorly, but I can imagine the same for a 4 year age gap. The two kids I know who have had to seek psychological help from having trouble with a sibling adjustment had a 3.5-4 year age gap, but who knows if that's chicken or egg (those parents waited because they had a harder firstborn, or they had become so used to only childhood that they couldn't deal with the shift?).

I will say that for one of the common concerns in this thread- whether a 15-17 month old has a harder time waiting than an older child, generally I found it easier with the small age gap. The needs of the 17 month old were quicker to deal with, more able to be dealt with with a baby in hand(they needed cheese or a song sung, not an extended game of Candyland, and were not offended if the baby was there the way I often see 3 and 4 year olds jealous over their parents full physical and mental attention), and on those very rare occasions when she did have to wait, she didn't take it personally the way my 3 year old can now (my third is 2.75 years younger than my second). Generally it has seemed to me with transitions like this the older the child is, the harder it is for them to adjust. Nonetheless, we are adjusting, and it's certainly true that a larger age gap is physically easier for the mom, in terms of carrying, buckling in, etc.
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#96 of 106 Old 01-13-2009, 08:13 PM
 
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Well the OP did ask for both perspectives.



oh, I know. What I meant was that the best perspective on the logistics of closely spaced children, comes from parents that have BTDT. That is what the OP originally was asking. She was considering possibly getting pregnant as soon as 6 mos PP. She didn't start out saying she was leaning towards a 4 yr age gap and wanted thoughts, though, I do imagine she has found all viewpoints and experiences helpful.

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#97 of 106 Old 01-13-2009, 08:17 PM
 
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I probably can't add anything new, but here is my 2 cents anyway

My children are 26 months apart, and in some ways I love it, in others, not so much. I plan to have my next baby when my son is 3 or 4 and here is why:

- I don't want to mess with my breastmilk supply before he is old enough to wean
- Having mine so close together was very hard in the early days when I was recovering from the birth. You never know what can happen in a birth, and I was in a lot of pain for months after mine, making everything more difficult.
- Both children will be old enough to understand what is going on
- I want a break from pregnancy and nursing so I can really build up my nutrition and health. Some people have disagreed with me on this, but I really believe it can deplete your body.
- I don't want to have two children who need constant carrying, or diaper changing.
- I want to really enjoy my kids, not be burned out

eta one more!
- If I am blessed with a surprise like twins, I will be glad not to have a toddler as well I think.

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#98 of 106 Old 01-13-2009, 08:22 PM
 
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I have these spaces:

13 months apart -- exhausting but my favourite

17 months apart -- still exhausting but a very close second favourite

8 years apart -- do NOT like it at all and didn't plan it that way

2 years 1 month apart -- I don't really like it at all

I could give all my reasons for my likes/dislikes of each space but I'm sure it's been covered in other posts in this thread! I'm going to read through now and will add any of my own opinions if I don't see them elsewhere!

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#99 of 106 Old 01-13-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
I wonder if some of these opinions and assumptions begin with the people we are and the children we have?(snip) I could easily have taken care of two babies like him at the same time.....but two like dd? Totally different story. (she is a really awesome kid, btw )
Yes to this.
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#100 of 106 Old 01-14-2009, 11:07 AM
 
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I haven't read all the posts, so this point might have been made. Our dd is 3yo and we still don't feel ready for another (she'll probably be an only, but we're reserving the right to change our minds about having another as she gets older, starts sleeping, stops nursing, etc.) As I've spent long visits (as in several days with overnights) with friends who have closely spaced kids, one thing that I've noticed is that the older child often seems to have higher expectations placed on them than I think is always age-appropriate. I'm close with someone whose kids are 18 months apart, and while the younger child was still nursing and had minimal separation from mom at age 2, the older child at age 2 was fully weaned and dropped off at preschool five days a week (and expected sit still for long restaurant meals, soothe herself to sleep from a young age, and other things that I think can be a bit much for a child so young) My dd is the same age as the older, and it's always kind of bothered me to see that this little friend was sort of expected to grow up faster-- a 2yo should be allowed to act (and should be comforted) like a 2yo, whether or not there's a younger babe in the picture. I'm not saying that all families with close spacings have this dynamic (and it certainly may be unintentional), but it's something that I've observed a lot and which has definitely influenced my decision to not put my dd in that position.
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#101 of 106 Old 01-14-2009, 12:32 PM
 
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The funny thing about age-appropriate expectations is that just because you're encouraging more maturity than is typical for an average 2 year old in our culture doesn't necessarily make it happen. With the example you've given about the restaurant meals, for example. And sometimes a kid will act as mature as you expect them to. Not all the time, of course. But if you have an expectation that they will behave well and are considerate of them, take them for a walk beforehand, bring a distraction, pay attention to them, absolutely a 2 year old can sit still for a meal in a restaurant. Even a hyper one (like my son).

And then there's the idea too that the expectations are culture specific. You wouldn't bat an eye at a 4-5 year old kid from a "tribal" situation taking care of younger kids... Whereas in the United States you would probably never let a 4-5 year old child babysit your infant. Right? Are the other kids somehow super-mature kids or do they lead miserable lives? Probably not. Their norms are just different.

My kiddo is already sharing better than average, he's helping out with stuff, he's learning to be more patient than a lot of his peers and is pretty gentle (especially if we remind him). I think that's because he has a little sister. I had to juggle their bedtime routines but in the past few weeks (knock on wood, please please) he has been pretty much putting himself to bed. My only regret is that I did have to put him to sleep in his own crib at around 10 months, in prep for baby sister's arrival, but for us this worked out because he actually slept better in his own room. Huh. And I still parented him at night. It was more exhausting FOR ME to get up and trudge over there when he made a noise, but he didn't suffer from it. It's not like I put him in the other room and said "sorry kid there's a new favorite in the house, deal with it." He's not THE baby of the family but he's still A baby and MY baby.

I guess what I don't understand is how a child who grows up in say, a very large family. Or a family with lots of pets. Or with a WAHM. Or any WOHM / preschool type situation. Or a busy mom with lots of chores to do. How are they going to get constant one on one attention? I don't think the average child gets all this attention placed on them, reading, crafts, projects, playgroups. Don't get me wrong, it's AWESOME for those kids that that their moms do so much for/with them. But I just don't think it's either typical or necessary for healthy development.
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#102 of 106 Old 01-14-2009, 01:56 PM
 
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We never wanted our kids close together for many reasons ... we had tried for a 4 year gap but ended up TTC for 4.5 years before DS.

DD and DS are 8.5 years apart.

I love our age gap and can't imagine it any other way It seems like this is what most are saying no matter what the age gap. Probably once you have another precious LO in your arms you won't be able to image it any other way.
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#103 of 106 Old 01-14-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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The funny thing about age-appropriate expectations is that just because you're encouraging more maturity than is typical for an average 2 year old in our culture doesn't necessarily make it happen. With the example you've given about the restaurant meals, for example. And sometimes a kid will act as mature as you expect them to. Not all the time, of course. But if you have an expectation that they will behave well and are considerate of them, take them for a walk beforehand, bring a distraction, pay attention to them, absolutely a 2 year old can sit still for a meal in a restaurant. Even a hyper one (like my son).

And then there's the idea too that the expectations are culture specific. You wouldn't bat an eye at a 4-5 year old kid from a "tribal" situation taking care of younger kids... Whereas in the United States you would probably never let a 4-5 year old child babysit your infant. Right? Are the other kids somehow super-mature kids or do they lead miserable lives? Probably not. Their norms are just different.

My kiddo is already sharing better than average, he's helping out with stuff, he's learning to be more patient than a lot of his peers and is pretty gentle (especially if we remind him). I think that's because he has a little sister. I had to juggle their bedtime routines but in the past few weeks (knock on wood, please please) he has been pretty much putting himself to bed. My only regret is that I did have to put him to sleep in his own crib at around 10 months, in prep for baby sister's arrival, but for us this worked out because he actually slept better in his own room. Huh. And I still parented him at night. It was more exhausting FOR ME to get up and trudge over there when he made a noise, but he didn't suffer from it. It's not like I put him in the other room and said "sorry kid there's a new favorite in the house, deal with it." He's not THE baby of the family but he's still A baby and MY baby.

I guess what I don't understand is how a child who grows up in say, a very large family. Or a family with lots of pets. Or with a WAHM. Or any WOHM / preschool type situation. Or a busy mom with lots of chores to do. How are they going to get constant one on one attention? I don't think the average child gets all this attention placed on them, reading, crafts, projects, playgroups. Don't get me wrong, it's AWESOME for those kids that that their moms do so much for/with them. But I just don't think it's either typical or necessary for healthy development.
See, that wouldn't work in our house, which is why the "different parents, different kids" argument is really true. DS, while independent during the day, is extremely high-needs at night. There is no way, ever, that he could put himself to sleep at night right now. He's super sensitive-- when I cuddle him to sleep, if I turn my face away from him he cries. Asking him to put himself to sleep would automatically mean CIO in our house, which is totally unacceptable to me.

Also, my DS shares well, is gentle with other children, is patient, eats all meals with us and is great in restaurants. I tend to chalk it up to the fact that he doesn't have to compete for attention/resources all the time, so when we ask him to be "more mature" than the average 2.5 year old, he's able to pull it off. But in reality, our kids probably just have those personalities and it doesn't have much to do with a sibling or lack thereof.

Another misconception I'd like to address-- of course my DS doesn't get my constant, undivided attention. There are meals to make, laundry to do, errands to run, bills to pay, etc. Life is busy! For all of us. He has to play by himself and entertain himself on a regular basis, like all kids. But he does get a lot of our undivided attention, and I *do* think that is healthy for little ones. I think it's really nice that he doesn't have to compete with another little one for attention all the time. You may disagree, that's your prerogative.

Re: the maturity aspect-- I think most first children end up taking on more responsibility. I'm the eldest, and there's a 4 year gap between my sibling and myself and I think I was asked to do things that were really a lot considering my age. So, to me, that's a birth order issue as well as an age-gap issue-- I still think a 4 year old better understands WHY they have to wait or help or whatever than a 15 month old (for example).

One final thought-- my life is plenty full and stressful with my one child and my current circumstances. Our choice not to add another DC to the mix soon after DS' birth is in reaction to our capacity to manage what we currently have on our plates. Your (general you) circumstances are different, you make different choices. I think adding a new child automatically means more stress, something we just don't need right now.

Once again, YMMV.
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#104 of 106 Old 01-14-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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Wow, I left this thread and am now trying to catch back up.

For the people who think closely spaced children are lacking in attention or one of the kid's needs are being sacrificed... what about twins, triplets?

Also, my kids being close has let us spend more time together as a a family. They both like the same things, they're age appropriate for both, vacations/camping/movies/toys - they work for both kids. I don't have to worry about going somewhere and catering to single children because both of mine are on the same page.

They grew up (are growing up) together, nobody was the "oldest" or "the baby". Nobody has more/less responsibilities. Nobody is held more accountable. Bedtimes are the same, privileges are the same, expectations are the same.

I don't know, maybe I'm getting defensive, but I had a wonderful experience with my kids closely spaced.

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#105 of 106 Old 01-14-2009, 09:40 PM
 
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we are planning on having another asap-mine is 3 months. it took us 5 years to have him so we're really wanting to have more as quickly as we can.

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#106 of 106 Old 01-14-2009, 09:55 PM
 
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For the people who think closely spaced children are lacking in attention or one of the kid's needs are being sacrificed... what about twins, triplets?
I'm not going to say that anyone's kids are lacking in attention, but I certainly think it would be a LOT more difficult to meet the needs of twins and triplets than of singletons! My hat is off to parents who manage it, that is for sure.

If I had had twins, that would be the hand I was dealt and I'd glory in all the blessings. But I personally (given my personality and the babies I've had) wouldn't choose closely spaced babies for my family.

My kids are spaced far apart (6 years). I've read lots of reasons that is not ideal, here on MDC and otherwise. But it works really well for our family, and I glory in the blessings of this spacing
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