Tell me about having kids 3 years apart... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 10-09-2011, 05:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 2.5 year old boy and we're thinking of getting pregnant this month, if possible.  I'm a teacher and don't get any paid maternity leave so it works out much better for us to have the baby's newborn days overlap with summer break!  (July/August)  Otherwise we split shifts during the school year.  So I can either get pregnant ASAP, or possibly wait until next year to aim to have baby a bit before summer break 2013.

 

If we had a baby now, my son would be 3 and a few months when the baby was born, obviously if we waited a year he would be 4.  I like the idea of 3 years in the sense that they will be at elementary school together, interested in the same things a bit more, etc.  4 years feels like a pretty big gap, but it would also mean my son would be in pre-k by then and Daddy could have the newborn alone during the day.  

 

To complicate things, I'm trying to open a school by the time my son is in K (9/2014, or if possible Pre-K in 2013) so part of me wants to have a baby sooner so that I would not be juggling a newborn and the biggest professional undertaking of my life at the same time!  

 

Anyone who has kids 3 years apart care to share what the transition was like for your first child?  DO you like that spacing or wish you waited longer?  My son is asking for a sibling, but of course, I don't think he has any idea what he's talking about.  It's a novelty and he has no clue what a baby at home would mean!  He's a very verbal, independent kid, but he's also still so much of a snuggler/baby.  He recently self weaned, potty trained, and transitioned himself to his own room (!!!), so I miss having a little baby!

 

Thanks in advance!  smile.gif

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#2 of 17 Old 10-09-2011, 06:46 AM
 
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My kids are 2 yrs and 9 months apart. I wish they were slightly closer together. They're three years apart in school, but my dd2 has a fall birthday so she's one of the older kids in her class. They do play together really well and I think that's because my dd2 is mature for her age and dd1 can play younger very well. My ideal spacing would have been 2.5 yrs apart, but we just couldn't make that happen. 

 

I was much younger than my brother and sister and we are not close now, so I hope that by having them closer together they might be closer when they grow up. It's all about personality really though and how they mesh as adults and I know close spacing certainly doesn't guarantee that. 

 

I say go for it, though. The first year may be a little bit rough. It usually is, but you'll know what you're doing better the second time around if you're like me. Just pop that baby in the sling/carrier and chase your toddler around. You can snuggle two at once. I tandem nursed for a long time. Your older one may want to get back in your bed some or have some other requests for extra baby-ing, but I think 3 years is pretty good spacing. The payoff with mine has been since the little one was about 3 they have played together so well. They're always off doing something together and really love to hang out together. It's been really good for both of them and us as a family. It's all individual, though, of course.

 

best of luck!


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#3 of 17 Old 10-09-2011, 06:56 AM
 
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mine are 3 years 3 months apart.  the first weaned and potty trained a few months before his brother was born... i have friends with more closely spaced kids and i dont know how they do it with two in diapers!  my kids love each other, but i dont know how much of that is spacing or just personalities that click.  at just over three he was big enough to help out with the baby (getting diapers, picking outfits, etc) and was really excited to be a big brother.  im glad we didnt wait, they are two and five now and are good buddies.

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#4 of 17 Old 10-09-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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Mine are 3 years and 2 weeks apart.  I really like the spacing.  Any closer would have been too hard for me I think, but 3 yrs apart I could handle.  Sometimes personality comes into it more than spacing, but I do think that it helps to have them that close so that they can enjoy the same type of play.  Now they are 4 and 7 and love playing make-believe games (you're the doggy, I'm the owner; we're traveling to "fairy world", etc, etc), making forts, etc.  They find the same things funny (potty humour of course!), love to be goofy together, etc.

 

The one bummer with my kids is that they each fall on opposite sides of the school cut-off date.  Dd is the youngest in her class, and ds will be the oldest.  So although they're almost exactly 3 years apart in age they will be 4 years apart at school.


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#5 of 17 Old 10-09-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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DD was 3 years, 3 months when DS was born - so pretty much the exact spacing you're thinking of.

 

It's GREAT. DD was a highish needs baby and toddler, and my pregnancy gave us the motivation to gently encourage certain developmental stages. She was ready, but only just - another month or two wouldn't have hurt. But during my pregnancy she became fully toilet-trained, learned to sleep in her own bed, and weaned. That made having a new baby WAY easier.

 

They get along fantastically; she was old enough to take a semi-intelligent interest in my pregnancy; and she can help bring cloths to wipe DS, find his socks, amuse him for a few minutes, and amuse herself for a few minutes while I feed him. It's great - really, really great. After DD's birth and babyhood, I honestly approached my next pregnancy with a "Let's grit our teeth and endure the next few years" mentality, but it's been surprisingly fun. The pregnancy was horrible, but he's been much less trouble since he emerged. :)

 

I'd like to have another baby, and will probably have a similar age gap. I'd have left it for a few extra months, but DS is a very relaxed, chilled-out baby; and if he continues that way throughout toddlerhood, I could even have a slightly smaller gap (exactly three years, maybe). But we'll see! Do you think your son would be potty learned, sleeping alone, weaned etc by then (if he isn't already)? And if not, would you mind? (Some people love tandem nursing, some hate it; some can fit four in the bed, some can't! Personally I find the thought of two in nappies rather daunting, but again, some people cope just dandily.)


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#6 of 17 Old 10-09-2011, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yea, he went through a very independent streak in that regard, and has self-weaned, potty trained, and moved himself into his own room in a twin bed!  I can hardly believe it.  He's so confident and assure of himself, once he realized he could be a "big boy" he went all for it!  So now we SO miss having a little baby, feels like we have a kid in the house, not a baby anymore.  

 

So nice to hear the stories of how the kids interact with that spacing.  Keep them coming!  I worried we waited too long for them to play together.  I guess it's up to the universe this month!

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#7 of 17 Old 10-09-2011, 03:41 PM
 
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Mine are 2 years 10 months apart.  It's worked out nicely.  They were able to play together pretty well by the time the youngest was about 1.5-2, and they still play together well at 8.5 and 5.5.  The transition wasn't a big deal for DD.  I don't remember any significant jealousy.  It was probably hardest when DS was around 2 and DD was around 5, when he was starting to be old enough to have his own ideas about what he wanted to do that might be at odds with what she wanted, and she wasn't old enough to handle it with much patience.  But they also spent a fair amount of time playing together nicely at that age.

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#8 of 17 Old 10-10-2011, 06:29 AM
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My oldest two are 35 months apart and it's been great. My oldest had no problems adjusting to a new sibling, and they were the best of friends for several years. They started playing together when kid #2 was 5 months old and crawling. They're older now (almost 6 and 9) and fight a lot, but that didn't really start until my second started K last year. I know this is a passing phase and they still play nicely together much of the time. 

My second and third are 4.5 years apart (closer to 5) and that's nice, too, but obviously it's a big gap. My second started K when my third was a month old. They will only be in the same school when they are in K and 5th grade. She's very much the baby of the family, and they probably won't be peers until they're adults. It's a big change from my boys' close relationship. I love, love, love having so much one on one time with the baby (now 15 mos) so I guess it just depends on what you're looking for. Her brothers adore her and are a big help with things like making her breakfast, entertaining her, buckling her into her carseat and so on. 

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#9 of 17 Old 10-10-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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I think most parents are happy with their children's spacing no matter what it is. It might be interesting to start a new thread to ask if anyone has any regrets on spacing. You might learn a lot from that if anyone does.

 

I would have liked to have mine slightly closer together -- maybe 2.5 yrs instead of 2.75. It would have been nice if they could have been 2 yrs apart in school instead of 3 and since dd2 has a fall b-day if she'd been born in the summer instead they would have been 2 yrs apart in school. Overall I think the spacing has been really good, though. We only wanted two and I'm really glad that they're close enough to be on the same page as far as interests and a lot of developmental things. And we're out of the baby stage now. I wouldn't want to be in the baby stage and also have one in middle school next year, but I'm sure that's personal and many other parents do like that.

 

I also like that they're both girls. I thought I would want one of each, but two of a kind is pretty great, too. I think they may be closer than they would have been as brother and sister, but again, I'm sure if I had them 4 or 5 yrs apart and one was a boy and one was a girl I would be mostly happy with that, too. 


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#10 of 17 Old 10-10-2011, 07:58 AM
 
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Mine are 23 months apart and we are just now, a few weeks shy of DD's first birthday, getting into a sane routine and having days where I don't feel like tearing my hair out. There have been many times when I've wanted to run screaming out the front door and never return. bag.gif

 

I think it would have been much easier on us if we'd waited another year to conceive our second. We don't regret a minute of it but having them so close together has been completely exhausting and very hard on our marriage. DS was always high needs and while DD is less so, she's still a very active and demanding baby and the rivalry for our attention can get intense sometimes. Spacing them a little farther apart might have been less stressful. But maybe not, I don't know. It really does hinge on personality more than ages.


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#11 of 17 Old 10-10-2011, 08:25 AM
 
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My kids are almost exactly 3 years apart (3 years and 3 days... due on the same day) and they're now 8 and 5 and I love, love, love the spacing between them. I, originally, wanted less between them but with fertility issues, you take what you can get. They are the best of friends. My son protects my daughter every where they go. They play together daily. When they are separated from each other, they miss each other desperately and can't wait to be together again. They fight like normal siblings sometimes but I think it's less so than if they were closer together (like my step-children who are 19 months apart and fought constantly when they were smaller... and still do)... Their personalities are completely opposite of one another but yet they come together and play together so wonderfully. DS includes her in most of his games with his friends and helps her but also plays her games with her with great patience. It makes me proud to watch what a great big brother he is. I keep waiting for them to act like normal siblings and start disliking one another... but so far, it hasn't happened. It's a great age difference for us. smile.gif

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#12 of 17 Old 10-10-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post

Mine are 23 months apart and we are just now, a few weeks shy of DD's first birthday, getting into a sane routine and having days where I don't feel like tearing my hair out. There have been many times when I've wanted to run screaming out the front door and never return. bag.gif

 

I think it would have been much easier on us if we'd waited another year to conceive our second. We don't regret a minute of it but having them so close together has been completely exhausting and very hard on our marriage. DS was always high needs and while DD is less so, she's still a very active and demanding baby and the rivalry for our attention can get intense sometimes. Spacing them a little farther apart might have been less stressful. But maybe not, I don't know. It really does hinge on personality more than ages.

 

Peainthepod, it should get better from here on out! Having them close together can make it hard that first year, but the payoff is in the many, many years—and lifetimes, really—to come. I think it got soooo much easier once my two could play together. Having them close together actually has given me more free time in the long run. They entertain each other. I'm sure two other kids who fought like cats and dogs would have required more parental intervention, but having kids closer together at least gives them a chance to develop a close bond and enjoy each other's company and entertain each other while they have similar interests. When they're 5 or 6 or more years apart I think the chances are greater that the parents will be called on more to intervene and keep the little one out of the older one's Legos or whatever. That's not to say that when they're grown two kids who are 10 years apart might now be the best of friends as adults. And that's not to say two kids who are 18 mo apart might not be bitter enemies and require constant parental referring, but in general I think if the kids are close together it provides one more ingredient for a close bond to form and consequently offers a better chance for "easier" parenting. Doesn't always happen that way, of course, but it provides optimal conditions. 

 

 


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#13 of 17 Old 10-12-2011, 06:16 AM
 
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Another who has been pleased with the 3 y.o. age difference. Mine are now 18 (boy) and 15 (girl), but they've always had a good relationship. When dd was born, ds had recently started pre-school and was getting involved with new activities and new friends, so it didn't feel like a major intrusion. I think it would have been very different if she had been born a year earlier when he was 2 y.o. I felt less stressed because he was becoming more independent. Yet, as she became a toddler, they were still happy to play together and I'm not sure that would have happened as much if the age difference was wider. When she started pre-school, they were in the same multi-age classroom - he was one of the older kids and she was one of the youngest. It was nice having him in the class with her. Even now, they will go to concerts, all-ages shows, and other events (roller derby has been big here lately). 

 

I'm sure it's true that there are benefits to any age spread between siblings, but the 3 year difference has worked out really well here. 

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#14 of 17 Old 10-12-2011, 07:41 AM
 
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My 2 daughters are 3 years 3 weeks apart and it has worked out well.  They are 4 and 1 now and play together nicely.  It was hard at first because DD1 who is very intense had daily meltdowns.  It was a hard adjustment for her, and I often felt like i was ignoring the baby.  I would throw her in the carrier and just leave her there for most of the day when she was tiny so I could focus on DD1.  

 

I would say go for it.   If anything I wish they were closer in age, but AF didn't even come back until DD1 was almost 2 and like you I teach (dance).  I wanted to be able to complete the year rather then leaving my kids half way through (thus two May babies).

 

Good luck!!


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#15 of 17 Old 10-12-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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I have kids 3 year 4 months apart, and it's been a really great age gap. If we have another child, I think we'll aim for a 3 year gap.


Mama to a preschooler and a baby.

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#16 of 17 Old 10-17-2011, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Will update after 2 week wait!  :-)

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#17 of 17 Old 10-21-2011, 06:02 PM
 
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My kids are about 2 3/4 years apart and are really close. Our situation is a bit different because my kids are both adopted so we skipped the whole pregnancy/newborn thing. DS was three when DD came home at nine months. He adores his little sister and they love to play together. They are only two years apart in school since DS repeated kindergarten last year.He now likes to teach her things that he's learning in school- usually addition and sounding words out.

 

I think it's a great age spread.

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