From the first days of my pregnancy, the one constant I received was.. “You are so lucky”. “She’s going to be such a big help.” “This age gap is going to make having a baby so much easier.” I too, fell into it for a little while. How awesome I thought, a permanent little helper. I must have been on some really great pregnancy vitamins, thinking that a preteen and a toddler would be a good combination.
She is a great help, especially when you are down on the parent-to-child ratio. What I have come to realise though is that, although she isn’t dependent on me, she still needs me. DUH! No I mean, she needs attention. She needs time, a brain, conversations. Things that are few and far between when you are running after a toddler going through separation anxiety, tantrums and teething.
Yes, the pros are that the older child understands. They understand when you say “Later, I’m just busy quickly..” or “Can we do this after Daniel’s bath?”. The logical side of their brain has developed enough to have them know that a toddler is more dependent and less understanding. The emotional side on the other hand – I’m not so sure.
Another pro I’ve heard is that they are in varsity at different times, costing you less. This I can see being a huge help, for later on in my life. Instead of dreaming about varsity though, I find myself asking why I got rid of Emilie’s baby furniture, toys, clothes and stuff 8 years ago.
They will never fight. What you actually mean to say is – the fight will never be fair. There’s 10 years between them, and most times if Daniel breaks something no one is going to raise the roof. If Emilie however breaks something – she should have known better? Right?
From the above you have probably figured that in the last 18 months, I have still not found the perfect rhythm. Just as I start to feel comfortable with one, one or both of them starts a new phase. Currently we are on preteen hormones and toddler teething mixed with croup, flu and separation anxiety.
I guess what I’m trying to say is – there is no gap that’s “easier” or “harder”, even if it looks that way. However I do have a lot of respect currently for parents with more than one toddler. *Vee salutes you in the air!* As parents you need to do what will suit your family the best, or what God plans for you. Either way, you make it work and you do it well.
My children absolutely adore one another, and although the “what if’s” do creep into my mind, I can shoo them away knowing that things are exactly as they should be. I wouldn’t change them for the world. Preteens are tough but they are also so amazing, to see them grow into little big people. To see the personality flourish, the attitudes, and the ability to think for themselves, and to begin to articulate their feelings.
Toddlerhood is just as amazing, they are learning to communicate, manipulate and be more independent. Smiles are filling up with pearly whites, and cuddles are all the more meaningful because they are intentional. I love these phases – but they are tough…then again – what stage of childhood isn’t?