Id like to introduce you to my children and discuss what it’s like to have two children so close in age. My little boy O, is now 2yrs 9 months and my little girl W, is 1 year 8 months. There is almost exactly 13 months between them in age. We could have had2 under 1 if we had really tried! 😉
We always wanted to have our children close in age, to be truthful, we were aiming for more of an 18 month age gap… but that myth about being most fertile after just giving birth proved to be true for us, and it was a case of almost first time lucky! Lots of opinions abounded when we announced our second pregnancy, including the fact we must be certifiably mad! However, we believed there would be benefits to having them so close together, particularly that having them close together in age would reduce the sibling rivalry and jealousy that can occur.
Just to make life interesting, following our experiences from O’s birth, both Steph and I had decided to train to work with expectant & new parents. On top of this, we were starting our own business, parents to a baby under 1, pregnant with baby number 2, and I was still in full time employment!! HHmmm put like that, maybe the certifiably mad comment wasn’t too far of mark!!
What was noticeable, once W was born and especially in those first weeks and months, was the total love for W had for her brother and vice versa. At no point did O appear, or act, as if he resented her or needed to compete for attention. He has, from the first, always looked out for W, always looked to get her things and in early days was willing to share everything with her… (That bit is starting to wear off a now though!) Of course, with every up side comes the natural downside. For Steph, the sheer work involved in looking after a newborn and a 13 month old was certainly taxing to say the least, let alone the rest on her plate.
However, the initial bond that developed between the two of them was immensely strong and continues to be so. I sincerely hope it always will be.
Here W is just 5 months old, supposedly developmentally incapable of playing with another child. I will let you decide what you think they are doing? For me, the sheer joy of seeing them enjoy each others company and interact with each other is immeasurable, it is one of those heart melting moments you get to enjoy as a parent.
The thing I find both amazing and worrying at the same time, is the way they mimic each other. This has happened since the very early days and it is without doubt, for me, a double edged sword. On one hand, W through mimicking O, has developed an amazing vocabulary for one so young. Her speech is so far ahead of where O was at this age. However, on the other hand, I do have moments of concern that O mimicking W causes him to regress in some ways. O never really took to comforters, apart from a spell when he was quite young, after that he would suck his thumb to comfort himself when going to sleep, but that was about it. W on the other hand has always been a hand sucker, (yes, her whole hand generally) and this is something that in recent months O has now taken to as well.
Overall though, they both benefit as they can constantly interact with each other and have developed excellent social skills for children so young. This interaction includes some basic sign language we have taught them, and some O has learnt from another little boy, at his one day a week in nursery.
W has already turned the tables on her big brother and is now without doubt the boss of this relationship. While it used to be O who would be able to pin W to the ground during a wrestling match, now W wins those matches every time!
O is incredibly kind-hearted, and will do almost anything for his sister, which has certainly helped us on a number of occasions.
O loves playing with his little sister, and now the first thing he wants to do when he wakes up in the morning is go and see her. Even if it does mean no lay in for us!! (Oh, for a lay in!!) This has now progressed to the second he wakes, jumping out of bed, running down the hall, opening her door, and vaulting over the side bars of her cot to actually get in and see her.
Bath time is now excellent fun (well for three of us, not so sure Steph enjoys it!!) I have always encouraged much splashing in the bath to make sure the kids have no fear of water on their faces. O used to take great delight in splashing himself, mummy, daddy and W. Here again though, W has turned the tables and really, really goes for it with her splashes, soaking everything and everyone in the bathroom. The common cry now is from O shouting ‘stoooooooooooooppp!’ That said, we have two totally fearless children, who I have no doubt will cause Steph many missed heart beats and sleepless nights! Steph keeps trying to dress W in the girlie clothes, but I have a feeling she will be quite a tom boy in years to come (result for daddy!!!) They are definitely now at the age when they can be thrown, dropped and generally flung around and will ask for more!!
According to the experts, a child really doesn’t play with another child until they are at least 2 years of age. Really? Must introduce them to ours, because they definitely enjoy playing together, and have done for a long while. O is the more laid back of the two and W will normally win any argument. That said, it has become noticeable that this is wearing thin and O is fighting back and not so willing to concede. We are really starting to see their individual personalities appear which is amazing and makes each day special.
I could go on forever, but will include updates on the children from time to time. Suffice to say, I love my children and Steph dearly and I wouldn’t change a thing. I still believe our instincts and choices, to have them close together was the right one, and although it is difficult at times (more so for Steph than me, as I get to go to work) I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.