Is there such a thing as a perfect age gap? My mother loved that the four years between each of her children gave her one-to-one time with each baby, just as their older sibling started school. Amongst my friends it seems common-place to begin trying for a second shortly after baby’s first birthday – aiming for that oh-so-popular two year age gap.
My daughters were born fifteen months after my previous batch of babies (I have my children in litters, like kittens). I won’t suggest to you that first year, with three children under the age of two, was an easy one. I won’t pretend it was particularly enjoyable. It was about survival, and gradually I realised that survival had given way to coping, and that coping finally gave way to enjoying. It was a long haul but the destination was worth it.
Now I wouldn’t change it for the world. A small age gap means the baby days are over in one fell swoop; there is finally light at the end of the tunnel in relation to nappies, bottles, travel cots and so on, and I don’t have to pack it into the loft only to retrieve it in a year’s time. I didn’t have to berate my son into tidying up toys which were unsuitable for babies; they all played with the same things. Within the first year they were all wearing the same size nappies to facilitate the production line process, and they were pretty much all toilet trained together too. I had no school run to contend with, so could happily spend the entire day in my pyjamas if I needed to. And I frequently did. Come to think of it, I still do…
Now that they are older the children play together beautifully because they like the same things and there are no accusations from big brother that his sisters’ games are childish. I’m not met with the challenge of planning days outs and holidays to meet the needs of differing ages, and there are no arguments over what to watch on television.
There is no ‘perfect age gap’ and family ‘planning’ is a famous misnomer, but I hope that the close age gap between my children will encourage a close relationship between the three of them as they make their way through life.
What’s your ideal age gap?