Go forth and multiply

A friend recently contacted me, and a few other friends who are also parents, and asked for our input – she has a friend who has a one-year-old child, and who is struggling with the decision to have another, or not, and when. After I sent in my two-cents, it occurred to me that I could share this fiddling small change with the rest of you.
I realize none of
you actually asked, but until you DO start suggesting topics*, this is what happens.
So, here’s what I sent to my friend – and I’ll forward any insight from the comments, should any be forthcoming:

I have two boys, 25 months apart, and although sometimes we sit back and wonder what the heck we were thinking, the benefits outweigh the hard work.
I am the oldest in our family, and my sister came along when I was seven – my brother another six years after that. So when I left home for college, my mother still had a pre-schooler! From our perspective as kids, we felt like we didn’t really know each other. My sister and I are friends now, but that took some doing as adults. My brother is practically a stranger. From our parents’ perspective, it must have seemed like an endless cycle – just when you finally get one through toddlerhood/childhood/adolescence, here comes another one, and another after that.
When Dr. T and I decided to have kids, we specifically decided on plural, and I said I wanted them to be close together. We actually aimed for something like “Irish twins” (there was a non-starter conception between the two boys).
Sometimes our house is non-stop chaos, but there are plenty of reasons I’m glad we ended up with our boys – they are close enough in age that when one has a friend over, the other can join in without it being an “imposition”; they have each other, not just at home but at school and at extra-curricular events; they share games, toys, books, jokes, bedtime, homework routines, and so on… When they were little, it was hard work sometimes; unlike my parents, though, when we were finished with diapers we were really finished with them. Chicken pox was a one-time occurrence at our house.
Now that they’re older, they’re developing their own interests, but they still spend most of their spare time together, even if it’s not always daisy chains and singing 😉
Colin started high school this week, so for the first time EVER they are in school at different places, taking different buses at different times – and for the first time I am actually worried about them getting to and from school, because they don’t have each other. Of course, my worries are pretty much groundless, but hey, mums gotta worry!
So, to summarize – two is good, close is good. (wow, that was waaay shorter than the first part)
*which is a neat idea – reader-generated topics! I may regret this, but feel free to send me something to write about. If you ask nicely, I’ll even try to avoid ending my sentences with prepositions, ’cause I know they freak some people out.

6 Replies to “Go forth and multiply”

  1. I’m an only child, and when we decided to have kids, I specifically didn’t want to have only 1. I didn’t have a horribly lonely childhood, but I have always regretted that I will never be an aunt by blood. All our parents come from huge families, and while I certainly don’t want 6 or 7 kids, I think family is important for support, not only when they are small, like taking the bus, but also later, when parents will start needing to be taken care of.
    As for how far apart, Ben and Sara are 19 months apart. Although not quite planned that way, I’m glad it happened. The initial work was somewhat of a nightmare, but in the end, the good outweighs the challenges.

  2. Yes, ditto everything Tashsa said! I’m also an only child and wanted to have more than one child myself for the same reasons. Jack and Mia are 2 years 4 months apart, but Mia and Isla are just over 2 years apart. Yes, it’s chaos but it’s really lovely having them so close in age. Jack and Mia are fantastic together and all the kids won’t be too far apart in school. You get everything over with sooner (sleepless nights, toilet training, etc) and they always have someone to play with.

  3. I have 3 siblings but they were from my mom’s first marriage and did not live with us so, for all intents and purposes, I grew up as an only child. Except for a couple of years when my brother ran away from his dad and stayed with us, I lived alone with my parents. So I used to think I wanted more than one so that I wouldn’t put a child through the same thing. But now that I have one and see how much energy this one saps from me, especially now as a single parent, there is no way I would have another baby. So I think it depends on the circumstances and it’s important to consider what happens later. How well will the parent or parents be able to deal with two growing people in their homes while they also have their own lives to lead? There are other ways to keep kids from gettin g lonely and some kids actually like being the only one.

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