No, I’m not pregnant. And no, we’re not planning another baby yet. But for some reason, recently I’ve found myself thinking more and more about a brother or sister for Frog.
Maybe it’s because some of the other mums I know, who have children the same age as Frog, are pregnant. Or maybe it’s because Frog is now 16 months old, so it’s getting rapidly too late for her to have a brother or sister who is just a couple of years younger than she is.
Whatever the reason, I’m broody as hell.
Everywhere I look there are babies babies babies. And not climbing, talking, non-walking toddler babies. But babies babies. Tiny ones, gurgly ones, sleepy ones. The ones that make you forget the hell of waking five times a night for six months, and just remember the blissful moments; the first smiles, the snoozy cuddles, the days when everything was new. Remember when there was still an element of novelty to changing a nappy? Those are the days I’m talking about.
The thing is, we chose to have Frog at a relatively young age. I was 26 when I got pregnant. Despite what many people thought, it was a deliberate decision. We weren’t married, we didn’t own our own home, but we knew we wanted a fairly big family (three in an ideal world), so we knew we better get cracking.
Although it seems like we planned everything down to the finest detail, that’s not really the case. We didn’t discuss age gaps between siblings, or plan when we’d start thinking about baby number two. We just sort of assumed it wouldn’t be for a while. And biologically, time was on our side.
I have no idea what the “right” age gap is between siblings. In fact, I’m pretty sure there is no “right” gap.
I suppose on the plus side, a closer gap means there may be more shared interests between the children. But then it also means those early years could be harder, dealing with a newborn and a toddler, both in nappies with the typical demands that newborns and toddlers make.
And I guess a larger gap means you run the risk of having two children who have nothing in common at all, who grow up to be too far apart in age to relate to each other in any real way until they become adults.
Or do you?
The (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine has two brothers. They are both younger than him; one by 19 months and one by eight years. Yet he’s equally close to both of them. When he talks about his childhood, both brothers are there in equal measure. And now that all three are adults, that bond hasn’t been broken. They were both his best men when we got married in August. He speaks to them both pretty much every week. There is mickey-taking and pretend fighting and more mickey-taking. They are brothers. The age gap is not an issue.
And there are four years between my sister and I. She was annoying when I was eight, but I rather like her now. In fact, she’s my best friend – always has been.
For us, it’s not the right time for another baby yet. And I realise we’re priveleged to assume a second baby will just happen naturally, when we’re ready. But whenever that is, I hope the number of years between Frog and any future brothers or sisters doesn’t affect her relationship with them. I hope she can count on them as friends, whether they’re two, four or eight years younger than her.
And until that elusive brother or sister comes along, she’ll have to make the most of just hanging out with me…
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What’s the age gap between your kids? What’s the age gap between you and your siblings? Do you think it matters?