Having Children Close In Age - Guest Blogger Lori Eldridge-Ervin
Read more of Lori's stories and life experiences at www.loriervin.com, enjoy!
Having children close in age, has definitely been one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Whenever anyone asks me how old my children are, I love seeing the looks on their faces. It was especially fun to take out my 2 1/2 year old and tell people that he was the oldest of 3. Each year that they get older, it is less and less astonishing to people, but I know they are always mentally envisioning what my household must be like on a regular day. And I have one word that could sum that up – loud. Having children so close in age, wasn’t necessarily our plan, but it is the way that it turned out, and most days I am thankful for it.
For those that do not know our family – I have 3 boys. My first 2 are 14 months to the day apart, and my 3rd was actually due 14 months to the day from my 2nd, but came a week or so early. And yup, all boys. My story is that the first 2 were planned, and then I realized what a disaster it was to have 2 children 14 months apart. Henry wasn’t even walking (yes, he was lazy) when Timothy came along! But then my first glass of wine after Timothy was born, and voila, William came into the picture. The rather humorous part is that I didn’t even know I was pregnant until I was 11 weeks, was developing a tummy and couldn’t look at meat. He was simply – meant to be. And while life is exhausting, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Here are some fun tidbits about having children close in age:
They are the best of friends. When I watch other parents entertaining their kids, I almost giggle to myself. This is something that I do not need to necessarily do. I gave them one another, built-in best friends. Sometimes I am almost jealous of what they are going to have in one another growing up.
You’re going to be tired. Just give up on feeling well rested. Put your head down and power through 4 years of sleepless nights and exhausting days. You will be amazed that one day, it just gets easier. Trust me.
They teach each other the stages in life. Basically, I just need to teach Henry something, and then the other 2 will pick it up. I taught Henry to pee on the potty, turned around one day and Timmy was doing it. I didn’t know William could even speak, and one day he showed me every single letter in the alphabet and told me one word that started with each letter.
You get it all over with at the same time. My first is a very relaxed kid, and thus, slower to hit many of the milestones. My second is a go-getter, so their development almost meshed together. In fact, last week they both decided to stop wearing pull-ups to bed on the same day. (Yes, my oldest just turned 5, don’t judge.) At one point in life I had 3 in cribs, 3 in diapers and no one that could walk up the stairs on their own. But all in one year I will be out of diapers, out of cribs and without any baby gates in my house.
You will expect your oldest to be older than they actually are. Because Henry was the oldest brother, I had high expectations of him. Well …actually, it was just the fact that I didn’t have any extra hands, so I needed him to start being a big kid.
Your youngest will always be the baby. William turns 3 this summer (if he was Henry, he would already have 2 younger brothers,) and I still call him the baby, and tolerate temper tantrums, etc.
- Your younger 2 will grow up quicker than the first. Both Timothy and William have learned from Henry. So this year, when he went to kindergarden, they have learned their letters at the same time as him. They are starting to sound words out, etc. They are so eager to be exactly like their big brother.
If you blink, you will miss things. Some days I am sad that I was so exhausted and sleep deprived through William’s first year. I didn’t have the arms to rock him to sleep, or the energy to coddle his every need. But on the other hand, he’s an awesome kid. He is an amazing sleeper because he has always had to be, and extremely independent and determined. He knows how to get what he needs, because he has had to fight for that his whole life. Not a bad thing in my opinion.
You are outnumbered. You used to be able to play man-to-man defense and all of a sudden you have to play zone. This is exponentially harder in some ways, and makes no difference in others. But honestly, when someone takes 1 or 2 off your hands for a couple of hours, you will start to think that parenting is the easiest job ever!
Every day life gets easier. For me, I got so caught up in how exhausting and challenging life was on a daily basis, that I almost didn’t realize that one day it would get easier. Then all of a sudden, Henry started getting himself dressed, the kids started putting away their dishes, and could even put their own boots on and I was given a 2 second breather. It’s almost bittersweet.
You have so much to look forward to. I have always wanted a big family, have even considered having 4, just because of my vision for the future. I love being surrounded by family and going on adventures and creating memories together. More kids = more memories.
Your heart grows a little with each one. I remember telling Henry that I would never love another like I loved him. Well, that was true. You’ll never love another baby in the same way that you love your first, they made you a mom. But your heart just continues to expand with each new member of your family. It’s staggering sometimes how much love I have for those little people.
While I definitely did not plan to have 3 kids in 2 1/2 years, I cannot imagine life any other way. I look at those boys, and know that they are incredibly blessed to have each other, almost as blessed as we are to have them. Now, the real question is …would I recommend it to anyone else? The verdict is still out on that one.