Friday, October 12, 2007

Does It Work For You?

I came across an interesting article in Parents about sibling spacing and it got me to thinking about the spontaneous, yet wonderful spacing between my own two girls.

Caitlin & Cara are exactly 2 years, 11 months and 3 weeks apart. Did we plan it this way? No, Cara was a big surprise, one in which we didn't discover until she had been growing inside of me for about 3 months! That said, over the past year, this age gap has proved to be just wonderful, most days. Here's my reasoning--

~Ben & I had been out of "baby mode" for a few years, so finding out that we were expecting again was a refreshing and welcomed change.

~Caitlin got just shy of 3 years of our undivided attention and she has blossomed into a wonderful kid because of it. I am so happy that we had that time together to develop her personality, interests and knowledge. She remembers this time and knows that we love her. She also cherishes "alone" time with each of us all the more.

~Caitlin was at an age in which she could understand about mommy having a baby in her tummy and that she was going to be a big sister. We were able to play up the concept and get her so very excited for Cara's birth that there was almost no jealousy.

~Most days, Caitlin is more than happy to share toys and my attention with Cara. The two sisters will play together for a long time, happily. The bond between them is so strong, they are the best of buddies. Caitlin told me the other day that she doesn't want to go to school next year because she's going to miss Cara and wonders who Cara will play with while she's gone. So very sweet.

~Caitlin can entertain herself independently for awhile. This has come in handy because I've been able to attend to Cara knowing that Caitlin is happy and not resentful.

~Caitlin was potty trained, fully, within a few months after Cara joined the family. So, I only have one kid in diapers at a time.

~I absolutely love that Caitlin loves to be a big helper and is proud that she can "help" with little tasks like fetching diapers, sippy cups and other things for Cara as well as doing little chores around the house. I'll take all the help that I can get.

~I love watching Cara try to copy Caitlin. I know that Caitlin is a great role model for Cara to look up to. I hope that Cara learns from Caitie so of the things that make her so dear to us.

~Caitlin is in pure "big sister mode" a lot with Cara and watches out for her, shows concern for her and advocates for her baby sister. I know it will be so comforting for Cara to know that Caitlin will be there to walk her to her Kindergarten class on the first day of school.

These are the reasons that I love the spacing that we happened to get between our girls. Is it the only way that it would've worked? Of course not, there are advantages to any and all age gaps, which is what the article talks about. I guess it just helps us find the positives in whatever arrangement we happen to have.

So, I'd like to hear from you, my blog readers. What is the spacing between your kids? Does it work for you? What are some of the positives that you can see? Did you plan it that way or did it just happen? I thought that this article might open up an interesting conversation.


Judy said...

Well, my boys are just shy of 5 years, 2 months apart (5 years, 1 month, three and a half weeks is more like it). They are GREAT together. Travis is such a good big brother, and he did tremendously well with Tyler when he was little. plus, since he is already in full-time school, it gives me time (theoretically, of course) with just Tyler. Travis reads to Tyler, plays with his toys, pushes him on the swing, helps him color or gets him a snack - it is like having a bit of a babysitter at times!

Did I plan this? Oh no! Actually, neither of my boys were planned. Scott and I were told we would never have children without medical intervention. We had thrown in the towel, bought a boat, a hot tub, and were going to be the fun couple everyone wanted to hang out with, and I got pregnant with Travis. Yeah, HUGE shock.

So, we settled in with Travis, counted our blessings and worked on raising a singleton. Made a big move, bought new cars, bought a new house, and BAM! Here comes Tyler! You could have knocked me over with a feather when I found out!

I fully believe my children's births were planned, just not by me, and definitely not on my schedule. Regardless, they are great together, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

(okay, one down side - I had been out of the diaper phase for so long that I forgot about how much diapering there is!)

Mary said...

Laura -

My husband and I just got home from an 8 day trip to Utah (softball) so I am just leaving my message now -

All of the things you mentioned apply to my daugher's two girls - now ages 10 and 7. They too are still best buds and no competiton between them - just the opposite, both, yes both, take care of each other in each's own way.

The girls went to a week Girl Scout camp together this summer and the 7 yr. old got a little homesick (her 1st time at camp for that long) and my daughter got letters from the girls. The 7 yr. old said she missed her home and the oldest loved every min. but said she thought her sister was homesick and that she was trying to help her the best she could. It ended up that the 7 yr. old quickly got over missing her TV, computer, but the girls have always been close.

I think they always will be - closer than my sister and I were - we were 7 yrs. apart and always had our own separate lives growing up and by the time I was 13 my sister got married and moved most of her life with her husband and his job.

My kids (boy and girl) are 2 yrs., 2 mos. apart and were close, but really not as fwmcompanionable as my granddaughers are. My son was more of a protector to my daughter and she, of course, loved it.


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