Immediately after the birth of my first child I started thinking about the optimal spacing between babies #1 and 2. I pored through literature on sibling rivalry and relationships, read case studies, conducted informal interviews, did a few simple calculations and – voila! – came up with the magic number: 4 years, 1 month, 9 days.
That is the exact difference between my two kids and, not to brag or anything, but it’s the best.
Okay, okay… I may have slightly exaggerated the science behind that gap. Here’s how it really happened:
- Baby #1 is born and I tell my husband that we are never, ever having baby #2. EVER.
- I spend the next two years giving away every piece of maternity clothing, every too-tiny onesie, every bouncy chair and Bumbo. I Google ways to ensure my only child will survive and thrive. This factory is closed.
- Baby #1 is 2 1/2. She sleeps and eats and strings funny words together. Her head against my shoulder at the end of the day makes me want to cry. I am perfectly, obsessively in love with her. I tell my husband that this can’t be the last time I ever have a 2-year-old.
- We go back and forth on baby #2. The edges of those newborn days have dulled, but the sound of an infant screaming is still enough to send shivers of terror down my spine.
- Baby #1 turns 3. She’s getting so big! It’s all moving so quickly! I want to freeze time. I want to cup these gorgeous days in my hands and place them in a jar on a shelf where I can stare at at them forever.
- And then an unexpected sadness: My grandmother has a devastating stroke. Immersed in thoughts of family and the passing of time, any last little lingering doubt dissolves.
- We start trying. We stop trying, though I can’t remember why, then start again. We’re pregnant.
And so, 4 years, 1 month and 9 days after welcoming our first baby, our second baby was born.
Now they’re just 6 and almost 2, and even though there was no great master plan involved, it really has turned out to be the best age gap… for us.
Some moms love having two kids close in age, but I know my limits. To say that I don’t excel at the baby part of motherhood would be a wild, gross understatement. I’m a hot mess, a total disaster, for the first 18 months, so two kids in diapers would have likely landed me in a loony bin. I did worry that the 4 years between them might be too much. What would they have in common? Well, as it turns out, a lot. They both love laundry basket races across the kitchen floor (one pushes, one rides), summer bubbles (one blows, one pops), dressing up, being loud, making messes, singing songs, holding hands, collapsing into one another in crazed fits of giggles. I know they may not still be blowing bubbles together in the back yard when they’re 15 and 11, but for now they are each other’s best friend.
And I get to have a 2-year-old again, for the very last time, and still be sane enough to enjoy it.
How are your kids spaced? Would you recommend it?
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my kids are perfectly spaced
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