The Benefits of having Children Close together in Age

The most common question you will hear after the birth of your first child, after all the customary how’s-everyone-doing questions of course, is when is the next one coming. In fact, that question seems to get more common as you have more children. The expert answer to this question is as varied as children themselves. Some say three years between children. Some say more. Some say less.

For me, my two boys are eighteen months apart and I never regret for a moment having them so close together. Except maybe at two in the morning when I yo-yo back and forth between bedrooms and kids! Our second son, Zane, was an accident in the sense that we did not plan to have him so soon. But we knew that we wanted more than one so he was planned to happen, at some date. That being said, I am glad he happened when he did. I have never had to wrestle with the question of when to have the next one. Instead, I believe we were blessed with our second son when our family was ready for him.

When I discovered that I was pregnant for a second time, my immediate thought was how my first son, Joseph, would react to a new baby. A very common reaction for most people, regardless of the timing between children. I had nursed him for eleven months and spent the first year of his life with him. We had developed a very strong bond. But I had no need to worry.

Everyday I am amazed at how close the two brothers are. Since the day his brother was born, Joseph has wanted to help with him. I have pictures of him trying to change Zane’s diaper when he was only a few months old. Joseph would run and check on Zane at any little cry or whimper. They would nap together during the day. When we went for walks, Joseph would push Zane in the stroller or pull him in the wagon.

As they have grown up together, the bond has strengthened. It is evident when Joseph wipes Zane’s runny nose, when he gives him a good morning hug before he even gives me one, when he picks him up when he falls down. And Zane is learning from his brother. He is learning how to play and how to share, but he is also learning how to care. Each boy does not like when the other one is in trouble or is crying. They try to console each other and fix the problem.

Joseph is starting to understand that Zane cannot do all the things that he can. Instead, Zane is only learning how to talk, to play, to help and is watching his big brother for guidance. At the same time, Joseph is learning patience. He takes great joy in teaching Zane and is very proud when he learns a new skill.

Yes, they do have their fair share of fights. And I am sure that they are going to get more and more physical as they get older. But they will always be best friends.

There are all the benefits of having hand-me-downs, having all the baby tools and devices, being in baby mode, etc., etc. These are all the obvious things. The biggest benefit to me, though, is the bond that I see between my two boys. It far outweighs anything else. I do not feel that it would be so strong if there was a wider spread in their ages.

So when is number three coming? When I get a full night’s sleep!