What I’ve Learned 10 Years After Having Kids Close In Age

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What I’ve Learned 10 Years After Having Kids Close In Age

Eight years ago, while watching my two 1-year-olds do their best to make their slow trek upstairs last the entire day, a startling thought crossed my mind. All the symptoms I’d attributed to weaning were also telltale signs of pregnancy. Later that week I left my doctor’s office holding onto a double stroller and an ultrasound picture confirming I was 14 weeks pregnant. I knew we were in for a wild, sleep-deprived ride, but I was thrilled to have one more after the years of fertility treatments it took to conceive the last time.

When my youngest son arrived, I wheeled down to see my newborn with two toddlers on my lap, much to the amusement of our doctors and nurses. And I couldn’t fault their laughter. We looked liked some sort of circus act, not a family getting ready to begin our new life with one more person in diapers. Those early years with three children born within 20 months of each other were a blur, but nearly ten years later, I miss them.

Raising kids this close in age has been full of surprises for someone like me, the oldest in a family of siblings neatly spaced three years apart. Along the way, I’ve discovered a few things that I didn’t expect:

My kids always have someone to play with. My kids have no idea what it’s like to have to entertain themselves. Since birth, every time they’ve turned around, there’s been someone right there, ready to play a game, open a pretend restaurant, or dump out all the contents of my cupboards. It’s an extra bonus once they can play board games on their own. I can finish two cups of coffee before they start arguing over who won at Uno.

They find friends who love them all. Even though my kids have grown into having different interests, they tend to travel in a pack and ultimately find friends who enjoy the whole bunch of them. I’ve watched them bond closely with friends who can play baseball with one, dolls with the other, and practice a play with the third. None of them form strong friendships with anyone who doesn’t accept their trio as a package deal.

They value fairness.  I know this is true of all siblings, but with kids very close in age, it’s even easier for them to keep track of who gets what. I have to make a conscious effort to spend time and money evenly because they KNOW everything about each other, and if they don’t know they will find out!

There are no secrets. As I already mentioned, kids close in age tend to know a lot about each other, so they grow up without much privacy. They are in the same age group for everything, around the same peers, and have gone through every stage together. Right now, my kids tell me everything that happens involving their siblings. However, I’m sure that’ll all change as we venture into the teen years.

They truly like each other. People are always commenting about how well my kids get along. I promise you they can fight over whose elbow is touching whose thigh in the car for at least a half-hour, but they do seem to be closer than siblings further apart in age. They don’t see each other as just an annoying younger brother or bossy older sister they’re forced to spend time with during family vacations and holidays.

As crazy as those early years were, I love the small age gap between my kids. I love watching them grow up together and hope their close friendships continue into adulthood.

Seeing the strong bond they’ve forged almost makes up for all the toddler trouble my oldest two caused every. single. time. I changed their baby brother’s diaper.

Photo: Getty