I accidentally gave away my secret at my son's first birthday party.
I was with my sister, and a group of my friends asked her about being an auntie. Before I knew it I heard myself saying, “And you’re going to be an auntie again and again!” Wait, what? Why did I say that? We gave each other ‘the look’ and quickly explained that our other sister had just announced she was pregnant.
While our sister was, in fact, pregnant, my friends were quick to point out I said “again AND again”.
“Are you sure there’s not something you want to tell us?” they asked.
I brushed it off. “Me? No! What? Pregnant? I’m not. Nah. Nope. I couldn’t have another one so soon. This belly is just the cake. It was delicious, did you taste it?”
Thankfully, they believed me … or so I thought. A few weeks later, when I decided to officially announce that I was actually pregnant with baby number two, I got more than one “we know, you gave it away at the party.” Evidently I’m not as good a liar as I thought.
The next few months are a bit of a blur. I was pregnant, at uni, working and mum to a one-year-old. It was hectic, to say the least.
Six months after the party we welcomed son number two into our lives. The small age gap had been planned, and we’d been fortunate enough to fall pregnant quickly.
But what we hadn’t thought of was what life would actually be like with two kids under two.
Two sets of nappies, double the sleeplessness, and needing a double pram. It’s almost like having twins. (I say "almost" as my sister actually does have twins, and I realise it’s not the same, just similar – though my sister has twins and an older third child with a small age gap, so, in my logic, she almost has triplets.)
Fast forward to present day and our sons are best friends. Now six and four (the eldest just had his birthday and he revels in the few months that he can say he is two whole years older than his brother), they do everything together.
When asked what the best things are about having a small age gap between kids, here’s what comes to mind.
- They are best friends and have mutual friends. They have the same parties, same friends, same clothes, same soccer team. It really does make life easier.
- There is no ‘going back’ to the newborn phase, having to head back to nappies and sleepless nights. You are already in the routine when number two comes along.
- The eldest doesn’t remember life without his brother. In his mind we have always been ‘us,’ as in the four of us, our family.
- Two of everything – I can play matchy clothes and often people buy them the same presents, like boogie boards, tennis rackets, footballs, etc. They both love them and it’s really cute.
- I’m not relying on an older sibling to help – it’s just me, their dad and them. There are no other siblings we rely on as baby sitters. I like that.
But of course everything has its flip side … there are hard things about the small age gap too.
- I love that they are best friends and that they have mutual friends, but I hope that over the years they also get their own friends, individually.
- It’s true that there’s no ‘going back’ to the newborn phase – and in some ways, it’s sad to think I may never have a newborn again, and that that whole phase of our lives was over so quickly.
- The eldest doesn’t remember life as a family of three. While, obviously, our life with two sons is exactly what we love, for a while there it was me, my partner and our baby. Our first born. He doesn’t remember that and that gets me teary sometimes.
- Two of everything – soccer boots, birthday presents, school stuff. Two of everything gets annoying and expensive.
- I’m not relying on an older sibling to help … and help would be good sometimes.
It’s funny that the things I love about a small age gap are the very things I hate as well. When I look at my boys together, though, I can’t imagine it any other way. They are going through life together. They share milestones together, tears and triumphs. They understand each other – even now, while they are still so young, I can see that already. I hope as the years go on their bond just continues to grow.
And as long as they don’t team up against us, I think we made the right decision.