I’ve gotten a couple e-mails lately from friends who are thinking about having a second child and wondering if they are crazy to even consider it (probably because they read my venting Twitter or Facebook statuses and I scare the crap out of them). So the obvious answer is: yes, approved of course you are crazy to have a second child! But only as crazy as you were when you decided to have the first child. Okay, not really – but since my inexpert opinion was asked my inexpert advice will be given.
Here’s the deal: I always knew I wanted more than one child. When the Mister and I started dating I told him I wanted three children (you know: a pair and a spare). As a middle child he was very against having three children and has since convinced me that having two children is the way to go for our lifestyle and our finances and so two children it is for us. (I have more thoughts on this but I’ll save that for another blog post.)
However, there was never any doubt that we would have more than one child. Every family is different but I couldn’t imagine having Moira be an only child – and I knew I wanted my children to be close together in age. I think that is the biggest question for most people when they think they might want another child: age spacing. I’m the third child in my family. The little surprise in a long line of surprises. My Mum was scheduled to get her tubes tied but had to change the appointment because they were moving and I squeaked my way into the world. (My Mum & Dad were both surprises so I’m in good company). The result is that my brother and sister are a lot older than me which is something I didn’t want for my kids. The Mister and I talked quite about about spacing since he and his brothers are all 4 years apart and he felt that distance was too much growing up too. Of course, this age spacing doesn’t make much of a difference now that we are adults and my sister and I talk on the phone every day but when you are going into grade 4 and your sister is going away to University the age gap seems insurmountable. Still, I wouldn’t trade having siblings for anything in the world and I wanted that for Moira too. Besides, who is she going to vent to when she is older and has decided the Mister & I are crazy and need to be put into a home? Her sister – that’s who!
So here is what you need to consider: do you want your child to be an only child? If you have lots of cousins around to make up the difference, or lots of friends with kids then maybe your child won’t feel lonesome. Moria seemed kind of lonely and a little too dependant on me to be a playmate for her and that was check in the pro column for having another child. When I think back on my childhood there were times when I was lonely so that made me want them close together. (Also, I’m turning 35 next month so, you know, tick tock.) Other things to consider are: do you have the energy? The desire? The finances? I have a friend who under no circumstances wants another child and always just wanted the one – that’s what works for her family.
Has it been easy? No, of course not. There are less than 2.5 years between the girls and so that makes us have to stay home a lot because I don’t have the energy to wrangle a toddler and carry a (giant) baby around in a car seat. I’m constantly telling Moira to be careful around her baby sister and to not: kiss her so hard, squeeze her too hard, put things on her head, or get mad at her when she starts to fuss. But mostly it has been great. The Mister is very hands-on with the help and three and a half months later we are used to the new normal. Plus, as many of you have seen in photos Moira adores her new sister. She is the first thing Moira asks about most mornings and she is constantly telling me, “I don’t want a new sister, I just want Fionnuala.” (Good thing, kid!) Fionnuala is now following Moira around with her eyes all the time and saves some of her biggest smiles for her.
In fact, we all adore Fionnuala. For the Mister & I we have that first child fear under our belt and can enjoy Fionnuala’s babyhood a bit more than we did with Moira.
The fact that she is the happiest little bean helps too.