Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spacing Kids

Well, I have actually experienced having a 5-year-old "only" child and also two babies 22 months apart in age. You might say that I have fairly good insight into each situation!

First of all, it was never my intent for Walker to be newly 5 and in kindergarten before he had a sibling. But that was God's intent. I tried, He denied.

Being young and petulant whenever I didn't get my way, especially if I imagined my way to be totally honorable and blameless (
Come'on, Lord...all I want is another baby! Is that too much to ask?) I didn't take the denial well. I felt sorry for myself. I thought that other mothers with a string of little chicks, or even just two in stair-step heights was adorable. My lone baby was not a baby anymore, and my four losses grated on my mind quite a bit.

Until - I learned that almost certainly they would not have developed into healthy children. Then I
understood God's mercy. Four little precious souls soared to Heaven without gasping under ventilators and enduring tubes, needles and early death. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Walker was my solitary child for over 5 years and I have to say that I enjoyed his company immensely. He was funny, he was relaxed, he didn't compete with anyone, he had friends when he wanted them and lots of Mommy time when he wanted that. It was easy and fun to take him places as he grew older because he was cooperative and not rowdy - there was no one to be rowdy with! He was cherished by both sides of the family - the only child during his little kid phase.

You think - only child= SPOILED. I don't think he was spoiled because we didn't have much money at all and he didn't get toys or treats whenever he desired them. Besides that, Daddy and I weren't soft on discipline.

He also didn't have a playmate in the home. We had to import them.

Along came Laurel at last. Walker was 5 years, two months old. They would never "play" together in any way, shape or form.

She was 22 months old when Sean was born.

things got stirred up a bit! Diapers in two sizes! Tugs over toys before Sean could sit up well. Lots of tears and lots of baby giggles, too. I think one reason he talked well so early was because Laurel was constantly talking to "Connie". He crawled after her with infant rapture. They lined up stuffed animals under the oak breakfast table and made a "house" under there after I topped it with a sheet which overhang the sides. When they were seated in a wagon people thought they were twins...they had matching yellow blond hair and
jammered to each other ceaselessly. Sean's first belly laugh was when a hot dog wiener jetted out of her hot dog bun onto the floor. Her wails turned to peals of laughter because "Connie" showed her the humor in the situation. I think he was under a year old that day.

She was bossy and he was controlling. Sounds like a married couple, doesn't it? The thing that struck me as amazing was that he was worried about her safety by the time he was four. "There you go, talking to STRANGERS again!" he yelled when just we three were at JC Penney and she showed the lady in line ahead of us Brad Randall, her Cabbage Patch doll. He jerked her away with fierce anxiety while I stood there bewildered. Was my baby the man of the family while Winston was away? He'd grab her hand when we were about to cross a street and of course she'd try to pull away but he got stronger quick!

Inevitably, their gender differences, not age difference, created the GREAT DIVIDE. Laurel didn't want him in her room "touching" her things, (he could care less about her things). Walker was out and about the neighborhood long before Sean could cross a street without holding my hand. But for fully Sean's first four years he and Laurel were best friends. Just about the time she met Jennifer he met Miles so no one was left out in the cold.

So...that's what raising an "only" bigger child without a close sibling, vs. very young children close in age is like. Frankly, I enjoyed both situations to such an extent I wouldn't do it any other way! I loved hopping quickly in the car for outings with just one kid. I loved watching two babies tussle, hug and laugh together!

Love, Mom

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