Monday, February 14, 2011


 My husband and I have been talking about spacing a lot lately.

No, not about gaps between teeth... or inches between parked cars... but the spacing between our children. The years and months that separate them.

We have 3 wonderful children. Three wonderful son's, at that. Our first two boys, Isaiah and Joshua, are just over 17 months apart. Whereas, between Joshua and Noah there are 26 months.
As you may or may not have guessed, we're planners when it comes to having babies. We pray, we seek God's face, we ask for direction...and we take responsibility and plan. That's us. Of course, while we make plans and seek God's path, we also acknowledge our inability to control the future. "Man makes a plan, but God directs his way." If our plans come to naught, we still rejoice and are grateful for God's sovereign control over all our hopes and dreams.

So while many looked at us in shock when we announced my second pregnancy just 9 months after our first child was born, we actually did plan it that way.

Yes. We really did. And no, I'm not just saying that.

We thought it'd be fun to have two close in age. We saw many benefits. Close friendships. Bunkbeds. Shared toys. We also thought that it would be handy for our oldest to never know what it was like to be the only child, and to avoid the struggle and (perhaps the) resentment that the arrival of subsequent siblings might bring. A wise mother of many called it "the de-throning process."

It worked out quite well. Our first two boys are two peas in a pod. They adore each other. They are the closest of friends. They are loyal, faithful, tender hearted to each other. They've grown up much as a 4 year old and almost 3 year old can be called grown up, that is. They play with each other. Entertain each other. Care for each other. All of which has been a wonder and delight to see.
But boy was it, and is it, A LOT of work.

Having two little boys that close in age was almost like having 2 baby's. Sure they were 17 months apart, but for a while they were both very dependent. Two in diapers. Two mouths that needed great assistance to be fed. Twice as many faces to wipe and small laundry items to fold (and those of you with little ones know that a load full of onesies takes TWICE as long to fold than a load of your husbands shirts) While they are often grouped together, the two boys also possess two completely different personalities and needs that need attention all day long.

Thanks to God's providence (and our attempts to plan around deployments), the spacing between our second and 3rd child is 26 months. A big change from 17 months. But with different joys and challenges as well.

Joshua was much more grown up when Noah arrived, yet he was also much more aware of being trumped as the baby of the house. It really threw him off. Josh didn't seem to know if he was a big boy or a baby. There were days when he'd sit next to the rocking chair while I nursed Noah, just waiting for my lap to be empty and to have his snuggling time with mommy. But there were also days when it was such a blessing to have a 2 year old that could walk on his own, obey commands, sit still in church, and feed himself (however messy that might be!)

In addition, while we see the bond growing stronger between the older two boys, we also see that our youngest is often left to hang out with Mom. In part, that is the way it is with the youngest. Not only is Noah completely dependent on me right now,  but he also can't play trucks or build legos like the other two. Not yet anyway.

Hence the discussion on spacing. Close in age with double the work? Or longer spacing with potentially harder transitions? Is there even such a thing has preferred spacing? Does it even matter?


Brea said...

Great post! My husband and I have the same conversations ALL. THE. TIME. He and his sister are 17 months apart, whereas myself and my brothers are all 25-28 months apart. I cannot imagine having two in diapers. You're a rock star!! :)

Dorie said...

Sounds like your children's age spacing has been wonderful for your family. We had at one point three children three years old and under (no multiples). Our fourth child came home from the hospital when our third turned four. So, we've had close and not so close in age. It has been good both ways for us. I can see the Lord's plan in all the spacings of our children, and more so as time goes on.

SocialStudiesSoubrette said...

Children are such a blessing. God will provide and like you said all is done through his will. Hubs and I "plan" to adopt another child. If it is the Lords will we want to start that process by next year. We would also like the children to be near the same age because I want to homeschool them. That will mean having a one year old and a two year old O.o It frightens me to have two children so close in age but what a blessing it will be to care for two of God's children. If we trust He will provide.

I am following you back from the Monday blog hops. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop and visit me. Have a blessed week!

Rach said...

My husband and his brother are 18 months apart and they have always been close. My niece and nephew are 13 months apart (not planned that way, haha), but now that they are out of diapers and more independent, my sister loves it. She would never have planned to have them so close together, but she is glad for it now. :)

Ostriches Look Funny said...

Mine are 20 months apart and this little one due in June will be 25 months apart from the middle. I thought it would be nice to have them SUPER far apart, but I just can't see getting used to sleeping and having a life and then giving it up again. I'm in baby mode BABY!
Those three wheelers are precious. It's true that everything HAS to come in twos now...and they have to be exactly the same. Amen.

Grandma said...

Spacing, spacing? Sometimes the best laid plans come to naught. Ultimately it is the Lord who blesses us with children. I think back over the years and realize that my six children are spaced over an 8 and a half year period. The spacing between births runs from 23 months to 29 months. Of course, having twins last changed things up a little :) as they were only 7 minutes apart.

LeAnna said...

I blogged hopped here from Sharing Grace, and I LOVED this post. My two are 21 months apart (boy and girl - not planned that way) and I've thought a LOT about the spacing of future children. I'm in the midst of that difficult time, having two so dependent. I know it will so be worth it. We would like to have 1 or 2 more children, and I'm still unsure as to when. Although I know God blesses regardless as to our plans, He does grant us the wisdom to make our decisions. :) We'll see what He has in store...
I'm enjoying your blog!

Callie Nicole said...

Thanks for linking to this post! I enjoyed reading your perspective on both sides of the issue!


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