I once met a woman at the children’s museum who said, “A girl, and a boy, two years apart! Good job, mama!” as if I’d won some contest I didn’t know I’d entered. It’s true that with an uncharacteristic precision, I even had the same due date for each of them. It is a tidy little age difference, and it’s wonderful…except when it’s not.
Five Wonderful Things About the Two (or Less)-Year Age Gap
1. They Form a Team
My 4-year-old girl and 2-year-old boy could not be more different personality-wise, but they also can’t imagine life without each other. My daughter places her brother in all her memories (“Remember when we were both newborn babies?”) and future plans (“When we are grownups in our own apartment we’re not going to listen to your rules!”)
2. They Can Share Activities
I attribute some of my kids’ team-player-attitudes to the many experiences they share: they take the same music classes, go to the same storytimes. They could both feed the goats at the zoo until those poor goats exploded. They’ll go to school together. Heck, they even share a room. I don’t know how well that would work if they were, say, 4 or 5 years apart.
3. The Older One Never Knows What Hit Them
My daughter doesn’t remember how awesome her life was when she was an only child, and I’m not about to remind her.
4. Your Life Recovers More Quickly
If you’re stepping out of the workforce to stay home while your kids are little, you can get back into the swing of things in 5 or 6 years without missing any of those first words.
5. You Stay in the Sh*t
When my son was born, my neighbor whose kids are 4 years apart, remarked eloquently, “You're smart. You’re in the sh*t right now, and you don’t even know it, because you’re just staying in the sh*t.” I thought he meant literally, as in diapers, but now that I don’t have any babies, I get it. You just don’t realize how insane your life is when you have a two-year-old and an infant, because you’ve never had a kid who’s a kid, who goes to school, who uses the potty, who sleeps reliably through the night, who entertains herself. You don’t even know how good it gets.