Several years ago, when a friend announced she was pregnant
less than a year after having her first baby, I was horrified. Two under 2 is a
curse, right? Ah, what a difference a few years make. Now I know better, and
whenever one of my new parent friends tells me how much work it is to take care
of a baby, I tell them, "Have another one." They look at me like I'm crazy, but
as the mother of two boys 21 months apart, trust me on this one.
1. Having two babies close together means getting the hardest stages out of the way faster.
Sleeping through the night, teething, going from bottle to solid food—all of those stages seemed to last forever in my house because as soon as my oldest was getting toward the end of a stage, his younger brother was starting the stage. But once a particular stage was over, it was over. No respite for a couple of years and then having to start the 2 a.m. feedings all over with a new baby.
Younger brother picked up on the potty training very fast from watching big brother. We were knee deep in diapers for four years, but now? No more diapers! It was a happy, happy day when I could throw out the Diaper Genie and know we'd never need it again.
3. You don't have time to forget how to do something
I know it seems impossible that you might forget the techniques you used to soothe a cranky infant or the baby food recipe that was a sure hit with your older kid—but you do forget. Having my babies close together meant I basically went from one to the other, not only maintaining the skills I'd learned but rolling into the second baby stage feeling confident.
4. Having two close together makes it easier to coordinate activities
I have two kids who are close enough in age to like the same television shows and activities. I don't have to take this one here and that one there. Plus there are discounts on summer camp, preschool, art and music classes, bounce houses, etc. My younger son gets a 10-50 percent discount for attending the same thing at the same time as his brother.
5. For that matter, you save a lot on clothes and toys, too
My older son's clothes literally go from his room to his brother's room. I sometimes feel bad that my younger son doesn't have any new clothes, but he doesn't seem to care. His brother's shirt from last summer is new to him and that's good enough. It also works for toys that one of them may receive but doesn't necessarily like. Having two kids close in age means twice the number of opportunities to use, wear or play with something.
6. Sleep and nap schedules are almost identical from the beginning
By the time my younger son was a year old, he was on the same napping and sleeping schedule as his brother. (Prior to that, he went to bed a little later and took an extra nap in the morning.) It has worked out beautifully to have the same bedtime for both boys. (Now my husband and I can have more time together in the evenings.)
Sure, for about the first year it was hard for big brother to play with baby brother. But as soon as baby brother was up and walking, things evened out. I do schedule play dates for them (especially now that it's summer), but I don't have to. My boys are close enough in age and interests that they are mostly inseparable. In fact, on the rare occasion when I split them up to do different activities, they both ask what their brother is doing. (And it's an "awww" moment every time.) I don't know if my boys will always be this close, but I hope so. And I hope when they are grown with families of their own, they'll be glad they always had a best friend to share everything.