August 30, 2007

(For now) Just One Little Monkey Jumping on the Bed.

On the drive up to Kansas City, Chris and I were talking about the whole "having another kid" issue that seems to hover in and out of my thought-life oh, I don't know, every single waking minute or so. I've never been one to let others pressure me into anything, but there's something about having your first kid that can feel like you've accidentally just pulled the 'start lever' on an assembly line, and then it BROKE OFF IN YOUR HANDS.

It is pretty much assumed by everyone around you that you will have another child in the very near future after giving birth to your first. This is totally and completely natural for people to assume, because, hey! That's pretty much how life goes! Most people don't see the point in dragging out the "parenting a baby/toddler phase" of life- it just makes more sense to get it all out of the way quickly so that your kids will be somewhat close in age and you won't be changing poopy diapers when you're 60, right?

Well, that may be true, and that's really all well and good, but then what happens when having another baby is pretty much not even a faint blip your radar screen and your first born son is suddenly old enough to operate the DVD Player without any assistance? What then??

I always talk about how I refuse to parent Ezra out of a place of fear, because I know that kids can sense those kinds of things from their parents, even when we think we are sooo super sneaky and good at hiding things from them. It's like a sixth sense. They just know. So, in this same vein of logic, I have a real issue with feeling the NEED to have another baby ASAP simply because I'm afraid of my kids being "too far apart in age", or simply because I'm afraid of spending too many years of my life trapped in the "baby phase".

This was a huge personal revelation for me. I suddenly felt all the (self-imposed) pressure of having another kid lift off of me. Through a simple conversation with my husband I realized this:

I am the kind of person who becomes overwhelmed pretty quickly. The thought of having a toddler and a baby at the same time just seems like it would be too much for me. I know I would be able to handle it just fine if it were to happen that way, but I'm realizing that I'm one of those people who would MUCH MUCH MUCH RATHER spread things out a bit. Like, waiting until I have a kid who's a bit older (4? 5? 6?) and then tackling the baby thing again. Because, big picture, I know I want to have more than one kid. But, for me, it might be nice to saunter along the "raising kids" time of my life, rather than feel like it's a mad dash to have them and raise them quick enough to where I'll still "have a life" again after they are grown and gone. Think of it! If I were to have three kids- one right after the other, in 18 years, they are going to all be out of the house one right after the other too. What a whirlwind! I've finally realized that I'm more of a gentle breeze kind of gal. (Not that raising kids, no matter how far apart, can EVER be considered a "gentle breeze", but you get the point...)

So, for now, for today at the very least, I'm content with this plan. To wait. To wait until the time feels right, just like I knew when I was meant to have Ezra. If I'm meant to have more kids, I know that I'll know it. Maybe God has other plans in store for me. We've talked about adoption. And to be honest, the very thought of that being a possibility at some point in my life stings my eyes with instant tears of joy and wonder. Can you even imagine? Literally saving the life of another human being? A human being who is too vulnerable to defend themselves?

If that's what God has for me, I'm open to that. After all, He's got a track-record of being even wilder than my wildest of dreams.


Anonymous said...

The best part is that God's timing is PERFECT. :)

Oh, and my only brother is 11 years older than me, and we are a closer-knit family than most.

piper of love said...

four years apart is awesome! I couldn't handle doing diapers for two kids at the same time, etc. plus the older one likes to help and I used to feel bad for letting him, but it's teaching him responsibility in a way I couldn't have taught him otherwise.

long story short...WAIT! You won't regret it.

sufferingsummer said...

I've felt that same pressure but so far have let it slide off my back. We were actually in the preparation phase of being foster parents when I found out I was pregnant with Indy so the whole God being wilder than your wildest dreams thing rings so true in my ears. Foster care and adoption I feel are in my future, someday, for now I've got just about all I can handle! I think it is a very wise insight into your self that you realize you are overwhelmed easily and would rather take your time. Many have not been so wise and had nervous break downs (my grandmother for one who had two kids exactly a year apart). Oh and my little sister is 9 years my junior and we adore each other.

Angie said...

I was afraid that if I was too far out of the baby phase that I would never be willing to go back. I already think, "Oh, I really like our schedule and this sleeping through the night thing" and she's only two. Plus, I waited a bit later to have my first, so age comes into play as well. Not that I'm an old mom, but it factors when you think about waiting 5 years or so between children. Oh, yeah, and we have military deployments to work around.

Karen MEG said...

Mine are 4.5 years apart - we had planned to have them closer, but this is the way it worked out, and it worked out beautifully. They're great together. I'm 20 months older than my sister; 11 years older than my brother. We're all still quite close. Age difference doesn't matter; kids adapt, and it's more personality than anything else. You'll know when you're ready - it has to be up to you.
BTW, you and your boys are beautiful. Lovely family!

Tara Jones said...

well, i don't have kids yet. but! i've helped in raising my brothers' kids and i think the space in between is great! just being a full-time auntie for a couple days with 2 babies or toddlers is nuts! plus, my both my brothers are much older than me and we're still close. in fact, one of my brothers practically raised me at the age of 8:)

Paulette said...

I've been an outside observer of your blog for awhile (my sis-in-law Lorie introduced me to you) but just had to comment here. I had actually wanted my kiddos close - it's how I was raised and all I knew. But God has His own plans and my oldest two are 4 years apart. I can't tell you how wonderful this has been. My now 5 year old is a HUGE help and absolutely dotes all over her sister. I was so concerned that they wouldn't be close but I was so WRONG! Now I'm pregnant again, and surprise! these two will be 20 months apart. I'm not quite freaking out because I know that God is in control, as always, and I do like a bit of chaos but I am expecting it to be much harder this time. My real point here is, good for you. Good for you for not letting fear make your decisions. Good for you for not conforming to the norm. Good for you for knowing yourself and your limits, choosing what's best for your family rather than what you're told is best. It's hard to hear God above the voices around us (including the ones in our head!) but the peace that comes with finding it is priceless! So saunter right along!

Emery Jo said...

Thank you all so much for your comments on this post... It's been amazing for me to hear the OTHER side for a change. You never hear people praising the 'WAIT' debate. (At least I don't.) It's awesome to hear all of your success stories with having kids that are farther apart in age!

I'm thrilled and glad to know I'm not crazy! Thank you!!!

Andrea June said...

One of the most amazing families I know has kids that are all at least 4 years apart. I love them so much, and they are such a close-knit, amazing family. You go girl.

Anonymom said...

First of all, I didn't get my period back for 20 months with my first, so having a second wasn't even on my radar screen until she was 2! And she still wasn't sleeping through the night, so I wasn't insane enough to suggest we start from scratch again at that time. We waited. And waited. And waited some more. And we're no spring chickens, either. We waited until our first was more secure and independent and we're so glad we did. The girls are a little more than 3 1/2 years apart and big sister is such a love to the baby, never a jealous moment. My only complaint about this is that she slobbers wet kisses all over the baby and gets her sick a little too often!!!