My Kids Are 10.5 Years Apart and I Don’t Regret a Thing


A lot of people prefer to have their kids close together. And there are definite obvious benefits to it — you’re done with diapers faster. They have a built-in best friend. It’s easy to entertain them both since they’re of similar ages. They can play with the same toys, for the most part. And I’m sure there are others.

But life didn’t hand me the opportunity to do that. My kids are 10.5 years apart. But guess what? It’s freakin’ awesome and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

One of the obvious perks to a much older sibling is that they can help with the little one. He can, and wants, to help with so much more than throwing away a dirty diaper or finding the pacifier or carrying the baby bag. He really wants to take care of her.

When I’d first gotten pregnant, Jacob’s pediatrician told me that oftentimes, when a sibling is much older, the baby becomes like “their” baby. I thought that was a bizarre idea for a 10-year-old, but it turns out that she was totally right! His love for her is something above and beyond a big brother. He certainly doesn’t take on a fatherly role, but he does love her like she’s his own. And oh my gosh, does she love her Bubba fiercely.
Despite their age gap, they still are best friends. She can’t wait for him to get out of school and his face lights up the moment he sees her when we pick him up. They have a strong and unique connection to each other. If she sees her brother upset or sad, she will crawl in his lap and squeeze him. If she ever gets hurt, he will sprint across the room or up two flights of stairs to attend to her. His little murmurs of “Bubba’s here, it’s okay” are so sweet that I’m the one in tears.
kids 10.5 years apart
While none of their toys are remotely similar, he’s mature enough to adapt. He makes all of her toys seem new and more alive than anyone else and he draws enjoyment from making her laugh or helping her learn. And she loves to hold an Xbox remote (that isn’t connected, of course) and yell at the TV whenever Brother does just so she can be near him.
He’s young enough to still want to ride bikes and scooters but old enough to be able to teach her how. Another bonus: they don’t fight over each other’s toys. They do fight (we are not immune to that), but it’s never… okay, it’s RARELY about toys.

There is jealousy, as is natural, but he’s mature enough to process it appropriately. It was definitely difficult for him to adjust from being the only child for so long to sharing his parents, but that’s completely normal and something we were ready for. Just like with the jealousy, he had the intellectual capacity to understand it and it just took some dedicated effort from me and my husband to help him through the transition.

And now, he can’t imagine life without his baby sister. Sure, he misses being the only one from time to time, and that’s when those mommy-son dates I blogged about last month are so important, but he would never go back. Because that little girl doesn’t just make his life better, she makes HIM better.

He knows she is always looking at him, looking up to him. She copies everything he says and does. She wants everything like Bubba. When she gets dressed in the morning, she wants to run and show him so he can approve of her ensemble. If he sings along to something on the radio, she wants to hear it over and over until she can sing it with him. If he likes a stuffed animal, she must have it. Not one like it, HIS exact one. We bought her an exact replica of his Pikachu but she knew it was the wrong one. Because it didn’t have that Bubba smell, wasn’t worn with Bubba’s love. So he just let her have it, taking joy in that her love of that doll was a reflection of her love of him.

Her adoration pushes him to strive to be better, to do more, to show her the right way, to be the example she deserves. She has made him more patient, humbler, kinder. And he has already made her more confident, secure and brave. With Bubba to catch her, she will take any leap. And knowing he’s her safety net, he will always be at his best.

boy and baby, cuddling and smilingThere are ways that this was harder — having to almost re-learn how to have an infant and adapting to all the newfangled baby gadgets out there, and it was certainly more expensive. We were starting from total scratch, not a single thing to hand down and we can’t even buy them things now to use in tandem because their needs and wants are so vastly different. But I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

I had so much time to drink in my son, just focus my entire soul on him, before my daughter came along. And he’s now at an age where he wants his own time and space and has his own life, so I have a lot of freedom to really soak up my little girl, too. Not quite as much as with her brother, but I do it with the knowledge of an experienced mom. I did not plan it this way. I don’t think I ever even wanted it this way. But this is how it worked out and it couldn’t have been any better.


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