Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The mythical "perfect" age gap


When I daydream about my son having a younger sibling, I tend to jump a few years in the future. When the baby crazies kick in, I get that pretty picture of my little boy at around six-years-old, sweetly and protectively playing with a younger brother or sister around three-years-old.

Or I think of having a big round preggo-belly and explaining to my son that his little brother or sister is in there, and him giggling when mommy's tummy jumps and bounces around.

Or, having a newborn baby, whom my son will stare at adoringly and beg to be allowed to hold, and we will if he sits on the couch right next to us and is very careful.

Fortunately, the real me is cynical enough to shake off these hormonal delusions and foresee the realistic scenario a 2nd baby would mean right now. And because I'm one cold, analytical chick at heart, I like to carefully weigh out the pros and cons.



Cons:

The dreaded "two in diapers". For argument's sake, let's pretend I'm not missing 1 1/2 my ovaries and could get pregnant immediately. This would put my son at around 27 months when his younger sibling came. Given that boys are notoriously difficult to potty-train, this could ensure me up to a year of double-doody-duty.

Double the daycare. Since I have no intention of quitting my job (and won't let my husband quit his), we would have to pay twice the amount for daycare that we're currently spending. They do give a $10 monthly discount for siblings, but that's kind of like offering a $100 mail-in rebate on a Rolls-Royce.

I just got used to sleeping again. My son finally sleeps through the night now, and my husband and I kind of enjoying having a little bit of time for just us in the evenings. We actually get to watch things like "House, M.D." now, and not just Thomas the Tank Engine movies.

I like going out places. Even though he can be a handful at times, our 2:1 parent-to-kid ratio allows my hubby and I to still take our son with us when we go out for dinner and to movies. If the kids matched us (or worse, outnumbered us), we would probably be stuck at home a lot more often. We even went on a family vacation to the beach last year, which probably wouldn't be an option with a toddler and a baby.

I've been at my job less than a year. This may sound like a silly reason, but I'm the only woman in my department, and the youngest by a decade. I don't need to go doubly-fulfilling stereotypes by almost immediately taking off time to pop a kid out.



Pros:

Company for my son. I like the idea of having kids close enough in age that they can play together and be friends. I mean, I know there's certainly no guarantee (or likelihood) of that occurring, but it's nice for it to be a possibility.

Get the tough ages over with. Once my son's old enough that I no longer have to change his diapers or help him eat, am I really going to want to go back through all that with a baby? At least if I have a baby now I won't have forgotten what I'm getting into. Also, I can be done with the toll that baby-making takes on your body.

Got all the stuff. None of the carseats, strollers, cribs, toys, etc. are out-of-date right now. If we wait a few years, we'll have to shell out for all that again.

Stop stressing about it. Once I'm pregnant, I won't have to keep worrying about the question of becoming pregnant. I fully intend to get my tube (I only have one left) tied after Baby #2. (I know for a fact that I want no more than two biological children, though I'm open to adopting more.) So once that's done, I won't have to worry about getting pregnant anymore. No more crazy hormones from birth control; no more choking down nasty folic acid and iron pills. Done.



So there's my list. Right now, the cons are winning (if only because of financial practicality). Of course, if I win the lottery tomorrow, all bets are off.

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