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3 kids in 11 years

I know I’m not the only one with a big age difference between kids. My older boys are 2 ½ years apart but our little guy is 8 and 11 years younger than his big brothers. Last night, at a soccer function for our older boys, I spoke with 2 other moms with kids of similar ages. One, however, has 12 children, spanning between the ages of 7 months to 18 years! Crazy, I know. Our entire community does not know how a family of this size manages in this day and age.

There’s the good and then there’s the not so good. I was thrilled when my 11 year old carefully put the baby in his car seat, strapped him in and proceeded to snap the seat correctly into its base in the car. (His future wife will be impressed!). I love that the boys can keep an eye on the baby while I shower or cook, hold his bottle for him and read to him. There has been little trouble with their transition to becoming good siblings.

I love how excited the little guy gets when his brothers come home from school—he already looks up to them. This puts expectations on the older boys, though. They will be treated as role models or examples for a much younger brother. I already “shush” them when something unsavory comes out of their mouths. I tell my almost 12-year old that I do not want the baby’s first words to be some naughty phrase that a bunch of middle schoolers spew at each other when the teacher’s not listening. I don’t want to hear any foul language in the house at all, but with the baby in the picture, I’m much more concerned about it.

The boys are nice kids (well, most of the time) and do well in school and sports. So for the most part, I think they are already decent role models. On the downside of the age gap, we used to be able to hike and take long bike rides on our beach vacations. Now, at least for awhile, these things are no longer possible with baby on board. Occasionally, we used to go to live shows and concerts. These events now require getting a sitter for the baby for several hours (and babysitters around here are paid well!).

My husband I used to be able to sleep in, while the boys played, watched tv, or even slept in, too. Now we’re on the baby’s sleep schedule, and he’s always up early. I must say, though, that my husband is pretty good about letting me sleep in on weekends, when our schedules allow it.

We’ll be dealing with potty-training again in a couple of years, which could make trips to the store or movies trickier…On the bright side, my oldest son will then be almost 14 and capable of taking the little guy to the potty for me.

There are pros and there are cons. But I’ve always tried to see the cup as being “half full”. While my oldest son no longer believes in Santa and my middle son is teetering in the middle of belief and disbelief, we have many exciting years ahead of us to enjoy the magic of Santa Claus through our third child’s eyes. I’ll keep trying to focus on the positive. Before I know it, our little boy will be a big boy, too.

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