Monday, July 1, 2013

Having Children Close in Age

"You look as if you have been pregnant for 2 years!" 

"Oh, you are pregnant... AGAIN?!?"

Those are some of the comments that I received in year 2009. Even my mother said that while she was surprised  (驚喜), but she felt more worried (驚) more than happy (喜) when I told her that I was pregnant again. Pei Pei was only 5+ months old then. 

"Is it very challenging?" Many people asked me this question, while some commented that it would be good that the two kids grow up together. Well, I would say there are two sides of a coin.

What I Not So Enjoy #1
Juggling two under two was no joking matter. Feeding x 2, changing diaper x 2, screaming tantrums x 2, sleep disruption x 2.

When two were crying, and if I was alone, it was a tough decision on whose need was to be met first.

What I Not So Enjoy #2
My breast pump became my best friend for 6 + 12 months, I had to report to it every few hours during those 18 months with a break of 8 months in between (during pregnancy). Going out without baby / breast pump for more than a few hours was difficult, as I didn't want to experience explosion engorgement.

What I Not So Enjoy #3
When I was pregnant with Hao Hao, Pei Pei just started crawling, and by the time she was ready to walk, my tummy was as big as a water melon. I didn't carry her often. Probably because of that, she would want DaDi more often.  Sometimes when I wanted to feed / change / carry her, she would say "I want DaDi!". Yes, you heard that, my heart broke like shattering glass.

What I Not So Enjoy #4
When one falls sick, even if we try our best to separate them, the other one would have a high chance of falling sick soon. So again, sleepless nights of monitoring body temperature, feeding medicine, sponging go on and on.

What I Not So Enjoy #5
Considering diapers x 2, milk powder x 2, childcare service x 2, medical expense x 2 (see What I Not So Enjoy #4) at the same time, it can be financially challenging to us.

But looking on the bright side, there are also benefits of having children close in age!

What I Enjoy #1
We had a POP (Passing Out Parade) - passing out of the baby stages - quicker. Since we were changing a diaper for one, so what's just one more? Once the diapers were over, they would be really over! We don't need to get into "baby mode" again! (Read: I have no intention to have the third child, thanks for asking.)

What I Enjoy #2
Pei Pei was the only child for just 14 months, so to her, it may seem to be normal to have a sibling around. And as Hao Hao is the second child, he does not have a choice! They learn to share with each other, and care for each other.

What I Enjoy #3
They play and enjoy the same activities together as they are in the similar developmental stage. They read the same books, sing the same songs, do the same crafts, and play the same toys together.

It is also easier to plan for family outing without having to wait for years until the younger one can take part. For example, they can play football together, no need to wait for years for the younger one to learn to stand to be the goal keeper.

What I Enjoy #4
We do not need to buy another ton of infant toys and clothes again! Pei Pei had a lot of clothes that were suitable for both baby boy and girl, so Hao Hao wore those clothes too! This saves us some $$!

I applied First Born Incentives with Thomson Medical Centre, a 2-year membership that offers discount on hospital services. Delivering two children within 14 months means I only had to pay $148 (applied before 28-week pregnancy), as the membership for the Subsequent Born Incentives would cost another $128! 

What I Enjoy #5
They are 4 and 5 years old this year, and they can entertain themselves with tons of ideas (See this post for the activities they had during the hazy day)! While they are busy playing with each other, I have some time to do housework, or have a sip of coffee, or even k.o. (knock out) for a good 5 to 10 minutes!

Indeed, it was very challenging during the first three years. But as they grow up and play happily together (minus the occasional fights), I think it is a blessing for me to have them close in age together!

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  1. Wow this is one of the closest age gaps I know of! A friend and her brother are only 13 months apart, but that was like 30 years ago when her mum had them. :)

    1. When Pei Pei and Hao Hao were around 2 and 3 years old, someone mistook them as twins when they were sitting down!


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