Sunday, November 25, 2012

The "Age-Gapped" Family

I have a few friends at the moment having a third child with more then the usual gap between this one and the older two. A bit like me - 10 and 7 years between the teens and the (surprise) 9 year old.

As with everything, there are pluses and minuses with that big of an age gap.

On the one hand, when you come home with the baby, the older two are potty-trained (more or less) can tie their own shoelaces, brush their teeth and do their homework with minimal heckling from the kitchen. For a while at least, they are besotted with the baby and keep him/her/it amused for hours - until the novelty wears off.

On the other hand, you end up with kids who have very little in common in terms of entertainment. I don't think we've ever been to see a movie together, since by the time the Little Guy was old enough to really follow them (say about 5) the other two were well past Disney. Once they're teenagers, it gets easy again because you can leave them in the house and "do things" with the youngest. This by the way, usually involves taking a friend along for company since he doesn't have a sibling to enjoy things with. Unfortunately, although you have built-in babysitters for a few years, this vanishes in an instant when the teens start with the social life.

"What do you mean you're going out on Saturday? I need you to babysit".

"Yes, but you can't tell me one day before. You never mentioned it till now".


Today is a great example of the conflicting needs of an "age-gapped" family.

The Queenager had a flight back to college and needed to be at the airport at 1pm. The Little Guy had a party ten miles away at 1.30pm. The Man-Child and his bandmates were playing in the Battle of the Bands and needed my car to schlepp the equipment. Voila - le dilemma. Two cars, two parents and three destinations.

We headed to the airport and got there with enough time to see the Q to the security line, before racing back to the car to deliver Party Guy to his destination. One kind family offered to bring him home since they were staying in the neighborhood of the party; I leapt at their offer since the Ball & Chain and I had to drive 30 miles south to the Band face-off. Which, of course, was made even more complicated by no one knowing what time the band were actually going on. So I came home and waited for texts. Oh, and blogged of course.

So I'm now sitting here in a completely empty house. The Little Guy conned the kind family into going home and playing with their son for a while longer, and it appears the Man-Child's band isn't going on till almost my bedtime. Hmmmm.....

In a few hours I will be racing around again, picking up Little Guy, bringing him home and throwing food at feeding him before heading off to the Battle of the Bands.  The Ball & Chain is making the very charitable offer of staying here to babysit. Might that be something to do with the fact that he thinks the gigs are FAR TOO LOUD?

And the reason the band is playing so much later? By dint of them having sold more tickets than all the other bands, they actually won the head-lining slot. Amazing. However, since they are 17, 16 and 14, and still in school, that slot (10.30pm) is a little too late for them, so they're going on at about 8pm.

Bless. Hey, rock and roll - when you don't have school.


  1. What wonderful dilemmas, all! Congrats on your son's band headlining Battle of the Bands! It's such vicarious fun watching our children's social lives. Enjoy! After all, you make it all possible!

  2. We have the one car, three destination problem! The babysitter model is enough to want me to have another child. x

  3. Wow, logistics! I hope that while everyone else was out partying, and rock n rolling, you had a lovely, relaxing snippet of time in an empty house! X

  4. My sister in law has kids aged 18,14 and 4 (though she's now also acquired some step kids of 18, 16 and 13, though they're not there all the time), and the biggest thing for the 4 year old has been her 18 year old sister, who's been like a second mum to her, going off to uni this year.

    At least the Little Guy is that bit older and more able to understand.

    I could not imagine going through it all again, though I have several friends who've done so with surprise (or planned) late babies.

    Perhaps if you could miss out the baby stage and get one that already goes to school... nope. Not even that. I just couldn't!

  5. Mrs B - yes, the Queenager's college departure was brutal for him and he's already announced that when the Man-child leaves home it will be the worst day of his life! I think that may have more to do with being left at home with the Parents!

  6. We really wanted another but it would also be a big gap (prob even bigger) and as we disappointingly haven't had any luck with that we console ourselves with stories like this! :)

    PS Well done to your rocker--how cool!!! I'll be first in line to buy tickets when he's at Wembley!!

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