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When I was pregnant with my younger son, I remember my husband and I playing on the floor with our one-year-old and me thinking, “By having another baby, I’m changing him forever.”

Had we done the right thing? It scared me a little how much our decision to have another child would affect our first son. With that not-so-simple act, we were altering our family unit, how we’d interact with each other, and how much attention we could give him.

I’m sure some of my concern stemmed from fear that I wouldn’t know how to handle two kids, how to treat them fairly, or how to keep from having a favorite.

I was an only child, and while I enjoyed many aspects of it, I also longed for someone to hang out with when we moved or took long trips, to rehash family outings and events with from a fellow kids’ point of view, someone else who’d remember “that time when.”

Heck, I even wished I’d had someone who would force me to stand up for myself with other kids, because I never had to do it at home, and I was so, so timid.

When I married a man who was going to be in the Air Force, I knew I wanted at least two kids. Even if they hated each other—which they don’t—having someone to fight with seemed better than the sheer boredom of not knowing anyone your age.

Would my oldest prefer to be an only child? I’m afraid to ask. 😉 But from my perspective, I think my kids are better off for having each other. They have different personalities and interests, but in the end they have a shared history that binds them together.

If I’ve changed my son forever, I hope he’ll agree it was in a good way.

At least someday.

Tell your friends!


  1. Dunx


    Great post! So true.

    Did you talk to your oldest about the new arrival beforehand? We made sure to talk to our first born to make sure he knew there was another little person coming and he was so excited.

    Since we had #2 at home (just as we had the first) the older boy met his younger brother within only a few hours of his arrival. Very cool.

    • Reply

      Dunx: We definitely talked to him about it, and he’s always been a good big brother. They’re less than two years apart, which mostly helps I think, because it makes them contemporaries. Their concerns and experiences are fairly similar.

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. Reply

    Granted my “kids” are now grown and married with their very own kids, but I still remember wondering about this when our second child came along. The oldest was just nineteen months old, so it was a bit of a challenge. At the time, I thought we were crazy, but as the years flew by and my two sons became the best of friends, it just go better and better. I think you’ll find this to be the case as well.

    • Reply

      Dave: Ours are about 22 months apart, and we totally wanted it that way. Our plan was to get through the diaper phase as soon as possible. 😉

      All in all my boys–now teenagers–get along pretty well. Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one who thinks of stuff like this.

  3. Curtis


    You have two beautiful children. They look like they could move pretty fast.

    I had two boys and like Dave’s crew, grown now and married with kids.

    My two were five years a part but I raised them like twins. I kept them both in the middle of things all the time. The only plan I had was to love them and stay in the game way past the sound of the last buzzer. I chunked most of the “what if ” questions and grew weary of the psychological wa wa of the day rather quickly.

    I’m sure you’ve noticed that raising kids is a 24/7 operation. Sounds like to me you have it way under control. It is past scary how fast they grow up.

    How’s the crack of dawn rise and shine going? 🙂

    P.S. Two years separate my brother and me. That is a good thing. During the teen years a pair of brothers is a force to reckon with. Ain’t nobody messed with us yet. You never have to wonder who’s got your back. And neither do your parents.

    • Reply

      Thanks, Curtis. They’re old and ugly now though. 😉 Okay, just kidding. Personally I think they’re still pretty darn cute, even as teens.

      I love your plan “to love them and stay in the game way past the sound of the buzzer.” We’ve raised our kids to be pretty independent, but that doesn’t mean I want out of their lives when they hit 18.

      And as for the crack of dawn thing, my kids are handling it way better than I am! 🙂

      • Curtis


        RE: When they are post 18.

        Yeah, don’t miss that time. It is the pay off. Especially, when they cross the big 21. You will be amazed at the phone call you will get.

        My youngest called the other day. He is now 35. Blew my mind. We got into a “when he was a kid conversation” and he told me when he was a Teen and colored outside those lines that would really get him in trouble I would say to him, ” you’re better than that.” He went on to the next sentence. ” It taught me morals.”

        While I’m here. Cindy G. creates her action scenes with poetry. I wouldn’t kid you about that. She uses a blank verse style in paragraph form to create movement and rhythm. ( I really want to know if she knows it or not.)

        If you would like, I will post a reformatted couple of her paragraphs and you can see how it works.

        I can post it at the end of one of the back posts so it doesn’t show up
        in the middle of this one. Just let me know.

        • Reply

          Curtis, that’s awesome. I’ve had some great conversations with my kids already where they thanked me/us for helping them learn certain lessons. And even though I don’t want to rush through the next few years, I’m looking forward to watching them turn into men.

          Okay, I was a business major, so “blank verse style” means nothing to me. 😉 I’d love to see what you’re talking about. How about emailing it to me? (Use my Contact page.) And if you want, I can ask her if she knows she does it.

  4. Reply

    Gwen, my girls are 20 months apart. They’ve always been each others best friend and they still are at 22 and 24.

    I’m sure there are times they wish to be only children but mostly they have an enviable bond.

    I had 3 sisters so I never really considered having less than 2. I love your thoughtfulness about this.

    • Reply

      Mary: That seems to be a good distance in age. We were shooting for somewhere between 18-36 months apart. Close enough to be buds, but not so close to be too much for us to handle at once.

      I’m glad to hear your girls have such a good relationship!

  5. Reply

    Hi Gwen!

    Thoughtful post. I’ve had similar feelings. In my situation, my husband and I decided to bring a baby into the family through adoption. Our daughter was a spoiled, only child at eight-years-old when her sibling arrived on the scene. When we learned two years later that he has autism, I felt badly for the burden I feared she may feel as a result.

    Like you, I realized our choice had changed our daughter, and mostly for the better. She is more compassionate and tolerant, and appreciates the simple things in life–all traits I’d want for her to have. No matter how much they may fight at times, or wish they didn’t have to share our attention, I always remind them they have to love and stick up for each other–because that’s what siblings do.

    Thanks again, and enjoy those beautiful little guys. 🙂

  6. Reply

    Thanks, Jolyse. Wow, your decision had to be harder than mine, but I’m glad to hear it turned out well for your daughter, and it’s wonderful that a child in need now has a good home. That takes a big heart.

    We gave the “siblings stick up for each other” talk a lot when they were little. Still do occasionally, but they’re starting to catch on. 😉 Those beautiful little guys are not so little anymore. My youngest will be 13 next week (!), but I enjoy them every day.

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