When venturing into our parental journey, our hope was always to have our second child when our first was around two years old. Once Roman reached 6 months, I secretly started fantasizing about having another much sooner. Strangely enough, before that 6 month point I had trouble imagining having another at all. I wasn’t traumatized by my experience with Roman; I was just so intensely attached to him that having another baby felt like a betrayal of some sort.
At my last ob appointment, while I was buckling Roman into his stroller to leave, my doctor said, “Aren’t you a little sad, he’s still just a baby?”
I’m not sad, so apparently I went from one extreme to the other. I feel happy for my children that they will have each other through all their years. I daydream about them playing together, about family dance parties and adventures. (I feel it is important to document this now, so my future self can look back and laugh when they are pulling each others hair out.)
After finding out I was pregnant with our second baby I was so hungry for feedback on what to expect with this 18 month age gap. Every mother I encountered at the playground with a toddler and an infant was greeted with the ever popular, “how old are they?” followed by a slew of more questions if it turned out they were in fact “two under two.” I quickly got the impression that it isn’t something people like to talk about, as it seems they’ve learned already that when it comes to siblings it all depends on the individual children and every age gap has its perks and drawbacks through different phases.
I was also just so curious what to expect of my son as an 18 month old. How much will he understand; how well will he be able to express himself; what milestones and behavior bumps will he be experiencing? After some observation of 18 month olds, I concluded there will be no predictability with this either. Roman recently experienced a long independent streak followed by an intensely clingy phase, suddenly exhibiting jealousy when he sees me holding another baby or hugging family members. I am completely clueless as to what the next 4 months might bring. Right now he hasn’t the slightest idea what is going on. We point to my belly and say, “Isn’t mamma’s belly getting big?” but he has no interest. I can picture him looking at his sister with sweet curiosity, the way I see him check out the other infants he’s encountered, but I can’t imagine how this will affect him, what he’ll think, and how long it will take him to understand.