When is the Best Time to have Child Number 2?

I cannot stop thinking about the scene from Animal House when Kevin Bacon “assumes the position” and takes a fraternity paddle to the keister.

“Thank you, sir! May I have another?”

That phrase is relatable right now.

My daughter just turned one. She has been a blessing and has motivated me to be better at life.

That being said, the life adjustment was brutal.

So when is the perfect time to start thinking about child number 2?

For me and my wife, the decision for addition has come down to several future scenarios. Those scenarios are different for every couple.

While this is not a foolproof method for determining if you want another monster running around sooner or later, here are some things we considered.

Get back to “normal” first

The adjustment of the first child can be so life changing that many parents need some time to breathe before heading back into battle.

That makes sense. I experienced emotions that I had not dealt with until my daughter was born.

Taking a few years off from late-night feedings and diaper changes would not be so bad. In addition, having an older child can certainly be of great help when caring for a newborn. It might make things easier for parents. It teaches the elder child responsibility.

And as one of my friends said, “I would like to think that a four-year-old might not try to tackle an eight-month-old the way a 2.75-year-old does.”

Daughter needs a playmate

While I do not look forward to refereeing fights between my children, I have known for quite some time that I wanted kids aged two years apart. That was, of course, before I actually became a parent.

If they’re close in age, the siblings can entertain each other and eventually play games together, roughhouse in the backyard or challenge each other in “I Spy” on road trips.

I see benefits to social skills, teamwork and overall competitiveness. I also like the idea of the two being at the same schools – they can look out for each other.

Get the baby stages out of the way

I asked a few friends, who had children that were more than two years apart, for their thoughts. One of the most striking comments I heard was the difficulty going back to the infant stage after a long period away from it.

“It was like starting over after just getting through the baby stage,” one friend said, whose kids are nearly four years apart.

The first year is rough, no doubt. However, I’m the type of guy who likes to get the bad things out of the way quickly, if possible. It is like going to college: The years of notes, studying and exams had a great payoff.

What does research say?

Many of the studies out there say kids that are fewer than 2 years apart are less likely to be close emotionally. Other say two and a half years is the sweet spot.  Three-plus years tends to mean less competition and fighting.

While this is helpful in some ways, it has not impacted my decision.

Everyone is different

Ultimately, it really does not matter if you wait a few years or pursue it quickly – the parents I spoke to were happy regardless.

My wife and I sat down recently and discussed the pros and cons. She has been pumping breast milk for a year. She did most of the late-night feedings. Bless her heart. I would understand if she wanted a break from that.

But my wife is different. She has a heart of gold and wants another bundle of joy. Given that three of her siblings are a few years apart, she is ready.

How could I tell her no? There’s only one thing left to say.

“Thank you. May I have another?”

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