Elma Family Kitty Motherhood Photography Pip

Don’t mind the gap


Space for the Butterflies - on the gap between babies

Pip is 20 months. He’s now the age that Elma was when he was born, and when Kitty was his age she was well on the way to becoming a big sister. Even writing that down I feel like I need to go back and count back and just double check that that’s really right.

It doesn’t feel like it should be right, the idea of being pregnant right now, let alone actually having a newborn seems completely crazy to me.

And it made me wonder why. Part of it I’m sure is that after my body took a bit of a pasting making space for my very tall son I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed to leave at least two years before I even thought about more children and so any conversations that H and I have had about whether we’re done at three or want to try for four/an entire football team have been very hypothetical; it’s just not something we need to make a decision about just yet and so my subconscious isn’t really thinking about it.

But a lot of it is the children themselves. When we had Kitty we knew even before she was born that we wanted to give her a sibling, and without too big a gap. With only one child to two parents it was easy to be confident that we could still give her everything she needed and look after a new baby sister. And that baby sister was, and remains, the most fiercely independent of my little trio, and the best at sleeping.

She started to sleep through the night so much earlier than Kitty (who took her time) and Pip (still waiting on that one!) and I think the only way to describe it is that by the time her brother arrived she was as ready to be a big sister as we were to parent three children. It has never felt like we rushed Elma or somehow cheated her of her turn as the baby of the family and she in turn is thriving as the much adored middle, fun for playing ‘go to school’ with Kitty (that was this morning’s game as I was getting ready), or just for hugging by Pip.Space for the Butterflies - on the gap between babies

Pip though, oh my little boy. I look at pictures of him and I see a little boy, with messy blond hair and a big smile, running and trying to jump, and rugby tackling his sisters as a sort of squish-hug, and I grab his shoes and for a moment think that they’re Elma’s (he’s currently a size 6!) and in all those things I can see how very grown up he is becoming, on the cusp of moving from babyhood and into childhood.

And then there are the moments when he sees me coming through the door and runs arms outstretched, only happy when he’s up in my arms, burying his head in my neck, or the times when he sees H giving me a hug and tries to shove him out the way with an expression that very clearly says that Pip does not share Mama. He falls asleep in my arms and when he wakes in the night he comes straight back to me, curling up in the crook of my arm and snuggling down.

Every now and then he’ll finish his milk and lie back looking at me, the most beautific milk drunk smile you’ve ever seen, and very slowly his eyelids will drop and close and he will fall asleep still smiling.

And in those moments he is every inch a baby, and still needs to be a baby, and I think that had we presented him with a baby sibling right now he would really have struggled in a way that Kitty and Elma never did.

If we ever have more children the gap to Pip will be the biggest yet, and bigger than the only other gap I truly know, the one between me and my sister. But I’m oddly comforted that that doesn’t bother me in the slightest.  If the time comes to add to our family then the gap will be whatever it will be. But right now? My heart and hands are full, and I can’t imagine it any other way.


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  • Louise | Squished blueberries 12/05/2016 at 9:36 am

    What a great attitude to have, I wish I could be like that but I feel like if we are going to have a fourth then we need to have around a 2 year gap again and definitely no bigger than 2 1/2 years. I don’t know why because waiting longer, if we were to have another, makes a lot more sense, and I’m definitely young enough that it wouldn’t be a problem, but I guess I’m just a ‘do what I know’ kind of person. I would be worried that the fourth child would be left out or would be babied forever, and all silly things like that that won’t actually happen. It’s annoying that I have this hang up about it though because it makes me feel like I’m on a ticking clock to make a decision which puts it always at the back of my mind. And like you, I very much doubt that I’ll be ready to go through pregnancy and the newborn stage again less 18 months from now. I wonder how I’ll feel when I get to the stage you are at now and Ernie is coming up to 2? I love reading your blog, it’s definitely like a glimpse into the future for me! Pip is definitely looking more grown up now, but he still has his little baby face that is so cute.

  • My Two Mums 12/05/2016 at 10:20 am

    This is beautifully written. For us the gap for our next one is going to be quite large. But it’s all that is possible for us. I am actually pleased as having these years with our son have been amazing and I feel he would be an awesome big brother now.

  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 12/05/2016 at 7:15 pm

    Ahhh… Love the football team reference… Is that five-a-side, or a full team?! Only time will tell, I guess! Having very similar thoughts/conversations over here! A really interesting read… Thank you! And ps… Pip is adorable!

  • Donna 12/05/2016 at 8:45 pm

    I wrote a post like this when Troy turned 20 months, the age Athena was when he was born. He seemed so, so little and not nearly big enough to be a big sibling and yet A had been thrown into this role and loved it when she was that same dinky age x

  • sustainablemum 12/05/2016 at 9:58 pm

    A lovely post. I have four and half years between my two children. I would have liked more (children that is) but time was not on my side ;). I wanted less years between my children but in reality I love the gap I have. It is a good idea to give our bodies a rest but a family will be what it is, there is no right or wrong and we all love what we are blessed with 🙂

  • Eline @ Emmy + LIEN 16/05/2016 at 10:50 am

    I love these brain meanderings of yours. I’ve had many about “the gap” in the last three years because I always thought we’d have two kids with no more and a 2.5 to 3-year difference. M is now pelting towards 3.5 at breakneck speed and we, as a family, are not there yet. This has really, really surprised me but it is what it is and that’s okay. The gap will be big, if and when we find ourselves ready for another baby, but I’ve no doubt it’ll be just the right size for us.

  • Sally 02/06/2016 at 2:55 pm

    Ahhh, they’re all special and individual in their own ways, and although it’s impossible to have favourites, there is something specifically special about the one who still loves and needs you in that particular way, the one who’s still your baby.