Is there a perfect age gap between having your kids? While a closer gap means that the gap between you and a full nights sleep is even further than you anticipated; a larger gap comes with it’s own set of pros and cons too. For me, the greatest concern has always been whether or not they will all get along. I think that’s why I put so much effort in creating a strong enough bond that connects them all, despite their age gaps.
When I think back to when I discovered I was expecting my second child when my first born was a mere 7 months old – I was petrified! Amidst a whole host of concerns – that was only amplified by the fact that I was 23 at the time of this discovery and about to totally lose my youth to un-brushed hair, poo nappies and sleep deprivation – was a very real concern for my little daughter. Will she love her sibling and will they get along?
Life was a struggle in the initial year or so…but the bond these 2 kids share is the ultimate reward. It makes me feel like I did something right! Sure they have their differences now and again, but together they have shared memories and a history that makes their bond and connection pure magic. It’s been a beautiful thing to watch.
Obviously I was scarred by having 2 kids so closely together, so I waited a full 6 years before having the third! This was kind of a great thing – for me obviously. I was older, wiser and pretty much knew what to expect. Motherhood came so much easier third time round. But that same nagging feeling still lingered like before…how will the older kids adapt to having a little sibling.
For the most part, my concerns were pretty futile. The kids LOVE their baby brother and everyone adapted to their new roles seamlessly. They were loving and protective and very much involved. My daughter became the nurturer – even making her baby brother sleep for many years, until she became a teen and decided she needed her own space; and it was nice to see my normally reckless older son become more cautious and aware around his little brother. I think the only struggle throughout has been a difference in interests or things we could do together as a family because of the age gap. A lot of the time the youngest one would miss out on things because he was too young. But somehow we managed to effectively work around it and found a working balance.
A Summer ago (2016) I was revelling in how well they were all getting along. How the older kids would call the younger one for company when he swam or cycled. How slowly, they were moving away from this protective roles, and were starting to share interests and spent hours doing things together. My heart wanted to burst!
But over the last 6 months, that 6 year gap has slowly started to show it’s ugly head again. It started out in little things really. Not being able to watch a particular movie because of age restrictions, not catching an inside joke, not able to move his body in the same way or at the same pace as the older kids, and the fact that sometimes the teenagers just wanted to go out alone. And it was all just amplified by the fact that ALL the cousins (whom we do practically everything with) are all similar in age. In fact, from the second to the fifth, they are all a year apart. And even though everyone always takes special care to include him, by the end of Summer 2017/18 I could see the frustration starting to mount.
Zee was feeling a little lost being the only 8 year old amongst all the teens and my heart broke just a little bit when he confessed his feelings to me. And then I went into complete overdrive trying to fix things! In that moment I made a commitment to tick off a few things he really wanted to do – WITH the older kids in tow – And that’s how we all landed up going to The Clay Café in Hout Bay.
About The Clay Café
The teens were initially unenthusiastic about this outing, thinking it was a venue for little kids – but they dragged themselves along anyway for the sake of their brother – and we all landed up being pleasantly surprised. It really is a place for all ages and it was really wonderful seeing so many people of varying ages all getting crafty. You get to choose from a wide selection of unfired pottery pieces – which includes some animated characters for the younger kids, as well as very functional pieces for the more mature – and a variety of paints and tools to help create crockery that is personalised and unique. But my favourite part of this place is the large open patio that leads to an immaculate garden that doubles as a play area for the kids! It’s really a beautiful venue with lots to offer besides painting ceramics. I went out expecting to paint clay pots, but the picturesque venue and experience as a whole has me wanting to go back over and over again. It’s especially great because it caters for everyone!
The Outside Area
Beautiful scenery and an immaculate garden area that is filled with all kinds of activities where the kids can spend hours and hours having fun. One could easily spend a whole day here and it’s also a perfect venue for a kids party. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves!
Juggling 3 kids of different ages is a lot hard work. You have 3 individuals with different interests and personalities all thrown together as siblings, and somehow you’ve got to make things work. You have to make sure that everyone’s needs are met, and that nobody feels left out or short changed. It’s struggle keeping all the balls in the air and you never get the balance right all the time (and neither do they get along all of the time) – and sometimes the struggle is amplified by bigger age gaps…but there’s always little signs that become visible when things are out of sync. The ball is constantly in motion and every couple of months we’ve got to rethink the way we do things, but whether it’s been a small gap or a big one we’re dealing with, I think we’ve managed to make it work so far…
Thanks for reading!