There were benefits to the relatively small gap. We "shared" toys and interests, and we had a playmate whenever we wanted one. We banded together easily against my mom when I wasn't busy hacking off her long, flowing, waist-length blond locks in a fit of jealousy when I was four (my own hair was as it is now: thin, scraggly, and pin-straight), and she wasn't bent on avenging her hair loss by stabbing me in the forehead with a fork several years later.
But I spent a lot of time at my grandma's when I was a child, and I did so because she lavished me with undivided attention. She took me out to lunch. She took me shopping and bought me whatever I wanted. She took me to the arcade and handed me fistfuls of quarters so I could dominate the Ms. Pac Man machine. I was treated like a queen at her house. My every wish was fulfilled, while my little sister stayed home with my mom, receiving her own undivided attention.
I've been thinking a lot about the age gap between my children: 2 years and 2 months. I know many of you commented that Isabella would be behaving the way she is with or without the twins, and I know you're probably right. But I often think that if I had waited to try and have a second child until she was three (or older), things right now might be a whole lot better.
A few weeks ago, my dad gave me two books about dealing with the "Terrible Twos." I was thumbing through one the other day and I came across an interesting study. According to a group of child behavioral specialists, the ideal spacing between children is 3.5 years. The first child has ample time to be the "sitting king or queen," and is secure enough to share her world and her parents' attention with a sibling. The first child might be starting preschool at this age too, which helps add another valuable and exciting dimension to the child's life, which until that point was centered mainly around her parents.
Perhaps there's something to this. Isabella craves my attention and when she can't get it because I'm occupied with the twins, I know she's upset and acts out. She plays by herself a lot now, which is great, but she still asks for me to involve myself in her play too, and more often than not, I can't. Friday was a particularly bad day here, and when the hubs got home from work, I started to get my jacket on to go for a quick walk, and Isabella lost it and begged me not to leave. That's something she's never done before. She also dragged me away in tears from a photo the hubs was taking of me and the twins. She couldn't articulate why she was doing this, but I knew why all the same.
The twins didn't arrive my accident. Fertility treatments, especially IVF and FET, grant you the unique ability to choose the month of your child (or children's) birth, assuming the cycle is successful. I wanted my children close in age, but I think I didn't give enough consideration to just how this would affect Isabella before I jumped into the FET.
Would waiting another year or two have mattered? These days, I tend to think it would have.