Expat Magazine

The "Age-Gapped" Family

By Expatmum @tonihargis
I have a few friends at the moment having a third child with more then the usual gap between this one and the older two. A bit like me - 10 and 7 years between the teens and the (surprise) 9 year old.
As with everything, there are pluses and minuses with that big of an age gap.
On the one hand, when you come home with the baby, the older two are potty-trained (more or less) can tie their own shoelaces, brush their teeth and do their homework with minimal heckling from the kitchen. For a while at least, they are besotted with the baby and keep him/her/it amused for hours - until the novelty wears off.
On the other hand, you end up with kids who have very little in common in terms of entertainment. I don't think we've ever been to see a movie together, since by the time the Little Guy was old enough to really follow them (say about 5) the other two were well past Disney. Once they're teenagers, it gets easy again because you can leave them in the house and "do things" with the youngest. This by the way, usually involves taking a friend along for company since he doesn't have a sibling to enjoy things with. Unfortunately, although you have built-in babysitters for a few years, this vanishes in an instant when the teens start with the social life.
"What do you mean you're going out on Saturday? I need you to babysit".
"Yes, but you can't tell me one day before. You never mentioned it till now".
Today is a great example of the conflicting needs of an "age-gapped" family.
The Queenager had a flight back to college and needed to be at the airport at 1pm. The Little Guy had a party ten miles away at 1.30pm. The Man-Child and his bandmates were playing in the Battle of the Bands and needed my car to schlepp the equipment. Voila - le dilemma. Two cars, two parents and three destinations.
We headed to the airport and got there with enough time to see the Q to the security line, before racing back to the car to deliver Party Guy to his destination. One kind family offered to bring him home since they were staying in the neighborhood of the party; I leapt at their offer since the Ball & Chain and I had to drive 30 miles south to the Band face-off. Which, of course, was made even more complicated by no one knowing what time the band were actually going on. So I came home and waited for texts. Oh, and blogged of course.
So I'm now sitting here in a completely empty house. The Little Guy conned the kind family into going home and playing with their son for a while longer, and it appears the Man-Child's band isn't going on till almost my bedtime. Hmmmm.....
In a few hours I will be racing around again, picking up Little Guy, bringing him home and throwing food at feeding him before heading off to the Battle of the Bands.  The Ball & Chain is making the very charitable offer of staying here to babysit. Might that be something to do with the fact that he thinks the gigs are FAR TOO LOUD?
And the reason the band is playing so much later? By dint of them having sold more tickets than all the other bands, they actually won the head-lining slot. Amazing. However, since they are 17, 16 and 14, and still in school, that slot (10.30pm) is a little too late for them, so they're going on at about 8pm.
Bless. Hey, rock and roll - when you don't have school.

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