Anonymous

Parents of 3 or more, talk to me about the “caboose” baby

I have two children less than a year apart who are extremely bonded and seem to be joined at the hip most of the time. It’s a special relationship that has been really good for both of them. Now we’re considering #3 but the age gap from the two older kids would be at least 5 years. 😱 Are we going to regret having one so much younger than the other two? I’m worried it would create a third wheel situation where they grow up more like an only child and outsider to their siblings. One mom even told me if I want 3 to plan for 4 so the third one can have a sibling they can be close to!

  • Elle
    Nov 21

    As the "caboose" baby myself, I can say that yes, there is a possibility that those things might all happen. But they aren't all negatives, and there are a bunch of positives. For instance, you guys are probably much more experienced, patient, wiser parents now after the first two kiddos. She'll benefit from that. You never know what the first two kiddos' reaction to her might be. They might fight amongst each other to play with the little one. She might be both of their favorites. So long as you have a family friend with a kid the same age, that's fine. That can be her 'buddy'.

  • Andrea
    Nov 21

    I am the youngest, with my older siblings being 6, 10, and 12 years older than me. I definitely had and have a different relationship with my siblings than friends I know who have siblings closer in age. Some of it has been good - my parents had built in babysitters, I was the waaaaaay baby and everyone wanted to hang out with me... - until I was older. It was, i think, a more lonely childhood for it, though. I desperately wanted a younger sibling but that was never going to happen. I had good friends that lived nearby, so that helped. But even now, as a full fledged, and successful adult, I think my siblings still see me as “the baby”. Also, that 6 year old HATED me as a child for taking all of the attention previously showered on him. It wasn’t all bad, don’t get me wrong, but it certainly made me want to have my kids closer. But that’s me and my family. Everyone is different.

  • Anonymous
    Nov 21

    My husband and his two sisters are close in age... then his younger brother is 10 years younger than the second youngest. I think there’s pros and cons to anything of course. He seems lonely often, as he’s going through his teenage years alone, but is extremely babied by everyone and seems to be the closest to each individually. Aren’t we all molded by our individual experience, whether it is good or bad or falls somewhere in between? I don’t think this should stop you from having another child at all. Good luck!

  • Julie
    Nov 21

    Not at all!!! I’m the second youngest in a really big family. My parents didn’t plan any of their kids, we all just happened whenever. Lol. I’m 4 years younger than my next oldest sibling and I’m 8 years older than my little brother. There are 9 of us in all and none of us feel left out!!! Your younger child will have a different relationship with their two older siblings and will probably form more friendships with kids their age. Also I hope there’s nothing wrong with being an only child because I cannot convince my husband to try for number 2 and my ovaries are about to age out. So if things go the way they seem to, my daughter will be an only child. 😐.

  • T
    Nov 21

    I have three kids 14,12,&3. My first two are the same gender & 14m apart. My 3rd a boy fits right in. From the very beginning. You’ll never regret expanding your family imo.

  • Megan
    Nov 21

    I’m the youngest of three. My brother is only 17 mo older and my sister is 4 years older. I was definitely the outcast growing up! My brother ran with my sister and all of our cousins were older. So there were hard times growing up where I felt left out or left behind, picked on etc. BUT it was also some of the funnest times of my life and amazing memories that we all laugh about now! My husband was the youngest of three as well, and his story is a little different. He has two older sisters who are, I believe 4-5 years older. He had a ton of neighborhood friends that are like brothers to him. I guess my point is every family dynamic, every person is different, everyone goes through ups and downs growing up, but I have never heard anyone say they wish they never had that third child, or I wish my younger sibling wasn’t here. Just think of all the amazing moments and memories that are just waiting!

  • Kieli
    Nov 21

    I am the youngest of 3 with an age gap between the first two. The oldest (my sister) is 10 years older than me. We’ve always been close. Especially as I got older. I didn’t really feel left out necessarily, because I had neighbors and friends at school. And I also didn’t ever feel that sibling “rivalry” that people talk about

  • Sara
    Nov 21

    I'm a big believer that you don't have to be close in age to be close. Yes the first few years they may not have much in common but even kids only a year apart are in a very different place developmentally early on. For the majority of their lives the age difference won't mean much so I wouldn't worry about the early years.

  • Chareesa
    Nov 21

    As the youngest, 8 and 10 years apart from my siblings.. they equally picked on me and came to me for entertainment.. like if they wanted a buddy, someone to try things with/on (dress up or exploring new places), someone to teach what they've learned. As adults we are now equals. My sister and I are best friends and my brother comes to me when he needs someone to confide in.

  • Jennifer
    Nov 21

    I was the caboose. It was hard at times growing up and I did always want a sibling closer to me in age but now that we’re all older it’s great! I’m grateful for how it turned out

  • Anonymous
    Nov 22

    I’m the oldest and the age gap between me and the youngest is 8 years. The “baby” of the family feels left out a lot. We were all driving long before he was, we never wanted to bring him out with our friends, so he was basically an only child, but with a glimpse of sibling relationships that he was never really part of. He only benefited as a baby and toddler then the novelty wore off and he was just the annoying little tail of a little brother.

  • Brenna
    Nov 23

    I have three. The first two are 17 months apart (although I suspect that they were supposed to be twins and God knew I’d never survive! But they’re that close—boy and girl). Then 3 1/2 years later we had a third. My kids were 4 and 3 at the time, and it took a while before it really impacted anything. By the time she was 2, she wanted to be able to play with the big kids, but was too small for a lot of the stuff they did. However, the older she got, the better it got! She’s now 6 and she plays great with my 9 and 10 year old. She knows she’s the baby, and she totally works it, but the older ones love her and love having her. There’s always friction if a friend comes to play—either they like the novelty of a little kid or the little kid likes the idea of a big sister or brother. Because she’s a girl, my middle child-a boy-is probably left out more often than the baby, but I suspect that even if I’d had a 4th and it was a girl that would still be the case. Having it not having a kid is a hard choice, but I believe the purpose of families is to help us grow to be better human beings, and so there are going to be growing pains, but overall those are chances for your family to figure out how to be kinder, more compassionate, empathetic, understanding, selfless people. When a kid feels left out, you navigate those waters and like sand paper smoothing surfaces, the interactions that cause sibling irritation can also be the interactions that smooth them out and make them softer. The thing about Love is that you can’t max out on your capacity to feel it. So if you teach your kids that another sibling is just one more person that will love them, and one more person to love, and that loving each other is the most important thing, than the inevitable issues will be bumps in the road and not complete

  • Dada G
    Nov 23

    I have a different angle to add. My sister was born several years after the rest. I remember us all playing a lot together until I hit puberty etc. However here is what I wanted to add. Today my sister is super successful with two daughters of her own. She is an amazing mom to them and all of that was possible because she is here. So I wouldn’t worry too much about the gap assuming everything is fine. The caboose child just might start her/his own railroad :)

  • Lauren
    Nov 23

    I don’t have 3 kids but my husband’s older brothers are only 18 months apart and he’s 11 years younger than the oldest one. Now that they’re all adults he’s closest with the oldest one, so I believe that in the long run the age difference doesn’t really matter.