Sharon reflects on parenting two children born 11 years apart and the challenges and rewards of such a large age gap.
‘When my eldest son was 11, I was at an age where my husband and I thought that if we wanted another child we had better decide now.
‘Having an only child often prompts people to ask when the next one will come along but I was happy to have only my son at the time. I was a stay-at-home mum and when we found out at pre-school that he needed a little extra help with learning and development, I was available to make him my full-time job. The extra work we did together paid off and as he got older he was happy and doing well at school.
‘When the baby came there were a lot of adjustments. I was used to a little free time during school hours and a fairly good night's sleep. My eldest son coped pretty well with the shift in attention but it wasn't always easy for him. His little brother was not a good sleeper and hated the car. We were restricted in going out, sleeping and also a little financially. We had to start all over again providing baby gear. I had found my quiet life gone and had to learn about babies again, since much information had changed since the first one.
‘Now my sons are 16 and almost five. They act like any other brothers - loving and fighting. The youngest looks up to his brother and emulates him to the point of being a little precocious for his age. The eldest is highly protective of his little brother but craves space too as any teenager does.
‘I think the gap between what they have in common grows smaller by the year and when they are older they will be best friends and always have each other.’