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What’s the best age gap between kids?

We have only recently been lucky enough to welcome a newborn boy into our family not long before our daughter turned 4. We know from people we’ve met and what we see that 4 years is a pretty long age gap between the kids. The other thing I have noticed is how many comments we get from people saying “that’s a good gap”.

This is usually from people who have children. So what is a good age gap between kids? What are some of the positives and negatives of having kids close together versus far apart? Personally, in my lived experience the age gap has been invaluable.

Firstly, having a child previously made our second so much easier to handle. The age gap simply meant that there are so many tasks that our eldest can do on their own so that looking after the baby hasn’t been too challenging. For one, I don’t have to change any nappies for our eldest and they are completely toilet trained.

If I had two kids close together that’s more likely to be two kids that need their bums changed at the same time. The thought alone stresses me out. However, I can see that sometimes having two kids close to the same age can be beneficial.

For one, the kids get to share many milestones in their lives close together. They will go to school not long after each other, and they will both have a playmate around the same age hanging around (when they’re not fighting of course!) It can also be for personal reasons such as age, fertility and, of course, many don’t plan their pregnancies.

But if you are planning your pregnancies have a good hard think about how long you want to wait between children. That is of course if you want more than one. Two is our limit for sure, and I know a third child would result in complete chaos for our household!

What’s the age gap between your children? What do you think a good gap is?

We stopped ALL TV Shows for our 3-year-old child

I am writing this in a happier state of mind after we have now had our 3-year-old without TV shows for three or four days now. To be clear, this isn’t a brag (I can get me kid to stop watching tv isn’t that amazing!) because it came about over frustration.

Our little one isn’t much in the way of trouble except for the usual things, but because she has our TV in the loungeroom AND a Google device in her room, she was just getting WAY too much screentime. I really noticed that it was affecting her mood, especially with her demands for “more shows”.

The modern age of streaming doesn’t help at all either with all the devices and streaming services generally autoplaying shows continually until everyone in the house has gone insane.

It was really hard at first because we had to face full-on tantrums when we denied a show, especially “he who shall not be named” (I mean “Blippi” – and if you don’t know who Blippi is then you lead a blessed life!) However, despite the tantrums you have to remember that you are an adult and you don’t need to be only surrounded by kids shows all day.

As I said, we had a rough start weaning her off of TV shows, but even after a couple of days, there was a definite improvement in behaviour. It was such a rewarding sound to hear her now listening to instrumental versions from the Bluey show and singing along to the melody.

“Keepy Uppy” the Bluey tune Ally has learned to hum along to.

I have found her to be so much more creative now that she isn’t watching so many TV shows and definitely more talkative. We’ve all had little ones turn into micro zombies while they stare at Baby Sharks or Emma Wiggle on the TV so it’s a nice change to see them more interactive with their environment.

BUT, I have to say that as parents our children also copy our behaviour too. I love film and television (it’s part of what I studied at University) and have Netflix AND Amazon Prime. I also work online predominately so all day sometimes can be screentime if I’m working.

So hopefully I can learn from my daughter here and also try and cut down on the screen time. The irony being of course I have to be sitting here on a screen typing this out right now.

Thanks for visiting my Dad blog, Daderoo. I hope you can share my writing if you enjoy it (don’t share it if you didn’t of course!)

All the best with controlling your child’s screen time!


The emergency room is one of parenting’s biggest challenges

I have had to take a little break from Daderoo after my own health was facing some problems. I wanted to write about this topic today because a trip to the emergency department was something that really impacted my mental health. The trauma of having your little one being very sick combined with the rushed trip to a hospital emergency department can leave the best of us laying in a pile of emotional wreckage.

Our little one has asthma and so our stressful runs to the hospital have usually been respiratory, and knowing your little one can’t breathe properly does not help to keep your mind focused on getting them the right help. Obviously, any ailment that requires you to rush your child to the hospital will be traumatic. I am speaking of my own experience which has gotten better the more used to the emergency department I became.

Our baptism of fire came when little Ally became very congested. We had already been to the emergency department months earlier I think and thought that was the worst it could get (we had a short hospital stay). I still remember after getting prioritised by triage nurses, standing next to the bin beside the hospital bed where my wife held my little one and an entire team of respiratory doctors and nurses were working on her.

I felt like climbing inside the bin. That’s how useful I felt at that moment. Knowing you can do nothing to help your child is the most disempowering feeling. Our little Ally was later put in an induced coma and we stayed in the paediatrics intensive care unit taking shifts watching over her.

I never fully realised the impact this event had on me until my own mental health began to deteriorate after this (in combination with some other unfortunate events in my life) which eventually led to a hospitalisation for myself. Thankfully, that led to FINALLY receiving a diagnosis for a mental health problem I have had and lived with for around 20 years.

Because I am aware of my own problems (even without a direct diagnosis that I now have) I was always very mindful of my mental health. It was only when I was in that pressure cooker of a situation that my symptoms became difficult to manage. Children seem to have a way of breaking us down in a way that we can become used to what is a high level of stress. Like they are preparing us for everything that is to come over the years.

It’s not all bad though, I have some very fond memories of staying in hospital with our daughter, hanging out. There is also those wonderful moments when you get to see your child start to recover. When our daughter was in intensive care, that was when the tubes started coming out or when she started to eat again.

Emergency room visits are something that will definitely come up for every parent. Make sure you know where your local hospital is (and that it has an active emergency department as some don’t) and do a practice run there if you get super stressed under pressure. The important thing is to listen to your own intuition. If your little one is really not behaving like they normally do and you feel like you should take them to hospital then do it.

We felt like we didn’t want to burden the hospital with an unnecesary visit, but believe me, we have had visits where our daughter was fine and we were just sent home. If we had second guessed our instinct on some of our trips to the hospital then we may have ended up calling an ambulance.

Thanks for reading my Dad blog, it’s nice to be back writing like this. I am also a parent with bipolar affective disorder, and so I hope to write a little more on parenting with mental health challenges also, especially since I’ve touched on it a little in this post. Look after yourselves!


Are “antivaxxers” child abusers?

Vaccinations have changed children’s health for the better for decades now. So why the sudden backlash?

We recently had the unfortunate opportunity to experience the emergency ward in a hospital twice within a month. I haven’t written about it until now because, to be honest, it was extremely traumatic for our child, my wife, and for me.

Now, our daughter ended up in intensive care for her second trip to the hospital. For those of you with a small child that has never been in intensive care with their child, you can imagine how awful it is. This was from a pretty common virus within the community (not too dissimilar to the common cold).

Imagine if your child ended up in hospital, intensive care or not, for an illness that is easily prevented. Those often unseen illnesses that we don’t worry about because of vaccinations. Well, thanks to the “anti vaccination” movement (yes, it’s an entire movement) some of those almost eradicated diseases are making a comeback. 

Already here in Australia there have been multiple outbreaks of measles. In New Zealand there was a huge outbreak where the entire south island ran out of vaccines. Likewise, just recently there has been a ban on unvaccinated children in parks in New York due to a measles outbreak.

Now, I don’t blame antivaxxers for he existence of measles. Neither do doctors and scientists. They do however blame them for fuelling and spreading the outbreaks. If you think of many vaccinations as a kind of firebreak this makes more sense. If the viruses have nowhere safe to “jump” to, the outbreak can be contained and halted.

I don’t even blame the antivaccination movement for their own beliefs. These are people who believe so deeply in wacky conspiracy theories (like autism is caused by vaccines – when it is caused by other factors including the age of the parents) that they do things like wear yellow stars at protests comparing themselves to Jews who were rounded up and gassed:

These are unwell people. In the same way we would protect children who are experiencing neglect from their parents due to lack of food, or exposure to drugs and alcohol, isn’t it time to start prosecuting adults who neglect the care of their children? At least in Australia we now deny these people any form of government child payments until their vaccines are up to date.

To end this post, please, if you see someone on your social media, or in your day to day life professing conspiracy theories about vaccines, don’t let it slide. It’s a form of child abuse and it places more than just their child’s life and health at risk. As a community we need the entire community to exhibit immunity, otherwise we cannot eradicate terrible diseases that medicine has the means to eradicate.

The greatest birthday present

Our amazing girl and her dainty birthday cake smash.

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, now that my beautiful daughter is one year old. The reason being that I had the joy of having my daughter literally a couple of days after my own birthday.

Now, my wife always worries that they don’t buy me amazing birthday presents, and because I can get carried away with gifts for her. But really, what can compare with growing a person for your partner?

Admittedly, she didn’t carry the the child as some kind of elaborate birthday present idea. In fact our baby was well past term. Still, now I have something great to look forward to every year as we father and daughter can celebrate their birthdays together.

I’ve already said, since there is a day between our birthdays, that it will be a day for mum, so all three of us in our little family can celebrate each other. I never really cared much about my birthday, but now it’s going to be bigger than Christmas!

I’ve been a little busy with my business and my creative art and writing work, so just a short post today, but will definitely be back on here soon to write about childhood health and parenting as well because if some not so great experiences lately. Thanks for visiting Daderoo, I’ll also be tidying up the look of the site soon too to make the front page easier to browse individual blog posts.