I am 75 years old, had 4 children, got pregnant when I didn't mean to, and vice-versa. I had a boy, 2 1/2 yrs. later, a girl, 5 years later another boy, then 2 1/2 yrs. later, a girl. The 2 youngest had severe degestive problems, so the older ones were able to help some, had no dryer and cloth diapers, so they hung them outside on the yard fence, for me---did some cooking--helped at least, BUT on the other side, there was 8 years between the boys, and 8 years between the girls, but because the younger 2 had stomach cramps and diarrhea, they did not bond, nor have they since, in the stereotyped manner. However, the oldest boy and then his sister, were close, have similar interests, hunting and fishing, then the younger 2 --the boy oversaw and protected his younger sister with the boys, in high school. So there were pluses and minuses in both sets. When the oldest was 2 1/2 yrs, and his sister was born, he regressed, but I left the baby with my mom, when she was 4 days old, then took the little boy to town, bought him crayons and a coloring book, spent the afternoon with him, and that simple thing seemed to really help!! After that he would acknowledge her, but didn't wet the bed--he wasn't potty trained till he was 3 yrs. anyway, loved to play outside, and did not want to bother to come inside.
There is still a wall between the 2 girls, but I think that there different peresonalities, are responsible, more than the actual age difference---the "baby", feels like the "baby", no matter how hard I tried to keep things equal!!!
My analysis is, as much as I wish that they all had bonded more closely when younger, they are so different in some respects, it probably would not have mattered had they all been the stereotyped 2 yrs, in between each one, it is more on their personalities and how secure they FEEL. And that is not always possible for a mom to achieve, just accept the differences, be glad that now days you have SOME control over when you get pregnant, BUT in the long run, let them be themselves, they will connect at some point, you can NOT control personalities. I am finally accepting the fact that there is some bond, not as strong as I think it should be, but I am an only child and had unrealistic expectations of how children should act and feel! But my mom was one of 10 kids, and always complained about how she was ridiculed as a child, but that was her problem all through life, so I now realize it would not have mattered if her own mom had had access to our current thoughts on child care and development. We are the way we are, no matter when we were born! And sometimes we are our own worst enemy, no matter how dedicated our moms! PR