When I got pregnant with our second child, Cameron, it didn’t initially dawn on me what I was in for. And to be honest, it wasn’t until after Cameron was born that I realized what we had done. It most assuredly was not on purpose, but nonetheless, there we were with 2 under 2, “Irish Twins”, a very new one-year-old and a newborn.
WHY DID WE DO THIS?!
Like I said, it wasn’t necessarily planned to have our kids be this close in age. We weren’t even thinking of having a baby any time soon as we were in the midst of dealing with Kaiden’s foster care / adoption process. And then I realized my sporadic monthly visitor was even later than normal. Then there it was, the positive pregnancy test that launched me into a club of moms (and dads) of a special breed.
It was probably a good thing I didn’t know what we were getting into because I would’ve been horrified had I known. It never hit me what it would be like to keep a one-year-old from terrorizing the house as I learned how to breastfeed our newborn. One of many lessons I’ve learned along the way — sometimes things don’t go according to plan and you’ve just gotta roll with it.
Raising “Irish Twins”, otherwise known as children 10-12 months apart in age (our boys are 13 months apart, but they’re close enough that I lump them into that group), has been a true test of brawn and willpower. And honestly, I feel like I deserve a medal (or a really good bottle of wine) for making it out alive to tell the tale.
- They’re close enough in age that when one is a baby, the other is a baby, so you’ve got two babies on your hands. But they’re far enough apart that while one is crawling (or walking in some cases) around ripping things off the table and throwing food everywhere, you’re also trying to nurse your newborn and pump in between. And forget about eating.
- You have two kids in diapers. Let’s repeat that — you have TWO in diapers. Some people even have three in diapers at once and hats off to them. You basically are an expert diaper changer by the end of it all and can likely hold a title in the Guiness Book of World Records for quickest butt wiper on the planet.
- Sometimes your one year old isn’t walking yet. That was us. When Cameron was born, Kaiden hadn’t even started walking yet (and didn’t do so for several more months). So I was carrying around two babies everywhere we went. That got old (and tiresome) real fast.
- Because they’re both still very much in the baby stage at the same time, they also enter the toddler stage at the same time at varying degrees of temper tantrums and independence. See below as to why to not attempt a doctor visit alone with two under two (yes, I tried twice and failed both times):
- Everything happens at the same time. They have to eat at the same time. They nap at the same time (this is a win except when they’re both too cranky to nap). They poop at the same time, which means changing many, many diapers at the same time. They bath at the same time. While I’ve never lived the life of having twins, life with “Irish Twins” is a runner up in my book.
- The second child learns everything a lot faster thanks to older big sis or big bro. This can be a good and bad thing, but for us it’s been great. You already have your hands full with two babies or toddlers and your time is diminished easily. Our youngest was walking sooner, eating on his own sooner and has shown signs of wanting to be potty trained a lot sooner thanks to big bro.
- You go through all the stages at the same time and get them over with. This is both a hardship and a joy. As stated above you are in the trenches for basically two years, but once the baby stage is over – it’s over! And once the toddler stage is over – it’s over! You get to experience it all at once and move on to a small piece of heaven where you aren’t wiping butts or making a bottle (I’ve yet to reach the no wiping of butts stage — I’ll report back and let you know just how glorious that is).
- The Irish Twins will never know what life was like without the other. The transition of bringing a newborn home is minimal when it comes to behavioral issues or outbursts. We had a short day or so time frame of our one-year-old adjusting to sharing life with a sibling, but then it was over and we all moved on. He’ll never know life without his brother. And that is really a wonderful thing.
- The most obvious best part? They are best friends. Because they’re so close in age they have nearly all the same interests. They are truly partners in crime (which is scary at times), but knowing they have a built in best friend is so rewarding. Seeing the two of them play together and laugh at each other makes all the really hard times so worth it.
While I’m not going to say I’d recommend having children this close in age, the perks and the love shared between them far outweigh the hardships. And I’m confident they will continue to be best friends throughout their life. So if I was able to give them anything, I gave them each other. What better gift is there?
Thank you so much!! I’ve been googling and googling Irish twin tips for 6 weeks now and this by far has been the most reassuring advice yet. What adorable little dudes you have!
My babies are 14 months apart and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When they were babies it was a bit hard. I am confined to a wheelchair due to a car accident when I was 18, so that added a little more difficulty. My older one is so amazingly good. Th
We were always asked if they were twins
Thanks for this. My father was an Irish twin, but even though he was very much wanted by his biological mother, from what I’ve been told, his very Irish family was too poor, and the grandmother wouldn’t help with what was the 2nd boy in 9 months, as well as the 3rd or 4th overall, so he was put up for adoption. As far as I know, the family still lives downriver in Trenton or thereabouts, but I haven’t located them just yet. Maybe one day.
Nikki. Thank you for this article. It sounds like our stories are similar! We have Irish Twins. The oldest is in foster care (hopeful for adoption soon) and the youngest is biological! I appreciate your joys and hardships. Friends of mine who have a parenting ministry asked me to write for their blog. So I was jotting down some of my own thoughts on raising Irish Twins when I can across your article! Thanks for sharing!