I’m always on the hunt for a good deal. I clip coupons, browse yard sales, and search Amazon and eBay before buying anything of significant value.
Like disposable diapers.
Which is why the day I left the maternity ward with a newborn baby swaddled in each arm, I was certain I had hit the jackpot. I had two babies (count them: one, two). And yet I had endured only one nine-month bout of morning sickness, one set of stretch marks, and one harrowing delivery with nurses yelling, “Don’t push!” while they fumbled with broken stirrups on my hospital bed. Eventually, both babies arrived safely, but only after my husband grabbed my feet and said, “Forget the stirrups. Push!”
The delivery room fiasco was quickly forgotten as I stared in wonder at my twins, convinced I had found the best deal in town: Two babies, for the price of one pregnancy.
For the first year, despite sleep deprivation, sore nipples, and numerous failed attempts at putting my boys on the same schedule, I was in baby heaven. I was among the few, the proud, the Moms of Multiples.
Looking back, when I was pregnant I thought twins were a neonatal version of buy-one-get-one-free. But after Randy and Christopher arrived, reality sank in: Have two, pay double. Sure, there’s only one pregnancy, but two babies need . . . two of everything!
As a mom of three singletons prior to having twins, I was accustomed to passing things down from one baby to the next, with little need to buy more. When my twins arrived, I had infant-paraphernalia sticker shock all over again. We needed a second car seat, another crib, two high chairs, a double stroller, a bigger diaper bag, more blankets, extra bibs, and most of all, a second mortgage!
But money isn’t everything. For me, having two babies at once was like winning the lottery, twice. Only, instead of dollars, I have been paid in nose-drool kisses (the best kind), forced relaxation on the couch (“Oops, both babies fell asleep on me; I can’t get up!”), and more endearing twin moments than a Mary Kate-and-Ashley video.
Still, I had lingering doubts about this two-for-one deal. I was having the time of my life, but what about my twins? Were they missing out? Would they begrudge their growing-up years by being forced to share things like clothes, toys, baths, birthdays, my lap, their looks? Was my great bargain their misfortune?
When my twins were 2, I discovered a partial answer. The day began with my twins fighting over their sister’s doll stroller. Like most moms of twins, I questioned the sanity of allowing two toddlers within a one-mile radius of each other, much less in the same playroom. The screaming, chasing, and tugging went on for hours.
When I finally threatened to put the stroller away, they changed their tactics. I watched proudly as my toddler boys began talking, negotiating, and finally, working together to stack a hundred matchbox cars into the doll stroller, then send it plummeting down the stairs, metal and wheels ricocheting off walls and banisters, landing in the biggest car wreck our staircase has ever seen. Okay, I was proud and a little bit horrified. But at least my twins were cooperating instead of fighting.
I no longer wonder if my twins are getting a good deal. Now, at age 8, Randy and Christopher play checkers and Uno Attack. They practice baseball and badminton in the backyard. Give them a pile of cardboard and a roll of masking tape, and they’ll invent something. Together. Not because they have to, but because when given a choice, they choose each other.
I can still spot a good deal. Two double-scoop, strawberry cheesecake waffle cones: $6. Two used baseball mitts: $12. Two sets of flannel Spiderman sheets: $37. It’s true. There are some things money can’t buy. And I have two of them.