Just got the news; Ashley and I are expecting TWINS, due 02/14. An eight and six-year-old already, it’s the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Holy s—. I am completely unprepared. I thought twins only happened to couples doing fertility drugs or In Vitro.
For five years, we toyed with the idea of having a 3rd child, and at my pleading, erred on caution. Two kids are overwhelming as-is, and why dump a tried and true man-to-man defense for a three-on-two zone (let alone 4:2). Who am I, LeBron James?
Plus, we hit the genetic jackpot, rolling one of each on the first try. We got daddy’s little girl in ’09, and sure enough, we nailed the boy on round two. Bull’s eye! (The first one doesn’t really matter, but the tricky roll is making it fall the other way the next time).
So, what’s left to do?
As the clock ticked on, we decided to “let it happen if it happens”. Famous last words.
The further you get from diapers, the more only good memories remain. Cooing, crab-crawling, and first giggles stand out more than sleepless nights. Damn nostalgia.
With two more on the way, walk with me through the pros and cons of having another baby. It’ll be therapeutic (in my state of shock), and instructional for those on the fence-
Pro: You get to start the whole merry-go-round all over. They do grow up fast; we all get this now. Having little ones keeps you young. Call it prolonging the magic (like that Cake album, except it costs a few hundred thousand dollars and two decades of your life).
Con: Chaos in life is the square of your kid count (twice the kids means 4x the chaos; that’s Dora’s Sixth Law). It also means less attention per child. Suddenly, the apple-of-your-eye toddler mastering algebra and Mandarin is left to fend for herself, following you around crying because she can no longer be in your arms, and doesn’t get why.
Pro: They might lose some attention from you, but they gain a lifelong partner-in-crime. They will have each other long after you’re gone. Having a playmate or two also keeps them endlessly entertained, especially when you and your squeeze need a break.
Con: More airline tickets, hotel rooms, birthday parties, and ughh, the dreaded minivan. Can you really expect to vacation in Hawaii, Breckenridge, or Mexico with more kids in tow? At some point, you’re stuck driving around in circles on the World’s Largest Ball of Yarn Tour (“Tell them what they’ve won, Vanna”… “This whirlwind, jet-setting agenda includes 2,900 miles roundtrip in the Honda Odyssey through fabulous Cawker City, KS, Darwin, MN, Lake Nebagamon, WI, and Branson, MO”). My cousin Todd (two little girls) says the world is made for a family of four (or less). Hard to argue, given standard occupancy at two double beds, rental rates for SUVs, lift tickets, and airfare.
Pro: Make camping your family thing. The national parks are calling your name. Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier. Sorry Branson!
Con: College tuition. Actually, this doesn’t matter, given your timeline. The student debt bubble will burst soon. If your kids are young, watch and wait. If they’re not, don’t send them to college in the US without a scholarship. They’ll get more experience with an apprenticeship, by starting a business, learning to sell, or college overseas.
Pro: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and 4th of July. You will cherish these forever, and so will they. The more the merrier, when it comes to enjoying holidays with your nuclear family. Picture them all coming home for Christmas, like that movie with Craig T. Nelson (but maybe the mom doesn’t die). Take pictures, and don’t forget to throw the football, smell the turkey, relax, and enjoy the sound of laughter.
Con: More government schooling (or tuition for private school, while property taxes get dumped into the local compulsory education system). No great answers here. Suck it up.
Pro: More grandkids, eventually. My parents and in-laws are loving every minute. Grandkids bring all the joys of parenthood, with none of the burden.
I could go on with cons (pregnancy hormones? diapers? sleep training? ten more years of Disney films that begin with 20-minute self-indulgent shorts?), but I’m starting to nitpick. The big cons are mostly financial, and while those are real concerns, they are also fleeting. Your kids will be earners someday. They will be producers, not takers. Help open their eyes to how the world works, and they’ll be a net positive, in a major way, to your family and the world around them. That is assured. More to peel back on that onion another day, but our cost-benefit analysis is coming into focus.
From a guy who no longer has much choice, I am feeling confident about more rug-rats coming down the pipe. With the right attitude, there isn’t anything we cannot handle.
Final pro: You might get two-of-a-kind with one roll. Snake eyes! I’ll drink to that, and make it a double. Cheers, to starting the merry-go-round all over again. And a toast to your family, and your decision.
Should we have a second child? What are the pros and cons of having a baby? There are no right and wrong answers to these questions. 😉
Update: Holy s— twins are hard. Put ’em back! Check out The Truth About Babies before you get pregnant again. You’ll thank me.
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Like this column? Great, now check out A Woman’s Other Right to Choose to help you with your birth plan, and then the Cry-It-Out Myth.