A minor difference of opinion

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A month or two ago, I was just about ready to declare that I was all done having kids. After all, as my husband would gladly point out, we went about this thing in the most excellent, efficient way possible: first pregnancy, boy/girl twins.  Boom. Done.  We’ve got our two kids, we even lucked out with one of each gender.  What else do we need?

And then… a switch flipped in my brain. We were at the playground. A mom I don’t know, but had seen here and there while she grew more enormously pregnant all summer long, was there with her newborn daughter snuggled in the Ergo while her older son played.  And even though an itty-bitty newborn is far from my favorite age, I couldn’t help myself.  I want.  WANT.

My husband does not want.

This is not a huge surprise.  Back in our pre-child days, we had always had a difference of opinion on how many kids to have.  He was firmly in the two-and-done camp, while I was on the two-as-minimum side.

Truthfully, I’m not sure whether I’d feel quite as strong a desire for a third child if I hadn’t had twins first.  But that’s the weird catch-22 of starting out your parenting life as a mom of twins.  Always a mom of two, never a second-time mom.  And… I don’t know… but there’s this really strong pull to give it another try. Not because I feel as though I did poorly the first time, but rather the appeal of trying it again with even the slightest clue of what I was doing.

My husband, of course, feels no such desire.  The idea of throwing another baby in the mix only feels like taking a few giant steps backwards.

What I find most interesting is one of his main arguments against having more kids (aside from his life-long fear of all change).  He says that he already feels as though our kids are short-changed by being twins. He feels like he can’t give enough to either of them (enough of what is somewhat vague), so he thinks adding another child is only a disservice to the ones we already have, not to mention the third yet-to-be-determined.

Knowing my husband, I understand how he feels this way.  And, yet, I fundamentally disagree.  I do not believe that we do inherent damage to our children by creating siblings.  Which is not to say I think people should have more children than they can realistically take care of (financially, emotionally, or otherwise).  But I don’t think kids are automatically worse off for having another brother or sister.

And I definitely don’t think my kids are worse off for being twins.  In fact, there is a (sick, twisted) part of me that would almost like to have twins again, because I’d be a little bit sad for the fact that a singleton child of mine would not have that automatic playmate.  I do not believe my kids feel neglected or in any way under-served because there are two of them at the same age.  Yes, sure, I could never give the constant, full-time, one-on-one attention that might have been possible with only one baby.  But I’m not convinced that’s always the single-best way to raise a kid.

Anyways, here we are. Just this teeny little difference of opinion.  One of us wants more kids, one of us doesn’t. And yes, my kids are only a bit over 2. I’m only 31. The clock isn’t ticking all that loudly, and I’ve got time to wear my husband down (kidding, honey!).  Or, maybe I won’t.  Maybe we’ll stick with the perfect pair that we’ve got. And I will be happy, either way.

But I can’t help wondering. And wanting.

So, what about you? Do you think having twins has made you more or less likely to want a larger family?  Are you and your spouse/partner on the same page?  Do you think your twins are at some kind of disadvantage by always having a same-aged sibling?

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Guest Post: Counting Higher Than Two

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Mommy, Esq. is a lawyer at a Big Firm and mom to almost 10 month old twins, Edmund (Ned) and Penelope. In between conference calls and deal closings she thanks her lucky stars for an unbelievable Husband (and co-parent) and nanny. You can find her blog about Big Law and the three loves of her life at www.mommyesq.com.

Goddess in Progress has discussed her struggles around whether or not to go for number three and Laura C has also blogged about knowing she is happy with two rambuncious boys. This may shock some of you moms of multiples out there but my husband and I decided to start trying for a third kid right around month 5 with our newborn twins.

If I saw me through a lens I would think we were crazy. After all, I work too much, Husband travels too much, we haven’t even figured out how to be parents – why add another baby into the mix? You may be toying with the idea yourself so I thought I’d let you in on all the discussions we’ve had since deciding to take the plunge:

1. Parenting is Fun. Husband and I originally decided to have kids because “hey, that’s what you do”. If you love each other and want to pass on your values and genetic code you force the next generation to suffer through your parenting mistakes. We both can’t believe how much we like it. It’s not always pretty but we think someday we’ll love our kids not only because of their genetic code but because we helped raise them into loving, self-sufficient (here’s hoping) adults.

2. Did You See My Gray Hair(s)? We started trying for kids before I turned 30. Two years and 2 rounds of Clomid later, we discovered we were having twins. My mom had her FOURTH kid at 32. I’m not getting any younger so I want to have another kid while I can – ideally before I’m 35. The bigger and as-of-yet unresolved issue is whether we undergo any fertility treatments if we don’t have any success in the next 6 months. Husband says no way. I say, hmmm…. [noncommittal noises].

3. TWO MORE? Since I’m a triplet there is some possibility – and every mom of multiples fear – that we could end up pregnant again with two (or more) even without fertility treatments. We’re okay with that. Seriously. I not-so-secretly think having two babies at once is more of a joy than one even when factoring in the headaches that go into two babies. I also think that the third kid might feel a bit left out so why not have another set of twins?

4. Little Helpers vs. Bring On the Chaos. Lots of moms wait until multiples kids are older to have more kids. I’m more of the mindset that we lump the diapers, the potty training, the assertion of independence right in a row so we “get it over with” (can you tell I’m not a big fan of the “newborn” phase?). My brother was 6 years younger than my sisters and me and while yes, we were able to make him breakfast and eventually drive him around we weren’t close or “played” together in any way until he became a full-fledged adult. As my kids have started to go through the development leap phase (as of yet unsuccessful) and I have spent some time with my 2.5 year old nephew I know it will be hard, very hard to have 3 kids under the age of 2 or 3 (since time is ticking without any results). But won’t it be better once they are all 5 and 7, right? Right? Plus if we delay then we could love the self-sufficiency of having older kids so much we don’t dare create new chaos. To be honest I was sort of hoping I would get pregnant my first month back at work so I could keep everything off balance.

5. Logistics/Money. It’s not going to be cheap and it’s not going to be easy. We’ll continue with our retirement savings goals and try to save for their college costs. Our primary financial goal is that we don’t want to have to rely on our kids to support us in old age – even knowing that social security and Medicaid will likely be bankrupt when we retire. I’d like to tell you we carefully looked at our finances but frankly it’s a crap shoot. We have enough faith in ourselves that we can make it work.

Our family would be complete without any more kids; but we have room in our hearts for more. What about you, readers: When is the best time for another kid after multiples (if ever)? Would you go for more if it involved fertility treatments?

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