Some things are beyond our control.
The clothing styles of the 1970s are a perfect example. One day, bellbottoms don't exist. The next day, we're all wearing flared jeans. One day, shirt collars are starched and understated. The next day, I'm wearing floppy butterfly collars so wide a strong breeze could carry me out over Long Island Sound.
Family planning is like that, too. When we had one child, the world seemed perfect. We were able to give her all our attention and make certain she had everything she needed to be happy and healthy. Our plan was to wait four or five years to give her a sibling, preferably a sister if my Lovely Wife had any say in the matter.
As it turns out, she didn't.
For starters, waiting four or five years would have taken greater planning skills and restraint than we apparently possess. It also doesn't help that we, as a couple, are uber-fertile. I'm pretty sure just being in the same room and thinking about having sex back then would have resulted in either one of us getting pregnant.
Only two years into our first child, we found out another baby was on the way. When we told our Daughter she would be a big sister, she innocently referred to the impending bundle as "babies."
"No, sweetie," my Lovely Wife would tell her, "only one baby."
"No, Mommy, two ones," our Daughter would respond. You can imagine our newfound respect for -- and fear of -- our Daughter when the first ultrasound revealed we were, indeed, expecting twins.
Already perturbed by the fact of the pregnancy not fitting into the timeframe of her plan, my Lovely Wife began crying once the doctor said "Now let's take a look at the other one" and she didn't stop for several days. She gradually came to terms with the idea of multiples and consoled herself by wishing for two more daughters, or at least one girl and one boy.
For my money, I didn't care what they were. Even during our first pregnancy I didn't have a preference. When my Lovely Wife asked whether I wanted a boy or a girl I would smile and say I just wanted a healthy baby. She found this an unreasonable and irritating stance to take.
"Everybody wants a healthy baby," she would say. "Do you want a boy or a girl?!"
When the time came to find out what the twins would be, you can imagine the quantity of tears that flowed when the ultrasound clearly displayed evidence of the Y chromosone at work. The oft-repeated lament over the next few months from my Lovely Wife was: "I can't believe I'm having two freaking boys!"
Even our Daughter, with her fledgling supernatural powers, was disappointed. We explained to her that God must have wanted her to be the big sister of two baby brothers.
"Well, God got it wrong," she said.
Of course, all reservations melted away once the boys made their big debut. Their mother and big sister fell in love with the little ham hocks, as did I, and life hasn't been the same since.
After the boys were born, people asked if we planned to have any more. Yeah, right. Once they start coming out in pairs, you've got to put some serious thought to the potential ramifications of your actions. Let's just say, one of the first calls we made after getting them home from the hospital was to the urologist.
© 2011 Mark Feggeler