Milestones are monetized by capitalism. It’s morbid to think about, but a reality nonetheless. From birth until death, in the eyes of big industry, we’re all just a series of selling opportunities. Birthday gifts, commemorative photo frames, and seasonal “must-haves”. Wedding save-the-dates, Valentine stuffed toys and Forty and Loving It! t-shirts.
The baby product industry is, of course, no exception to this. If you’re lucky enough to have family throw you a shower you may have to do a baby registry, which is the act of creating a list of all of the things you’ll want and need to raise the baby. This is a wonderful part of this capitalist monetization, as babies are expensive and ‘the village’ pitching in is a massive help. It’s especially true with twins, when you’ll need two of practically everything. I created a registry and we were very blessed by our village with two, and sometimes four, of things; four crib sheets, four packages of pacifiers, four baby-sized boho floral rompers in the latest trendy patterns.
Organizing all of the stuff we had been given was quite a project. I worked to identify anything that was missing and in this process of preparation I tried to be reasonable. Avoiding impractical items, I imagined how we’d get by with a little less than was being pushed upon us by the Big Baby Products industry. A couple of cribs, a change table, some cute gender-neutral sleepers. Like our lives before kids, but with the addition of just a few stylish accessories.
After the babies came however, I found I had a new attitude starting to emerge. This is the “can I throw money at this problem and make it go away?” line of thinking. Suddenly I understood why there were so many products offering solutions for sleeping, eating, and cleaning up poop.
When my husband went back to work, and was no longer going to be the extra set of hands during the daytime, some panic set in about where I’d put the babies safely when I needed a spare moment. It was then that the first big purchase happened. And I mean ‘big’ in both dollars and physical space: two Rolls Royce-level baby gliding swings, complete with massage action, six speed settings and multi-sound-option white noise machines. They take up half of the living room. I can’t say they’ve been a bad investment; with twins an extra set of “arms” to rock a baby to sleep is an miracle. However, they’ve definitely opened the floodgates, and it’s been a slippery slope.
Two “Circle of Neglect” play centres, two bouncy chairs, two pack-and-plays, and the list grows. I’ve looked at garage sales and online marketplaces for deals on these lifestyle-improving solutions. And soon my vision of a pristine, white, minimalist home disappeared and is being replaced with a multicoloured plastic wasteland of stuff, each item designed to make life with two babies just a little bit easier.
It seems anything that might entertain the babies, meanwhile giving me 20 minutes of peace and quiet to get the laundry folded is worth every penny. It’s also worth giving up an additional four square feet of space in our living room.
As the weeks pass, I’ve accepted that the time for a minimal living approach is probably not in the first year of raising twin babies. It’s probably not going to be in the first ten years of raising twins either, so it sure is a good thing we have a finished basement.