April 5, 2014

FIAO 1.1 - Transporting the Twins

This is the first post of Figuring It All Out (FIAO), what I hope will be  a series of posts chronicling our journeys into the depths of parenthood and cover everything from the multitude of car seat choices to the down and dirty aspects of cloth diapering with the unique aspect of doing it all with identical twins. Read more in the About section!

With my natural anxiety and tendency to over think things I had a feeling I'd be a little stressed often in preparation for our twins. Surprisingly enough although I know I should probably be worried more about the money, the space, the loss of sleep, etc., the one thing that has consumed many of my nights and far too many brain cells for the past three months is none other than car seats and stroller combos. Here I sit, another Friday night gone and all I've done is ponder my half-completed registry and research these things that 4 months ago I knew very little about. Car seats and friggin strollers!

You see, BTT (Before The Twins) the plan was to register for a convertible car seat and use my sister's 2-year-old Safety 1st car seats and stroller. That's still an kind of an option but the more I read about re-using car seats the less I liked that idea of relying solely on hers so I started doing some research. I seriously had no idea about how many price points, combinations and options were out there for twins and I did not think it would lead to hours of fruitless nights looking up choice after choice, making lists of pros and cons and ultimately getting to the point where I was too tired to choose. It's getting ridiculous and I know I need to choose soon so I've been inspired to start blogging about our new life with a series of posts called Figuring It All Out. (Again, you can read more in the about section!)

Here are the considerations that I encounter every night that I embark on this journey towards infant mobility:

- Infant vs. Convertible - This was a no-brainer BTT. Now it's my one main worry - don't I need a convenient way to physically move two babies from anywhere to anywhere? Or can I plan on just wearing one and carry the other? Do I get a travel system that matches the car seats (at upwards of $450 for the combo but will last 3+ years) or the Double Snap N Go that's on every twin "must-have" list out there but is realistically only going to be used for 1.5 years (and of course which only seems to take the most expensive car seats)? Just when I thought I'd settled tonight brought out a whole new option - should we skip the carriers altogether and buy a stroller that lays flat? SERIOUSLY???

- Price vs. Length of Time Used - It's no secret we aren't exactly financially stable but we have wonderful, generous family and friends helping us along the way. That doesn't mean we want to register for two $190 infant car seats and/or two $150 convertible seats plus a $230 double stroller, no matter what the combination we ultimately decide. Infant seats can be cheaper than convertibles but I hate the fact that you might only end up getting a year out of them. Then again, are convertibles, which are more expensive but last longer, ever a good option for preemies which our twins will probably be? Buying used or recycling my sister's isn't an option any more so I'm going to throw together a break-down of cost for all my options and choose the most affordable one. Or  maybe I'll just do my best to keep the girls inside me until they're 13 when can just walk and sit in the car?

- Transportability and The 2:1 Ratio - I'm 5'3", 130 lbs and despite lifting 20-50 lbs worth of children daily for 13 years, I'm not that strong at all. The thought of lugging around two 20-30 lb. infant carriers seriously stresses me out. But damn am I going to be pissed when those babies are finally sleeping and I have to actually remove them from the car seat to get them inside (I know, babies shouldn't sleep in car seats. I also know every mom on the planet does it and I will too). Then there's the fact that C will be going back to work and I will not so there will be a lot of time it's just me and the girls. We are considering selling my car for to help with the money so having a good, long-lasting stroller is important to me. If we do end up with car seats in my car I would need to be able to transport them without too much of a to-do by myself.

Here's a breakdown of options I've found so far plus the time they last and ballpark cost: 
- 2 infant car seats (1-2 years max) and convertible stroller/travel system (3-4 years max) - $350-$700
- 2 infant car seats and the Baby Trend Double Snap N Go stroller (1-2 years max) - $280-$400
- 2 convertible car seats and a convertible stroller that lays flat (3-4 years max) - $450-?
- 1 infant seat, 1 convertible seat and a convertible stroller (3-4 years max) then buy another convertible seat in 1-2 years - $450-?

For some reason the newest option is seeming like a great idea right now. I can wear the baby that is in the convertible seat or find a stroller that has a back seat that lays down flat and lay her down when in the stroller while the other rides in the seat. Then when they're out of infant seat I only need to purchase one convertible seat and we still have the stroller for another year or so hopefully.

Oh wait, this just reminded me of yet another consideration: tandem vs. side-by-side. Because, you know, they'll fight with each other if they're side-by-side but they'll kick each other in the head if they're tandem.

Screw it. They're just going to have to come out walking or we're never leaving the house!

Stay tuned for updates on our choices!

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