For parents of toddlers, March marks the end of that infamous urban sport: getting into preschool. And the competition was especially stiff this year for a growing subset of entrants—the parents of twins, faced with the task of scoring two spots in one school.
“It’s a real problem,” says Marsha Feris, director of admissions at the Heschel School. “When you’re taking in such small numbers, taking in two is even more of an issue.”
The competition is such that parents have begun to handicap odds of getting in. “If you have twins of the same sex,” theorizes one Upper East Side mother, “it’s worse than boy-girl,” since most preschools aim to have an even number of boys and girls.
The increasing success rate of fertility treatments is to blame for the double trouble, and it only stands to get worse: New York–Presbyterian/Weill Cornell reported that the number of twin deliveries from July 2002 through June 2003 was 17 percent higher than in the same period a year before.
Admissions directors from Grace Church to St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s have noticed. “We’ve had double the twin applicants from last year,” says Shannon Cussen, of the West Side YMCA Co-op Nursery School, where about 225 kids vied for 60 slots.
Miriam Schneider, president of the Manhattan Mothers of Twins Club, adds that this application season was particularly tough for girls. One Upper East Sider applied to five schools for her fraternal-twin daughters; they were rejected by one and waitlisted by three. The last school, incredibly, waitlisted one twin and rejected the other. Their mother is now looking into so-called preschool alternatives. “I would have loved my girls to go to All Souls,” she says with a sigh. “You know, that’s where Caroline Kennedy’s kids went.”