Others, however, say that Sita gave birth to only one son, Lava, and she raised him in Valmiki's ashram.
One day, Sita went to the river to do the laundry, leaving the toddler in Valmiki's care. When Valmiki wasn't looking, Lava wandered off. Valmiki couldn't find him anywhere!
In desperation, Valmiki took a handful of kusha grass and used a mantra to turn the grass into a boy, a duplicate of Lava.
At that moment, Sita returned, holding Lava in her arms. Surprised to see the second child, she asked, "Who is that?"
"That is Kusha," said Valmiki, "Lava's twin."
Inspired by: Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik. Notes: This story is on p. 290 of the book. Pattanaik reports that this story is found in the Kathsaritsagara and also in Telugu folksongs.