I adore both of my children with every tiny, spangled atom of my soul. But when I’m nursing someone, or changing somebody’s diaper, it’s easy to see reproach filling the blue eyes of the other baby.
“Mama,” I can hear them ask in a small, tear-choked voice, “Don’t you love me at all? Then HOW DARE YOU DAUB POOP OFF THAT BABY’S BUTT WHILE I AM HERE CRYING?”
(And no, they do not talk yet, and yes, I know it’s not a great mental health sign that I can hear them anyway.)
The other night I dreamed that, in a fit of rage at something totally non-baby-related, I pushed over the stroller with one of the babies in it. Because my subconscious has watched too many cartoons, the baby fell into a sweet potato pie and came up unharmed, but squalling and covered in orange mush. I immediately clutched the baby to my chest and cuddled it and brushed sweet potatoes off of its nose and apologized and generally felt horrible. After I woke up, I wondered, what kind of mother am I? Who dreams about pushing over one of her babies? Couldn’t I at least have dreamed of pushing them both? I mean, let’s dole out the psychic trauma in equal portions here.
Since then I’ve been a mess of anxiety. If I put these cute blue pants on Wren and these slightly less cute brown ones on Robin, am I sending a message? If both babies are crying and I pick Robin up first, will Wren sniffle about it in therapy later? And let me tell you, it really doesn’t help when strangers see the size disparity between them and say “So, are ya only feeding one of them?” It’s such a stupid question, because of course we’re only feeding one of them. We also keep one locked in a box between the hours of ten and three.
Except on weekends, of course. We’re not total monsters.