Balancing act.

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.

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10 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Mom said,

    Sweet potato pie?! In the list of therapy-inducing traumas, that sounds like a non-starter to me. Except of course, for the baby who didn’t get pushed.

  2. 2

    Laurie Ann said,

    Locked in the box for sure. I knew that one looked like trouble from the start.

    and who knows, maybe Robin prefers brown.

  3. 3

    husband said,

    Now, if it had been bananas, they would have been arguing about who got pushed in first. As for who gets picked up first, my rule is: whoever got picked up first last time gets picked up second this time. I don’t know that they are keeping score, but I feel better…The exception is when one baby is REALLY screaming more than the other, i.e. the hysterical baby wins.

  4. 4

    Sara R. said,

    It never hurts to give our children some ammunition in therapy. They’ll go anyway, so they might as well have something to talk about.

  5. 5

    Nora said,

    I agree with Sara.

  6. 6

    Oh yeah? Just wait until one of them actually gets hurt and it’s all your fault. You haven’t felt guilt until that happens. OOF.

    Motherhood is a series of guilt, worry and love beyond belief. Welcome to the cycle. Enjoy! 😉

  7. 7

    Madeleine said,

    I am acquainted with the fact that people say dumb things, but that really deserves a dumbness prize. People say that to you? Multiple people? Wow.

  8. 8

    Sweet Pea said,

    I’ve had the same exact thoughts as you’ve had, including strange weird dreams. But I must say the way I deal with it is try to remember, who I picked up first last time or had the cute clothes on etc. That helps with some of the guilt. I had lots in the beginning about not being there for them like i would have been had their only been one, but remember they have each other also.

  9. 9

    Michelle said,

    Ah, mommy-guilt. It’s universal. Have I unloaded about my guilt for having had a c-section (either at all depriving him of vaginal birth, or too late because what if he was in distress, or too early because what if I could have gone into labor before I bled out from having no platelets left and then he would have been “ready” to be born), for working too much and depriving him of my presence, for not working enough thereby depriving him of potential stuff and exposing him to my anxiety about money, for watching tv in his presence, eating junk food while breastfeeding, etc. etc. A friend has mommy guilt both for having had a c-section and then again for having had a VBAC!

    Excellent response to the size differential. In fact, perhaps next time you should suggest starving the larger until the smaller catches up.

    I’m sorry your trauma is traumatic. But your descriptions of it are hilarious 🙂

  10. 10

    uccellina said,

    Sunflowerfairy – does falling off the couch or the bed count? Because we’ve already done that. Twice. I felt bad the first time. By the second time I was all “Eh. Babies bounce.”


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