I can only imagine how much my parents learned about parenthood after I was born. I was colicy. I hated coloring. I painted newspaper to the floor. I joined the wrestling team. While I had a steep learning curve it was mostly because I was the first born. My brother, however, brought whole new challenges to the table. In the beginning, the only electronics we had in the house was an Atari. No tablets. No cell phones. No computers unless you count the Commodor 64. Now we have all that and social media and everyone is “connected” every which to Sunday.
My kids are not me
Oh hell… Who am I kidding. They’re more like me than I care to admit. From “I had it a minute ago, I don’t know where it is now.” To all the broken things. They could tear the hinges off of Hades if only I hadn’t torn them off when I was their age. However, they are more headstrong than I remember myself being. I was a go-with-the-flow kind of kid. These two are not. They know what they want and they are not afraid to ask for it. Or ask Nanny for it. They’re also not afraid to argue their point of view. They haven’t figured out this household isn’t a democracy.
Two kids isn’t easier than one
Silly me. So nieve when I was “young”. One kid was easy. Easy to feed. Easy to entertain. Easy to transport. Easy to put to bed. When we added a second, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. When the second was an infant we were so tired to call us zombies would have been a compliment compared to how we felt. Yet no matter how tired we were, we still had our first born to care for. One can stay awake for just so many games of UNO on such little sleep. Now that they’re old, the ideal would be for them to entertain and play with each other. Naturally, we’re not there. Everything is a competition. Everything is a distraction. They live to annoy the shit out of each other. At breakfast time. At suppertime. At bedtime.
The common enemy
It’s us versus them. Having two kids has brought us closer together. “You’re momma told ya not to do that and you went and did it anyway. Don’t come crying to me about it.” It works in reverse, too. Only on rare occassions when we feel the other just needs to take their chill pill will we override the consequences. If they ever realized they could play us against each other, our world would crumble like last Christmas’s gingerbread house.
Not all things are teachable
I’m a teacher. I teach things. All kinds of things. I teach kids to multiply double digits numbers. I teach kids long division. I teach kids to speak with respect to others and to take pride in their work. Do you think I can teach my kids to pick up their toys when they’re done? Do you think I can teach my kids to pee IN the toilet instead of ON it? Do you think I can teach them that life is so much better when they’re playing together rather than fighting together. I just can’t do it.
For the most part, I wasn’t an instigator growing up. My brother was my brother and it usually wasn’t my intent to piss him off. Usually. My two thrive on instigating fights and arguments with each other. Just tonight at bedtime, the youngest was laughing his head off at his brother who was red-in-the-face angry at whatever it was his little brother was doing or saying. We’re not even sure. All we knew was that it was bedtime and they needed to get there before we went batshit crazy like big brother was.
Pride comes in small doses
It could be a random “I love you” or “I like your face” or “thank you for loving me”. It could be an assignment they’re proud of completing in school. It could be at hit they made, a fly ball they caught, a goal they scored. It could be a first word or a first step or reading their first book. Perhaps it was a first solo song or finally getting rid of the training wheels. It could be a new picture for the fridge or special card they made at school.
Wherever it comes from it reaches deep and grabs your heartstrings. When the days end and you feel their little bodies softly slip into slumber, you can’t help but feel the love. They in your loving embrace and you in their warmth and innocence. You kept them alive for yet another day and in that success you can be proud.