The renowned poet Thomas Hardy once wrote a little diddy about an iceberg and an ocean liner called, “The Convergence of the Twain.” Twain is an archaic word for “two,” and since I’m an archaic mother of two, I find it an accurate description of this week’s events. Suffice it to say two tough and sturdy bodies on a collision course can leave a heck of a lot of damage and debris in their wake. Just when I was starting to feel like I might actually have a grip on this whole Twin Mom Thing, just when I had the audacity to tackle homemade baklava and the final bits of housecleaning before Lauren’s shower, someone cued the Jaws theme song and piped in “My Heart Will Go On.” I witnessed my best laid plans get laid to rest in rapid succession; they faltered, fell, and flat-lined under the sharp and steady onslaught of toddler twins.
There was no red sky of morning to make me take warning. But there were lots of torrential tears and tantrums from pretty much the moment they woke up until the moment they laid down for the past three days. No lie. No exaggeration. I swear it. I was ready for wine at noon every day, since their whine was flowing so freely. But I managed to abstain – at least until after I put them to bed, which has shown remarkable restraint on my part. Just saying.
There were so many fights: fights over books and dump trucks, socks and cereal, seats and sippy cups. There were even fights over whether or not “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” was the appropriate dinner music to accompany pot roast. There was hair pulling and there were shoving matches. It’s only a matter of time before there will be fistfights. I know it’s coming. And I know a lot of this territory comes with being a Boy Mom, but I also know, that a great big majority of it comes from just plain being a Twin Mom. I’ve had singletons. I know there is a tremendous difference between parenting two, three years apart and parenting two, one minute apart. And while, yes I had girls first, and yes, girls are calmer, and yes, they sit and color or sit and play with their baby dolls, and yes, they nurture more than they annihilate, and yes, they might be made of sugar and spice… I’m also here to say that, NO, that “everything nice” line is total and complete bullshit. While hair pulling is their weapon of choice, they, too, can throw a really mean punch. And they are consummate, bonafide professionals when it comes to bickering and spatting.
So I feel fairly confident that my boys are not simply being boys – because unless my girls were “just being boys,” I’ve lived through all of these stages already – just not at the same time at the same age. And that, my friends, makes all the difference in the world. Because as a wise woman once told me, “One is one and two is ten.” And she was spot on. With two to three years between kids– heck even nine months in between – someone is always older and can (possibly) be reasoned with. But there’s absolutely, positively no reasoning with them when they are at the exact same stage at the exact same instant. None whatsoever. I am completely and utterly out of my league.
I used to think I could handle twins. After all, I’m a teacher. If I am the successful teacher of ninety-some-odd squirrely seniors, roughly the same age (most of them, anyways), with roughly the same burning desire for instant gratification hardwired into their cerebral cortices, I should be able to handle twins, right? I thought I had this. And weeks like this one have shown me how wrong I truly was.
Almost every day has been the same this week, so I’ll give you a quick overview of Tuesday, the start of the maelstrom. By 11:50 AM July 19th I was still in my PJs – for the third day in a row. I’d managed to get one-half of my precious pair dressed, and that was pretty much all I’d accomplished. (By the way, I include things like changing diapers and brushing teeth on my checklist because with twins, every single success deserves a cross out. It’s a mental boost. And mental boosts are huge when you’re dealing in deficits the way I’m dealing in deficits.) So one-half of my duo was dressed – and by that I mean that each boy was HALF dressed. There’d been fierce negotiations with Parker over which motorized vehicle shirt he would wear for the day. Ex-nay on the racecar shirt, the double-decker bus shirt and the motorcycle shirt. I finally got a go-ahead on the fire truck shirt, only to be met with a roadblock on shorts. Tate then took his brother’s lead and stepped in to argue that Minion PJ pants are way better than fire truck shirts, and that unless he could wear his Minion PJ pants, he would just lie in the floor and scream, come what may. So may came. And then June. And there we were, damn near at the end of July, and we still didn’t have a general consensus. So I gave in. I felt like a terrible parent – but I hear it’s all about small victories (at least that’s what I tell myself). So Tate wore Minion PJ pants with no shirt, and Parker wore a red fire truck shirt, with no pants…
Which brings me to my next Twin Mom Fail – although this one might fit best under the more general Boy Mom Fail category. It’s the All Hands on Dick phenomenon. Sorry, I just couldn’t mince words here… You see, Parker hates shorts because they hinder his access – his veto of shorts was quite calculated. So herein lies my query to all you Boy Moms out there… please, please tell me when your sons started clutching their crotches and holding onto their wee willies like they’ll walk away. I know boys have handles and therefore they feel the need to … handle … but good grief! At age two and a quarter? And what do I do about it? Do I ignore it? Do I slap his hand? Do I duct tape his diaper? Which, by the way, wouldn’t do the trick because if he can’t gain access from above, he goes in by way of a leg hole. (Once my mom thought he was horribly chafed when she changed him. Nope. He’d just manhandled himself while eating spaghettios.) Please, please, PLEASE tell me what I should do about Parker and his… exploration. Quick. Before Tate discovers the tantalizing territory of his South Pole.
So, here I sit, two days later, still in my PJs. But you can’t tell me I can’t learn from my mistakes. I may still be in my PJs, but today, Thursday at 4:30 PM, so are the boys. (Parker can’t plunder his nether-regions if he’s in a zippered onesie). Mike has come and gone… on his way to his coaches’ retreat and away from storm center. The shower will be here in two days. Boo Boo and Bentley are here. Jo Jo and GiGi arrive tonight. Cay Cay comes in tomorrow at noon. And my house and I look like a trauma scene, thanks to the Convergence of the Twain.
I was told once that I shouldn’t complain because I sound ungrateful when I do– that I am blessed beyond all measure and that I should remember that. And I do. Every, single second of every, single day. Even while I am rocking in a corner, a total and complete hot mess, trying to control a hot temper sparked by yet another tantrum – this time over which boy gets to sit in Baby Bentley’s exersaucer – which he inherited from my boys, and which they NEVER played with when it was theirs. Even then, I know and understand that my blessings are abundant. They, quite literally, are chasing me down. So I take a time out. I put myself in a corner. I count to ten, I pen a blog or two, and then I follow Dory’s lead (another woman with mental deficits), and I just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming — as I get knocked upside the noggin by the wreckage of the latest convergence of the twain. I’ve got this. I do. As surely as Parker has his zipper down and his rod in hand…