Thursday, July 16, 2009

My evil twin

I have an evil twin. She stops by when the kids aren't sleeping, the toddler isn't listening, the laundry's piling up, I've forgotten to eat or drink enough water - basically when all the little annoyances get together for a little party.

So, last week, after the fourth straight night of Fiona waking up every two hours, she's back and she's wavers between anger and indifference. Her standards are little more lax than mine. Whenever my high standards occasionally clash with reality my evil twin seems to step in and encourage the exact opposite of those standards.

Cooking? Forget about it. McDonald's for lunch at least once this week and dinner out the past two nights. Healthy and frugal snacks for play group? Danny was very popular last Thursday morning ... he had Spiderman "fruit" snacks and a ... gasp ... packaged granola bar. Compost attracting fruit flies in the kitchen? Just throw 'em in the trash instead of the compost (I haven't separated my compost in a week). Naps at 12:30 sharp? Danny mosied up the stairs around 1 p.m. one day last week and found me sacked out on the bed in Fiona's room while she played on the floor. He promptly commanded "Get up Mommy."

My evil twin tells me that the baby would sleep through the night if I just gave her a little formula to fill her belly and didn't go to her every time she cried.

My evil twin tells me that my son really needs to be in preschool a few mornings a week despite our intention to homeschool our kids. "It'll be impossible to teach that boy anything. He doesn't listen to a friggin' thing you say," she bellows.

My evil twin tells my son to "Back off" instead of gently reminding him that Mommy needs her space and that the Matchbox car is just as super cool if it's a foot from my nose instead practically up it.

My evil twin tells me to ignore the baby for at least 15 minutes (unless, of course, she's maneuvered herself into a corner or is banging her head against a wall in an effort to crawl). "Hell, maybe she'll learn to entertain herself instead of seeing you as a one-woman broadway show," she says.

My evil twin tells me to just get a high-paying job and stick the kiddos in day care. "They don't seem to appreciate your efforts anyway," she says.

And while I don't act on all of her impulses, I must admit her presence does make me wonder whether my own high standards make motherhood unnecessarily difficult. Having two under the age of two is difficult on its own without an evil twin plus that multi-generational mob of moms who just love to put in their unsolicited two-cents. Their opinions on everything from childbirth, breastfeeding and sleeping to education and discipline seem to represent extremes on both sides of the spectrum. If there's a middle ground here, no one is talking too loudly about it.

Those who don't like traditional education and lean toward homeschooling see any kind of alternative to parental instruction as a shirking of your duties.

Those who advocate attachment parenting are convinced your child won't be properly bonded to you if you don't co-sleep and wear your child every minute of the day. (You know, slings are great when I need to get things done, but sometimes, I just want to sit down ALONE. Have I mentioned that I don't even go to the bathroom alone these days?)

Those who feed their children only organic fruits, vegetables and other snacks are convinced you're child will be fat and get diabetes or leukemia.

There are the sleep trainers who say the baby should NOT need to eat in the middle of the night by the age of 4 months. (Really? Did some baby reveal this information? Who is this mythical child and why is he talking to his parents? I wonder.)

Just shut up. All of you, please.

And one thing my evil twin and I do agree on ... if anyone so much as utters a word about any grammar, spelling, punctuation errors or the like in this (or any other post), I'll do something ... you're lucky I'm too exhausted to exact an appropriate revenge.

That is all.

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