As poor, patient Billy the Kid strains to hear the baby-appropriate Care Bears movie over the girls’ wails of outrage, I’ve braced myself with a rare shot of amaretto and snuck into the office for ten minutes of off-the-clock. I freely admit that I don’t care for babies. I love my children furiously, and I can heartily appreciate the beauty of an unrelated sleeping infant, but to me, the first six months of an individual’s life is the most miserable phase for everyone involved.
Before BK came along, I had held a total of three infants over the course of my life, and I’m counting my little brother when I was five. Mothering was not something that came naturally, but I figured it out. I was completely unprepared, however, for my two simultaneous miracles, and I’m glad that I did absolutely no research into what to expect, because nothing could have prepared me for double teething, double stomach bugs, double baby-boredom, incongruent sleep/nap patterns and feeding schedules, and the general level of anger constantly directed right toward me. My one assumption could not have been more incorrect; I figured that my girls would come out of me with an already-developing bond, and that they would divert each other for hours, cooing at one another and holding hands, unwilling to be separated. In short, I thought baby-distraction would be easier with two than one.
Not the case. Within the first few weeks, it became clear that my twins deeply resented each others’ existence, and all attempts to bond them failed miserably. If a sleeping twin heard the other sucking on a bottle, she’d wake up screaming, even if she had eaten within the hour. If one felt the other within reach, frantic clawing and shoving would commence immediately. The most unsettling manifestation was that one’s crying would soothe the other to sleep.
I suppose that this dynamic is due to several factors, the first being that they grew in two separate sacks within the womb, and both came out under the illusion they were singletons, and entitled ones at that. Second, I’ve never been much of a Dairy Queen, and I’m sure the first month’s competition for food had them constantly on edge. Now, finally, at a little over four months, they’ve started making eye contact and interacting, and I’ve counted three smiles at one another so far this past week. Might things be looking up at Chez Miserables?
I wrote the above paragraphs several evenings ago. All three of my wards are now sick with a cold (the blue bulb is working overtime and not winning any fans), and the girls’ teeth are poking through. Add to that one case of diaper rash so sinister that it necessitated a visit to the pediatrician. A detailed visual description of an angry bum is not, evidently, adequate information for an allotment of the coveted prescription bun-cream. At least the good Doctor Y assured me that I was not at fault for the unfortunate event through any negligence or sub-par wiping, but that the culprit was the acidity of “sick poop.” I now see how silly it was to look forward to an exchange with another adult after my recent quarantine.
At this point in the evening, the only thing I’m holding onto is the fast-approaching dinner of Malta-Glazed Short Ribs that’s just finishing up its three-hour cooking time. You tried to break me once again, day, but as always, I’m keeping smug superiority alive and well.