Saturday, February 28, 2009


February 18, 2009 by christine steinmann connor
As the mother of twins, I suffer from Baby Bjorn envy, the feeling that hits you when you see the mother of a singleton strolling contentedly down the escalator in the mall while you frantically push your double-wide super stroller down the length of the building to get to the elevator on the other side. On the other hand, I have been stopped in my tracks at the sight of a mother pushing a triplet stroller. Not in the mall, she wouldn’t fit, but just down the sidewalk. Or rather, in the street close to the sidewalk, since she wouldn’t fit on there either.
I had tears in my eyes watching her. You WANTED to be happy for her, but all I could think of was the work it had taken to get all three of those babies dressed - it was winter in Germany - and out the door. And how, even if all three of them were quiet for a moment, that the chances were more than good that at least one of them would be screaming any time soon. Or two. Three. At that point, what’s the difference? And then she was going to have to get them all out of the stroller, probably one at a time, up a flight of stairs, again one at a time, and into a small apartment where she would have to undress each one, while they were screaming, and then change diapers and get ready to feed them. With twins, I had a special nursing cushion, which was bad enough. With triplets she would need those special bottles that sit on the floor with a tube leading to a pacifier attached to the baby. She’d have to prepare the bottles - because, I am really sorry La Leche., but women were NOT meant to breastfeed three babies at once, check out the anatomy - maybe even get a chance to get out of her coat - before feeding and then starting the whole diapering process all over again.
Where’s the fun?
I’ve heard that the parents of triplets don’t remember much of the first two years. Maybe it's better that way. We all love our children, singly, in pairs or in three or more..but if there is one present I would give a parent of multiples, it is one more child. ONE. Because, after all that hard work - and I know as well as you do that there is joy in that work - you deserve a reward. You deserve to stand on the escalator, with your child in the Baby Bjorn, and have a mother of twins stare at you in envy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jealous (Baby Bjorn envy)

February 18, 2009 by christine steinmann connor
I have Baby Bjorn envy. It’s what a mother of twins experiences every time she has to haul two babies out of the car in the middle of a rainstorm, get them both strapped into the doublewide stroller, find an entrance into the mall that doesn’t involve stairs or escalators, and then change and nurse them both, alone, in a restroom designed for mothers with one child. Exhausted, with one screaming child and one sleeping (so that they can reverse roles again in another hour or so), pushing the darn doublewide the length of the mall just to get to the one elevator...and then you see the cute young mom in the pink sweater, languidly walking past the shop windows with her one baby sleeping in the baby carrier. The baby’s sweater matches mom’s, so that the baby comes across as just a nice -quiet- accessory to top off the picture of perfect motherly bliss. I know. I know. That picture isn’t true. Mom is exhausted too. She is bored at home and frustrated at not getting anything done besides diapers and feeding so she needs this break as badly as you do. She NEEDS the picture to convince herself that everything’s okay. Motherhood is hard and she deserves a break.
But see, SHE gets the break. SHE gets to use the escalator. SHE gets to have ALL of her babies sleeping at once. A friend of mine recently asked me how I was doing with the twins. And I told her it wouldn’t be so bad if EVERYONE had them so that someone else would be able to relate. Just after that another friend at playgroup, with ONE baby, asked if I could change one of the twins outside in the hall because of the smell. And by the time I got them both ready to head into the hall I really figured I might as well just put our coats on and just keep going. It was just too hard.
People cut you some slack for the first year and pile on the praise and admiration. But after that it’s just considered routine that you show up with two kids while they show up with one. And, preoccupied with the difficulties of caring for one toddler, noone remembers that you’re doing more than twice the work. I’m going to stop complaining because, as another friend said, loads of women would love a second child and cannot have one, but I am also going to cut myself the slack that I don’t get from others.
I’ve got double the trouble and double the joy. But I think that’s just what they tell you to keep your mind off the Baby Bjorn.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sick kid

February 18, 2009 by christine steinmann connor
I’m home with a sick kid today and it’s fantastic. It’s one of the twins. Having only one of them home makes me realize that I haven’t totally lost my mother instinct after all. It’s just been hidden by my crowd control function.
Matthew and I have had so much fun sitting on the couch together - eating exactly the same thing off of exactly the same plates - reading the books HE has chosen, as fast or as slowly as HE would like to read them, as often as HE would like to read them. We’ve played on the floor - arranging the cars the way HE would like to, without any worry that someone else is going to come in an destroy them. Noone to pull me away. Noone to distract me.
Now that he’s had a few hours of me to himself, he is content to play on his own while I sit and write. There’s no competition and there’s no pressure.
I feel sorry for the twins. I remember what it was like to have only one child, or two children with enough of an age gap between them that they weren’t competing directly for the same needs at exactly the same time. It was fun. I enjoy the two of them as well, but most of the time really just is damage control and trying to stay one step ahead - ah, who am I kidding, I’m on a treadmill that keeps going faster and faster and faster as I try my best to keep up.
I did enjoy their first steps. But only while keeping an eye out to make sure the other one wasn’t getting into trouble at the same time. I remember the first summer at the pool, when they were one year old, with Aidan crawling up the concrete steps and Matthew toddling on the lawn. I didn’t stay by either one. I ran back and forth. And I’m enjoying their first words, but it’s hard to really pay attention to them when both are talking at once. No wonder they feel like they’re in competition for my attention. They are.
The problem with twins is that you can’t enjoy the small moments the way you can with a single child. And they don’t get the same small moments that a single child experiences. All children deserve the undivided attention of their mother. I’m sorry I can’t give that gift to two of mine.
I hear that it gets better with time. I just want them to know that I do love them each, singly, and that I would gladly have divided myself in two for them if it were possible. I tried it; it didn’t work. I can’t be two halves any more than they can. The best I can give is the whole of my one self. To the whole of their two selves. And hang on.