Having Twins is Not the Same as Having Two Children (The Parking Lot Double Tantrum Event of 2015)

A few of my friends have eight or nine kids each. One neighbor, a few houses down, has ten children. Contrary to my expectations, they are the most relaxed mommas I know. My theories are either:

  • those moms were just naturally relaxed people to start, or
  • having that many children forces them to relax and/ or give up.

I want to shadow them for a day. I want to be their apprentice. Be their mother’s helper. I demand that they write a book or a blog so I can get inside their worlds. Do they want to take a sledgehammer to their to-do list at 4:00 PM? Or do they not even have a to-do list?

The word on the street (the SAHM street) is that after four children, it doesn’t get any harder. Apparently, having three to four kids is the most intense, and after that, they begin to take care of themselves and/or each other.

However, twins change the equation entirely (as does having a special needs child). A woman in my circle, who is a mother of eight children, recently cared for a set of three-year-old twins for three days. She had 11 children under her care for a long weekend. Afterward, she said to the twins’ mother, “I don’t know how you do it every day! Twins are completely different.” A mother of EIGHT doesn’t know how WE do it?! Game-changer. It made those twins’ mom (and me, another twin mom) feel completely validated and relieved. Finally, finally, we have some anecdotal evidence that what we do is ridiculously hard and abnormal.

Mom math: Having two three-year olds is not even remotely like having one two-year old and one four-year-old. A mother with two small children that are properly spaced might invite us to a nice adventure. But a twin momma would have a much harder time saying “yes” to the zoo or to the restaurant. The best example I have about how having a twin is different is the Parking Lot Double Tantrum Situation of 2015.

Have you ever seen a twin toddler tantrum in public?

We all have lived through a toddler tantrum in public. We all have had to leave the full cart of groceries behind at some point. But how many of us have lived through a twin toddler tantrum?

See, the thing is, only one twin at a time ever gets mad enough to have a meltdown in public. But that twin causes the other twin to join the meltdown, and thus, the unfairness of motherhood is evident. In the Parking Lot Double Tantrum Situation of 2015, Twin B just decided he didn’t want to ever leave the gym daycare when I came to pick him up. Was he sick? Had something happened? Was he exhausted? Whatever the case was, we had to get out of there.

He screamed on the floor. I tried Nice Mommy, Bribery Mommy, Mean Mommy, and even Batman-Voice Mommy. When all that failed, I heaved his 37 pounds into my skinny arms and dislodged my scoliosis back. He wildly kicked and screamed and writhed in my arms like an angry octopus. And, with my octopus, I run into my (bemused) weight-lifting trainer in the lobby. Now, if you had a singleton, or evenly spaced children, your embarrassment might have ended here. Red-faced, you heave the tantruming child into the minivan and drive away. End of story.

For a twin mom, however, that is not the end of the story. I also had sensitive Twin A trailing along. At first he was mildly concerned, but obediently followed me and his octopus brother into the gym lobby. Twin A’s worry soon turned into whines, and then his whines turned into full-fledged high-decibel wailing. Full-fledged wailing turned into screams with words: “PUT HIM DOWN!!!! STOP HURTING MY BROTHER!!!!!!”

wpid-wp-1438022892485.jpegAs we reached the parking lot, I could no longer manage to contain octopus-limbed Twin B (screaming in my arms), AND drag screaming defensive Twin A by the hand. I had to calculate who was more likely to die by running from me in a parking lot. Mommy math: Twin B was more of a threat. I couldn’t dare put him down. So I let go of Twin A’s hand.

Twin A defiantly crumpled in a heap in the parking lot, all while screaming at the top of his lungs, “STOP HURTING MY BROTHER!!!!” Twin B is still flailing in my arms and screaming.

Forget being embarrassed. At this point, I know I will need a chiropractor visit as a result of this incident.

And yes, they know they are never allowed to do ANY of these things. Usually they are mostly obedient children. However, they are also children. Children who have bad days. Children who get scared for their brother. There is no reasoning with any child in this state. I used my Batman voice to propel Twin A onto his feet and into the van. I heaved Twin B into the van with the last of my back muscles.

Lecture, discipline, more tears, more Mommy Batman Voice, blah blah. Whatever.

What is important here about the Parking Lot Double Tantrum Situation of 2015 is that this was a twin problem. I’m fairly certain that most mothers who have a toddler tantrum in public would have other children who were either older or younger than that toddler. The older child would be able to understand that his brother was having a tantrum and that momma was not hurting him. The child younger than said toddler would be a baby, perhaps too little to worry about what was happening.

Even though I am sincerely in awe of the moms with eight, nine, or ten children, they wouldn’t necessarily have this double tantrum situation to deal with in public.

And, if they do, I really really really need them to write a book or let me be their apprentice. Now.

 

***

 

(Yes, I did go to the chiropractor that night. Twin B owes me a $30 copay.)

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Reasons *My* Son is Crying

pregnancy tantrumThis list is inspired by (i.e., “a copycat version of”) the groundbreaking “Reasons My Son is Crying”, which is the most accurate and ridiculous portrayal of how small children make no sense, ever. People of the world, rejoice! Your small children are not actually lunatics!

Reasons *My* Son is Crying

  1. I won’t walk to the fridge with him.
  2. I won’t walk upstairs with him.
  3. I won’t hand him the cup of water that is right beside his hand.
  4. The dog won’t stay outside with him.
  5. It’s too cold out.
  6. It’s too hot out.
  7. He doesn’t want to be at the playground.
  8. He doesn’t want to leave the playground. (Same trip as #6, by the way)
  9. He doesn’t want to be naked.
  10. He doesn’t want to put on clothes. (Same tantrum as #9, by the way)
  11. He has to go to the bathroom.
  12. He doesn’t want to go to the bathroom.
  13. I asked him if he has to go to the bathroom.
  14. I asked him if he might want to go to the bathroom at any time in the near or distant future.
  15. I have to go to the bathroom.
  16. I was singing.
  17. Daddy laughed.
  18. Daddy laughed at The Daily Show.
  19. We had lentils for dinner.
  20. He has to blow his nose.
  21. His grandfather might want to take him out to lunch when he gets here tomorrow.
  22. His grandmother might want to give him a hug when she gets here tomorrow.
  23. He has to go to a friend’s house three days from now.
  24. He has to go to church again seven days from now.
  25. We were late to church and didn’t get a pew and have to sit in the back in a folding chair.
  26. He wants seconds of the sacrament.
  27. He wants to sit in the stroller on top of his brothers.
  28. He wants to sit under the stroller.
  29. The neighbors’ horses didn’t come to the fence.
  30. I made him leave after we petted horses for 20 minutes.
  31. The dog licked him.
  32. I didn’t say “okay” after he said, “I’m a puppy, Momma!” for the tenth time in row.
  33. We are getting the clippers out for a haircut.
  34. We are cutting his hair.
  35. We will have to cut his hair again another week.
  36. We have to go outside.
  37. We have to come inside.
  38. We are out of Naked brand green juice.
  39. I told him it was time for “Quiet Time” but he wanted “Nap Time”.
  40. I turned the TV off.
  41. I turned the TV on.
  42. I was wearing a Band-Aid.
  43. I won’t carry him down the stairs.
  44. I put lotion on him with cold hands.
  45. Daddy put lotion on him with warm hands.
  46. Daddy is working late.
  47. Daddy hugged him.
  48. Daddy hugged me.
  49. We are going to go trick-or-treating.
  50. He has to clean up.
  51. Everyone said “Happy birthday” in unison.

***

Here are some other versions of the same thing. All made me bust a gut.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/reasons-my-son-is-crying-tumblr_n_3038336.html

http://jasongood.net/365/2012/12/46-reasons-why-my-three-year-old-might-be-freaking-out/

http://jasongood.net/365/2011/08/day-215-approximately-3-minutes-inside-the-head-of-my-2-year-old/

A 3-Day-Long Conversation with my 3-Year-Old about Patti Smith

The record album wall above our TV

My three-year-old noticed the framed album cover of Patti Smith hanging on the wall. It’s been hanging there, right above the TV, for his entire life, but I guess he just now saw it. It’s the one of her “Easter” album from 1978, where she is showing some armpit hair. It’s a little memorable, I guess. I remember seeing it in my dad’s music room when I was a kid too.

What followed was a three-day-long conversation with a three-year-old about Patti Smith. It included some dancing, some guitar-playing, and some temper tantrums. You know, the usual. A typical day in our house.

Day 1, while watching TV:

R: Who dat, Momma?
Me: That’s Patti Smith. She is a musician. Wanna hear her music?
R: Yes. [Listens] I like Patti music. She come our house?
Me: No, she doesn’t come to houses. She just makes music for us to hear.
R: Please? Maybe someday? In two days?
Me: No.
R: I like Patti music. [Dances. Gets guitar.] You like Patti music, babies?!

Day 2, first thing in the morning:

R: I want to hear Patti music!
Me: Ok, go pee-pee first.
R: Patti come our house now?
Me: No, sorry.
R: [cries]

Day 3, sometime during the babies’ naps:

R: Can we listen to Patti?
Me: When the babies wake up.
R: Why?
Me: Because the music would wake up the babies.
R: We need to go in the car to see her. She’s far away. We can go on Wednesday. We can see her ‘nother day. Yeah momma.
Me: I don’t know where she lives.
R: We have to get there. We can get there later. We can go later. Maybe she’s at her house.
Me: Where’s her house?
R: She’s far away.
Me: What would we do when we got to her house?
R: We have to get there, to the right. Go right. We need to see her one time.
Me: Would she play music when we got there?
R: Yeah.
Me: That would be pretty cool.
R: Yeah, that would be pretty cool. I could bring my guitar. To sing too. I want to see Patti on the ‘puter. Let me sit on your lap. Show me Patti now. That would be pretty cool to sing with Patti. I can play guitar with her.
[We google some Patti Smith pictures.]
Me: See? There she is with a microphone. There she is with a guitar.
R: I want to see more Patti! MORE!!!
Me: No, we’re all done. I have to go clean up now.
R: [screams] I’m NOT all done! I want to see Patti again! NEVER!
Me: Don’t yell at me.
R: NEVER!
Me: Time-out!

I have seen Patti Smith perform at least twice. Maybe three times, but I have a terrible memory. One of those (two or three) times, I was in the front row at the 9:30 Club in DC. She kicked the microphone stand over on purpose, and some geek next to me picked it back up for her. Then, she pretty much kicked him. In the face. With her Doc Martens. Holy wow, best day of my teenage life. Then she picked her nose because she said the boogers made her off-key.

Patti, if you’re reading this, I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!