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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Guilty As Charged

It's my own fault.  Isn't that the story of motherhood?  Kid is having a tantrum = either you forgot a snack and they're hungry or you lingered too long at the mall and they need a nap.   Kid gets ten ear infections a year = you fed her formula instead of breast feeding.  Kid won't stay on timeout = you haven't been consistent enough with discipline.  Kid won't give up binkie = you gave kid binkie in the first place.   Kid bites nail = they watch too much TV and need to burn off some nervous energy (that's true, I read it in a parenting magazine).  

I'm currently reading a book on sibling rivalry.  What am I learning you ask?   That I have perpetuated the problem by the subtle yet different ways I react to them and the language that I use.   

When I was pregnant with Princess Frostine and Princess Lolly one of my co-workers who had two young kids at home made a comment to me that parenthood is all about guilt. I remember thinking to myself, "ummmm, OK well maybe for you, but I'm going to be such a perfect parent I'll have nothing to feel guilty about."   I wish I could go back in time and smack some sense into myself. "Be afraid, be very, very afraid" I would say to the pregnant me.

On the ride home from the hospital with my two newborn little girls I was paralyzed by fear. The only thought running through my head was how is there ever going to be enough of me to take care of these two little babies.  I've spent the past five plus years doing my best to make sure they get the same number of pushes on the swing, they have the same amount of juice in their cups or get the same number of kisses.  It's crazy really.  When they were little, Mr. Mint would often suggest that I take one of them to the grocery store while he took the other to Home Depot. "Noooooooo way!" I would say. How could I possibly choose which one to take with me?  Would the other one feel slighted?  Whoever I didn't choose would end up married to someone named Blake and addicted to crack.  He would just stare at me with a look that said, "it's not Sophie's Choice you freak, they're only 5 months old."

This past weekend we were invited to a start of summer swim party at one of Lolly and Frostine's classmates houses.   When we got there all the kids were swimming, splashing and having a great time.  My girls clung to my side for the first ten minutes or so until they finally got up the courage to enter the water.  They spent the whole party either sitting on the pool steps or clinging to the side of the pool while their classmates literally swam circles around them.  I felt like I had completely failed my girls because they don't know how to swim.  

I could never take them to lessons when they were babies since there was always a one adult per baby requirement and I couldn't clone myself.   Once they were old enough to be in the pool by themselves we signed up for lessons.  They would cry through the whole class and beg me to take them out of the pool.  I couldn't take it anymore, so we gave up.  That pool party was the first time I realized I probably should have made more of an effort and stuck with it.  

Despite the fact that they were the only kids who weren't diving and sliding into the pool with ease they had a great time at the party.  I've decided to let go of the guilt I've been feeling for the past couple of days and get them into some private swim classes.  The good news is after seeing all their friends having such a fun time in the pool, they're anxious to learn.  

We'll see you at the pool.

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