Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Playing favourites

G&T - 32 months  M - 10 months

When a good friend of mine was pregnant with her second child, she tearfully confessed to me a secret shame. She was terrified that she wouldn't love her new baby enough. After all, how could she possibly love anyone the way she loved her son? When her daughter arrived, she snorted with laughter at the very suggestion of favourites. Asking which of my girls I love best would be like asking if I love my heart or my lungs most. If I prefer breathing in or breathing out. If I'd rather have Haagen Dazs or Ben and Jerry's... Ridiculous. I'd lie down in front of a train for any one of my girls. I love each of them more than I ever thought was possible. Sometimes, though, it's harder to like one as much as the others...
We've had a diva in our house this week. G has been always been the more prone to tantrums and drama, but this week she crossed a line. Yes, the tantrums multiplied, and she spent many a fraught few minutes screaming bloody murder from the 'Time-out corner'. But I understand tantrums. Fun they might not be, but I get them. She's exerting her independence, trying to gain control. As my parents will delight in pointing out, I was the tantrum queen, and G is my karma. But that means she doesn't know who she's messing with. There isn't a strop she could throw that I can't out-stubborn. This week, however, she went from tantrums to hitting out. At her baby sister. Out of nowhere, she suddenly started grabbing M's ears, and gave her two scratched cheeks. It was all I could do to stay anywhere near in control. She seemed so vicious. It was horrible to see and really put a strain on our relationship as she took trip after trip to the corner, and my throat became raw from shouting. It was hard too, to avoid the impression that she was 'the naughty one' to T's 'good girl'. That is something I always fear - making one of the twins feel less loved. But as G first had treat privileges removed, then snacks, then puddings, I couldn't punish T too, and had to tread a fine line of emphasising T's good behaviour without branding G 'bad'. It was one of the worst days I remember having since becoming a mum. Even bedtime didn't bring relief. Having calmed briefly with Daddy's arrival, the volcano erupted once again when it came time to go upstairs. An argument over a straw escalated to her refusing to walk up and being carried, screaming like a banshee, to her bed. There followed five minutes of chaos as she sobbed and roared and tried to climb out of her cot. Then... silence. I went upstairs to check T and M were calm enough to settle, then gritted my teeth and headed over to G. She was lying on top of her covers, fast asleep yet emitting pathetic tearful gasps, clutching the all-important straw in her little hands. I almost wept with love. She was so sad and beautiful, it was all I could do not to scoop her into my arms. I didn't, obviously. I ran. But I couldn't believe the change. That sleeping beauty was my real G, and I knew that nothing she threw at me could change that.
We've had two more hard days, but slowly, my cheeky charmer is on her way back. M is still a little wary, pushing her away if she gets too close, and that breaks my heart. G was by far the more enthusiastic about M from the start. T was indifferent and a little irritated by the screaming bundle that had invaded her life, until M became the interesting playmate she is today. G however, adored her from the beginning, and the main problem we've had is her being a little too keen to cuddle and kiss her. I can only imagine this phase is G trying to hang on to a bit of being a baby. With T pretty much fully toilet-trained, I'm once again trying to get G interested, but she's still resisting. I think anxiety combined with a few disturbed nights thanks to M teething combined to cause the pressure cooker to boil over. I just hope that's the worst of it over. I want my bright little button back. I hate feeling nervous when she's around M. I hate getting angry. I hate not trusting her. I hate not liking her. But just as T's tired whining can drive me crazy and M's tooth-induced refusal to sleep has nearly brought me to breaking point, they are all my babies and I love each one as fiercely as the next. Especially when they're asleep.