Monday, 4 October 2010

That was Monday

One of the issues triplet children bring with them at birth - alongside three mouths to feed, three pairs of lungs to serenade you at 3 am and thirty fingers to poke in your eyeballs - is the need to compete.

This dagger of sibling rivalry has a special edge to it when you have three children of the same development age; each simultaneously needful for your time, attention and body parts. Each is also equally determined that the other two won't get there first. Shovels may be involved. You can reason with none of them because they're all aged two. Anyway, you are busy coping with two broken arms and a broken heart.

You are madly in love with your determined tormentors, which makes it worse. You would throw yourself under a bus if you thought that would spare one shadow of a wound from reaching their tender, fragile skin.

Give it long enough and you just want to throw yourself under a bus. There is no end in sight.

As they grow older, praise becomes downright dangerous, and the sword double edged. 'That is delightful!' you might say as you study the drawing of an upside down bat. Foolish mother. To adult minds that is supportive praise doled out in turn as you progress round the household activities. But to the ears of the other listeners, that of course means everybody else who draws a bat is rubbish. They are inadequate and inferior. This is proof you never loved them, will never love them. They better tell you now that they hate you. You might offer a cuddle in retaliation for that, because you have nothing else in your armoury but devotion, but it serves no purpose whatsoever. Apart from providing the briefest of pauses for someone to spit on the knife before driving it home in your already shattered heart.

None of which is particularly relevant to my thinking today, except after nearly eleven years of living with the most beautiful and deadly triplets on this earth, I know where it comes from, my need to make sure I lay my head to the pillow each night knowing I having achieved, and it was positive. I may drop dead in my sleep, so this could be the last thought I have. Better make it weighty.

Here it is. We all achieve, everyday, in our unique ways. Me, I breathed in and out.


sharon said...

Well done on the breathing thing! Far better to breathe in and out unless you have a particular wish to emulate the typical two-year-old's tantrum and turn a delightful shade of blue ;-)

Moohaa said...

I know it must be worse with triplets, but my goodness, it's the same with my almost 10 year old. Every time I give his older brother praise he looks at me with his puppy eyes and says, "But didn't I do good too?" Try and explain as I might but it must always be settled with a hug and a snuggle and reassurance that, yes, he did good too.

(Try NaNoWriMo! You'd be surprised how many home school parents do it.. great fun!) :)

Nora said...

I'd be exhausted at having to give so much assurance. You poor woman!

Big mamma frog said...

I've never looked at praise the same way since reading Alfie Kohn 'Punished by Rewards'. Turned my little golden star chart world upside down...

Just carry on breathing. Everything else is non-essential.

ladybirdcook said...

I'm having trouble getting past the idea of thirty fingers poking in your eyeballs and the fact that, my children have thirty fingers between them too (last time I counted anyway).
I'm feeling outnumbered now, I only have ten :-/
Tonight, fed up of all the can't say that's nice without saying hers is nice too stuff I decided to try a different tack and told my eldest that what she had done was really good and she is my favourite daughter. And then she punched me because she "understood the irony"
Will try breathing out.

MadameSmokinGun said...

ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod......... know this one well - except I obviously don't as at least mine are staggered age-wise and I can hope (pathetically) that the older ones will understand my more sing-songy 'that's SO beautiful!' praise of the younger ones' doings than their more ordinary 'oh yeah great' style praise..... (Except they kind of don't really....) All the same age is hell! And no hand-me-downs!!!!

I have to do that pillow achievement count too. Breathing is a good one. Will nick that.

Angela said...

I`m so glad mine are grown now and have their own little terrorists at home now. Does them good! (Just imagine your nine grandchildren!).
You have my full admiration, Grit. And don`t. DON`T even try to be perfect and do things right. You can`t. So just praise yourself for a change and buy yourself a real nice gift!

Grit said...

hello people, and thank you for the comments. i like the idea that i can buy presents for myself as a reward for breathing. now i want a medal as big as a dustbin lid, made of superior 70% chocolate, for breathing AND standing up.