There is one question that people ask me most often these days—after “Are you sure you’re ok, you look tired?” and it is: “What’s harder—boys or girls?”
In fine Jewish tradition, and in fine fettle after a fine Mother’s Day, I will answer the question—with a question. A long question, heh heh.
If --you are changing diapers and you have to remember to keep some absorbent something over his little thing while you are also reaching down in what could be an advanced-intermediate yoga stretch, to pick up your entire ring of important keys that he needs to hold to keep his little hands occupied so they don’t end up in the poo-ish diaper, and which he threw down, mind you, in the first place—is that harder?
If--you are trying to get them into the car seat goddammit because you are late goddammit, and she has decided that the sequence of events must, by law, SHOULD have been: carry her out of the house, let her walk to the car by herself and climb up into the car seat by herself, but you, in your foolish and unforgivable haste, carried her out of the house, CARRIED her to the car and EVEN THOUGH you let her climb up into the car seat by herself, you must immediately go back in time and GO BACK TO THE HOUSE and let her walk all by HERSELF to the car—is that harder?
If--you are at the playground with another mother who looks much, much, more perfect than you and there is a pirate ship that can easily and happily accommodate 15 toddlers, and your son and her son are the only buccaneers aboard, and her son will end up crying because your son will have walloped him because “I was standing there first, Mommy,”—is that harrrr-der?
If--you are again late goddammit, and you finally hold aloft a pair of CLEAN tights that match the dress that took many, many tries to be put, albeit with shrieking, on, they are deemed unacceptable because they have sparkles on them and you know, “Mommy, sparkles make my legs uncomfortable”—is that harder?
If-- you are at a diner, and it’s kind of crowded and you’re kind of starving and you know he never eats anything anyway, so what could be the harm if he climbs over all those built-in back to back mustard leatherette booths and she, the future chemist, who actually packs away pancakes and nuggets and pizza and soup with such efficiency that Sruli and I have no idea where she puts them--will be experimenting with the viscosity of an epicurean blend of ketchup, maple syrup and salt—which is harder?
In the meantime there are two of them and one of I, when Sruli and I tag-team which is often, and they say things like “WE want to go to the red swing playground” and “WE want to go to that place with the Ipads” and “WE want to go to the rice and beans store” and, almost every day, “WE want to go to Dunkin Donuts.”
AND they stick up for one another so that if Johnny cries because I potched him for RUNNING OUT INTO THE STREET RIGHT IN FRONT OF A CAR that was caroming down, Charlie will narrow her green eyes at me and say, with great articulation, “Mommy is bad.”
Or if it’s Charlie who is whining for yet another quarter to feed the evil machines, which, in their smug, glassy, colorful and silent ubiquity block the exit of every single—every single—store from the grocery to Wal-Mart, it is Johnny who wheedles it out of me, standing in my way and shaking his blond curls and holding out his firm, little, irresistible hand. He silently gives the coin to his sister, and reverently waits for her to twist those goddam twisters. “Are you happy?, he asks, when the plastic ring comes out in that stupid plastic bubble. Is that what you always wanted?
It’s a trip, what can I say?
What’s harder is getting ANY time to do what I have to do—call back my Bar Mitzvah Moms, call back my Camp Moms, deal with the camp permit, deal with my OTHER THREE KIDS, get on the bicycle, take a shower, write a little. And what’s harder is that being a Rebbetzin is also a job. A big, busy job.
What’s even harder to admit is that I am in serious need of an attitude adjustment, because I feel wicked complaining. I know it’s because my bum foot has kept me off the bicycle for a few weeks and my endorphins are low.
Sruli says I should be happy all the time—hey, he says, our life is working out! It’s true. We are going away together, week after next, for the first time in 4 years—the big kids are watching the little kids. AND I saw the podiatrist today and I can get back on the bike tomorrow (!) AND I finished a TV script that I have had in my head for TEN YEARS. It’s pretty good and I’m pretty proud.
So—here I am, mom of Boy/Girl twins getting back to the basic question. Boys or Girls? Which is harder? IF you have boys—then you know. IF you have girls—then you know. IF you have both—do I really have to tell you?
And really, wouldn’t it be harder to imagine life without them?