I poured the children identical, I mean identical, glasses of milk this morning.
I did this without thinking, upending a jug of milk, emptying it, easily and swiftly in two glasses, half and half. I looked down to see how precisely I had done this and a little pride ran through me.
I knew, given that it was milk, I would take a dressing down for giving one more than the other, a dollop of calcium extra was a fate too heavy for any child to bear. If I’d been pouring pop, a scuffle upending the table might come to the child walking about with Sprite teetering a 1/16th of an inch higher in his glass.
How had this happened? This miracle of being able to decipher a glass’ precise volume, its joy, its punishment, while simultaneously buttering toast (again, the precision like that of a surgeon’s blade)?
As the children awaited their meal, I stood for a moment marveling over my handiwork. I’d single-handedly waylaid their every complaint. Yes, the milk was white but disguised inside the jolliness of snowmen cups. Their toast burned just a mite, but cut, buttered, peanutbuttered and jellied as if by machine.
I chose to overlook, with the same precision, the waterspots falling gaily among the snowmen and the brown bits of food dried on the plates brought on by our failing dishwasher.
First, I felt proud. Then I felt old. Then I felt that I should perhaps start handwashing the dishes.
So it was that I’ve come to be That Mom who is all about Fair and Square-ish-ness.
This is easy to fall under, given we have two boys in the house, a nice even number. And that they like the same things, want to do everything together and have a mother who is a twin and lived by the “That’s Not Fair!” war cry as a child herself.
This has resulted in a household of pairs. Two of everything, right down to toothbrushes. Extravagant but necessary.
But we all know that two of everything ruins one of anything. What’s more valuable than a lone Lego pizza cutter? Why nothing. This is more valuable than your mother’s respect, your father’s disrespect and your brother’s life. This is worth tearing the house apart for if it is lost or, worse, hidden by a brotherly foe.
However, get two pizza cutters made of plastic Lego finery, forced to buy in a $50 Lego set, the pizza cutter itself accounting for a nickel of it, and you’ll end up finding it in their sock at the end of the day, stepping on it at the exact moment all your weight is placed on a single point in time, or listening to it go up your vacuum as you inhale sharply with realization.
It’s hard for me, as a Twin with the Two of Everything Mindset, to resist buying that Second. I know it will send the market crashing, all the power of the First dashed, dumped, discarded.
But I also know, given my years of vast experience and choked vacuums, that it will save me a lot of grief in the end.
There will be no breakdown of who hit whom, when and where. There will be no reenactment to determine whether the blow was dealt with a real or Lego pizza cutter. There will be no shutting down of the pizza shop due to a bad call by one of the founding brothers.
But I’m not sure which is worse: Wanting something enough to hurt for it… or hurting for nothing? Right now, I suppose, I will settle for the motherly doubles that keeps them from landing roundabouts on one other and enjoy a little peace and quiet.