Fluffy was such a good baby. She slept well, ate well and wasn’t collicky. But you’re not supposed to say good baby anymore because the opposite of good is bad. So you say “easy baby” and “difficult baby”. Even calling a baby “difficult” is a little sketchy these days. You don’t want to stamp him with any self-perpetuating labels. You don’t want to nickname your kid, “Farty”. Let the kids in first grade do that. You don’t want to give him a complex. So you try not to follow your 5-year-old’s lead by referring to the twins as “Unicorn” and “Whiner Unicorn”. You try, but you do not succeed.
Other cultures and time periods, and yes, even one of my friends have no trouble saying “this is the smart one”, “that’s the fat one”, “this one is popular”, “that one is lazy.” But those statements probably make both you and me very uncomfortable. My husband gets very uncomfortable even when I mention that one of my twins is taller than the other. Taller is not a value-laden distinction, I argue, and even “the shorter one” is still off the pediatrician’s charts! Kent’s brother is a few inches taller than him, though, so maybe it’s sensitive.
At the same time, I find the total absence of labels a bit ridiculous. So we’re all supposed to pretend that every person on earth is at the same level of intelligence, aptitude, physical attractiveness, social acumen and so forth? Can’t we just admit that “this is the funny one” without there being an understood “so that makes him better” attached to it?
Not labelling your children is especially difficult with twins. Comparison happens every day, not just at the milestones check-ups. One of my little guys at the tender age of 21 months shows what I interpret as signs of extreme intelligence–and naughtiness. When I’m giving Kent a run down of “the goods” from the day, there always seems to be something that Baby Einstein did that makes us both say, “That kid is so smart,” and then quickly add, “–and his brother is so sweet!” just to keep things even.
I have one little baby who is objectively stinky. I wash him. I clean the back of his head and behind his ears with alcohol. I brush his teeth. And after just one nap, he smells like rotten cheesesticks again. The doctor said it was probably a hormonal spike around the 18 month mark and would improve. Well he definitely stinks a lot less these days, but if you blindfolded me, I could pick him out of smell line-up 100% of the time. You could, too. He’s a little stinker. Literally. And not the figurative meaning of literally.
Peppers is my stinker. Ha! I said it. I’m pretty sure we’ll have resolved it by the time he’s able to read this. I say Peppers is my stinker without any indication that his little odor makes him better or worse than my other children or anyone else’s. He’s just a stinker. But he’s my stinker.Pin It