I immediately thought of the twins' nursery, where we made just slightly more effort than creating cribs out of dresser drawers lined with shelf paper. And I felt...guilty.
Partly for financial reasons, partly because we were still in denial about the fact that we would indeed be bringing home two babies following delivery, and partly because said delivery was early, unexpected, and an emergency, we did next to nothing with the twins' room.
This was Isabella's room, ready more than a month before her birth:
And here's what the twins came home to.
Granted, they slept in our room for the first four months of their lives. Their cribs are now set up with bedding, and I thought it was a good idea to remove the piles of clothes and plastic bags from their mattresses before they slept on them overnight, but other than that, the room essentially looks the same. There is nothing on the wall for Visual! Stimulation! There is no rug on the floor, which is very, very bad because insomniac twins + old house creaky floorboards = sleepus interruptus. The hubs just removed the full-size bed that was in the room when it was a guest room this past weekend. And there are no books, stuffed animals, or anything else (other than the cribs and the changing table, which is actually a 30-year-old dresser that belonged to my grandma, identifying the room as belonging to two babies.
But it's more than a sub-par nursery that brings on the bad mommy guilt where the twins are concerned. I spent so much one-on-one time with Isabella when she was a baby. Even thought I was working from home FT, I spent hours playing with her, reading with her, taking her to the library for storytime, taking her shopping to introduce her to lights, people, and the thrill of retail therapy. We went for long walks (before she began hating the stroller), we visited friends' houses. We interacted with the world.
Luci and Nicholas are getting none of this. I'm so overwhelmed with caring for the basic needs of three small kids that I have very little time left over to feed their brains, and I should be doing all I can to help them along, given their prematurity and possible developmental delays. I wonder if they'll be as verbal as Isabella is if I'm not able to spend the time I did with her with them.
Do second (and third, and fourth) children always get the shaft from their parents, or is this a multiples-following-singleton thing?
And please tell me Luci and Nicholas won't spend hours on a therapist's couch as adults attributing their life's problems to a mother who left their growth and development up to their two-year-old sister and three geriatric cats.
Thanks for all the birthday wishes!