Just visit the homepage of any parenting website, or cruise down the how-to aisle at the bookstore, and any mother is sure to be panic-stricken at the millions of do’s and don’ts – many conflicting – about rearing well-balanced children.
When I pause to think, it’s enough to make me question almost everything I do…
Am I spending too much time with the girls? Am I spending enough individual time with the girls?
Am I encouraging the girls to develop into individuals, separate and apart from their twinship? Could this encouragement drive a wedge between them?
Am I creating enough structure in their environment so they feel safe and secure? Or have I introduced too much structure so as not to encourage their creativity?
In teaching the girls to respect authority, am I hindering the development of an independent spirit?
Oh, and then there’s the topic of food...one which could certainly warrant an entire book in itself...
How much should I encourage the girls to eat? Or should I have a take-it-or-leave-it approach? Or could they interpret a -it-or-leave-it approach to mean that I don’t care if they get the appropriate sustenance?
Should I praise them for eating well? I don’t want them to think it’s the key to mommy’s heart (although it does make me awfully proud)!
Should I keep them on the straight-and-narrow path of eating only healthy foods? Or if I never introduce them to Fruity Pebbles, will they one day rebel and begin eating every sugary processed food in sight?
But finally, I found something I can feel good about…
I am reading “One and the Same”, a book on twinship by Abigail Pogrebin. She cites one study about epigenetic differences in identical twins – changes in genetics brought about by environmental influences such as chemicals or food.
The 2004 rat study illustrated that “affection, or the lack of it, may also have an impact.” “…rats who were not licked and groomed by their mother as often as their siblings went on to exhibit more stress.” “The offspring of the high-licking moms exhibited better response to fear.”
This is one by which I can confidently check “yes”, as I am positively certain that I “lick” my babies enough. They get more hugs and kisses and belly rubs and toe tickles than they know what to do with…
…and I guess I’m just hoping that makes up for any other psychological scars I may unknowingly be inflicting.