The glass shoe guy

Mimi and Beenie sat in the tub the other evening, next to one another, quietly. Beenie chatted on a fish phone to the dude in charge of glass slippers at the ball. She said he said he had lots of glass shoes at the ball, but she didn’t have any.

The girls have been having kind of a hard time lately. Mimi is emerging from a somewhat submissive role in the twin interplay, and it is ruthless. She demands respect. It’s mind-blowing, actually, to witness this chrysalis — the never meek, but usually slightly overpowered child is NOT HAVIN’ IT anymore. Poor Beenie. She’s so fantastically bossy and cursed with large scale vision, it’s hard for her to keep it to herself. Who can blame her? But, also, who can blame poor Mimi? She has many huge talents, too,  and a fantastic sense of humor and compassion… it seems like she is going to have to shove her sister around for a few months to ensure some kind of new dominance.

I am having a hard time. Do you know why? These strong girls need to be left to their own devices to work this shit out. Unless, there is serious psychological damage happening, which sometimes there is. There must be consequence to pushing, shoving, hurting, and general denigration toward one’s sister. There will be consequence. Time outs for everyone! Time outs for all my friends! I will put you on the blue chair, I will put you in your room. For three or five minutes, depending on how freaked out I am when you hurt your sister. Mimi, you know who I’m talking about. Yes, your sister used to bite you unmercifully. For almost two solid years, so, yes, I understand where some of your pent-up fury is coming from. You have been cut a respectable amount of slack. But it’s over now, this slack. If you want respect, which you completely deserve, you must give it. To Beenie, to me.

There has been discussion of strengths betwixt these twinsies of late, also. I’m sure Mimi’s self esteem is also wrapped up in this little issue as well. I addressed this in the car on the way to summer school yesterday and actually think some of it sunk in. Everyone has different talents. Mama is good at doing some things, Dada is good at doing other things. Beenie can draw fantastic jelly fish and Bugs Bunny and knows about skeletons and bones, and Mimi does complicated puzzles in two seconds and can button buttons and do summer-saltz. It wouldn’t be fun if everybody was good at the same things. Siblings are competitive and there’s nothing I can do about this. It is frustrating. And inevitable. Like parenting in general. Just ask New York Magazine.

My paintings have gone the way of the unofficial drought in Baltimore. Sandy beige grass, dusty hard ground. Alone and untouched they sit, in my good friend’s studio. I want to work on them. I have zero time to do so. Hopefully this weekend will expose an hour or two for me to sneak away to pigment-land. I miss it desperately. It being non-verbal brain time, contemplating color and edges and sometimes subject matter.


  1. Check out this one: Siblings Without Rivalry. First, you’ve already use three of its best points: one, most of the time they can, if given the tools, work it out themselves. Two, there are consequences for hurting. And three, everyone is different. There is no “good one” and “bad one” or “dancer twin” and “artist twin.” They are different on each day, and that’s what makes it awesome.

    Sux that they have to work all this stuff out, but better with a sis than the rest of the world this early.

  2. MJ was just dealing with this recently. She’s got an MA in early childhood education so it’s REALLY REALLY HARD but she finally realized she needs to butt out when Sam and Charlotte are negotiating things. Unless someone is being physically hurt or one of them comes to her for help, she’s learning to step back and let them figure things out. She realized that tiny little Charlotte — 2 yrs younger than Sam — is really good at telling him to buzz off as long as she has the words for things — “you are hurting my feelings,” “I don’t like it when you do x.”

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