A trip with Diaper Diva brings out sibling rivalry

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So Smartmom and her twin sister Diaper Diva went on vacation together…

OK, so there were some touchy moments. No fighting, no biting. But some of that sibling tension that makes family vacations so much fun.

Let’s start at the very beginning. Smartmom and the Oh So Feisty One showed up at Diaper Diva’s apartment expecting to pack up the car immediately.

“Should I bring your suitcase downstairs?” Smartmom asked helpfully.

“No, I’m not ready. I still have work to do,” Diaper Diva said testily.

So, Smartmom, OSFO and Ducky waited until Diaper Diva was done working.

“I feel like you’re pressuring me,” she said before making yet another phone call. “I feel like I’m disappointing you.”

They waited some more.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s just that OSFO has been up since 8 am and is dying to get there.”

“Well, I’m sorry,” Diaper Diva said with more than a little bitterness in her voice.

“Should OSFO and I just take the bus?” Smartmom chided.

It was that prickly getting-annoyed-with-one-another-vibe that can really make or break a short weekend away.

The drive to the hotel in New Jersey, where they were going to spend two days of rest and relaxation with their daughters, was fast and even fun. OSFO and Ducky watched “Dora the Explorer” on a portable DVD player while Smartmom and Diaper Diva made careful conversation.

“Hey, look, it’s Wayne, New Jersey! We should go to the Fountains of Wayne — they based a Soprano’s episode on that place,” Diaper Diva said, obviously beginning to relax.

But when they got to the hotel, Diaper Diva seemed dubious — she wasn’t sure she liked it at all.

“This place is so 1970’s ski chateau,” she said. She always did have an unerring eye for interior design.

“OK, so it’s 1970’s ski chateau,” Smartmom said.

“Well, it could just use an update, that’s all,” Diaper Diva added.

Smartmom wanted Diaper Diva to relax and, shall we say, be in the moment. But she seemed incapable of it. Everything was like tin foil on a filling — she was just bugged and there was nothing Smartmom could do about it.

“Maybe we shouldn’t have left on Friday,” Smartmom said.

“Well that’s water under the bridge, isn’t it?” Diaper Diva said, still having a tough time letting go — of her difficult work week, of the stress of being with her terribly cute terrible 2-year-old and her annoying twin sister.

They went to the dining room (“What’s with these weird kites on the ceiling?” Diaper Diva asked). They ordered pizza and salad, but Ducky staged a world-class tantrum because she couldn’t get her mind off of the fun-looking swimming pool she’d just seen.

Typical 2-year-old: she kept running away from the table. Finally, Diaper Diva realized that a restaurant lunch was not in the stars and took Ducky downstairs to the pool.

When the food came, Smartmom asked the waiter to pack it up. She brought it downstairs and offered it to Diaper Diva who was famished.

“This is my idea of a nightmare,” she said. “Being with a 2-year-old at a swimming pool.”

“Do you want to go home?” Smartmom asked.

“No. But I’m allowed to be miserable, aren’t I?”

“I guess.”

Smartmom was determined to help Diaper Diva relax. She finally convinced her to go to the hotel’s spa for her scheduled pedicure. Diaper Diva looked worried.

“Look, she’ll be fine with us,” Smartmom said. “We won’t let her drown. Besides, she’s wearing water wings.”

Ducky was happy as a clam playing with OSFO in the pool. She even floated by herself courtesy of her bright orange floaties.

When Diaper Diva returned to the pool (her toenails painted a deep burgundy), Ducky’s mood changed. She wanted mommy. In the pool. Now.


“Like I said, being here is my idea of a nightmare,”

“Then why don’t you leave Ducky with us. She was having a great time before you got here. Go into the sauna and she’ll be fine,” Smartmom said holding a squirmy, unhappy Ducky in her arms. Diaper Diva jumped into the water and grabbed Ducky out of Smartmom’s arms.

“Go to the sauna. YOU NEED TO RELAX,” Smartmom screamed.

“But she’s crying,” Diaper Diva said.

“She’ll cry for a minute. Then she’ll be fine,”

“I WILL NOT leave my baby crying,” Ducky exclaimed.

“You are digging your own grave. I THINK YOU’RE GOING OUT OF YOUR MIND!”

Oops. Now Smartmom had gone too far.

“Oh, that’s not very ‘Smartmom,’ is it? Telling a mother she’s going out of her mind because she wants to comfort her baby…”

OK, so there were some touchy moments. No fighting, no biting. But some of that sibling tension that makes family vacations SO MUCH FUN (or just plain hellish).

Talk about tension. Back in the hotel room, Smartmom and her sister gave each other the silent treatment. Smartmom entered her self-righteous zone — her sister was going mad, she was a control freak, she was making herself crazy. Smartmom felt righter than right.

Diaper Diva deserved to be stressed out forever.

Smartmom considered taking the bus home (but OSFO would be furious). Instead she went into the lobby and called her mother and told her EVERYTHING in gory detail. In the midst of her vitriolic rage, she saw her sister with Ducky and OSFO in tow walking toward her.

“I bet you’re talking to Mom,” she said. “I called her an hour ago.” Her face broke into a smile. She finally looked relaxed.

Manhattan Granny had played dumb.

“Be compassionate. It’s hard to travel with a 2-year-old,” Manhattan Granny advised. “She had a very stressful week. Maybe she shouldn’t have said yes to the vacation. Be kind to her. She’s new at this…”

Ahhh. Compassion. Kindness. Understanding. But it’s so hard when one feels like KILLING her sister.

Still, Smartmom tried to be understanding. She’s been a traveling mom for more than 15 years, while Diaper Diva has been at it for less than two. If she doesn’t feel comfortable leaving Ducky in the pool with Smartmom, that’s okay.

Everyone got a good night’s sleep and woke up refreshed. The next day, Diaper Diva enjoyed a soothing aromatherapy massage and soaked her feet in warm water with rose petals. Smartmom ran around the track. OSFO and Ducky played in the water endlessly and Smartmom learned a thing or two about compassion. Understanding. Kindness.

Even if she did feel like killing her sister.

Louise Crawford, a Park Slope mom, also operates “Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.”
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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