July 29, 2005

Diaper Dandies

My babies are growing up. About a week or so ago we came to the sad realization that TheMonk would have to graduate from his newborn diapers to a Size 1 diaper. Andrea and I were both caught off guard as this milestone is not mentioned in any of the 1,562 parenting books we have collectively read. There is no spot to record this event in the baby books we bought either. Size 1 diapers already?! What’s next, renting a tuxedo for the prom!?

We went through, what Elizabeth Kubler-Ross calls the five stages of grief:

1) Denial. I know TheMonk has soaked his onesie about five times today but maybe it’s because I’m not securing the diaper tight enough.

2) Anger. These damn diapers! I paid good money for these things and I expect these things to work better than the Hoover dam!

3) Bargaining. “Come on, Buddy, quit peeing out the side. I’ll give you ten bucks, for every dry onesie.”

4) Depression. “Sigh. I don’t care anymore. Pee wherever you want.”

5) Acceptance. Okay, this diaper looks like a fig leaf on a greek statue. Perhaps it’s time for a bigger diaper.

Now, Swee’Pea is starting to leak out of her Newborn diapers. Last night Andrea tells me, “I think it’s because we’re using the cheap diapers… And we’re not securing the diaper tight enough.”

Okay, Honey, Okay.


BTW, to confuse the matter more, Newborn diapers are advertised to fit babies between 4 and 10 lbs. (1.8 – 4.5 kg for my metric friends). Size One diapers are advertised to fit babies between 8 and 14 lbs. (4 to 6 kg). I’m afraid I need less ambiguity when it comes to my diapers. I’m too sleep deprived to make the decision of what diaper to use on my 9 pound baby.

July 28, 2005

One hand tied behind my back

I have become adept at doing everyday chores and tasks with one hand while I hold a cranky baby in the other. Last night, for example, I heated up dinner in the microwave, ate, and cleaned up (including loading the dishwasher) all while holding a heavier-by-the-day Jonathan.

While I can get by with one hand, I’m not perfect at this. For example, it’s not uncommon to finish eating something and then looking down to realize that what’s on baby’s head is not dandruff or cradle cap but, in fact, crumbs from the piece of bread I was just eating.

Eating is not the only thing I can do with one hand. I have posted to my blog, taken pictures of babies, read the paper (turning the pages of a newspaper with one hand is not as easy as I imagined!) and emailed friends. Of course, typing slows from about 65 words per minute to about five words per minute (mainly because words will come out looking like “tyghkd” and I’ll have to start over again).

My biggest adventure was getting the mail with a baby in tow. Our mail box is a shared box that is across the street from our house. Our mail box is on the bottom and I have to stoop down to get the mail. Since we have been in the house for a year and we recently had babies, our mailbox is regularly stuffed with junk mail pushing mortgages, mortgage insurance, formula, diapers and all things house and baby. While trying to pull out the moutain of mail, I found out how difficult it was to pull out thirty pieces of mail while holding a baby. For a brief moment I thought about setting baby down on the ground but then I had visions of Andrea looking out the window and catching me – guaranteeing that I would never hear the end of it. So, I squatted in a catchers stance, placed baby across my thighs while my upper body folded over the baby and using both hands I was able to organize the mail in a way that I could carry it all home. I headed home with a sense of satisfaction that one gets after solving a complicated problem.

Simple victories folks.

July 24, 2005

DOB: 07/24/71

On Friday, I was driving to work and I thought, “What day is it” I did some mental calculations in my head to determine that it was the 22nd. I was satisfied until I realized I wasn’t entirely sure what month I was in. Some more calculations determined that it was, in fact, July. Again, feeling satisfied, I drifted away from that thought and had almost entirely turned my attention to something else when something inside my head persisted that I was missing an important piece of the puzzle. I was jolted back to counting days when I realized that July 24th is a signifcant date. It’s my birthday.

Okay, I can be excused for forgetting my birthday, right I mean I’ve got a couple of distracting elements in my life right now and it’s okay that my birthday is just another day in getting to know my two little ones a bit more.

I do have some fond memories of birthdays past. I remember turning eight years old, we had just moved from a little country town to Santa Cruz, California where my mother was attending school. I didn’t know anyone but my mother was determined to throw me a party. I don’t recollect where the kids came from but I do remember accompanying my mother to downtown Santa Cruz to pick up my birthday cake. It was there we saw a group of people in a brightly painted, old school bus. They wore outlandish outfits and had long hair (okay, so that describes just about everyone in downtown Santa Cruz, but they were a bit more over the top) and seemed to be some sort of traveling sideshow. I distinctly remember my mother rolling down her window and shouting at them, “Hey, do you guys do birthday parties” The next thing I know we’re being entertained by a bunch of nomadic gypsies with puppets, ballon animals and all things fun. A good birthday.

For my 23rd birthday, I was living in New York City and I happened to notice that the New York Mets were playing my favorite team, the San Francisco Giants on my birthday. I hopped on the subway to the ballpark where I bought the best seat I could afford. I always keep score at games and as I was marking my scoresheet early in the game I noticed the young boy sitting next to me watch what I wrote in my scorecard and then write the exact same thing in his. Soon enough I was showing him how to keep score and we talked baseball for the rest of the day. His favorite player was Bobby Bonilla who was a teammate of Barry Bonds in Pittsburgh. I noticed that the boy was at the game with his mother. At the end of the game, a Giants win, we said our goodbyes. The mother made eye contact with me for the first time and mouthed the words, “Thank you.” For the first time, I got a glimpse of bringing my son to a baseball game.

Today, I held my son and daughter in my arms while simultaneously feeding both at 5:30 a.m. They were both very alert for such an early morning. They looked up at me over the end of the bottles in their mouths as I told them how much they mean to me. I’ve never had such a good birthday present.

July 20, 2005

The Adventures of TheMonk and Swee’Pea – Part I

TheMonk and Swee’Pea were born, one would say,
in what most would consider the usual way.
Lots of gore, lots of goo and acting all surly
Not unlike their mother when she found they’d come early

TheMonk, he came first, and he had plenty to say

As if on cue, little Swee’Pea appeared
Looking far cuter than her father had feared.
She cried some at first, but then settled down
Her face locked into a perpetual frown

The nurses were fawning over TheMonk and Swee’Pea
While Daddy took pictures for the whole world to see
They were prodded and tested and handled with care
While Daddy looked on with a slightly stunned stare

The babies, now clean were brought out to their mom
Who was so high on drugs, she looked eerily calm
We bade Mommy goodbye to get measured and weighed
With Daddy in tow, at his side they both stayed.

Those first days were a blur, people coming and going
With signs of fatigue on their parent’s face showing
Daddy exclaimed “Let’s leave! I can’t take it no more!”
“For how can we rest with this oft opened door?”

Doctors, Assistants, Consultants and Nurses
All were the brunt of some of Daddy’s late curses
Finally! They left for their humble abode.
Daddy driving the most cautious, slow car on the road

Daddy gripping the wheel, with his head on a swivel
Not really listening to the radio’s drivel
His head full of cobwebs and sleep-deprived hazy
Operating the car like he was driving Ms. Daisy.

At last they arrived feeling a little subdued
With heavy fatigue shading their mood
Everyone went to bed and soon were asleep
Not fully knowing the hours they’d soon keep

But they made it home with their two bundles of joy
A cute little girl and handsome young boy
There’s more to this tale, as you can plainly see
So stay tuned for more adventures of TheMonk and Swee’Pea.

July 19, 2005

A rose by any other name…

A list of nicknames that have been uttered for the babies in their first five weeks… (By no means a complete list)


  1. Bri
  2. Baby Bri
  3. Swee’ Pea (of course)
  4. Peanut (with apologies to Metrodad)
  5. Baby Girl
  6. Sweetie Pie
  7. Cutie
  8. TheMonk (hey, it was four in the morning, and I’m tired, man!)
  9. Snuggle Bunny
  10. Beautiful
  11. Stinky


  1. Big Guy
  2. Grumble Cookie
  3. Grumble Monkey
  4. The Grumbler (Do you get the picture? He grumbles – a lot.)
  5. Buddy
  6. Little Man
  7. Handsome
  8. Cuddle Monkey
  9. TheMonk
  10. Swee’Pea (see #8 under Swee’Pea)
  11. Mama’s Boy
  12. Cry Baby
  13. Thomas (Don’t ask – it’s a long story)

Stay tuned, I’m sure there are more.

July 17, 2005

Off on the Hogwarts Express

Harry Potter arrived today thanks to my mother-in-law. Now I have yet another reason to miss sleep (as if I needed another excuse). If I don’t post for a few days, I’m probably away from you muggles and off at my sixth year at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Bye. I’m off to find platform 9 and 3/4.

July 15, 2005

Out of my element

I called the lactation consultant from my office and mentioned to her that we would like to rent the baby scale she mentioned during her visit to our home. This, she had explained, would be the easiest way to see if J.T. and Swee’Pea were actually being productive during their breast feeding sessions.

So, the consultant told me she had a scale available. I glanced at my watch and saw I had just enough time to run over to pick it up before picking my mother-in-law up at the airport. I got a little lost on the way and lost some valuable time. Finally, I found the office and managed to squeeze into a parking spot in the crowded parking lot. I bypassed the elevator and ran up the adjacent stairs to the third floor. As I arrived at the top of the staircase I saw the office door right in front of me. Being in a hurry, I quickly walked in taking two large strides into the room before I noticed everyone.

And when I said everyone, did I mention they – all dozen or so – were all nursing mothers With their boobs hanging out Looking at me The one person in the room without a built-in feeding system

I froze, tried to look calm and quickly turned toward the desk area and away from the nurse-fest going on five feet from me. I felt like… (what’s the analogy here Certainly not a “kid in a candy store”). I know, I felt like a Red Sox fan in the right field bleachers at Yankee Stadium – he’s got every right to be there but shouldn’t do anything stupid.

So, I spent the next five minutes listening to the lactation consultant talk about the scale and I filled out the paperwork and paid. When it was time to leave I did an about-face and high tailed it out of there. Safe for the moment.

It now dawns on me that I’m going to have to return the scale next month.

July 12, 2005


My mother-in-law is in town and she has already left her mark. In addition to making dinner, I came home today to find a few week’s worth of laundry washed and neatly folded.

I’m trying to overlook the fact that my mother-in-law has now handled my underwear.

July 9, 2005

Bedtime Stories

I have always taken sleep for granted. I mean, I could sleep pretty much whenever I wanted. I might stay up late one night to watch a movie knowing I could make up the sleep the next night or by taking a nap during the day. Now, the idea of sleep consumes me. Like a dieter obsessing about the food he cannot have, I have fixated on sleep and how lacking sleep affects my life on a daily basis.

I used to be very sympathetic to parents of a newborn baby when they would talk about tired they were. They would say things like, “I have the 3 to 7 a.m. shift so I’m really tired.” A “shift”? I dream about having a “shift” people. With two babies, there is no such thing. When it’s time to feed the babies, all hands are needed on deck – especially if we want to keep the feeding to under an hour and get back to sleep as soon as possible.

We have settled into a routine where we feed the babies between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. We then try and get some sleep, knowing we have to get up in just a couple hours. Before we go to bed, however, I have to wash the pump accessories and prepare the bottles for the next round (we hardly breast feed for the late night feedings right now – perhaps later when they get better at it) before heading to sleep. At 12:30 or 1:00 a.m. we get up to feed the babies (or they announce it’s time to feed them by wailing from the crib) after an hour or two nap. We feed them, change them, and put them to bed as quickly as possible. It never takes less than 45 minutes. If we’re lucky we can now get 2 to 3 hours sleep before they start to wake up hungry. Lately we have been trying to put off this second feeding for as long as possible. Once they start to fuss, we will pick them up, bring them to bed with us and let them sleep with a pacifier for as long as they’ll do it. Sometimes we can pick up another 45 minutes to an hour. So, now, we end up feeding them around 5:00 a.m. Again, this takes about 45 minutes or so and then we go back to sleep. I have to get up at 6:30 a.m. to get ready for work. That last 30 to 45 minutes of sleep are so short, it’s downright cruel. I stagger out of bed, shower (it’s amazing how much more awake I am after a shower), get a large cup of coffee and head upstairs to feed TheMonk first, then Swee’Pea while Andrea sleeps. I do this to pay pennance for the fact that I’m leaving my wife outnumbered two to one for the next 9 to 10 hours. I am out the door by 8:00 a.m. (or so) and hopefully at work by 8:30 a.m. Once at work, no one is allowed to tell me how tired they are.

So, I have been averaging about 4.5 hours of sleep a night. When I got home last night, the babies were calm and Andrea suggested I take a nap. I fell into one of those induced-coma-like sleeps with drool oozing onto my pillow only to awaken to the phone ringing. I stagger out to our loft area and Andrea tells me my cell phone rang while handing me our house phone. I try to shake the cobwebs out of my head as I instinctively head over to where my cell phone is. I pick it up, not sure yet what I plan on doing with the phone, when Andrea says “Matthew there’s someone on the house phone!” I look down at the other phone and slowly put it to my ear. “Hello” I mumble. It is my friend Jean-Luc Neptune (his real name, I couldn’t make that up) from New York, in town with his lovely wife Sarah. We have a conversation about seeing each other the next day. I’m not sure what is said. I cannot recall the conversation. I hang up with a sense that we made arrangements to see each other the next day. I’m sure he thought I was on drugs.

Now, all I want is more sleep – but then Andrea says it’s time to feed the babies. My help is needed. After feeding the babies we all go back to sleep. The twins sleep longer during this night and I’m rewarded with over three hours of continuous sleep. This is the first time since the babies were born almost four weeks ago that this has happened. I wake up this morning and I am as refreshed as I have been in a month. I do the math and calculate I got 6.5 hours of sleep.

This is what my life has become – thanking God for 6.5 hours of sleep.

July 7, 2005

Polluted roadways

As I travel along the freeway on the way home from work, I notice along the median what appear, at first glance, to be dozens of white legionaire hats. Then, as I pass a bunch, I realize these are not hats. No, any person who has changed over 350 diapers in the past month would recognize these as the diapers they are. The interesting thing is that, even though we haven’t seen rain in a while, it is clear that these diapers are full. Their moisture-absorbing insides are bloated, making them look like large marshmallows with tails.

The pragmatist in me can’t help but feel sorry for the folks who shelled out the dough for those diapers.

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