October 14, 2005

The Traveling Circus

Last weekend we took the show on the road, so to speak. My family was holding a little reunion and we decided it was high time these babies traveled farther than the doctor’s office so we loaded up the truck and we moved to Beverly headed to the airport.

Actually, we loaded up our neighbor’s truck. You see, we were kinda caught off guard with the whole “having two babies at once” thing, so we don’t own a vehicle large enough to hold more cargo than the space shuttle. In fact, during our regularly scheduled strategic planning sessions for this particular trip (yes, my wife grew up in a military family) we thought it would be wise to rent an SUV upon arrival in this far away land. How else would we be able to schlep around our Double Stroller, Pack-n-Play, suitcase for us, suitcase for babies, diaper bag, breast pump, and whatever else we could find around the house that we “might need”?

In fact, I went around for a couple of days thinking I was pretty damn smart for having the foresight to rent the SUV. It was only about a week before we left that it dawned on me that while, yes we were getting an SUV once we arrived in this Far Away Land, we did not own an SUV here. Damn. So now we had to figure out how we would be getting all this crap much needed baby stuff to the airport. At first we were going to take two cars (and pay for both to be parked in the long term parking) until I mentioned to our neighbor just how idiotic I was and he so kindly offered the services of his truck. Problem solved.

So, the cargo was taken care of. Now we had to prepare for the actual getting on the plane and flying part. Did you know that if you have two babies and you plan to sit them on your laps for the plane ride and the plane has three seats on each side, you cannot sit together because whoever designs airplanes obviously doesn’t have twins? This person who designs airplanes and does not have twins only thought to add one extra oxygen maskto each row. So, if we sat in two seats and some poor unsuspecting fool sat next to us, there would only be four oxygen masks for five people. Now, some could make the argument that if you’re stupid enough to sit in the same aisle as two neurotic parents and their almost-four-month-old babies, you don’t deserve an oxygen mask in the first place. However, the good people at Southwest did not buy that argument so we did the next best thing – we bought three seats.

Once we made it to the airport we checked everything in but the stroller, infant seats the babies were strapped into, the diaper bag, one carry-on bag, and Andrea’s breastpump. We arrived at the security checkpoint and they informed us that we would have to put everything through the x-ray machine. So we spent the next few minutes extracting babies from seats, collapsing the double stroller, removing shoes, and putting everything we had into those depressing little gray plastic bins. Luckily for us half of the TSA agents on duty converged on us to assist. They looked like a mini Nascar pit crew with the way they moved. Once through the checkpoint and everything was reloaded and we checked to make sure we hadn’t left anything behind, we proceeded to our gate. After arriving at our gate and hearing an announcement over the loudspeaker, Andrea rushed back to the screening area to retrieve her sweater that had been left behind. This was not a good sign for things to come.

While Andrea was rushing to retrieve her sweater, I began getting everything ready. People looked on in amusement as I pulled one baby out of the infant seat and placed him/her (who can remember?) into a Snugli strapped to my chest. After a few minutes of struggling a nice woman came to my rescue and began helping me break things down. Soon enough Andrea returned and with the help of the Southwest flight attendant we boarded the plane. We had planned on checking both infant carriers at the gate but we were a bit rushed and I let the flight attendant talk me into taking one of the carriers on the plane since we had three seats. This turned out to be a mistake since this effectively took away our extra space. Somehow we made it through and Swee’Pea only cried briefly as the plane took off. The Binkies once again came to our rescue as the sucking helped relieve the pressure in their ears. Once in flight they both fell asleep in our arms.

After landing we waited until everyone deboarded the plane before attempting to get all of our stuff. The stroller was waiting for us outside the plane door and we proceeded to load babies into this along with all of our carry-on stuff. A flight attendant helped us off the plane and once we were loaded up, I asked “Did we get everything?” The flight attendant replied, “Yes, I got it all.” So, we proceeded to the baggage claim. A few hours and a few phone calls later I had to make a trip back to the airport to pick up the breast pump we had left on the plane. Apparently we did not get everything.

So, the time we spent in far away land was short and sweet. We left on a Friday and returned on a Sunday. It was great seeing family and the twin’s cousin Tommy. Many photos were taken by all.

It was also great to expose the little ones to more excitement than what shirt Daddy is wearing today. TheMonk, in particular, loved all the sights and sounds of the airport and you could just see the guy soaking up everything around him. The fact that he didn’t take any real naps the entire weekend and slept for hours when we returned showed just how interested he was in everything.

The return home was pretty tame except to say that we missed the TSA agents from our home airport. The TSA agents from the Far Away Land airport just watched us as we struggled to get all the gear broken down while simultaneously holding two babies. May all these people spend an eternity in airport security hell.

So, we survived. But if family wants to see these babies over the holidays, they’re gonna have to come to us!

October 11, 2005


In just two and a half weeks, I will be taking a five week leave from work to stay at home with the twins while Andrea returns to work. Coincidentally, this also happens to be the time that the parenting books recommend weaning babies from their pacifiers. Andrea had been mentioning this lately and while I publicly agreed that we needed to rid these babies of their dependence on baby crack pacifiers, I secretly dreaded it.

Just the thought of having to put the babies to sleep without their crack binkies brought chills to my spine.

So then, imagine my surprise when I opened up Monday’s paper to read that pediatricians now say that babies should continue to use baby crack binkies to sleep through the first year to reduce the risk of SIDS. I couldn’t put my coffee down fast enough. I rushed upstairs to point this out to Andrea.

I mean, I wouldn’t want to put the babies at risk by denying them their crack binkies. Their well-being is at stake!

October 8, 2005


The family was on a trip for the first time this weekend. We stayed the first night at a hotel by ourselves. The second night, my mother was to join us.

Our conversation the first night…

Me: Hey, maybe we can get my mom to babysit tomorrow night.

Wife: Ooh yeah, that would be nice.

Me: Yeah, maybe we can get a drink at the bar downstairs.

Wife: Oh. I was thinking we could take a nap.

October 7, 2005

Rockaby Baby

As part of our bedtime routine, the babies have their last breastfeeding session prior to getting into their pjs. Usually, they don’t get quite enough from the breast so we supplement with a bottle. This bottle time is always with the lights low and soft lullaby music playing in the background.

Last night, Swee’Pea threw us for a loop. She got all she needed from the breast – no need for a supplemental bottle. So, I changed her into her pjs and calmly put her to bed with the soft music playing in the background.

It soon became apparent that Swee’Pea was not going to go to sleep. Her new favorite sound is the high-pitched squeal. She was practicing this sound with gusto last night. At first we thought she’d get tired and go to sleep. After about five minutes of squealing, Andrea says to me, “You don’t think she expected to be fed her bottle do you?” That’s right, we messed with the routine. (I know, I know. What were we thinking?)

So I went back in and picked her up. Instead of feeding her, I held her in the feeding position while sitting in the glider chair in their room. I gently rocked her as she brought her thumb to her mouth. In the dark I could see she was starting to calm down. Her eyes began to droop. It was at this time I realized the song that was playing in the background.

It was “Rockaby baby”.

How Norman Rockwell is that?

October 5, 2005

Sports Talk

Last week Blogging Baby picked up my post about TheMonk and I watching football. One of the comments the Blogging Baby post got was from “Uncle Roger” who outlined his distaste for sports and what they represent.

In his comment he suggests going for a hike and that checking out girls in bathing suits is better than participating in sports.

Well, Uncle Roger, you picked on the wrong guy. See, it just goes to show how we can jump to conclusions based on what one writes on his or her blog.

What Uncle Roger doesn’t know is that I have a Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology. My thesis was titled “The Socialization of Sport: The Role of the Parent in Pressuring and Supporting Children in Sports.” I did countless hours of research regarding the role of the parent. I witnessed the stereotypical “Little League Parents” who yelled at their children to do better. I witnessed children not wanting to play because they didn’t want their parents to yell at them.

So, yes, parents can be a problem when it comes to sports (The main difference: When adults are questioned why one participates in sports, “To Win” is listed as the number one reason. When children are asked why they play sports , “To Have Fun” is the most common answer – winning doesn’t even make the top five.) but parents can also be a great motivator and facilitator when it comes to participating in and even watching sports.

As for what activities are more or less important? All I can say is as a parent I will expose my child to a wide variety of activities. For example, my wife and I enjoy mountain biking, hiking and camping. Of course we will expose our children to this. I’m a pretty good swimmer and I’ll teach my children to swim. I love to play baseball so we’ll play whiffle ball at the local park. I have coached kids in track and field for a number of years so I’ll show them how to take a handoff and explode from the starting blocks. And yes, I’ll even sit down and watch a game with them. We’ll talk about strategy. We’ll talk about the latest transgression of the local sports star. We might have a conversation about the definition of a hero and whether or not that applies to a guy who gets paid to tackle the quarterback.

My point? Aside from the fact that Uncle Roger pissed me off, it is that sports have a valid place in our society. They have the ability to teach values. They teach young children how to win with humility and lose with pride. They teach us that all competition isn’t necessarily bad. They teach us how to rebound from a disappointing loss to fight again. They teach us that life isn’t all about being serious. It’s about enjoying the smooth swing of a Barry Bonds or the leaping ability of a Michael Jordan. It’s about knowing you pushed yourself to the limit and discovered who you really can be. It’s about loyalty and rooting for the team you grew up with in a day when we change spouses and jobs at the drop of a hat. It’s about a father (or mother!) and son (or daughter!) sitting down together and enjoying each other’s company over a football game.

Uncle Roger, it’s too bad you have this attitude towards sports. Get beyond the beer and peanuts aspect of it and our children can learn alot.

(By the way, that “abomination they built in downtown SF” was paid for by private money and is helping revitalize a part of town you wouldn’t have stepped foot in 10 years ago. )

Okay, I feel much better now.

October 4, 2005

I’ve been Tagged

So, I was tagged by Clare’s Dad. The tag says to…

- Go to my 23rd post.

- Find the fifth sentence and post it here. (That’s it…short and simple.)

Okay, here it is:

My 23rd post was just prior to us moving into our first (and current) home. It’s a Top 10 list about living in a home.

Fifth sentence:

5) Guests no longer have to sleep in our living room

Yep! They have their own guest room now (located right next to the room with the crying babies – anyone want to visit?).

Okay, now I have to choose people who haven’t been tagged. I don’t know that many who haven’t been already tagged. Let’s see, if you want to, how about ThDad, Sarah and the Goon Squad, and I’d like to buy a Vowel.

Parenting Tip

If you leave for work with drool stains on your shoulder thinking, “Oh, no one will notice.”

They will.

(Interestingly enough, if you leave for work with coffee stains on your shirt, people think you’re a slob. But if you leave for work with baby drool stains on your shirt, people think it’s cute.)

October 2, 2005

Let me just straighten up a little

My mother-in-law (Hi Sue!), after visiting us and helping us take care of the twins a few weeks after they were born, after seeing the utter chaos that is raising two babies, after witnessing the filfth of our bathrooms after they hadn’t been cleaned in three weeks (Hmmmm, let me see. Should we sleep or clean the bathroom?) decided to give us the best gift anyone could possibly give – a year’s worth of maid service.

Oh man. It is so great knowing we don’t have to clean the house all of the time now. I mean, now we only clean right before the maids come. Because, you know, we don’t want them to thnk we’re slobs or anything.

October 1, 2005

Family Leave

Thursday night I spent my first night away from the babies. I had an overnight job-related retreat. Up until the final days leading up to the event, I had thought that I wouldn’t stay the night. I would forgo the evening festivities and head home instead. After all, my wife would be left with two babies by herself for 36 hours and I thought that would be cruel and unusual punishment.

However, as I got closer to the event I got the distinct impression that my boss expected me to be there for the entire retreat. I began to feel extremely conflicted about what to do. Ultimately, I decided that I would have to stay the evening. Luckily, Andrea was very understanding (although I really owe her one now!) about the entire matter.

These conflicted feelings aren’t new. They happen every time I leave work a bit earlier than I probably should just to get home to the babies. They happen every time I stay a little longer at work than I should and end up getting home late enough to be of little help for Andrea. I am struggling to find that balance between work and home. I’m beginning to believe there’s no such thing.

I am a very ambitious person and it has been made clear to me that if I want to rise through the ranks of my place of employment, putting in lots of hours is par for the course. I have never had a problem doing this – until now. Further confusing the point is that I am a father, not a mother. I am not the one who is supposed to be rushing home to be with the kids. I am supposed to be the bread winner and do my best to support my family through my job.

I took 3 weeks off after the birth of the twins. In November, I will take the entire month off to take care of the twins while Andrea goes back to work. I am looking forward to this very much. I don’t know of any other father in the organization that I work for that has done this. I wonder how this will affect my status within the organization. In the U.S. only 7% of all fathers receive paid family leave. I am lucky enough to live in a state that provides this opportunity and I intend to take advantage of it. I just hope it doesn’t affect my career prospects down the line.

I recognize the irony of this post. Most working mothers face these issues and fears every time they have a child. It just sucks that we have to worry about things like this. A large part of me is certain my leave will have no long lasting ill effects. But what if I’m wrong?

« Previous Page

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: