March 30, 2006

Making early morning memories

It’s early morning. Not early enough for your mother to be sleeping, as she is in the shower, but early enough for us not to have to rush to get ready yet. Your mother has placed both of you in my arms and I watch as you two interact with each other. Swee’Pea, you are mesmerized by your brother and you watch his every move. TheMonk, you are eager to take in the early-morning surroundings and seem oblivious to your sister’s attention. Somewhere between you shifting your body around to get a better view of the loft and trying to take Swee’Pea’s binky from her mouth, she reaches out and gives you a kiss on the head. You don’t see her do this, but I do. My heart swells with pride and love as I catch a glimpse into the future. My biggest hope is that you two will always be there for each other. That hugs and kisses never become old and that when you think of best friends, you will always think of each other.

I tell you this as you lay in my arms. TheMonk, you hear my voice, and you turn and look up at me with your big brown eyes contrasting with the bright blue of your binky. You smile as we make eye contact and I reach down to give you a kiss. You spit out your binky and reach out to me. It is evident you want to give me a kiss too. I hold you closer and bring your face to mine. Your loud breaths get louder as you open your mouth like a large-mouth bass and plant a TheMonk special right onto my cheek. I feel the tiny suction as you pull away and I give you a quick kiss on your cheek. You giggle from the scratchiness of my not-yet-shaven face.

Next, I turn to Swee’Pea and offer you my cheek. You suddenly grab my face with both of your tiny little hands and yell loudly “Aaaah-Yaaah-Aaaaa!” as you plant a big kiss on my other cheek. Once done, you seem proud of yourself and we sit there in silence for a little while. We sit in silence because I don’t know what to say. How do I say to 9-month-old babies that you are the most incredible gift I could hope for? How do I tell you that my love for you is unconditional? How do I tell you that I will always try to do what’s best for you? How do I tell you that at 34 years of age, for the first time I truly feel complete? I can’t tell you all of that because that’s a lot for 9-month-old to digest. So, instead I just lay there watching you be you. Smiling at you every time you glance at me for reassurance. The collective warmth from our bodies has made a cozy little cocoon in this chilly spring morning and I imagine, as I lean down to kiss the tops of your wonderfully-smelling heads, that this must be what heaven is like.

March 29, 2006

Hi There!

I don’t have much for you today. You can visit my wife’s latest post as she writes a very sweet post to our twins (plus there’s a cute picture!). I also wrote about a “Blogger’s code of conduct” at the Blogfathers. So go check ‘em out!

March 24, 2006

Eternal Truths

There are two absolute truths when parenting babies…

1) Your baby will always soil his/her clothes right after you’re done doing all of the laundry.

2) Your child will vomit all over himself right after getting a bath.

March 22, 2006


I’m not a guy who understands electronic devices very well. It takes me a while to program the DVD player and configuring my wireless router was an adventure that ended in swallowing my pride by calling in reinforcements.

So, you know I’m in trouble when I give my children the TV and DVD remotes to play with and it takes me 10 minutes to figure out how to undo whatever they did to make the picture on the television screen disappear.

No more remote control playing for the twins. I’m giving them the phone only from now on. Of course that might change after our next phone bill. For all I know, they’re crank calling Bangladesh.

March 20, 2006

Gag me with a diaper

First, let me say that I have a horrible sense of smell. I never knew this would come in handy until I started changing diapers. Just by the look of things, I can tell just how lucky I am to not be blown over by the odoriferous eminations coming from each Huggies. In fact, I have yet to be totally repulsed by anything I’ve seen to date. Granted, we haven’t introduced the kids to meats or even exotic vegetables yet but, so far so good.

Until this morning.

TheMonk has a stomach virus and he vomited enough times yesterday where the advice nurse had me take him to the local Children’s Hospital to get him checked out. He was finally able to keep down some pedialyte and that became his source of nourishment for the rest of the night. This morning, a much-improved TheMonk was hungry and ready for some breast milk. He nursed ravenously and everything was good. Until I picked him up to move him to another room.

The odor hit me like a sledgehammer. The stench was so bad I thought I saw fumes rising from his little butt.

He smiled at me and I tried to smile back but it’s hard to smile and gag at the same time. Proving my love for my son yet once more, I maneuvered him to the diaper-changing table and was resigned to changing the diaper myself (Andrea, the lucky woman, was in the shower). Holding my breath, I carefully peeled away the diaper. A cloud of viscous odor rose up towards the heavens. The paint on the wall beside us started to peel. My eyes started to water. I looked over at TheMonk and, oblivious to the smell, was cooing away softly. I then glanced down at the diaper and was shocked at what I saw. It was bright, flourescent-red!* MY GOD, IT’S TOXIC WASTE! OH MAN, OH MAN, OH MAN. Lord, please help me in my time of need.

I quickly grabbed a handful of baby wipes and started wiping furiously, hoping to end the nasal assault as quickly as possible. Once I no longer saw any red, I wrapped up the diaper and threw it into the diaper bin and closed the lid with a bang. I glanced over at TheMonk once again as I panted from exertion and a lack of oxygen. The hairs lining my nose were now curled and slightly tinged. I wiped away the tears from my eyes and finished dressing TheMonk.

I have tried to resume my day. I have tried to pretend like my life is the same. But, in truth, my life will never be the same – not knowing that there is a smell out there as bad as that. For the rest of the day, all I have smelled is that odor. It clings to me like a bad first-date. I keep washing my hands, face, hair, and THE SMELL JUST WON’T GO AWAY. It won’t. Right now, I write this and you are secondary as the smell permeates my mind and, I’m sure, is currently eating away at my brain. Please…


*It turns out he had a burst capillary that caused his poop to go red. Everything is okay now.

March 18, 2006

The Catholic Church and the twin discount

A Perfect Post

Whenever we are about to spend a lot of money on something I always ask for the twin discount. “We have twins. Do we get a discount?” I say. This has worked very well at places like Baby Depot and Babies-R-Us (We bought four infant/toddler car seats a couple of weeks ago and saved almost $50 off the $480 the seats were gonna run us). It does not work so well at places like Starbucks. (“I’ll have a Venti Extra-hot, raspberry, White Chocolate mocha and a crumble coffee cake please. $5.75? Do you offer a twins discount?” The answer is always no.)

Do you want to know where else they don’t offer a twin discount? The Catholic church. I know, I know. You’re obviously as surprised as I was. You see, we’ve been trying to get the babies baptized for a while. When we called up the local church that we had been attending prior to the babies being born, we were told the following:

In order to baptize our children and save their souls from eternal damnation, we would have to attend church 8 consecutive weeks before the priest would even meet with us. We would then have to attend one evening class but children are not allowed to attend that class. Oh, and the way we tell if you’ve attended 8 consecutive weeks is by the weekly offering. Uh-huh. You heard me. You have to pay up if you want credit for your child’s salvation.

Two things made me angry about this whole scenario. First, obviously the person on the other end of the phone that I spoke to did not have a rat’s clue to what it was like to parent infant twins. We attended church fairly regularly prior to the twins being born but with breastfeeding running our lives, getting out of the house for mass each Sunday was next to impossible. Yet I went on my own. Determined to save my children’s soul, I trekked off each week to mass while Andrea wrestled with the twins. Each week, I’d sit alone in the bleachers of the local high school gymnasium (the church is building it’s facility nearby) and try not to think about how the high school won it’s two Cross Country League Championships and it’s two Track & Field League Championships while simultaneously reciting the profession of faith.

The second issue I had was the way they were making me pay each week as a way of taking roll. One week, I gave a buck. One measly dollar. I wanted to write something nasty on it but didn’t feel like incurring the wrath of God so I left satisfied my one dollar was symbolic of a silent protest. I’m sure no one but the church receptionist noticed. Sadly, I’ll forever be known as the cheap guy – not the brave man who stood up to the mighty Catholic church.

Finally, this church wanted each of the godparents (we have four as the twins will not share godparents) to attend a class at their respective churches (they don’t live near us) and then get a letter signed by the priest of their church stating they attend mass regularly. I’m pretty sure she also wanted an affadavit signed by all parties that made the Godparents promise to send their first-born son into the priesthood. This is when I started realizing why fewer and fewer people are joining the Catholic church. It’s an exclusive club and you’ve gotta pay to get in.

Luckily, we found out about a rebel church in the town next to us that had no such restrictions. All we had to do is show up to a one-hour class on a Saturday (children welcome) and pick a date. We went today and it was crowded. We listened to an elderly Filipino man lecture many of us in the room about how it would be nice if we actually started attending church once we got our children baptized. He went on and on (something about Luke, Matthew, Paul, John and perhaps Yoko but it was hard to hear so I could be wrong) until we finally got the info we needed. Just fill out the form, pick a date and show up with a candle, a white outfit and your camera. Oh, and you have to pay $70, of course. Of course. Per child? Of course.

*Sigh* grumble, grumble, grumble.

I had to ask… “We have twins. Do we get a twin discount?”

No. No we do not. But $140 is a small price to pay for reservations to heaven. Right?

March 17, 2006

Not easy being green

Proof #1231 that I’m a good father:

As we were leaving the house this morning, I realized that TheMonk was not wearing any green.

“I can’t let you get pinched, big guy!” I tell him.

He looks at me and smiles. He agrees.

We go back upstairs and find him some green socks.

“There!” I say after putting on the socks. “Whew! That was a close one!”

As we get to the twins’ daycare provider, I show her that TheMonk and Swee’Pea are wearing green and that it was a close call with TheMonk. “Well, it doesn’t matter” the daycare providers says with a smile. “He gets his cheeks pinched anyway.”

Well, dude, I tried. I really did.

March 14, 2006

Things I don’t understand…

Why do I burp more often than either of the twins when I gently pat their backs after a meal?

Why does Swee’Pea always poop right as I’m ready to put her in the car in the morning? (btw, what’s the etiquette on that? I always change the diaper because I’m embarrassed our daycare provider would be upset.)

Why a baby will sleep three or four nights in a row, teasing you into thinking it’s now sleeping through the night, only to say, “Nope, not tonight… Sucker.”

Why I am absolutely unable to walk out of Costco without spending at least $200 (but at least I’ve got enough ziploc bags to last until the apocolypse).

String Cheese.

Why we have at least 3 different types of diaper rash cream in the house.

How even though I’m getting about 25% more sleep than I was a month ago, that I’m still freakin’ tired.

How the first smile I see from my children at the end of a long day erases all of the chaos from my mind. (I may not understand it, but thank God it’s there)

ABBA and Who’s Your Daddy?

The babies are beginning to put words with objects. Most of the time we don’t really understand what they’re saying but it’s obvious they are attempting speech.

Bri’s first attempt at a word is appropriate on a couple of levels. First, you have to know that Swee’Pea is the second-coming of Shakira/JLo/Paula Abdul because she has dancing moves you haven’t dreamed of. Anytime music comes on, Swee’Pea will rock her body to the music. And it’s not this herky-jerky rocking that looks like Steve Martin dancing in The Jerk, no it’s a stylish, rhythmic sway that matches her slight smile and sparkle in her eye. I can almost hear her thinking, “Yeah, can you dig it?”

Because of her penchant for dancing, I have coined her my Dancing Queen. Now, this is appropriate because, as some of you may remember, Swee’Pea prefers the cat to her parents loves our cat Nutmeg. Anytime Nutmeg strolls into the room (and this cat always strolls) Swee’Pea squeals in delight and wants to touch the cat (Memo to Nutmeg: Your days of knowing the babies can’t chase you are numbered. Consider yourself warned.). Now, whenever she sees Nutmeg, she utters the phrase “Abba”. I’m not sure where she gets this because we don’t go around discussing Swedish disco bands in general conversation but Swee’Pea insists on Abba. So, Abba it is. Nutmeg is quickly becoming Abba the cat. If this sticks, we’ll just tell everyone that Abba the cat was named after our Swedish disco-loving daughter Bri.

Now, TheMonk has has been working on the word Dada for a while now. He had the nuances down but never seemed to say it at the right moment (“No, TheMonk, that’s Nutmeg, not Dada.”). Yesterday morning, however, we had our moment of glory. Andrea was holding TheMonk in her arms and he had not yet seen me. As she turned him towards me, he caught glimpse of me and broke out into the hugest, most excited smile ever and practically yelled out “DADA!” Yes, I floated around the office all day yesterday. I might have told a few everyone in my office about it. Unbelievably nobody complained. (It’s good to be the boss sometimes.) This wasn’t a fluke either as he did it again this morning. It’s about time he finally got it. I’ve only been saying the word Dada about a thousand times a day for a while now.

What’s that? Oh, if you’ll excuse me, my son is calling me. Now if I could just get around the little girl boogying on the floor…

March 12, 2006

No Comparison

One of the challenges I’m finding with parenting two babies at the same time, is to avoid comparing the two as we know they are unique individuals and will progress at different rates. I imagine they will be compared to each other for many years to come and I want to avoid that as much as possible. Even here on my blog I sometimes have to think about what I want to write about and how it might read to TheMonk and Swee’Pea someday down the road. My gut instinct is that they won’t care that one said their first word earlier than the other or that one walked earlier than the other because we will be raising them to not be competitive with each other but to support each other and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.

However, I realize this is easier said than done. My brother and I are five years apart. I’m the older one and I was a tough act to follow – especially during the high school years where teachers and coaches all knew me and expected my brother to be similar to me. He was very senstive to the comparisons and it might be why we currently don’t have the best relationship. Comparisons are inevitable and can be burdensome after a while.

At the same time, I don’t want to avoid celebrating success of one child just because the other has not experienced the same success. This is shaping up to be the most difficult aspect of parenting twins and I hope that we can find a balance that will be beneficial for all involved. One thing we have going for us is that our twins are different genders. This may alleviate some of the comparisons but I’m certain it won’t completely take care of it.

When writing this blog I purposely try to avoid comparisons as I know both will progress at different rates. That’s okay. It’s normal. And I hope TheMonk and Swee’Pea realize that years from now. My hope is that instead of feeling like they are always being compared to each other and rather than be competitive with each other, I’d like them to be each other’s biggest supporter. A built-in cheerleader. Siblings for life. Because if you can’t depend on your sibling for support, who can you turn to?

So, I guess I would like to say to TheMonk and Swee’Pea as they read this blog down the road, it’s not a competition. We’re all on the same team. I truly love you both the same – no matter what. I couldn’t have asked for two more wonderful children.

In fact, if you pressed me, I’d have to say there’s no comparison.

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