June 23, 2011

They eat, sleep and…

She is less than a week old. Her chubby cheeks and cute button nose are in-your-face perfection. I gaze into her dark eyes and she stares back. Her mouth forms small O’s in a primal rooting reflex and, to this Daddy, I imagine she’s blowing me kisses. I am sitting in my back, supported by pillows, in a half-way-done situp position. She sits on my tummy as she rests against my raised knees. I hold her little hands in mine and enjoy being together for the first time.

As we share a moment together, alone – just father and daughter – I begin to tell her how much I love her. “I have known you all my life.” I tell her. “You have been in my heart and I’ve just been waiting to meet you in person.” I marvel at her fragility and wonder at the personality that is waiting to emerge.

I continue to tell her my hopes and dreams and as she stares at me, I feel that we are forming a close bond that will continue a lifetime. “I will be the best Daddy I can for you. I’ll give you kisses and hugs, words of encouragement, moments of discipline, and most of all, love.”

As I gaze into her eyes, I feel like she is understanding what I am trying to convey. In the waning moments of the day as dusk envelopes the room, my eyes fill with tears as I smile at this wonderful little girl sitting on my lap.

Suddenly, she looks at me and smiles back. My heart leaps and I laugh out loud at her smile at such a young age. I know that she understands and her smile is proof. I revel in this special moment between daughter and father. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

And that’s when she pooped with a force of class five hurricane, spewing yellow baby poop out of her newborn diapers and all over my shirt. She lets out a little cry and I am suddenly left with a feeling of warmth in my stomach that is in sharp contrast to the inner warmth I felt just moments ago.

That smile? Yeah, I’m thinking it was gas.

Maybe the bonding will take a bit longer.

June 19, 2011


Today was Father’s Day.

It’s a day that has, in the past, been a bittersweet day. Growing up without a father made this time of year difficult as a child. But then, six years ago, I had my first Father’s Day and the day suddenly had meaning beyond what I had known before. And over the past few years the twins have made Father’s Day so special. It’s become a time for reflection. It’s a time for me to remind myself about what a father, in my mind, does. It gives me a time to reflect on what’s important and what is not. It leaves me feeling like I’ve accomplished something in this world that no one can take away. And, yes, it leaves me missing my own father as well.

This year is special because it is my first Father’s Day with m&m added to the mix. While Swee’Pea and TheMonk now understand what Father’s Day is and made today special by giving me cards they made at school shaped like a tie, it was a day for me to soak in as I spent much of the day helping Mommy nurse the baby and trying to rest. This baby thing is hard work.

But it’s something I wouldn’t ever change. Holding a baby that is only days old and kissing chubby cheeks and cuddling on my chest are things that make fatherhood so special. I hope I never forget the feeling. And I’m left again to reflect on how this fatherhood thing has changed me. And I’m reminded, after looking into the soulful eyes of a newborn baby, that fatherhood isn’t just a status. It’s a way of a life. And I love that being a father is a title I can wear proudly.

Happy Father’s Day. To me and all the great Dads raising their children. We’re changing the world, one kid at a time.

June 16, 2011

Little Wonder

Our newest addition arrived quickly with added drama (of course!) on June 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm. She is having a short (24 hour) stay in the NICU as a precaution but is doing great. Mommy is doing wonderfully well and has earned some rest. Daddy is too jacked up to sleep.


June 10, 2011

Final Countdown Second Time Around

Almost exactly six years ago, I was about to become a father for the first time. With twins. I was scared of the unknown and how being a parent would affect my life. Would I be a good father? Was I ready to do this? How do you know how to take care of a baby – or in our case, two babies?! I can’t speak for my wife but I think we both felt a little of that and by keeping busy preparing for two little ones’ arrival, may have helped us keep the fear to a manageable level.

As I type this, my beautiful wife is in the beginning stages of labor. I’m sure she’s going to do great because she generally does great at anything that matters. I’m also struck by how calm I feel. It’s like being recalled to the Majors vs. being promoted for the first time. I’ve been there before. I know what to expect. And one baby? Please. Piece of cake.

I can already tell how the second child (in our case, third child) turns out so differently, many times, from the first. As parents we do things differently. First, we have older kids that need attention too. Second, we know that certain death does not lurk around every dropped binky or every dust bunny. We relax a little bit and, many times, the child ends up a bit more relaxed as well.

It will be interesting to see how this little one turns out. Will she be the same well-mannered child that Swee’Pea and TheMonk have been so far? Or will she be hell on wheels? Will she be more sweet and more spicy? Will she forever alter our lives in ways that we hadn’t imagined? Will that be a good thing? A bad thing?

Damn. Now I’m scared again.

Stay tuned…

June 3, 2011

A Kinder Year

Less than a year ago – 46 weeks, to be exact – your mother and I held your hands and walked you to your classrooms on your first day of kindergarten.

There was apprehension and fear and even some tears. You were put in separate classrooms and would be apart for most of the day for the first time in your lives. I wasn’t sure if that was the right choice but the “experts” assured me it was and I put my trust in the fact that being out on your own would be a good thing for both of you.

It turns out, it was definitely the right thing to do. Both of you have grown so much as individuals over the past year. You can count beyond 100. You can read most children’s books with only minimal help. You can write complete sentences and short paragraphs with correct punctuation and proper capitalization. Your handwriting is better than mine. But best of all, you seem to have found a confidence in yourself that wasn’t necessarily there before.

Swee’Pea, you were so shy and quiet before entering kindergarten. I feared you would get lost in the crowd and wouldn’t get the instruction you needed because you wouldn’t demand attention. But that wasn’t the case. Instead, as the year progressed, you came out of your shell and talked excitedly of your exploits on the playground with your girlfriends and the little boy who lives down the street. You found a good friend who, thankfully, is an excellent student and likes to draw just as much as you do. I’ve enjoyed watching you cultivate this friendship by exchanging notes and pictures that you two made for each other. Having someone to be a partner makes everything so much less scary. I’m so proud of you for what you’ve accomplished.

A favorite memory of the last day of school was you telling me, along with mommy, that you won a prize for getting the most blue and green behavior cards along with the most books read over the year. The look of pride in your eyes as you explained this accomplishment was something I hope never to forget. And as I hugged you and asked if you were proud of yourself, your “uh-HUH!” in your little-girl voice made me squeeze you just a little harder.

As for you, Monk, you formed a strong bond with your teacher as I suspected you might. You are a rule follower and you really seem to love learning new things – which I’m sure made you a favorite of your teacher. You are a good boy who soaks in everything and enjoys all aspects of school. Your ability to do math and read stories is very impressive and I marvel at your willingness to read your sister a story in the morning after you’ve awakened. You’re a good brother.

My enduring memory of your kindergarten year is how much you loved performing in the kindergarten musical. You learned the choreography of all the classes’ songs as well as the lyrics. You would sing the songs you learned, in perfect pitch, many times over. Your musical ability has really shown itself at home where you have learned Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb and Row, Row, Row Your Boat on the keyboard we have in your playroom. You can start lower or higher register and play the songs perfectly. You’ve added in the chords to play with the melody and can even change the tempo depending on the percussion track you play on the keyboard. I’m very jealous you can do this and I hope it’s talent you continue to develop as you grow older.

Forty-six weeks ago, we watched you two board the school bus for the first time with Swee’Pea bursting into tears and TheMonk being nervously quiet. Yesterday, as you boarded the bus for the last time as a Kindergartner, the bus driver called out, “First Graders get on first!” And, Monkey, you froze in your tracks. Then, you smiled as you continued onto the bus and replied, “I’m not a first grader yet.”

Yes, you are. And it went by so fast.


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