Wednesday, June 27, 2012


So today is the boys' three month birthday!  That means tonight they will sleep through the night, right?  Isn't that how it works?  I hear that babies start sleeping through the night at three months.

OK...I know that's not quite how baby development works.  But wouldn't it be nice if it did? 

Even if the sleeping through the night skill isn't quite there yet, there are some other great developments.  Both boys are starting to grab more.  Babies grab from the start, but now they're starting to grab for things in front of them.  Aaron had a death grip on my finger yesterday.  He also tracks objects well as we move them from side to side and loves listening to the crinkly paper toy as we make the noise near his left ear and then his right.  Jeff was able to grab some rings on the playtime mat, he was having fun with a little, plush soccer ball yesterday and he is trying to hold his bottle.  Our nanny sent us a picture today of him holding his bottle.  He can't lift it to drink from it (it was empty anyway) but that boy is determined to feed himself.  Plus, both boys are fascinated by sign language.  When they're crying and screaming I simply sign to them and the hands moving around often help them calm down.  I also swear that if I sign "milk" as I'm making their bottles the crying and fussing decreases.  I think they might be understanding that sign and that milk will be coming soon.

As hard as it is and as much as I complain about the lack of sleep, I love having twins.  I'm so excited to know that these boys will have each other.  I can't wait to watch them play together (especially because Daddy won't always want to play space ranger vs. Batman for 7 hours a day).  I also want to make sure that they each have their own identities.  I do refer to them as "the boys" or "the twins" a lot.  They're only three months old so their individuality isn't markedly different at this point.  Still, they will be as different or as alike as any two brothers and it will be fun to see their personalities and interests grow and develop. 

The negative side of having twins is that I want to compare them to each other.  When Jeff could prop himself up on his arms first I wondered if Aaron would be cursed with a life of being picked last for kickball every time.  (He won't be.  He can prop himself up now.)  When Aaron started smiling I wondered why Jeff wasn't and worried he had that rare disease that makes it impossible to smile.  (He doesn't.  He can smile now too.)  I know it's all ok.  Kids pick things up in their own time and each child has his strengths.  I'm really not worrying.

I think about how I started this whole fatherhood journey on my own.  I knew having one child on my own would have been tough.  Very tough.  Being alone with twins 800 miles from my family I have no idea how I would have survived more than the first 72 hours.  Now, with my Prince Derek in my life, I am lucky enough to be able to stay home with the boys -- oops...I mean Jeff and Aaron -- several days a week and watch them learn and grow and figure out the world.  If I were on my own working twice as hard to have half as much time with my children I'm not sure I'd be able to enjoy any moment with them.  I understand now why it's so hard for parents to go back to work and miss out on these first few years with their kids.  It is magical and special.  I'm glad I get to be so involved in their lives which is a luxury many parents don't have.  Derek and I couldn't be doing this without each other -- and that's the way I like it. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Belated Father's Day

I love looking at photos of the babies of the blogs I have been following.  It's so great to see how well they are doing and to watch them grow and change before my eyes.  I have been hesitant to post a million pictures of little Aaron and Jeff, but decided that I have to put a few pictures on from time to time because A) my readers want to see them and B) my kids are freakin' cute.  I couldn't resist posting this one.  This is a picture from Father's Day last week and the more I look at it the more special it becomes to me.  Hopefully you'll enjoy it too.

And although I'm a little late I want to wish a Happy Father's Day to all the new dads out there.  It's exciting to get to celebrate the day as a dad after so many years of dreaming about it.  I had to work for half the day on Father's Day this year but I was able to go out to brunch with Derek and my mother-in-law and two of the cutest babies on earth. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Sleep is like the unicorn - it is rumored to exist, but I doubt I will see any. 
People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.
He who sleeps half a day has won half a life.

According to these quotes I am like a unicorn hunter with a baby who has a very fulfilling life.

We are quickly approaching three months with the twins and sleep is still a difficult thing to have in our house.  The first few weeks of fatherhood were tough because we had no idea what we were doing and how to make sense of what had rocked our world.  After a month or so life got into a little more of a routine.  Well, "routine" meaning we at least had a plan to deal with work and sleep schedules.  By now, after 12 weeks of sleeping 4 hours a night and heading back to my full work schedule a few weeks ago, I am exhausted. 

I've learned that during the twins' last feeding before bed - which usually happens at some point between 7:00 and 10:00 pm - it helps to turn out most of the lights, put on some spa or lullaby music (thank you Pandora) and enjoy watching their eyes get heavy as they enter their milk coma.

I've also learned that some things are hard-wired into our human brains and never change.  This nighttime ritual works on the kids as well as me.  The soft music and mood lighting puts me to sleep too and by 11:00pm I'm usually out cold.  When I wake up a few hours later to screaming babies I have no idea where I am or what is going on.

Let's take a little look at my sleep history.

  • My parents said I was a good sleeper.  I usually liked to go to sleep.  When I was a few years old I tried to put myself to bed by crawling up the stairs.  I fell asleep on a stair before I made it to the top.
  • I can go for weeks surviving on chocolate, string cheese and veggie hot dogs and stay healthy but as soon as I have a few days without much sleep I get sick.  (I have no idea how I haven't been sick since the babies have come.)
  • I was on the top bunk of a bunk bed my freshman year of college.  I put my alarm on the other side of the room.  I had a talent for crawling out of bed, turning off the alarm, getting back into bed and having no memory of doing that a few hours later when I woke up.
  • I slept through a fire alarm.
  • During the first month when the twins were in our room Derek said a cry would make me sit straight up and then freeze.  I was up...but not awake.  Derek often would get up to get the baby before me because my mind knew I was supposed to get up by my body wouldn't cooperate.  I have no recollection of this.

Don't get me wrong, things are getting better.  The boys are more engaging during the day and often go back to sleep pretty easily after a feeding.  One of them will sometimes go longer than 3 hours between feedings, but the other apparently liked his skinny newborn body and is concerned that his chubby 12 week body needs to lose some weight.  He thinks that Weight Watchers' point system and South Beach's low carb craze are silly and only wants to follow Jorge Cruise's Three Hour Diet.  Actually, he bends the rules a little and thinks that if every three hours is good every two and a half hours will be even better!

So the last few days I have passed out on the couch at night and then slept past my alarm in the morning.  How long until the feedings really decrease?  I hope it's soon.  For now, I'll have to find ways to force myself to stay awake.  Some options are...



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's Starting To Hurt More

As I've talked with more and more parents I feel like I've been let in on a big secret: not everyone is gaga for their newborn child/children.  More and more I hear things like...

- I was panicked when I was left alone with my baby.
- What did I get myself into?
- I didn't really like her all that much at first.

For me, although I think the screaming, non-sleeping, spitting up on daddy four times a day, poop machines are adorable (especially now that they've learned how to smile), I can't wait to be able to take them to their first play or go to the playground or bake a cake and then experiment with food coloring as we frost it. 

However, I'm noticing there are more and more times that I am away from them that my heart hurts.  I keep dreaming about how I can work less so I can be at home with them more.  True, by 4:00 pm I count the minutes until Derek comes home and I can leave the house for a walk unburdened by 17 pounds of diapers, bottles, formula, blankets, pacifiers, toys, and wipes as well as a stroller the size of Rhode Island, but after going out I want to go back home and see if Aaron is excited by crinking paper again or if Jeff calms down listening to a strange but fascinating version of "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes" sung by a woman with a sexy Russian accent. 

Problem is, as I love them more and more I think the hurt will just get worse.  Still, it's totally worth it.  Guess I really am a fan of the newborn stage.

Friday, June 1, 2012


Who knew that today was the 7th Annual Blogging For LGBT Families Day?  Just think, a few short years ago I barely knew what a blog was and I was still dreaming about a family.  Now I am the proud writer of a couple blogs, a follower of 60 blogs (yes, my name is Michael and I am an addict) and the father of two beautiful boys. 

I've been trying to think of what to write for a blog entry to submit.  I have a very sad story to share about a woman who lost a child but I'm not feeling like that's what I want to write about today.  I also read an article about the fight for gay marriage and I feel that's such a downer right now too.  My twins are starting to sleep for slightly longer stretches of time and that is making me so happy.  I feel like I want to write about something positive.  I think I'm going to submit a recent blog entry for the blogging event but I'll give you a little something to read today. 

It's funny that I thought, for a while, that I didn't have much experience with kids.  As I was preparing to have my own kids I kept saying that I vaguely remember putting a diaper on a 4 year old before bedtime a few times and I think I fed a bottle to an infant once.  That was it.  I felt pretty unprepared to deal with a newborn although I was optimistic that I would pick up the necessary skills pretty quickly.

It's true that I don't have a lot of newborn experience.  However, looking back on my life I have been around kids quite a bit. 

  • I was a babysitter in high school (weren't we all?)
  • I worked at a summer camp with kids 4-12 years old (I had a good tan that summer)
  • I worked at a group home for deaf kids with developmental/emotional/behavioral issues (and fell in love with them)
  • I performed several children's shows in Chicago including "Click Clack Moo", "Rumplestiltskin" and "Schoolhouse Rock" (singing "I'm Just a Bill" was like living out a childhood dream)
  • I worked at a children's activity center and led art projects, storytimes, and sing-alongs (and it's where I realized I hate Barney)
  • I taught dance to elementary school kids while in college (and learned about how kids develop their bodies at a young age)
  • I taught 2nd and 4th graders creative drama while in college (and loved watching their never ending imaginations)
  • I tutored kids after school (and was sad when it didn't really work into my schedule any more)
  • I performed a touring show for high school students for a year. 

This last one is one that I want to talk about for a minute.  We would perform for audiences of 1,000-3,000 kids at a time.  We performed 5 days a week and I worked with the company doing performances for probably about 35 weeks.  That adds up to over a quarter of a million kids who saw me perform.  Aside from the fact that some kids were awed by us I felt like a rock star when I'd meet them, the reason that was so important was this: one of the stage managers on the tour said he remembers the very same company we worked for coming to his high school and performing for him.  He was so amazed by the show he knew he wanted to work in theater.  A few years later there he was, doing a national tour with a children's theater company.

I think about those 250,000+ kids who saw me perform years ago and wonder how many of them have a wonderful memory of the show that they saw.  I hope that I made some kids want to become actors, directors, set designers, theater critics or even just fans of the theater.  It makes me proud to know that I have touched so many children's lives and it makes me excited to think about how I can touch the lives of my kids by exposing them to the wonderful experiences I have had over the years.