Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Year One

I thought about trying to write a very profound entry and then realized that I don't think my life with my kids has been very different than the first year of any parent.  And, as the supreme court deals with two gay marriage cases this week, isn't that exactly what we want?  We want to show that my family is the same as every other family in this world whether they be "traditional" heterosexual families, gay families, interracial families, mixed religion families, single parent families, grandparents-raising-grandchildren families, parents with disabilities families, etc.  Sure, my journey to get them was probably more complex than a lot of other people's journeys (and easier than some), but every parent experiences sleepless nights, doubting their skills, the thrill of firsts, overwhelming love, etc. 

So instead of focusing on how my journey was unique and crazy, let's focus on my unique family as it is now.  And I'm going to borrow something from the 2 Baby Daddies blog.  While they were expecting I got to read the most amazing Dear Zoey letters.  I hope my letter to my kids will be just as wonderful.

Dear Aaron and Jeff,

A year ago you came into my life.  You were my dream since I was a little child.  I always wanted to be a dad.  It took years of planning to bring you into my life and I'd go through it again in a heartbeat knowing how amazing the payoff could be.

In this first year I learned a lot about my parents.  I understand what it's like to love unconditionally.  I understand why parents would give up their own lives for the lives of their children.  I understand what my parents gave up in their lives to give me things in mine.  So thank you for giving me that understanding.

During the sleepless nights and sleepy days I have cried out of frustration, counted the seconds until the sitter or your other dad arrived and I could leave the house for a few minutes, and wanted to just give up at times.  I have also found moments of joy with you banging on pots, playing peek-a-boo and finding a Cheerio on the floor.

I love watching you learn.  It is thrilling to watch you become more independent as you have figured out how to hold your own bottle, crawl, feed yourself, walk, "communicate" with us, and love us.  I cannot wait to watch you experience new firsts over the next few years.  

My hope for you is to be happy and empathic.  In my life I have learned that people want to be heard.  I hope to teach you to listen and understand the perspective of others who are different from you.  I also promise to do my best to give you happiness in this world.  That doesn't mean ice cream for dinner every night, but a life filled with love and support.  

The next 17 years (and beyond) will have their ups and downs, but don't doubt that Daddy Derek and I love you with all our hearts.  

Daddy Michael  

And then, of course, we have the year one pictures.  The big friends and family party is this weekend, but we couldn't resist giving the boys their own cupcakes tonight.

My cupcake creation documenting their first year

Jeff enjoyed his cupcake

Aaron did too

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sleep Part Thirteen: I've Seen 3 a.m. Too Many Times This Week

Breaking News

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog filled with good news and cute, well-behaved babies for this important story. 

Wanted for: noise pollution and public disturbance
Names: Aaron and Jeff
Height: approximately two and a half feet tall
Weight: approximately 25 lbs
Hair: Aaron -dark brown and straight, Jeff - light brown/auburn and curly
Eyes: Aaron - bright blue, Jeff - blue-grey
Distinguishing characteristics: Aaron pretends to share his food with Daddy and then pops it in his own mouth, Jeff says "gub gub" and "gobble gobble" a lot

When last we left our hero, Michael, he had posted about his amazing 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.  Apparently the two super-genius/super-villains were just letting Michael and his trusty sidekick, Derek, think that they could sleep for more than three hours at a time.  After a few weeks of sleeping for about 9 hours a night the sly scoundrels decided to reveal their diabolical plan of interrupting sleep at random times.  Let's take a look at their three pronged plan of peril.

Part One: It all started with Daylight Saving Time a couple weeks ago.  Aaron and Jeff had been waking up about 5:30 a.m. for a while.  When the time changed it was logical to assume the boys would wake up at their regular time which would look like 6:30 a.m. on our heroes' alarm clocks.  Our duo of dads knew that their bodies would feel it as 5:30 but were hoping their minds would take over and fool their bodies into saying, "It's 6:30 a.m.  That's not too bad!"  However, part one of the devilish duo's plan was to wake up not at 6:30 and not even at 5:30 but 4:15 a.m. which felt like 3:15 a.m. in Derek and Michael's aging bodies! 

Part Two: Aaron has decided that he cannot sleep unless he knows daddy is in the room with him.  Michael has spent 45 minutes standing by his crib waiting for him to be so tired he just passes out.  It's adorable in a maddening way.  Aaron lays down in his crib.  If Michael strokes his back he'll lay there for a while.  As soon as daddy's hand doesn't touch his body for about five second he gets up from his crib, searches the dark with his hands, smacks Michael's face once or twice, realizes daddy is still there and then plops down in the bed again.  This routine goes on for 20-30 minutes at a time.  And, this is a fact, people, the boy will be dead asleep but as soon as Michael steps out of the room Aaron senses it and starts wailing.  If our heroic daddies let him wail A) it hurts their hearts (especially Michael, the softie) and B) Aaron can wake up Jeff which just leads to even more problems.  Aaron seems to have conquered Michael by manipulating him with his chubby cheeks, blue eyes, and cute giggle.  How will our hero get out of this one? 

Part Three: During this week our hidden camera in the boys' room have shown us the following...
Night #1: Aaron woke up at 2 a.m.  It took 45 minutes to get him to bed.  Jeff then woke up at 3 a.m.
Night #2: Aaron woke up at 3 a.m.
Night #3: Jeff woke up at midnight.  Jeff then woke up at 4:45 a.m. 

Will the twins terminate their terrible tactics? 
Will the fathers fathom the foundation of the fretting? 
Will the dads do dastardly deeds? 

Stay tuned to find out.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Walking and Signing

Yes, it's true.  The boys took their first steps about two weeks ago (within a couple days of each other) and over the past two weeks they have been walking more and more.  Aaron seems more interested in walking than Jeff.  He loves to chase the cats and both Derek and our nanny have heard him saying "meow."  Jeff takes a couple steps but is generally less active than Aaron.  Of course, the day I said that to someone Jeff surprised me by taking about eight steps in a row. 

We think Jeff is understanding some sign language.  When I ask Jeff "Where is the cat?" using sign language he looks over to the cat about 90% of the time and sometimes points.  We also are pretty sure that his crude sign for "more" really is because he's asking for more and isn't just him banging his hands together.  Aaron isn't signing yet but yesterday I would point up and down and he would stand up or crouch down in whatever direction my finger was pointing.  That may not be formal sign language, but I think it shows that he gets that communication can come through hands and body language.  He also says a lot of "muh" at mealtimes which makes me think he's trying to say "more."

So I'm getting very excited that with walking we'll be able to go to the park soon and with signing we'll be able to know a little more about what's going on inside those cute, little heads.  Meanwhile, Derek and I are getting ready for their first birthday which is coming up in a week.  A WEEK!!!!!  We plan to give them a birthday cupcake to destroy.  How fun!  A few days later we'll be having a party with friends and family and a very exciting birthday cake.  (Can you tell I love cake?)  Stay tuned for some pictures of cute babies covered in cake and frosting.

Friday, March 1, 2013

My Day In Court

I have been to court very few times.  I have been to court only for an acting exercise, to interpret, and to deal with a condo issue.  None of them have been great experiences.  Court is never fun.  It's boring.  It's stodgy.  It's too stoic for me.  If they added some music, a disco ball, and maybe a few costume changes for the judge I might be more excited to go.  But no -- there is no music, no glittery lights and just a boring black robe for the judges.

This past Tuesday I went to court again.  This time it was fun.  Well, maybe fun isn't the right word, but I was looking forward to going.

Tuesday was the day that Derek and I appeared before a judge to start our adoption process.  We really didn't know what to expect.  Here is what happened.

We arrived early and waited for our lawyer.  As we were waiting a 50-something lady came up to us in the hallway and asked if we were the people with the name issue.  We didn't know what she was talking about at first.  She then explained that she was the judge that would be presiding over our case and thought that we were the couple that submitted the paperwork to adopt twins and petitioned that the babies had "Last Name A-Last Name B" and "Last Name B-Last Name A."  Apparently there was some confusion over the order of the last names.

When we finally figured out what she was talking about we told her that we were a different couple.  Apparently we were the dopplegangers of the other couple who was also a two dad family with twin boys.  The judge smiled at our boys and played with them for a minute before heading off to do judge-y stuff during her recess.

Our lawyer showed up a little while later and found out we could go into the play room.  As soon as we entered we locked eyes with the "Last Name Mix Up" couple.  There were three men with two babies.  (I'm guessing the third man was a friend helping with the twins.)  You could see the excitement we had meeting another couple in the same situation.  We immediately starting talking about our kids, asking how old they were, and where they were in the adoption process.  Turns out this couple used a surrogate in Panama.  They live in the gay, trendy area of Chicago and seemed shocked when we told them that we might move to the 'burbs to get a house for the kids.  It was then that we realized we might have different parenting styles.  Still, it was nice to meet them.  Living in a big city we assumed it would be easy to meet other same-sex parents but it has proved to be quite a challenge.

After 10-15 minutes we were called in to meet judge Gillis.  She asked us a bunch of questions like how long we were together, do we work, who watches the boys while we work, etc.  Basically it was just like a conversation to get to know us.  She also knew that we were excited that a law legalizing gay marriage passed in the state senate and is making its way through the House.  It was nice to have a judge who supports us. 

After talking for a few minutes someone was assigned to our case to basically check that Derek is an upstanding citizen.  I'm guessing they'll do things like make sure he's not a felon, isn't a deadbeat dad and doesn't own any Justin Bieber CDs.  You know...things that could potentially harm the children.  In about six weeks the lawyer and the case worker go back to court to announce Derek is an awesome guy and deserves to legally be the dad.  The judge will bang her gavel (well...I'm not sure she really does that) and then Aaron and Jeff will officially have two dads.  We'll be a family.  I can't wait to celebrate.