Saturday, June 16, 2012

My first Father's day

Feeling very contemplative tonight. This past month has brought a lot of turmoil. A lot of things got turned upside down and figuratively (and occasionally literally) spilled all over the place. I'm realizing the futility of ignoring things that aren't the way I want them to be, or aren't the way they should be. If your shoe has a hole in it, you fix the hole or you throw the shoes out. You don't put the shoes in the back of the closet because they're really comfortable and the hole might be smaller the next time you look at them. Because if you do that, you'll find that the cats have peed on them.Then you have to throw out your shoes AND clean the carpet.

It's been a really, really good Father's Day weekend so far. I was working out of town and came home Thursday afternoon after a short time way with lots of work (I was gone 70 hours, I worked 30 hours, and I drove 9 hours. You do the math) Buffalo Twin Mom surprised me when I got home with an early FD gift - a triptych of the boys holding the letters "DAD". It was as awesome as it sounds.

Friday, I passed a certification test (with flying colors, no less!) that I'd been stressing about (most people take 2 to 6 months to study. I took about 10 days). Then R crawled. Then M, not to be shown up, crawled too. It's still "army crawling", but there's forward motion. Time to baby guard EVERYTHING!

The boys are really into touching faces now, grabbing eyes and hair and glasses. This morning, they were grinning happily at each other and patting each others' faces. Seriously adorable. Went to the farmers market with the family; came home, went to gym class, went on some errands...Put boys to bed; I fixed dinner AND  did carpentry at the same time. Seriously. Like "put the pork on the contact grill, set the timer for 15 minutes, go attach the rails to each side of the box, come back in, put on some barbecue sauce, run out, make some measurements." High point was when I decided to call it a day, put everything away, and walked back in to hear the "ding" of the timer finishing.

So now it's 11:30, and the house is asleep, but for me. I've got two amazing little guys upstairs, happily snoozing away. Mrs. is upstairs, probably asleep too. Love them all so much. I've got an amazing family. I'm so very, very lucky.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Yes, it's been over a month. Sorry, I've been busy. I've got these twins, you see...

The boys continue to amaze me. I've been looking through "old" albums from six months ago and realizing how "tiny" they were. I use the quotes because six months isn't that long and they're both still relatively small. But I'm also realizing how quickly they're developing and how I really need to write down how and what they're doing so that I can come back and see how far they've come.

Both R and M are continuing with making noises - giggling and cooing and such. They're no longer just reaching for stuff; anything in "the reaching zone" gets grabbed and jammed in the mouth.And the drool. So much drool, everywhere. They're also on to solid foods now, as well as the bottles. This is good, because solid food is what we want them to be eating eventually, but while they're eating both, it means a lot of time is spent feeding. First thing in the morning, there's mom-juice, then there's bottled formula, then breakfast - usually a vegetable or fruit and some rice or oatmeal. Then down for a nap, then it's lunchtime... We've both gotten pretty expert at getting food prepped and in the mouth-hole FAST.

 If you don't have kids and want to know what it's like to prepare food for two ballistic-screaming twins, picture this: You're at your front door, accompanied by someone you care deeply about. The door is locked. They just cut their finger. It's not life-threatening or anything, but it's bleeding quite a bit, and they need a band-aid. Also, you really have to pee. There's a police car across the street with its siren on full-blast wailing mode and your neighbor is about to get arrested.'s not just a "put the key in the door" lock; you have to put the key in and turn twice to the left then once to the right. Then you have to enter a 10-digit code. Then you wait 90 seconds, enter a 5 digit code, and GENTLY lift up on the handle. If you try to rush it, if you pull too hard, you have to start over.

In other news, the halcyon days of working from home are, for now, over. Unfortunately, my job is such that I'm either working from home, "commuting" to the couch in a Dyngus Day t-shirt with a big mug of coffee.... or I'm on the road, hundreds (or thousands) of miles away. The latter is the case now; I'm typing this in an adequately-comfortable Hampton Inn room. I've had a few of these outings - being away from the little ones for a while - but this trip is different; this is the first time Buffalo Twin Mom's mom wasn't there to help while I was gone.

And it's killing me.

I wake up in the morning and I'm more well-rested than I would be at home, but I'm greeted by my hotel room. If I go across the hall here, there's just another hotel room, not a nursery with two boys who will crack ear-to-ear grins at seeing Daddy. This trip is really, really hard. And it's going to be like this for a few weeks. The boys are happy and healthy, though, and that's what's important; also important is my ability to provide for them, so there's that.

Going to see my family tomorrow. Can't wait.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Music class

For whatever reasons, the boys seem to make developmental breakthroughs in music class. This morning, R. had quite a long "aaaaa" conversation with the instructor.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Coming along nicely

Things are going well here. The boys are really thriving. Don't know if I mentioned it before, but they're sitting up on their own, sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes for a few minutes. Every day, they're learning and growing. Lately, they've started with "I'm going to grab this, then put it in my mouth." Mostly "this" is "a toy" or "an adult's finger" or cloth (a blanket, a sleeve, whatever...) They're all about cramming stuff in their mouths. It's really cute. Also, we've started solid foods, so this is a helpful habit. They don't completely understand the way spoons work (and yeah, there's some 'jab-myself-in-the-forehead-with-it' ....) but on the whole, it's adorable.

Big news today is that they're definitely teething. Looks like a front tooth on the lower left. Just a little white dot, but it's coming along. And yes, they both appear to be pushing out the same tooth in the same spot at the same time. Slightly freaky.

Did March for Babies over the weekend; it was really great, both to raise money for a good cause and to get to see a lot of our old friends from the NICU days.

In training news, got on the bike for half an hour today. It was really, really good.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Addendum to the previous

Point of clarification:

In addition to the solids and the formula, the boys do get a healthy quantity of breast milk (mom manna, boob-juice, baby-fast-food). And I mean "healthy" both in the "more than just a little" sense and in the "good for them" sense. We both know the incredible list of benefits to breastfeeding, and doing all we can to make sure the boys get all that Mom can give. I'm happy for every drop they get.

...which leads me to a little rant. There's this tendency for people who know a lot about something to offer unsolicited advice.That's not a big deal if you mention in passing that you have a 1982 Mazda, and the expert in question says "Hey, have you looked at the apex seals? They tend to go after 100,000 miles". But when the issue in question is breastfeeding and milk production, understand that this is about as personal as you can get. "Oh, you're breastfeeding your kids? Wow, that's *wonderful*!" is fine.
"Oh, you're having trouble with your supply? I'm really sorry to hear that." is also fine.
"Have you tried eating oatmeal and drinking Gatorade?" OK, appreciate the advice, yes, we've read those books too.
"Are you sure you've tried everything? Moms produce milk. It's what they do. All moms. Make milk. Why aren't you making enough? What's wrong with you?" OK, lady, you crossed a line, and you're now on the "making Dad want to punch you in the face" side of that line. This is all a roundabout way of saying: Understand that "being helpful" is only helpful if your help is wanted or needed, and if you're not a being a self-righteous sanctimonious prick about it.

Also, my wife is awesome, both for her ability to produce soothing and nutriotionifying boob-juice, and for her restraint that kept her from punching this idiot in the face.

It's been a while, I'm still here

I think this is going to be a short post - I've got a ton to do (despite already having had a pretty productive morning!)

The boys continue to thrive. Both of them sat up for the first time! They're getting bigger and growing stronger. It's now getting a bit dicey to pick them both up. In the early days, that was because "they're so tiny and delicate"; now it's more "because Daddy doesn't want to throw his back out." The boys have a combined weight of around 32 lbs. Perspective: Consider carrying two fairly fragile and completely irreplaceable bowling balls around the house. No mean feat! The boys are eating solid foods (along with their formula) almost every day now. They really like avocados and prunes. The former is neat; the latter, well...most of it ends up all over them. The boys' hand-eye coordination is starting to emerge. It's a weird thing to think about: having to learn that your limbs are doing stuff,  and you're seeing it, and the two are connected, and how to connect the two. It makes you think about your own interactions with the world. A friend mentioned a similar experience watching her daughter pick stuff up and drop it, and actually, slowly, figure out gravity. Now I understand what she meant.

Personally, things are coming along nicely. The biggest news is that the boys are sleeping lots now - up to 12h a night plus a couple of naps during the day. That frees us up in ways that we had not even begun to consider. I'm using the free time to attack the wreck that is our house AND the wreck that is my body. The former - well, I've never been great with organization and tidiness, and when it's "empty the dishwasher" or "stop the screaming in the next room", that really isn't a decision. So now that the boys are sleeping more, there are patches of counter and floor space appearing amidst the clutter like blue sky after a storm. So hooray for that! On the other front, well... if when I lose about 18 lbs and add about 6 more hours of workouts a week, I'll be close to where I was when I started training for Ironman Rhode Island, back in 2010. That's the tough news - I've got a long road back to "fit". The good news is that I was there once and I can get there again. And now I'm coming into it with the knowledge of how much training my body can handle, and what my body is capable of doing. Oh, and I bought a jogging stroller! Very excited about this!

OK, enough with this. I have to take a shower, get dressed, buy formula, feed boys, then we're going to go out on family errands, come home, I think I'll go for a run, have another shower, have supper, feed boys again, put boys to bed, and...then go to sleep myself again, I think.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Five Minute Formula

Here's how to make a bunch of formula PLUS two ready-to-go bottles in around five minutes, less if you're hustling.

Disclaimer: I'm pretty sure that doing this risks damage to everything involved, and it may not sterilize stuff as much as I'm hoping. But so far so good.

You will need:
  • 1 Dr. Brown's Mixing Pitcher ( Maybe you just finished off the pitcher, maybe it's been dirty for a little while. Either way, it needs cleaning before you use it.
  • 2 Playtex DropIn-style bottles. And because you've got a new baby in the house, the bottles are shamefully dirty too. That's fine. I'm not judging.
  • Dry formula of your choice.
  • A sink.
  • Soap.
Step 1: Clean everything.
Half-fill the pitcher with hot water. Add soap, plus the nipples and rings from the Playtex bottles. Fill to the top with hot water. Agitate vigorously. Water will probably come out the top (it should if you're going hard enough) so do this in the sink. When it's all foamy-soapy in there, let it rest for a minute. Clean off the bottom parts of the drop-in bottles. Pour out the soapy water, then, using the lid of the pitcher, lift out the bottle parts. Rinse the nipples and rings thoroughly and set aside somewhere clean. Rinse the pitcher thoroughly. Put about an inch of clear fresh hot water into the bottom of the pitcher.

Step 2: Sterilize everything.
Slide the lid/stirring wheel back into the pitcher, then add the nipples and rings from the Drop-In bottles. The nipples and rings should rest on the stirring wheel just above the water level; it acts like a little steaming rack. Put the whole pitcher, closed, in the microwave for 2 minutes or so on HIGH. It should be boiling within a minute. When the microwave beeps, take out the pitcher, carefully slide the top up, and pull out the nipples and rings. Put them somewhere clean. BE CAREFUL, THEY'RE REALLY HOT.

Step 3. Make formula
Use the pitcher to make formula. Put some drop-in liners in your bottles, pour the just-mixed formula into the bottles, put on the nipples and rings, and you're ready to go.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Going Out With The Boys

Wanted to jot this one down while I was thinking about it.

When the boys came home, we were pretty sternly admonished to keep them away from people for at least a couple of months. And really, we did. Those first couple of weeks, almost NOBODY left the house. When they had their doctor's appointment, we piled them into the Subaru, got there, had the visit, and, on our way home, DROVE AROUND for a little while. It felt like a grossly indulgent luxury, driving for fifteen minutes or so in the cold winter sunshine.

Slowly, though, we've relented. The boys have gone on little sorties with us. The boys had their first meal out at Suzy Q's Barbecue with the assorted families. On New Year's Eve, we went to Sake Cafe and quietly ate sushi while the boys snoozled in the seats next to us. Now we'll go out to dinner occasionally and bring the boys with, and it's ...well, routine. If they need to, they eat. If they don't, we eat. Weirdly, the boys seem to be at peace in the loudest, most chaotic restaurants. I'm considering recording a loop at 7pm on a Friday night at Olive Garden just to help them go to sleep.

But that wasn't my point. My point is that we're getting to where we just go out in the world with the boys, and it's okay.

In developmental news, Robert is semi-regularly rolling back-to-front, and Michael is trying really hard to follow suit. He's not far behind.

More soon.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I've got to get better about updates. And have titles that are more descriptive.


Catching my breath here for a second. S. gallantly offered to take the next feed, which could be at 4am or 8am or anywhere in between. Need to make up some bottles and do some dishes before bed, but I wanted to update ye ol' blog before I did (thanks to JF for reminding me to do this!!)

I'm realizing that I really need to document how the boys, R. and M., are doing, both generally and very very specifically, because little changes happen every day, and I'm realizing already how fast these guys are growing and developing. So the boys had their 4 month checkup; they're doing great. They're JUUUST barely on the growth charts (like <5th percentile) for length and weight, but 50th percentile for head size. Yep, they are my sons alright (I have a profoundly enormous noggin). The pediatrician was impressed with their neuro and muscular devlopment, and pretty much said, "You guys keep doing what you're doing! You're doing great!!" which was a nice 'attaboy'.

Little aside here: I've been trying to decide what I want this blog to be, and I think I want it to be everything - a place for me to scribble thoughts and feelings about the boys, a place to rant about things good and crappy about parenting, a place to recommend and rant about products, and a place to track how the boys are doing.

It's been ages since I've updated, so I'm going to try to do some of all of that in this post; we'll see how that goes. Hoping for more, smaller posts soon.

Life as a twin dad is tough. Free time comes in drips and slices and little gobs here and there, and when it does arrive, you rarely have the energy to go for that run you meant to; you plop your ass in front of the TV and watch "Chopped" or "Breaking Bad". And it's really easy to get lost in the routine of it: Sleep. Wake. Warm bottles. Change diapers. Feed babies. Sleep. Wake. Work. Get mail. Eat lunch. Work. Make dinner. Change diapers. Eat dinner. Feed babies. change diapers. Do dishes. Fart around on Facebook. Sleep. But occasionally you have these "OH MY GOD WE HAVE BABIES AND THEY'RE AMAZING" moments; unfortunately, those are balanced with some "OH WHY THE FUCK WON'T YOU STOP SCREAMING" moments. And these babies can turn on a DIME. The worst part is the "tentative" cry, the wuhh....wuahhh...wuh-wuh...wuhhhh... that can turn into a full-on vein-popping fit and can turn into ...deep uninterrupted sleep. Get a bottle ready, and the kid passes out. Try to roll over and ignore it, and the kid's screaming bloody murder as you prep the bottle. Awesome. On the whole, though, it's just amazing watching these guys develop and grow. I love weekends, S. is less "ALL BABY ALL THE TIME" (I can help out) and I get to catch up on stuff.

In other news, we're looking at cars. Right now, the garage has my car (a Subaru Impreza 5 door hatchback) and S's car (an awesomely impractical-for-babies Jeep Wrangler). We need a vehicle with more room. Right now, the frontrunner is a Hyundai Veracruz AWD. It's a serious chunk of money, but has everything we want (AWD, 3rd row seating, and some goodies). So we're going through the car-salesman dance, which is about as much fun as having matchsticks under your fingernails. When I talked to the salesman alone last week, he said "How's the family?" and I said "Great". 5 minutes later, "Oh,'s the family?" "uh...fine." And 10 minutes after that, "How's the family?" "I MURDERED THEM ALL AND NOW I NEED A GENESIS COUPE TURBO TO RUN FROM THE COPS." Actually, I said "Still fine." but thought that. OK, I didn't even think that until just now, but it would have been really funny.

I also went to court recently. A week after getting home with babies, we had S's mom & grandma visiting and my parents visiting and were still getting used to babies in the house... and I got a $50 parking ticket for parking in front of my house (did not know there was a ban on overnight parking from Nov. to Apr). So the prosecutor dismissed it, but said he didn't believe that I didn't know. I tried to chuckle and said "I...guess I'm that dumb." But he stuck to his guns. You know what, little junior prosecutor dude? Fine. Call me a liar, if it helps you sleep at night and gets me out of a $50 ticket.

Two products in heavy rotation right now: Dr. Brown's Formula Mixing Pitcher and the Munchkin Bottle Sterilizer. The former because you can set up formula almost a quart at a time; the latter because you zap bottles in the micro to sterilize them. Oh, and protip: Buy some Glad Steamer Bags (14 for $7) and you can steam breastpump/bottle supplies for half the cost of "baby" steamer bags.

OK, not much time left, my eyes are losing their ability to focus. THE BOYS! The boys are doing great. R has rolled back-to-front a couple of times (the doctor said, "Wow, that's a 5-month trick!") and both of them have discovered smiles. I do a little "steal the sadness" thing where I tug on either one's mouth and they grin. If I'm lucky, they chuckle and wiggle. The early grins were just mouth-smiles, but now their eyes join in, too, crinkling into a whole-face grin. They ADORE their mobiles, and watch them incessantly; the Brahms Lullaby one is great, because it winds up and spins. The boys are both tracking motion now; if I spin slowly while holding one of them, I can watch his eyes do the sweep-flick-sweep-flick motion that normal grown-ups' eyes do. The boys are both really active sleepers; we'll put them to bed in the middle of their cribs, and in the morning, they look like they were haphazardly chucked in - shoved in a corner, backwards, facing directions I certainly didn't leave them in. They are starting to pay attention when S. or I talk to them. I think it's as much a "hey, what was that noise" thing, but it's laying the groundwork for "MOMMY VOICE" and "DADDY VOICE" responses, which I really can't wait to see.

R's prolapsed navel has almost completely reverted, which reduces the easily visible differentiators between the two babies. I'm resisting the urge to whip out a sharpie & label them.

We're trying cloth diapers. I don't completely understand - there's a shell and there's a liner, and you toss both in the hamper when they're soiled. I don't understand why there's a separate liner. I will say that poo in a cloth diaper was a surprisingly easy clean-up -- there's a diaper-liner that contains most of the poo, then you just rinse off the rest.

OK, still need to make bottles up before I go to bed. Wish I'd sterilized stuff before I came down to my computer. More soon.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy New Year!

Gosh, it's been almost a month since I posted. Everything has been mostly good. I've gone back to work (shortly after the start of the New Year), and that's been ... weird. I'm working from home, which is ... well, frankly, I don't think I could do this if I wasn't working from home. So that's good, but it's a bit sad. I'm plunked down in the basement, on a conference call, or poring over some weird technical issue, and I can hear my babies upstairs, growing.

OK, I can't hear them growing. But I can hear them, and they are growing and developing, right before our eyes. Or, rather, before S's eyes. I miss them a lot when I'm at work. And on top of that, I feel so terrible for not being able to help out. S. is upstairs, changing poopy diapers, or wrangling babies and bottles (getting both to feed at the same time can be a challenge, especially when they get spit-up-y).

So enough with the frustration already! The boys are doing great. They're both rolling over a lot, and they're paying more and more attention to their surroundings. They've both started cracking smiles (which warms my soul to the very toes), and rolling over, and generally getting a lot more mobile.

More soon. I'm exhausted.