…is Tolerating Change

…in the Bedroom!

No, this blog post is not a fortune cookie.


Nor is it the tell-all my 17 readers have been hoping for about what happens behind closed doors.

Rather, it is the story of why I haven’t blogged for a week.

Last Friday we decided it was finally time to move the children out of the living room and into our bedroom.

Pros: we can both go to bed at the same time.

Cons: we both get woken up at the same time.  Every time.

Some nights have been better than others; Night Three went off without a hitch!

Then there was last night.

Don’t get cocky…

 

Every two hours was one of them (never both at once) enlisting us with a new set of demands, which required a range of interpretation on our part because all we heard was “WrRaRAAArAAA!!!”


The transition was multiplied by the fact that suddenly, “because they are rolling”, we are no longer allowed* to swaddle them. Wife’s rules.

*I don’t purport to be a safety expert, so please don’t take my opinions as evidence of what you should or should not do with your child.

Thankfully, we are allowed the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit, arguably the greatest named child’s outfit ever.

 

Instant Sleep – It’s Magic!

Unfortunately, we only have ONE Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.

#TwinProblems

Adapting to this change was difficult at first.  I had actually gotten used to our system: my wife going to bed early, my staying up late to feed, and then her relieving me around 1 AM.

I felt some guilt the first night as my wife bore the brunt of their furtive sleep, since she was on the side nearest the crib.

The best thing about our relationship is that we don’t hold on to moments like that as currency.  The next day, rather than use her sacrifice against me, my carried on as usual with what needed to be done.

We are Partners, Not Competitors

Which, in turn, made me step up my game even more in order to honor her duty.

Honoring her, we got thru the next day, the next night, every night since, & guess what?  We’ll get thru tonight too.

The funny thing about change is, we adapt or die.  I chose the former.

A week later, it hardly feels like change at all, just the new normal.

Now we just need to figure out what to do about the dog…

This couch is too big for just me!

What were some of the toughest adjustments you had to make to your routine as your kids developed?

…is Letting Boys be Themselves

Today at work, I received the following text:

 

Now you can imagine the number that text did on my heart strings!  My baby boys, cognizant, noticing each other, acting like joyful old friends reunited at only 16 weeks old.

img_7664-1
Or “Peanut Butter & Peanut Butter”

As one of four boys, I can only hope my sons have the close bond I will always share with my brothers.

 

As twins, society (& us parents) can also carry an expectation that they WILL be close, best friends, identical.

The main thing I struggle with even as a new parent is finding the balance between wanting the best for my children, & wanting what my children want for themselves.

Will my boys be baseball fans?  If I try to make them baseball fans, will that turn them off?  What if they are… Cardinals fans?!?

And every class we took before our kids were born reiterated the point: treat each twin on their own terms, never assume they are close or even like each other!

So when I see a situation I have zero control over, such as their first reactions to noticing each other, the joy when it goes “my way” is immeasureable.

Now I just need to know how to handle it when they finally react the way I DON’T want in a situation.

“Alright, one cute vid & we can have them all fooled for life!”

…is Hitting the Gym Again

Since the twins were born, I’ve had one selfish complaint: why does my wife instantly get to drop twenty pounds of her pregnancy weight while my pregnancy weight remains?

The stupidity of this complaint is wrapped up in the cause itself.  My wife never demanded I eat like crap during her pregnancy. 

In fact, for the most part she ate relatively healthy while I let stress & work fatigue influence my decisions.

All that changed this week when I finally resolved to get my body back.

Clever cropping can only do so much for those thighs of mine

I may not be taking the all-or-nothing approach of our pre-wedding diet.  That said, I find every time I go to the gym for even half an hour, I make better choices over the next 12 hours.

Smaller portions come more naturally.

I think to stand up to burp a child instead of sitting.

Popping out an extra ten push-ups or squats before jumping in the shower for work Is no sweat.

While 180 was awesome, I’d settle for 205 with energy

I was using my career & time as an excuse.  “Once they allow me a personal chef, trainer, & SoulCycle membership, then I’ll get back to my aspirational body.”

Unfortunately, as dads we have a responsibility to be healthy.  My forties are closer than I realize, & if I’m saving for two colleges I want to be sure to see my kids graduate! 

So until the day when discipline comes easy, it’s up to me to find the will myself.

Thankfully my wife fully supports my choice.

Then again, why wouldn’t she?

Team Lovegren-Wierzbicki 4 Life!

Special Thanks also to Krave Jerky for supporting our family health goals!  

They hooked it up with a bag of products at the recent Great Big Family Play Day & it has been making post-workout simple snacking easy.

Click the pic for 10% OFF your 1st Krave Jerky order

What simple tips have you used to keep your #dadbod at bay?  Comment below for a chance to win a Krave Jerky bag/bar/stick combo from us!

…is Heeding the Call of Duty

…& I don’t mean on XBox360.

Dads: do your partners ever come to you with a need, & at the same time apologize for making that request?

We live in an age where we are encouraged to do things out of love, passion, excitement.  “Pursue your dreams.”  “You can be whatever you want.”  “Don’t tell me what I’m supposed to do.”

While I approve of all of those as reasons FOR doing something, they also shouldn’t be excuses for NOT doing what is your duty.

Dads can pout too, can’t we?

I can’t stay home from work just because I “love my son(s) so much.”  Similarly, I can’t ignore my wife OR EXACT EMOTIONAL REVENGE ON HER for waking me up at 4:30 in the morning.

Because we are a team.

Because she stayed home last evening while I went to a work function.

Because she provides 75% of their daily food out of her own body.

What our babies would look like if I had been in charge of their growth for 9 months

And here’s the kicker:  when your partner hits you with a request at your most inconvenient time, SMILE while you do it.

She’s coming to you because she is exhausted.

He needs help because he’s at the end of his rope.

She waited until the last possible moment to interrupt your sleep, & did it feeling guilty for doing so.

Don’t just do the action, perform the task in a way that makes them proud of the team they chose.  Make”Duty” your call sign, even if that call comes at 4:30 AM.

Zero Dark 4:30 – Operation Giggles in full effect

…is One Step at a Time

Yesterday I had a client cancel a meeting.  I used this “opportunity” to stop by the local LA-mega-complex that included a fine off-the-rack retailer, a grocery store, & of course Target for the necessaries.

Because fatherhood means being prepared!

I was immensely proud of myself, because when I arrived home I could present my wife with a treasure trove of things we had needed.

Of course, the second I came in the door Rexford needed to go out, one baby was crying while she fed the other one as quickly as possible (a feat only mothers can do which amazes me – how do you make them eat faster?!), & I was carrying two grocery bags, a Nordstrom Rack bag, Target essentials & my messenger bag with laptop in hand.

FYI – if you take your laptop with you to work every day, do NOT get a 15″ screen!

My magic moment gone, I immediately rushed to the tasks at hand.  Proud to say I rose to my wife’s level & we got those kids fed, changed, laid down, right back up again & fed, & finally to sleep by 9 PM for her to start resting.

It feels good to be king.

Until you look over at 11:45 PM the NEXT night & realize you forgot to put away the two most important things from your trip:

I still haven’t put folded the Laundro-Crib either…

…is New Uses for Old Items

Happy Easter Sunday!

Our boys’ lovely GiGi (Godmother) invited us to a very special brunch today at a country club in the hills. The boys have been great in public (so far), & we were excited for the chance to have a spruced-up holiday.

The reservation was for 1 PM; my wife told me at 9:35 AM, “we are going to be sooo late.”

Spoiler Alert: We Do Make It, Eventually

It was her that pointed out to me that we were down to our last two burp rags.  I did mental math & figured, we can totally get TWO loads of laundry done before then.  Easy-peasy.

1st load in, timer set, walk the dog, swing by the dog park, ding*!

“For efficiency’s sake, let’s take Rexford upstairs & grab the next load before flipping the first one.”  Sensible thought, right?

WRONG!

How my wife does it when I’m away at work, I will never know.

At 11 I finally had a second to think about the laundry I had yet to flip.  We needed to leave at 12:30 to make it on time… still a possibility even with the 2nd load to wash!

I run downstairs with the 2nd load & my quarters, put the 1st one confidently in the dryer.  We got this.  Timer set.

42 minutes later, the timer goes off.  My wife & I each still haven’t showered, Baby A is covered in spit up, last night’s load of clean undershirts is still in our one Clean Laundry Basket.

And that’s when I begrudgingly invented the Laundro-crib.

#beingagrownman

Between our showers, diaper changes, Easter outfits (incl ties), car seat adjustments (every dang time at this age!), packing the newly-cleaned burp rags into our diaper bag, & finally leaving the one clean laundry basket on top of our still-in-use dryer in the community laundry room, we managed to get out the door by 12:38.

Is this parenthood?  Looking at each other in the car & breathing a sigh of relief together – “we’re only 8 minutes late, they’ll understand”?

He Is Risen Indeed!

The Laundro-Crib made it all possible by solving the one problem we didn’t have time to deal with.

I still haven’t figured out where the time goes.  Thankfully my wife is patient and supported my decision in the moment.

…& I have a commitment to fold every item tonight.

…is Taking Out the Trash

At least four times a day.

I need fellow parents to chime in on this one, particularly Angelenos – is it normal to have to visit the dumpster four times a day once you have children?!?

Ever since Archer & Logan came home, I feel like I can’t walk Rexford without there being a stack of trash waiting by the door.

Maybe it’s the convenience(necessity) of delivery & pre-prepared meals in the concrete utopia of LA?  Or perhaps the fact that instead of weekly trips to Target (like most parents?) we order daily items from Amazon?

Because God-forbid the activity saucer isn’t here tomorrow!

It doesn’t help that we have to clean the bunnies‘ litter boxes and cages every week. 

& diapers.  Always diapers.

I really shouldn’t complain; I can’t imagine working a full job, having the twin-feeding cycle, & having to create our own meals twenty-one times a week instead of simply visiting munchery.com.

Rosemary Salmon Quinoa Bowl, while you bottle-feed!

At the same time, I sometimes do miss life outside LA, where you can own a home, with a garage, & only have to put your trash out once a week on Tuesday nights…

Tuesday night, that reminds me!  I have to set out the boxes for Farm Fresh To You‘s overnight produce delivery tonight.

PS – at least this.

…is No Shirt at All

& I’m just not man enough for that.

In my twenties, I had this awkward notion that A-shirts (the colloquial “wife beater”) were the best option for men.  Perhaps it was my sometimes-chiseled body, perhaps it was a misguided notion of manliness, either way you couldn’t convince me otherwise.

A few years back I transitioned into the professional world.  My suit-&-tie life also meant a wardrobe shift to V-Neck undershirts.  After all, what’s the point of wearing Hugo Boss if your deodorant discolors the pits after two wears? 

Better Look for Dad – Hugo Boss or Mead Johnson?

Enter Twins.

For those of you who don’t have children yet, here is a picture of what a baby’s hand looks like, with a CLOSE-UP view: 

*image enlarged to show texture

I have no point of reference for how parents of one child manage their time.  For us, with twin babies who EACH need to be fed every three hours (-changed, fed, burped, changed again-), certain things (like nail-trimming) just fall by the wayside.

Which leads to the title of this blog post.  I need to buy some new shirts ASAP, crew-neck.

Because try as I might, I can’t burp my boys without yelping at least three times a minute.  

As was Ivan’s V-Neck

If they don’t grow up to be professional mountain climbers, they will have some serious explaining to do.

*note – dad complains & yelps; mom breastfeeds both of them 17 times a day.

You the Real MVP

…is Being on Time

I’ve never been the best about being punctual.

As an artist & storyteller, I still have projects from the past decade that are incomplete.  My desk features about 270 business cards still waiting to be entered into my CRM.  I have yet to file my extension on my taxes & I have three fix-it tickets sitting in my car glove box from January (#beingagrownman).

I am blessed to be the rare Angeleno, er, Beverly Hill…ite?… who lives within five minutes of their work.  4 minutes 37 seconds, to be exact.  So when I am five minutes late to work it literally means I left at the time I was supposed to be there.

And I thought being a dad was going to make this punctuality issue somehow better?

IMG_4119
Logan (L) & Archer (R) – [I think]
Our boys spent 11 days in the NICU after arriving early at 34 1/2 weeks.  As rough of a time as that was, feeling separated from them, having to make time to see them, parking and walking half a mile it seemed from the Cedars parking lot to the tower with the NICU, it came with a hidden blessing: scheduling.  Our children came home on a strict 2:00/5:00/ 8:00/11:00 feeding schedule.  They were trained to sleep thru constant beeps, and after two months we are now finding that once a night they tend to sleep thru one of their feeds as well.

If only we could accurately predict which one that would be, we’d be in fantastic shape.

Yet this morning, this morning of all mornings, when I woke up at 7:40 AM and my first meeting wasn’t until 9:30, this morning when I walked the dog, took out the trash, peeled my own hard-boiled egg (#beingagrownman), this morning, once again, I was late.  Because, in just the past three days it seems, our sons started SMILING.

And I can’t get enough of it.

Photo Feb 08, 5 43 19 PM
“Don’t Drive Angry”

There I was, 9:20 AM, suit on, tie tied (Double Windsor! #beingagrownman), laptop and iPad and notepad in hand.  I took one last look at Archer lying in his boppy and saw his eyes were wide open.  I stopped in my tracks & said, in the closest thing I have to a sing-song voice, “Arrr-chhie!”

And my 9 week old son looked up at my face and smiled.

I instantly repeated the mantra, to an even wider grin.  My next 7 minutes were like the best version of Groundhog’s Day ever.

I pulled into the work parking garage at 9:32 AM.  My blessings compounded; my 9:30 meeting emailed me saying “stuck in traffic, five minutes late.”

Excuses are unacceptable, and being punctual is being a grown man.  This one time, being a father trumps all.  I will never forget those minutes I was late, making my son smile.