…is Being a Surgeon General

We’ve previously discussed the remarkable naturals weapons human children grow quickly in their infancy.

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Logan: Aptly Named

Thankfully, with time, patience, and the steady hand of a head of surgery, there is a solution to this problem.

The question is, what parent has a readily available supply of time, patience, and steadiness?

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Not this guy, that’s for sure, he’s too busy showcasing 17 different brands at once #GoCubsGo

However, between the two of us (and the overwhelming amount of work my wife does for the boys), the task of “surgery” has fallen to me.

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My new Sunday Morning routine

Fathers: nothing you have done or encountered can properly prepare you for the task of cutting your infant children’s fingernails.

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Don’t let that innocent face fool you into complacency

For starters, there is a unique property to infant fingernail clippers – they are SHARP! Unlike the dull clunkers made for adults, each blade of infant clippers is fine enough to turn fingernails into the phyllo dough used to make baklava.

Contrast that with the infant’s fingernails – fine, paper-like white lines that blend in perfectly with their skin, despite being able to slice you like an envelope edge.

Add in the three cups of coffee required to even be cognizant at 8:15 AM after a night of bottle-fussiness, and you’ll WISH you’d spent 8 years in school preparing for this moment.

Now imagine having twins.

I can’t complain too much right now, because thankfully THIS morning Archer was content to lay in his boppy while I worked slowly and steadily around Logan’s fingernails.

Not too much later, Logan dozed off to sleep just in time for me to get to work on Archer.

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“The patient is prepped for surgery, Dr. Lovegren.”

Perhaps I am too cautious; there is nothing that ruins my day more than a hangnail.  Maybe babies don’t yet have the sensitivity in their fingertips for that to be a concern (who wants to fact-check and let me know?).

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She’s Earned a Slight Respite!

Still, until they are old enough to wield the Scissors of Doom themselves, this routine will be done with patience, meticulousness, and lots of internal stress for dad.

At least it is one less thing for my wife to have to do.

#DadWin

Do you have a task you always perform around the house or for the kids?  Let us know with a comment here or a reply on Twitter!

…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.

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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 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 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 attending SoCal Baby Show!

Today was SoCal Baby Show in downtown Los Angeles, brought to us by Baby Bellies & Beyond, BuyBuy Baby, & Huggies… i think.

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Baby stole my look!

I’ll have some more in-depth posts on the event and the products there in the week ahead.  Wanted to get out some quick hits before feeding time tonight:

  • I have NEVER IN MY LIFE been asked to provide my OB-GYN, delivering physician, or income level when buying a ticket to an event.  These questions were REQUIRED fields, as well as some others that could only be answered “N-A” when answering as a man.  Very off-putting & tone-deaf first touch with the event.
  • I also saw ZERO publicity for this particular event in the blogosphere & social media.  In fact, I only heard about it because I emailed a specific brand a few weeks ago about where I could find their items, and they responded saying they would be in town for this show.
  • HIGH-Larious – with streets virtually empty, The Reef (name of building hosting the event) was still charging $20 flat for their parking lot.  We waved at the parking attendant and drove 200 more feet to a 6-hour parking meter which cost us $2 for the max time allowed.
  • In keeping with the weird nature of this particular event, it was hard to tell from signage who were the actual presenting sponsors (& what were the official hashtags for social media sharing).  It seemed like Munchkin Inc. had more people post with their hashtag #itsthelittlethings than @BabyBelliesTV, @BuyBuyBaby, & Huggies combined!
  • Our raffle tickets were #206 & #207 and we showed up an hour after general admission had started.
  • The floor seemed empty; we kept circling back and encountering the same individuals browsing.  While this would have bothered me as a vendor looking for dedicated ROI, it turned out to work in our favor.  In our two and a half hours on the floor we were able to connect with every vendor there which fit our profile and have meaningful discussions with the principals at each brand.  Look for some fun & deep insights on individual brands in upcoming blog posts.
  • My fellow blogger Joël & I had more fun at this Baby Show as attendees than we have at any past event, so ignore everything I said above!
  • I won this awesome Britax B-Ready Stroller!
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B-Ready with Britax and Baby Bellies & Beyond!

…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?

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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.

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“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.