Last night Mrs. B and I had the dreaded feeling parents have when at 11 p.m., one of the kids (the Boy) shuffled into our room and said, "I don't feel good; my tummy hurts". Dealing with a sick kid is bad enough, but the real source of dread lies in the fact that this is just the beginning. With other kids at home, if this thing does turn out to be a virus—which it did, then your chances of this little event lasting through multiple kids has goes up dramatically. The Twin-kies certainly did not help their cause. They insisted on taking the Boy's disease-plagued cup and drinking out of it all day long. Their indifference for their own water glasses was almost super human. You would have thought only the sweetest water came from the disease cup, and their own water was flavored with dead fish.
Having a sick kid has other complications, like the fact that the Boy’s younger brothers could care less how he feels. They continue the behaviors that have irritated him all week long (taking cars, throwing things at him, and getting frustrated when he is in their way). It all weighs into the “fun” of the event.
As a parent, it is hard to not see yourself reflected in the actions of your child, and maybe that is why I am so particularly nonplussed when the Boy gets sick. I am a complete baby when I am sick. Just ask Mrs. B. She will gladly confirm my status as a whiny, needy, wimp (and that is just when I have a headache). The Boy exhibits many of these same traits and they drive me nuts. Thanks to my lovely and tolerant wife, I have learned a few strategies that make me an acceptable caregiver.
I am embarking on the next couple of days of illness with the support of a wonderful wife and mother, and just like everything else, it’s never is as bad as you make it out in your head. A week from now (or by the time you are actually reading this), everyone will have already forgotten about being sick. I hope they do remember the time we spent just sitting together on the couch watching Cars for the 100th time. That’s the kind of thing memories are made of.
a. minor baker
A. Minor Baker is the father of four living in Austin, TX. In addition to a soon-to-be second grader, he and his wife are the proud parents of 5-year-old twins and a new baby sister. He can be reached for comment or question at firstname.lastname@example.org
I struggled out of bed this morning only to discover I should have already been leaving for work. In between the 1 AM feeding, the 4 AM feeding, and “The Boy” waking up at 5:30 AM and screaming for "Dada" like somebody had lit his polyester pajamas with feet on fire, the alarm got turned off. I am not a morning person to start with, but I am REALLY not a morning person when I am running late. I shot out of bed, showered, deodorized and dressed in record time. I made an English muffin and bowl of cereal to consume on the drive to work and rushed out the door. I was lucky to remember to grab my lunch. Unfortunately, I didn't realize I had forgotten the coffee I was bringing for everybody in the office until I was about to get on the toll-road. Showing up without coffee on a morning like this wasn't an option, so I turned around and returned home to grab it, thereby making me even later.
The day unfolded in a fairly typical fashion, so it wasn't until I was using the restroom after lunch that I recognized something strange. Looking down at my pants, I noticed the tag on my boxers was on the front. "That is strange,” I thought. When I looked closer, I realized having the tag at the front of your boxers means you are an idiot, and don't know how to put your clothes on properly. Apparently, I am so brain dead at the moment that I don't even know how to put on a pair of underwear. Even worse, I didn’t notice for over six hours that my skivvies are back side front. I would like to think that had I been wearing the thong Mrs. B got me for Christmas, I would have been able to tell the difference . . . but at this point I am not sure that I could.
In the last couple of nights we have had fairly good luck with the Twin-i-kins sleeping for sizable chunks of time (3-4 hours). The Boy started sleeping through the night at about six weeks, so here is to hoping the twins get there soon. Mrs. B has been getting up with them during the work week, but on the weekend, we work together. In the wee hours of the weekend, I have had time to formulate my new theory on getting a baby, let alone two of them, to sleep through the night.
Having one baby is initially very difficult, but you eventually get that kid to sleep through the night. With two adults on duty it is actually pretty easy to get a solid chunk of sleep from time to time. If you will excuse the basketball reference, it is kind of like being a #1 or #2 cede in the NCAA tourney. There is enough talent that you can pretty much handle anything that is thrown at you and come out on the other side fairly well rested. You may have bad night personally, but there is always another all-star ready to step in and share the load.
Having twins is a completely different story. You are no longer the favorite to win night in and night out. Heading into our nightly routine, I have the feeling that we are more like the #16 or #15 cede. We can go out and hit all our shots and still not get much sleep. In order for my team to win (solid chunk of sleep), we need to have our best game and a hefty amount of luck, and even when that happens you most likely still aren't going to "win.” This is made harder by the fact that we know success in the past.
I know that very soon the twins are going to grow out of this phase and start sleeping larger chunks of time, but during this period of sleep deprivation, I can't seem to focus on when that will start happening. Thankfully, I have the most awesome friend and partner to share the load. Or, perhaps more accurately, I help her share the load, because she does so much.
a. minor baker
Minor Baker is sleep-deprived once again with the addition of a new daughter to make him the father of four. When he's not changing diapers or catching a catnap, he can be reached at email@example.com.
Does every parent of twins have such difficulty telling them apart when they are babies? I know this isn't something the father of six-month-old babies should be admitting publicly, but it takes 30 seconds of detailed studying before I am able to correctly name a baby, and that is only if they are side by side. If I don't have the boys side by side, I might as well just flip a coin because I have no idea. Even with them side by side, I would say that I am about 70% sure I am correct. Mrs. B acts much more confident when identifying which Twin-kie is which, but you can see a fraction of doubt in her eyes if you question her.
Maybe I am just too close to the situation, because within 15 seconds of meeting the boys for the first time, a friend was able to say which one was which and point out the differences. Predictably, all of Mrs. B's friends think the differences are obvious, and yet they still have about as much success as I do when it comes to naming the babies.
Does all of this mean that the Twin-kies are identical....the answer to that remains as clear as the actual identities of each of the babies. Apparently today's pediatricians don't care if twins are identical or fraternal. The only thing we know is that there has not been any indication, as of yet that they are fraternal (such as different blood types, different colored eyes, etc.), but there has also been nothing to definitively identify them as identical.
Mrs. B and I worry about the hilarity that is going to ensue within our little group of guys. Let’s take a cinematic look back at what kinds of trouble identical twins get themselves into I would like to start with the Disney classic, "The Parent Trap" (not the Lindsey Lohan version.....Lord knows we don't want that kind of trouble) starring Haley Mills. A couple of cute girls find out they are identical twins and together they play mean tricks on their step-parent to get their real parents together.
Example Two (a more contemporary example): The Scavo twins on Desperate Housewives (2004 – 2012)... since even their parents have a difficult time telling them apart, these two boys are constantly switching identities to allow the other twin to get away with some kind of mischief...does that sound familiar?
Example Three: Quite possibly my favorite example, but as a parent it is the scariest. The Weasley twins from Harry Potter, Fred and George, spend nearly every moment of their existence thinking up pranks and causing all kinds of mischief. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Fred and George have always been my favorite characters in the book. Mainly because even though they get into trouble all of the time, deep down they have a heart for others and a passion for life.
With my tendency for getting into trouble and love of a good prank, it is entirely possible our boys have a genetic disposition that will lead them down a path similar to that of the Weasley twins. Although they have a tendency to cause trouble, more importantly, they have big hearts. I will work hard as a parent to ensure that my boys develop the big caring heart; I am pretty sure the trouble-making will take care of itself.
a. minor baker
This post by Minor Baker was first shared about four years ago. Minor and "Mrs. B" recently became the parents of four when a little girl joined her three older brothers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.