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Are You Not Entertained?

Twin of the Week – Penny: Michelle and I have both been sick in the past month, and still have lingering colds. Yet, the girls will not let us rest. Our extended family is back in the midwest. A nanny is beyond our budget. We’ve thought about shelving this experiment. We made it 4 months. We gave it our best. However, rather than throwing in the towel, we’ve made some parental adjustments to preserve  our own sanity. Clementine seems to be handling this transitionary period with ease, but as expected, Penny is not pleased.

“Help! Help! Someone dial 911!”

“Sweetie, I’m right here! What’s wrong?!”

“OMG! Are you okay, daddy? I thought you were having a seizure.”

“Huh? A seizure? You’re kidding, right? — I was dancing.”

“Jesus Harold Christ! That’s what you call that? — You have the rhythm of a manatee.”

“Ouch! When did you become such a snob? — I know I’m not a trained dancer like your mother, but I’m not that bad.”

“Yes, you are. — And what even compelled you to dance in the middle of the day?”

“I was trying to entertain you and Clemmy.”

“Daddy, you’re a standup comic. If you want to entertain us — tell us a joke.

“Well, sweetie, my jokes don’t work that way. You see comedy is all about timing, delivery, and…”

“Ugh, I don’t care, daddy. — What made you think we needed to be entertained, anyway?”

“Because you were pouting.”

“So, why didn’t you pick me up?”

“Sweetie, you’re over four-months old now. Our pediatrician said we should encourage you to self-soothe.”

“Self-soothe? Is that a euphemism for ABANDON & TORTURE?”

“Well, sweetie, some parents certainly see it that way.”

“Loving parents?”

“Sweetie, here’s the lowdown: If all your needs are met and you’re not sick… but for some reason you’re still fussy, we’re not supposed to pick you up…”

“A licensed medical professional told you to ignore your infant daughters?”

“No, you didn’t let me finish. — He said we shouldn’t immediately pick you up; but we’re not supposed to ignore you either. He told us to try soothing you by other means before resorting to cuddling.”

“And you thought dancing like a fool would do the trick?”

“Clementine seems happy. Look at her smiling over there!”

“Daddy, you fool. She’s passing gas. That’s all she does all day long. Farty McFartpants — That’s what I call her.”

“Real clever, sweetie. — Either way, we can’t pick you up every time you cry. Not any more.

“Why? Because ONE doctor said so? — That’s cherry picking. You could find just as many doctors who swear up and down that self-soothing is bogus!

“I’m sure you could. To be honest, sweetie, sometimes we’re just busy.”

“Busy!? What about when I was crying last night? I heard you and mommy outside the nursery: Mommy said ‘Maybe we should get her.’ You responded, ‘No, let her suffer for awhile.’ — Suffer? What kind of monster are you?”

“Sweetie, I was being sarcastic. — Didn’t I come to your aid about five minutes later?”

“Sure, but my stress levels were off the charts by then.”

“You don’t want to go there, sweetie.”

“Go where, daddy?”

“Stress! Your mother and I are falling apart. — I have carpal tunnel in my right wrist and left hand. I can’t even make a fist. Mom has ‘mommy thumb’ in both hands, a stiff neck, and back pain.”

“Hmmm… maybe you’re too old for this game, daddy. It’s not my fault you guys waited till your late-30s to procreate.”

“That’s bullshit, sweetie, and you know it. Your mom and I are in better shape than most 20-something parents.”

“Well, I don’t care about most parents. I need YOU to suck it up. — When babies are exposed to high levels of cortisol, we’re more likely to develop behavior problems and stress-related diseases later in life.”

“Even if that’s true — which I doubt — WE would never let it get to that point. Never. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever…”

“Ok. Ok. I get it. But please, NO MORE DANCING. — And before you even ask… no more singing either.”

“But singing’s in my blood, sweetie. Have I told you that my dad was a Dean Martin impersonator?”

“Yes, like 1,000 times, daddy. And I cannot overemphasize the extreme disservice you’ve done to your namesake.”

“Come on, it can’t be that bad. Is it, really?”

“Daddy, listen closely. — If I ever die of SIDS, I want it on the record that your singing was the culprit.”

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