A year ago, everyone in the family had health insurance. As of this writing, our dog is the only creature in the household with coverage. Without notice, Empire BlueCross recently canceled our policy. We’re in the process of appealing the cancellation; in the mean time, our baby girls are left without coverage during the most vulnerable stage of their life. At 10-months old, they also just started crawling and climbing, increasing the odds of accidental injury. I’m trying to keep a cool head, but Penny quickly noticed a change in my demeanor.
The pets are revolting! Our beagle has been peeing in the bathroom for over a month. Recently, our cat pooped in a crib — while a baby was sleeping. I walked into the nursery to discover Clemmy rolling in cat shit — covered from head to toe. I stood slack jawed for a good 10-15 seconds in utter disbelief. On the other hand, Clemmy seemed completely unfazed — that is, until she googled it.
Brooklyn, NY — The kidnapping of a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. When Rick and Carolyn Thompson awoke at 8:00a.m.Saturday morning, they were in disbelief. Their eight-month old twin girls had apparently slept through the night. Carolyn turned to Rick. “I can’t believe it! First time in eight months.” “It’s a miracle!” said Rick. Assuming their girls were simply exhausted from the day before, Rick and Carolyn went back to sleep. When they awoke again at 10:00am, Carolyn began to suspect that something was amiss. “I thought maybe something was wrong with the monitor,” she recalled . As Rick started uselessly smacking the monitor, Carolyn frantically rushed into the girls’ bedroom — only to discover that her sweet little angels had been abducted. “It was wishful thinking on our part—-obviously kidnapping is more likely than a full night’s sleep,” said Rick.
Baby jumpers are fun for babies and give parents a much needed break. However, pediatricians say they pose a safety risk, and delay motor development. I have eight-month old twin girls. Despite the warnings from the medical community, I got a jumper but decided to use it for the greater good — I conducted a TWIN STUDY with my girls to measure the effects of using a jumper on motor development.
I read to the girls every day, even when they don’t seem to be paying attention. “The Pigeon Needs a Bath” is a perennial favorite, but on this particular occasion they quickly lost interest and started pulling my hair – a legitimate massage technique. Also, the cat was kneading my chest. I’ve never felt so pampered. However, it all came crashing down when Clementine caught wind of my scheme.
“Daddy, I’m not here to serve your needs.”
“What do you mean, sweetie?”
“Um, you’re clearly enjoying this more than we are.”
Baby Proofing (Penny): It’s never too early to start baby proofing your house, but my wife and I have been procrastinating. Now that our girls are starting to crawl, we finally decided to start thinking about baby proofing. In the meantime, we purchased an indoor play yard to keep the girls contained. Clementine seems content in confinement, but Penny desperately wants to regain her freedom.
“Daddy, don’t you see enough cage fighting on TV?”
In the spirit of feminism, my wife and I took the girls to the “2017 Women’s March” in New York City. The girls were each wearing “feminist” onesies, which were a big hit at the march. A lot of photos subsequently popped up online. A photo of me holding Penny ended up on Reddit. Most of the comments were positive, but some opinionated commenters poorly disguised their misogyny with concern for my child’s welfare. “A protest march is no place to take a child!”
Moreover, Woke Dad has steadily grown to over 12,000 followers… which is apparently when the trolls come marching in. These particular rabble-rousers seem to oppose the concept of feminism — equating it with cancer, and referring to my 6-month-old girls as sluts. They also take pleasure in mocking me as a stay-at-home dad, and seem to be overly obsessed with my sex life — they’re fairly certain that my wife has a boyfriend, and that I enjoy watching her have sex with other men. As if we have time to partake in such decadent delights.
In the meantime, I recently had a spirited conversation with Clementine about feminism and what it means to be feminist.
Twin of the Week – Penelope: It’s never too early to start helping your child build a foundation of faith — which is why I recently introduced Penny & Clemmy to my personal salvation — Led Zeppelin.I’ve been an unabashed Zep fanatic since high school — I only wish someone had introduced me to them earlier. I enjoy a wide range of music, but Zeppelin is the only band of which I can listen to every album from cover to cover. My personal favorite is Zeppelin III, which was released in 1970. Zeppelin III begins with the heart pounding Immigrant Song, followed by a mix of blues and folk. Clementine’s favorite is “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”, a folksy foot-stomping tune about Robert Plant’s dog. Penny seems more drawn to “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” a slow, bluesy number that seems to stretch time itself.
Happy New Year! While many people couldn’t wait to say goodbye to 2016, I wanted to hold on to what was arguably the best year of my life. How could it not? On June 21st, my wife and I gave birth to healthy, beautiful, twin girls! Moreover, I had the luxury of giving up my day job, along with the pleasure of staying home with Penelope and Clementine. Admittedly, my wife and I are scraping by, and we’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices, but the experience has been priceless. Not to mention, I now have a built-in excuse to stay in on New Year’s Eve, and avoid the undue pressure of manufactured fun. This past Saturday, when the clock struck midnight, my wife and I tiptoed into the girls’ nursery, and smooched our little darlings. Clementine took advantage of the moment to strike up a conversation about the future.
“Daddy, I thought of a really good New Year’s resolution.”
Penelope and Clementine are 6-months old. When they were first born, the pediatrician extolled the virtues of nursing, but acknowledged the difficulties and limitations that mothers face today. The pediatrician concluded her spiel by encouraging Michelle to stick it out for at least six weeks, at which point the girls would have received most of the known benefits of breast feeding. For the past four months, Michelle has been managing her psychology practice, while pumping in between patients. There were many days when she was exhausted, but resisted another cup of coffee for the sake of the girls. There were also many evenings in which she wanted nothing more than to settle down with a glass of wine, but had to continue nursing and pumping to keep up with the increasing demand. She wanted to stick it out for a full year, but I told her that she was overdoing it — milking the boobs at both ends, if you will. As the stay-at-home parent, I’ve been slowly transitioning the girls from boob to bottle. After sacrificing her body for 15-months, Michelle is finally free to ingest caffeine and alcohol at will. The feeling is bittersweet, I’m sure. Clementine seems content with the transition, but Penelope isn’t going down without a fight.
“Daddy, I gonna miss nursing with mom.”
“Sweetie, we’ve been supplementing for months — you guzzle it down just the same.”
I absolutely love reading to Penelope and Clementine. As a stay-at-home dad, I try to read to them at least three times a day. Before introducing them to the wonderful world of children’s books, I read them some adult-themed non-fiction: “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”; and “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin.”
It’s my understanding that human babies can see color at birth, but their vision is blurred, so they can only distinguish contrasting colors such as black-and-white. Now that their vision is fully developed, I’ve switched to more age appropriate material. Reading to six-month olds often feels like a pointless endeavor, but apparently it contributes to the development of their growing brains. The girls usually lose interest whilst I’m reading, and either roll over or start chewing on the book. Nonetheless, I make it a habit to finish — always the positive role model. One book that usually holds their attention is “Duncan The Story Dragon” — a wonderful picture book about the joy of reading — suggested for children age 4 – 6. The girls seem captivated by the book’s colorfully vivid illustrations.Continue reading Duncan The Story Dragon (An important lesson for parents)
Twin of the Week – Clementine: Penelope and Clementine are officially American Euro mutts — Italian, Austrian, Irish, and Swiss. My dad was the child of Italian immigrants, my mom, of Austrian immigrants. I’ve always identified as Italian — raised on a steady diet of mob movies such as The Godfather, A Bronx Tale, and Goodfellas. My wife is half Irish, half Swiss. She grew up performing as an Irish dancer, so naturally she has always identified as Irish. If Penelope and Clementine are interested, we’ll gladly tell them all about their ethnic heritage, but otherwise we plan on indoctrinating them as Americans. In the mean time, there’s been a surge of racist, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic intimidation and harassment since Donald Trump’s presidential win — prompting Clementine to barrage me with a series of questions about our family heritage.
Twin of the Week – Penelope: The girls are fast approaching 6-months of age. My wife and I started watching Game of Thrones after the girls were born. WOW! What a show! Good thing the girls aren’t crawling yet. Or maybe they are. Who knows? We haven’t made eye contact with them since Episode 1. I didn’t feel guilty about watching TV with the girls when they were newborns — it seemed like a victimless crime. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents should avoid TV consumption by children under two years of age. So, for the sake of the girls, my wife and I have greatly reduced our own TV consumption — much to the detriment of our own sanity. Clementine seems content with or without TV on in the background, but Penelope has not been pleased with this major lifestyle change. Continue reading Babies Love TV!
Twin of the Week: Clementine – The girls are now 5-months-old, and although I’ve been tracking their developmental milestones, it’s too early to declare a winner. Penny has been outpacing Clemmy in the motor skills category, but Clemmy has been crushing Penny in the “baby talk.” She’s constantly babbling and cooing — and it’s friggin adorable — except for when she strikes up a conversation at 4:00am. Seriously — what’s so important that it can’t wait till morning? For better or worse, it’ll be another six months before she starts using words. In the mean time, I recently purchased a “Baby Sign Language” book. BSL lets babies, as young as six months old, communicate their needs rather than crying. Any day now, Clementine will be able to calmly express her needs rather than screaming like a pterodactyl.
Twin of the Week — Penelope: Years before Penelope and Clementine were born, I adopted a beagle puppy (Turk). Turk is now 13-years-old, and showing signs of old age: arthritis in his hips and knees, fading vision, etc. He’s always been a sweet dog but his behavior has been getting more unpredictable with age. Last year, I had to go to the hospital after he bit my face. At the risk of sounding like a battered spouse — it was my fault. Turk was sleeping on the couch when I approached without warning and kissed his forehead. Like a wounded war veteran suffering from PTSD, Turk sprung into attack mode from a dead sleep. Once he realized what he had done, he cowered in the corner. I went to the emergency room to stem the bleeding, and received about 5-7 stitches on my right cheek. I immediately forgave Turk for his transgression, but I must admit — I’ll be a little less sad when he dies. My primary concern now is how Turk will relate to the girls when they become toddlers. I recently spoke with Penny to address this looming crisis.
“Daddy, why can’t I sleep in Turk’s bed?”
“Sweetie, I totally understand the allure — but it’s not safe.”
“Turk protects me from danger — he’d never hurt me.”
Twin of the Week – Clementine: Michelle and I attended a wedding last month (see Buzzed Parenting). While at the wedding we chatted with a set of parents who had flown in from out of town. They actually flew separate planes to the wedding so that if one plane crashed their kids would still have a parent. I’m terrified of flying but I would never fly separate from my wife — fly together, die together — that’s our motto. Nonetheless, our conversation with this neurotic couple got us thinking about who would take care of the girls in the case of our untimely death. I recently spoke with Clementine to get her input on the matter — she had an interesting perspective.
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 preserveour 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.”