The warm water ran down my back, washing away 36 hours of sweat and grime. I systematically defunkified each of my body’s nether regions with my extremely manly loofah and inhaled the warm, misty scent of my 2-in-1 shampoo.
It was beautiful.
You should have been there. (But it’s probably for the best that you weren’t, because I was naked and that would have been awkward for you, due to the devastatingly chiseled one-pack bulging from my abs.)
As a parent of twins, I’ve grown to truly appreciate the quiet, reflective alone time a shower buys me, and twelve days into being a parent of three, I was absolutely loving the opportunity to finally hear myself think for five freaking seconds.
As you can probably imagine, adding a newborn to the mix has turned the Pseudonymous household into even more of a zoo than it already was. My wife and I settled on fielding the incessant requests for Lego-building assistance and “another snack after diss one” from the Twins as our “new normal” about a year ago, but we’ve added some new floors to our funhouse with Baby Number Three. On top of our typical twinherding duties, my wife (who is also monumentally wiped out from breastfeeding) and I now also spend our days attempting to get our new addition on a suitable feeding/sleeping/not crying schedule–all the while shushing the Twins like two shaven Grinches as they excitedly play with their noisy new Christmas toys two inches from their slumbering sister.
Our meals consist of shoving granola bars and fast food into our faces the moment the opportunity arises, and while we fully intend to shower daily, it doesn’t always pan out.
Now, as I’m sure many parents will agree with, none of this is all that difficult when you’re well-rested, but when you have a newborn, the concept of “well-rested” becomes your own personal Everest. I think my wife’s Ob-Gyn at the hospital put it best as we were getting discharged: “I’m sure you guys already know what you’re in for, but sleep deprivation is literally used to torture prisoners. Sleep when you can, and get all the help you can to make that happen.”
And we have had help–both my family and my wife’s have kicked SO much ass. But still, at some point, our help has to go home…
Teenie Tiny Pseudonymous was born atop the Stratosphere, Las Vegas at 8:41 pm on Wednesday, December 17, 2014. She was delivered by an elite team of board certified Cirque du Soleil performers who–in collaboration with Mrs. Pseudonymous’s well-orchestrated pushing–perfectly timed the delivery with the opening Ringo Starr drum solo of The Beatles’ “LOVE” show. Then, just as Teenie’s head emerged from her mother’s hoo-hoo, an electromagnetic pulse was inexplicably unleashed, triggering all slot machines within a five-mile radius to display three consecutive bow-wearing stick figures and completely empty themselves of coins, much to the delight of cheap, low-stakes patrons (and to the disappointment of “the house,” who apparently does not always win after all). Via a system of pulleys and bicycles, the Soleil performers then counterbalanced the infant with an elephant, a grand piano, and a pint of Guinness, and after consulting Siri, declared the infant to weigh in at .0032885 metric tons (all, of course, to the tune of The Beatles’ “Carry That Weight”).
I looked up from the kitchen island to check on the Dynamic Duo. My son sat enthralled on the floor, accenting his finger-pointing at the television screen with “Oohs” and “Aahs,” while my daughter reclined on the couch, wrapped in a blanket and cradling her stuffed Piglet.
Lately they’ve become completely obsessed with ocean life: ocean puzzles, ocean books, cheap-ass toy fishing poles with magnetic fish to “catch,” and anything involving Finding Nemo or The Little Mermaid. On this particular morning they’d begged me to put on one of their new favorite DVDs–the “Shallow Seas” episode of the Planet Earth series, which is now known in our house simply as “The Fishies.”
While they were caught up in the sheer awesomeness that is “The Fishies,” I had seized the opportunity to crack open my laptop and attend to PhD shenanigans.
Two brand new sets of lunch bags and Thermoses (Thermi?) on the far counter caught my eye as I penned a particularly riveting email. We recently registered the Twins to start “school” in July and my wife–ever the planner–has ALREADY secured rad new Hello Kitty and Spider-Man lunchtime gear in anticipation. No, this isn’t the parent-child class I’ve previously mentioned. Our children will soon be attending a new “big-kid” all-day school program a few days a week–one they’ll be attending without Daddy waiting in the wings (which works out well because Daddy’s about to start on his dissertation).
We’re also mere days from launching PottyTrainingFest 2013, an event we know the Twins are ready for, as my daughter now literally approaches me with a clean diaper in hand, saying, “Daddy, I pee-peed.” (Why couldn’t THAT have caught on sooner?) Although their new school helps with potty training and even does diapers, the idea is for us to do the bulk of the work at the Pseudonymous World Headquarters and send them out into the field with a License to Potty.
Daughter: Daddy, what are doze?
Me: Those are manatees.
Daughter: Oooooooh! Look at the man-tits!
“Are you done yet?” my wife groaned.
It was almost 11pm on a Saturday and I’d been working non-stop since breakfast. I could tell she was getting annoyed with me, but I was almost done with my final read-through.
This was Day 1 of The 3-Day Great Comprehensive Exam-A-Thon that would be my weekend. See, near the end of a Ph.D. program, they have you take an exam relevant to your field of study that’s reviewed by faculty in your department who basically decide if you’re competent enough to start the final stage of your program–the dreaded dissertation. Sometimes it involves a major project done over the course of a few weeks, and other times the student is essentially locked in a room for several consecutive days to cuss at bubble sheets and essay response booklets. In my case, I was handed about a 90-page packet (not an exaggeration) which provided directions and resources for writing four different papers–each of which was to be 6-8 pages long, due in four days.
Fortunately, these four days started on a Friday and I was allowed to complete the exam from the comfort of my own home. Unfortunately, I have twin two-year-olds in my own home, who, from the moment I enter to the moment they collapse in their beds, shout spirited requests of me. Here are some of their greatest hits:
“Daddy! Sit down dare. Read book-y.”
“More juicy! Pleaseokaythankyou! Apple juicy. Yesokay!”
(performed melodramatically by my son, hanging from one monkey-hand on the pantry doorknob, usually fifteen minutes after refusing to eat a single bite for dinner)
Since I barely had any work time on Friday, I was hitting it hard on Saturday, and decided that while I was still fresh, I’d hammer out two of the four papers, leaving the remaining two for Sunday and Monday. My wife was incredibly supportive, taking the kids out for the day while I pounded coffee to a soundtrack alternating between death metal and utter silence, my fingers furiously pecking at the keyboard.
It hadn’t been pretty, but I was now finally finally finally closing in on my goal for the day. Still planted in my seat at the kitchen table, I was looking over Paper 2 for any final edits when my wife, who was in our bedroom watching tv, suddenly became strangely persistent.
As I finished rinsing off in the shower (feel free to imagine me with a six-pack instead of the slight gut I’ve developed from drinking them), my son requested one last drawing on the shower’s fogged-up glass walls. “‘Nother one, Daddy. Happy star.”
This is our new fun thing we do when Daddy showers–I take drawing requests while he stands on the other side of the glass, giddily retracing them with his fingers and going apeshit crazy if Daddy doesn’t draw a new one at least every thirty seconds. This, of course, extends my already-too-leisurely-for-my-wife’s-taste showering time. (See, I like to ease into my morning by staring blankly into space for ten minutes until I remember, Oh right, I’m in the shower and should probably get started on the whole cleaning thing.) And I’m sure she very much enjoys being the bad guy and reminding the two little boys in her life to stop goofing around with shower-wall artwork because we’re already running late. (Love you, babe!)
However, on this particular morning there was plenty of time for happy stars because my wife had left to run errands with my daughter, giving me a rare opportunity for some father-son quality time. Sure, I get to spend plenty of time with my kids since I’m home with them for half of the week, but 99% of that is with both competing for my attention. Seldom is anything ever all about one of my kids, and a lot of the time I’m reacting to whoever’s more cranky, hungry, or likely to climb a high chair and cannonball into the kitchen tile. That’s why my wife and I make an effort to split up and spend some one-on-one time with each of them.
It’s always such a blast. Every time, I notice new things about whichever kid I’m with–new words they’ve learned, nuances about their personalities–things that are harder to pick up on when I’m splitting my attention between them. And it’s during these times that I realize how quickly they’re growing into two independent, very different little people.
I’ll admit it–my wife and I have been putting off potty training. It’s not that we’re against the idea–we’re pretty psyched about not having to spend literally $100 a month on Costco-sized diapers for two little asses and are over the whole diaper-changing/alligator-wrestling ordeal. It’s just that we have a psychotically busy April and are just trying to make it through the month before we hit the potties hard. In preparation for this next chapter of parenthood, I’ve enlisted the help of Kristin Myers, a veteran mother of twins who has recently featured me on her blog and just released a new book titled Twin Turbulence. (Guess what it’s about!) In this guest post, she offers tips to aspiring parents of potty-trained twins which stand to benefit those of us about to enter the cold tile floor battlefield. Enjoy!
The Top 10 Most Unglamorous Tips for Potty Training Twins
1. Set a timer to remind yourself to put them on the potty. A potty-trained parent is a potty-trained set of twins. Be prepared: You will become very familiar with the hard surface of your bathroom floor as you will the excretory magic to happen with your parental super powers. Do not be above bribery. M & M’s are great incentives. So are Post Potty Parties – obnoxious songs and dances to appropriately celebrate Number 1 or Number 2 after they occur, of course. (A premature party can startle them mid-stream, either creating quite a mess or the need to start all over.)
2. Do not be fooled by anatomy. Both boys and girls need help learning how to squirt down! You do not want to learn this the hard way while sitting on the floor in front of them. Just saying…
3. You’ll want to be present as the action is happening. Otherwise they’ll “help” each other wipe and clean up. This rarely ends well. Imagine two 2-year-olds trying to dump the contents of the kid potty into the grown-up potty. Not good. In addition, twins can exhaust a roll of toilet paper faster than a puppy dragging the roll through the house. And when they’re done? It’s great fun to stuff it all in the toilet to see just how many flushes (or floods) it will take to make it disappear!
4. When at home, twin bare-bottoms become more commonplace than pants. You don’t mean for this to happen, but it does. Grandparents will more than likely be offended and fight the uphill battle during visits. Just ignore them.
5. If you let your boy pee on a tree even once, I guarantee your daughter will feel the need to demonstrate her vertical stream as well when you least expect it. Like in the park. On the great big tree in front of all your friends. It’s a very uncomfortable moment. Trust me. Continue reading