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Kevin's Twins-Father-to-Be Journal

May 22, 2000 ~ Epilogue
~ Some fatherly advice to upcoming rookies

I was just rereading my last entry, which I wrote shortly after the boys were born. I can't believe I started writing about a routine. Typical rookie mistake is the only way to describe it. Now that I'm a wily veteran of fathering multiples (36 days and counting) I want to share some of my sage wisdom with future dads.

Myth # 1 - Your baby will soon establish a routine
There is no routine! Babies' routines change at least twice a week. Get used to it now, you and your spouse have as much influence on your baby's routine as you do over the weather.

Myth # 2 - Your hospital will treat you like a rational adult
Our son Michael had an apnea incident within hours after he was born. They felt it best to place him on a monitor. We were told that he would most likely go off the monitor (assuming no more incidents of note) when he saw the specialist. Today we saw the specialist. He told us Michael is doing great. "So good, chances are excellent we can take him off the monitor in another two to three months". I would have liked someone to have told me that at the beginning.

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Myth # 3 - Your wife will treat you like a rational adult
This goes double for you multiple dads. The truth is she may not know more about this baby business than you do. Best to check your ego at the door and be as supportive as possible. As serious as we take this father gig, she is being judged far more harshly for the mother thing.

Myth # 4 - At some point, you will enjoy an epiphany on the meaning of fatherhood
Happens in the movies but not too often in real life. The closest thing I ever had to an epiphany happened yesterday. Susan had had enough of her babies and went out to the garden for fresh air and a quiet moment. My 18 month old Kate is yelling "Read, read, read" and wants to sit in my lap with a picture book. The boys, Sean and Michael are sitting in their bouncy seats crying at the top of their lungs. I quickly mixed two bottles for the boys and took out a frosty mug of beer for dad. I jerry-rigged a towel under Sean's bottle so that it's propped up at just the right height for him to feed. I put my beer under his seat. I hold Michael's bottle to feed him. Meanwhile Kate sits in my lap and with my one free hand, I help turn the pages for her while we read her picture books (e.g. What's that picture Kate?", "A duck!", she exclaims). After she finishes each picture book, I drink some of my beer. I realize I have reached the zenith of my fathering abilities.

Is that an epiphany? Well, not really, it's more an example of the physical coordination you develop as a parent.

The truth about being a dad is that the magic moments are rare. Your job is to be there everyday for your kids. It's a tough job with very little short term gain. But when you hear your 18 month old able to say words that she couldn't speak the week before, that's all the incentive you need.

I'm already thinking of renting baseball instructional videos for the boys and sneaking off to a batting cage to work on the old swing. And they're only five weeks old! Yeah, being a parent makes you stupid. Something that makes you stupid and makes you want to take up baseball again, is this a great club or what. Welcome aboard and good luck. Just take it a day at a time for the next 20 years and you'll do just fine.

Time for me to turn this journal thing over to the next wave of moms and dads. Enjoy your summer everyone! It's been a blast.

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