For as long as I can remember, I thought about being a new father and about how I would want to start a blog once the child arrived so that I could document and share my thoughts, feelings and magical experiences with the world. I’d take whatever spare time that I had – 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there – to post anecdotes and tell stories about how my kid was growing and about how I was maturing as a parent and as a man.
After 334 days, I finally found 20 minutes to get this thing started.
My name is Shane and I am the proud father of a pair of identical twin 11-month-old boys named Dominic and Isaac. This is a blog dedicated to my continuous ride along with my beautiful wife JheriAnne as first-time parents who have been fortunate enough to cut their teeth with a set of premature identical twins.
Quick backstory: On February 18, 2016, I took my wife to our scheduled doctor’s appointment to check on the progress of our twin boys as we continued along in our relatively stress-free and uneventful pregnancy. Less than 24 hours later – on the 29th week of pregnancy – both boys were delivered via emergency C-section due to complications.
Dominic (3 pounds, 2.1 ounces) and Isaac (2 pounds, 7.9 ounces) spent the next 66 days in the NICU. The days melted together as they were filled with surgeries, transfusions, oxygen tubes, constantly beeping monitors and crappy waiting room coffee. We spoke with doctors who appeared unshakable and supernaturally confident. We met nurses who seemed stronger than we could ever hope to be. We bonded with fellow parents who were surviving similar – or in some cases, worse – circumstances.
This part will be discussed in greater detail in a different post on a different day as it is a period that we are each still recovering from in our own ways. From my perspective, it was the most difficult 66 days of my life and I’m still working on how to properly convey exactly how I felt during that time.
The end result of their tenure at the hospital was a happy one and as the boys gradually improved and grew, I trained. I took advantage of being constantly surrounded by medical professionals and became proficient in the areas that had made me nervous. Had we been so inclined, a Rocky Balboa-type montage of punching slabs of meat and chasing chickens could have been shot of my progress, only my clips would have involved dressing an infant who was connected to an IV or handling a bad case of reflux during a feeding. I didn’t have to eat raw eggs or beat Apollo in a race on the beach, but I got pretty damn good at navigating my way around cords and monitors when changing diapers. Same thing, really.
You’ll notice that in the paragraph above, I didn’t mention anything about my wife’s progress. That’s because she didn’t make any. She didn’t have to. From my vantage point, she was good at all of it right from the beginning. And I’m not saying that to be nice. I think it’s bullshit. Frankly, I’ve grown to think that she has four or five invisible kids running around that I’m just unaware of based on how naturally a lot of this stuff came to her. I’m currently looking into it.
So, once we appeared to be out of the woods medically and we were ready to bring them home, I figured I would be a seasoned vet ready to take on the challenges of parenthood head-on with a confidence and level of preparedness unknown to most new fathers.
I was an idiot.
It’s funny how quickly the training becomes irrelevant once it’s just on you. I liken it to taking four years of Spanish in high school. Sure, I knew some phrases and could put a solid sentence – hell, maybe even a paragraph – together in a classroom setting…but the second you pluck me out of the school and stick me in real world scenario involving Spanish, I’m only capable of asking where the library is.
What I quickly learned is also what the main theme of this blog will be: planning is necessary, but adapting is mandatory. “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” is a quote that serves as a warning for those who place to much faith in their ability to prepare. This message is a certainty when it comes to parenting.
We had a birth plan. Then we found out we were having twins.
We created a new birth plan. Then they came early.
We’ve had thoughts and plans regarding vaccines, cloth diapers, formula, television, circumcision and co-sleeping. Then we deviated in some way on each one.
Every plan that we’ve had – from long-term goals to menial daily tasks – has had to be fluid. Because of this, the learning process has had to be fluid, as well.
This constant evolution forces me to openly admit that I don’t have it figured out and that I’m humbled on a daily basis. I think that’s kind of the point.
Don’t get me wrong…there are times where I look at some of the skills that I have developed and I am truly proud at what I can do. My left-handed bottle-making game is on point. When I use my sultry tones to serenade these young lads with ballads of the Letter and/or Number of the Day, I get reactions that rival that of the most rabid Michael Jackson fan. My public restroom diaper changing abilities are the stuff of legend. At times like this, I feel invincible.
Then again…these are some of things that have confused me just today:
- cloth diapers
- car seats
- onesies with too many buttons
- onesies with not enough buttons
- solid food feeding techniques
- how to keep socks on them
- the fact that their feet can stink even though they don’t walk on them
- the fact that their nails are so damn sharp
- how to keep Dominic from scratching Isaac’s face off
- how to keep Isaac from using Dominic’s head as a stepladder
- how to keep them both from doing these things to me
Most of the time I feel like I have twice as many questions as answers (seriously, I don’t get why their feet smell as bad as they do sometimes…). It’s a constant balancing act between utilizing your strengths and hiding your deficiencies all while evolving with the needs of the kids. While staying on your toes keeps you from ever becoming completely comfortable, it also prevents you from becoming complacent.
Aside from feeling the need as a former writer to get back in front of a keyboard, I suppose the main reason that I’ve started this blog is that after 11 non-stop months, I’ve realized that I’ve got a lot to get off my chest.
Topics I plan to eventually cover include, but will not be limited to, the following:
- Productive parenting with your significant other
- Children’s shows
- How a mother’s boobs are essentially built-in GameSharks for infants
- Receiving unsolicited parenting advice
- The pros and cons of having identical twins
- The dynamics of being a dad with twins in public
- Poop again
- Back issues
- Exactly when I realized that I was a dad and no longer cool
- How you think you want your kid to start crawling right up until they start crawling
- How I’m more likely to hit the Mega Millions than sleep for five consecutive hours
- What I would do if I grew up with a clone and how I am now probably screwed
- We’ll probably put a bow on it by circling back to Poop one more time
Finally, as I write this intro at 3:49 am, I will be making it a habit of trying to take advantage of the ungodly hours that I often find myself awake. When kids enter the picture, you quickly realize that time becomes currency and if I’m going to spend it, I plan on making sure that I get my money’s worth. Whatever your reason is for reading this and any future posts, I hope that you find it worth your time as well.