October 24, 2011
Our son was born March 12th, 2009. He's a little over two and a half years old. Now, I am the wussiest wuss to ever wuss up the joint, so take everything I'm about to say with a grain of salt – but choosing to become a parent is the hardest thing I have ever done. By far. Everything else pales in comparison.
My feelings on this matter are complex. I made a graph. You know, for the children.
That one percent makes all the difference.
It's difficult to explain children to people who don't yet have children, because becoming a parent is an intensely personal experience. Every child is different. Every parent is different. Every culture has their own way of doing things. The experience is fundamentally different for every new parent in the world, yet children are the one universally shared thing that binds our giant collective chain letter of human beings together, regardless of nationality and language. How do you explain the unexplainable?
Well, having children changes you. Jonathan Coulton likens it to becoming a vampire.
I was having a conversation with a friend who had recently become a parent, and she reminded me of something I had forgotten about since my daughter was born. She was describing this what-have-I-done feeling – I just got everything perfect in my life, and then I went and messed it all up by having a baby. I don’t feel that way anymore, but the thought certainly crossed my mind a few times at the beginning. Eventually you just fall in love and forget about everything else, but it’s not a very comfortable transition. I compare the process to becoming a vampire, your old self dies in a sad and painful way, but then you come out the other side with immortality, super strength and a taste for human blood. At least that’s how it was for me. At any rate, it’s complicated.
Maybe tongue in cheek, but not that far from the truth, honestly. Your children, they ruin everything in the nicest way.
Before Henry was born, I remembered Scott Hanselman writing this odd blurb about being a parent:
You think you love you wife when you marry her. Then you have a baby and you realize you'd throw your
wife yourself under a bus to save your baby. You can't love something more.
Nuts to that, I thought. Hanselman's crazy. Well, obviously he doesn't love his wife as much as I love mine. Sniff. Babies, whatever, sure, they're super cute on calendars, just like puppies and kittens. Then I had a baby. And by God, he was right. I wouldn't just throw myself under a bus for my baby, I'd happily throw my wife under that bus too – without the slightest hesitation. What the hell just happened to me?
As an adult, you may think you've roughly mapped the continent of love and relationships. You've loved your parents, a few of your friends, eventually a significant other. You have some tentative cartography to work with from your explorations. You form ideas about what love is, its borders and boundaries. Then you have a child, look up to the sky, and suddenly understand that those bright dots in the sky are whole other galaxies.
You can't possibly know the enormity of the feelings you will have for your children. It is absolutely fucking terrifying.
When I am holding Henry and I tickle him, I can feel him laughing all the way to his toes. And I realize, my God, I had forgotten, I had completely forgotten how unbelievably, inexplicably wonderful it is that any of us exist at all. Here I am with this tiny, warm body so close to me, breathing so fast he can barely catch up, sharing his newfound joy of simply being alive with me. The sublime joy of this moment, and all the other milestones – the first smile, the first laugh, the first "dada" or "mama", the first kiss, the first time you hold hands. The highs are so incredibly high that you'll get vertigo and wonder if you can ever reach that feeling again. But you peak ever higher and higher, with dizzying regularity. Being a new parent is both terrifying and exhilarating, a constant rollercoaster of extreme highs and lows.
It's also a history lesson. The first four years of your life. Do you remember them? What's your earliest memory? It is fascinating watching your child claw their way up the developmental ladder from baby to toddler to child. All this stuff we take for granted, but your baby will painstakingly work their way through trial and error: eating, moving, walking, talking. Arms and legs, how the hell do they work? Turns out, we human beings are kind of amazing animals. There's no better way to understand just how amazing humans are than the front row seat a child gives you to observe it all unfold from scratch each and every day, from literal square zero. Children give the first four years of your life back to you.
I wasn't sure how to explain meeting new people to Henry, so I decided to just tell him we've met a new "friend" every time. Now, understand that this is not at all the way I view the world. I'm extremely wary of strangers, and of new people in general with their agendas and biases and opinions. I've been burned too many times. But Henry is open to every person he meets by default. Each new person is worth greeting, worth meeting as a new experience, as a fellow human being. Henry taught me, without even trying to, that I've been doing it all wrong. I realized that I'm afraid of other people, and it's only my own fear preventing me from opening up, even a little, to new people that I meet. I really should view every new person I meet as a potential friend. I'm not quite there yet; it's still a work in progress. But with Henry's help, I think I can. I had absolutely no idea my child would end up teaching me as much as I'm teaching him.
Having a child is a lot like running a marathon. An incredible challenge, but a worthwhile and transformative experience. It leaves you feeling like you truly accomplished something for all that effort. After all, you've created something kind of amazing: a person.
Bob: It gets a whole lot more complicated when you have kids.
Charlotte: It's scary.
Bob: The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born.
Charlotte: Nobody ever tells you that.
Bob: Your life, as you know it... is gone. Never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk, and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.
It's scary and it's wonderful in equal measure. So why not have another baby? Or so we thought.
Turns out, we're having two babies. Both are girls, due in mid-February 2012.
I've been told several times that you should never be crazy enough to let the children outnumber you. I hope to ultimately win the War of the Lady Babies, but when it comes to children, I think all anyone can ever realistically hope for is a peaceful surrender.
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Posted by Jeff Atwood
Congrats to you and yours!
As a parent of teenagers (teaching your children to drive is a whole other level of terror), I'd have to say, it only gets better. Participating in the process of evolving your children into people is an amazing experience.
And I have for years pointed at grey hairs on my head and associated them with certain events involving my children: "This patch is when you learned to ride a bike, and these over here is you lost in a mall, and this up here is two weeks of chicken pox..."
Now that mine are all but grown, I have moments where I think "Dang it, I should have made more. These things are COOL."
Plus, smart people need to have more babies. Good on you for getting on that and making some twins!
What a beautiful price of writing. Came for a tech post and ended up more moved than I've been in years. Good luck with the twins.
> It's difficult to explain children to people who don't yet have children
Your venn diagram misses out those of us who have, consciously and deliberately, chosen not to have children.
I have two myself. And there are so many small, simple things that changes on the inside once you're a parent. You never _ever_ have the same non-reaction to sirens. Everytime I hear a siren, I wonder where it's going.
You can distinguish the cry of your child anywhere, even if it's noisy as hell :)
But, it's the best thing ever :)
Congratulations and good luck with the "Double Trouble"!
So... you will have THREE kids??
Write while you can. By february this blog will be dead. :-)
First of all congratulations!
Secondly, this should be marked as NSFW because I was about to burst into tears and what kind of manly man could do that in front of his colleagues?
Congrats Jeff! Sleep as much as you can till then!
Totally agree with everything you say. I've got two, one of each, the oldest is just a little older than yours. Raising the second goes faster, it seems. Our goal is three.
But twins?! Forget it! You're not going to remember a thing for a year. 2012 will be lost to you. Sure you won't mind though.
My son was born about 2 months after your son, and as it turns out, my next kid will arrive next year, too :-)
No twins, though. I hope :-)
Had pretty much the same experience four years ago. We already had two boys and decided to go for another baby. I remember sitting down in the scan and seeing the image focus as the scan head moved in, and thinking "that sure looks like two skulls". Bloody hard going for the first few months - if you thought you suffered sleep deprivation with your first, you're going to be rapidly disillusioned - but things keep getting easier.
Congrats, I had twins about the same time you had rockhardawesome. I'm not going to lie. The first 6 months are going to suck. After that it's all sugarbeans and sodie-pop. Twins are great because other than the poop and food they practically take care of each other. (and they really do make up their own language)
My advise for the first 6 months: 1) velcro swaddle blankets. 2) Lots of robo-swings. and most important 3) Keep them on the SAME SCHEDULE. If one easts then they both eat, when one sleeps, they both sleep. It's boot camp. Don't give in or you will never sleep EVER.
I am a father. 2 times.
And your graph is the best I ever saw about being a parent. Not that I saw many many graphs on the subject before today, but still, it's the best by far and I doubt anybody will produce a best graph in the years to come.
Not sure about the colors tho. :)
Thanks for that lovely piece of writing. And congratulations for the 3-soon-to-be-5 of you.
p.s. Two video cards, two girls. Coincidence?
Big time congratulations. As a geek with a 5 year old all of your observations rang so true. When we decided to have children I originally wanted twins, as I figured we could get through all of the really hard parts upfront with two instead of spacing it out over a couple of years (who really wants to go through the sleepless nights thing.. again...)
Now that I have the one though, that's enough. Hats off to you brave sir!
No it doesn't ... you are just not there. Consciously and deliberately.
Now that you have two threads within this spawned process, you need another rockhardawesome-like twitter account (or two). Time flies, so start the brainstorming now :)
Weird, we called our son Henry, and I've been convinced that the next time we're having twin girls.
I must have a psychic link to Jeff, it's the only reasonable explanation.
Congrats! You great glutton for punishment.
Congratulations, that's wonderful! We've got a six year old son and I can totally relate to your sentiments. There's a line from an old greeting card,
"Children will keep you young...
but first they will make you old."
Here's to being young again!
First of all, congrats on the twins, the second time is easier emotionally than the first time (I am a parent of 4, 3 alive, one died in my arms after a genetic decease)
Twins are not about the emotional energy as much as it will be a matter of organization, of mutual support as a couple. And the emotional needs of your first born will increase, so, with the tone of voice of "Scar" in the Lion King: Be Prepared!
You mention "Having a child is a lot like running a marathon. An incredible challenge, but a worthwhile and transformative experience.". Yes it is, we moved out of a self-center adulthood to find someone that we love more than ourselves. This is a good thing, it makes us better people; if couples love would be this way for both men and women, there will half or less of the divorces that there are today. Unfortunately, in today's world, consider your kids lucky to have parents like you that are emotionally healthy enough to make the transition.
One thing I learned is that it is important to create good memories, happy memories. In the long run, that those help when they become teens, and you become failable. That is when we become Nanny MacPhee (when you need me but you don't want me...).
And give it 3 or 4 years, you and your son will discover that are minority in the house in a very real sense. Girls might be daddy's girl, but they will learn to read you as a person much faster than the boy, You know how your wife can sometimes complete your sentences? My daughter has been doing that since she was 5.
Take it from somebody who has lost; life is precious! Take care of your children and cherish every moment you have with them...
Thanks for putting into words what is so incredibly hard to say. I really enjoyed reading your take on parenthood and thank you for giving me a link I can share with my many friends without children the next time they give me the: "WTF?" look.
Also, congrats on what's to come. Just having more than one is a whole new existence and you will have a bonus as well of TWO more. I remember Bill Cosby stating something like: Those of you with only one child never have the problem of "who did this?" You ALWAYS know. ;-}
Wow. And I thought your triple monitor setup was nice. This is even better. Twin girls with an older brother to look out for them! Congrats.
Congratulations. There is nothing like having children to remind you what is important in life.
A wonderful post on the joys of children. I have twins too, boys. Except, they were my first children. Going from no kids to 2 kids was quite a joy ride. Now, 6 years later, they have a younger brother and baby sister.
Best of wishes to you and your wife!
Twins, and girls . . . WOW.
My Son completed his first year on October 2nd just gone. I've tried to explain parenting to my single friends like this,
"You are aware of the price you're going to have to pay before you pay it, sleepless nights, constant worry, no personal time, etc . . . however the REALITY of the price you pay is staggering!
Constant exhaustion, literally ZERO time for yourself, high blood pressure form constant dread that they are ok, will be ok, still ok . . . still ok even now ..."
I'm a dyed in the wool Athiest, and even I find myself praying - to the spirit and memory of my mother - to watch over and protect my little Son.
I feel not a shred of discomfort from the cognitive dissonance of this juxtaposition of beliefs, that's what kids will do to you :)
Dude, twins, like WOW
BTW: Boys are best, except for girls, girls are best too.
Wow! Great post. Nothing like crying tears of joy for a complete stranger at your desk Monday morning... As the father of a 3 year old & 1 1/2 year old twins, it's with the utmost sincerity I raise my hand and point, speaking in my best Nelson voice and say, "Ha ha!" The only advice I have is read this book. Beyond that, good luck, have fun, and try not to forget what you’re doing ain’t supposed to be easy and it very rarely will be.
I really appreciated how you got the whole parenting experiencing condensed in a single post, from the dad point of view.
I have one 2.5 years old boy and next month another boy will increase our family size once again.
It's nice to remember this amazing experience is shared by many others.
When my wife and I were making the decision to have a baby, I came to the conclusion that all parents are irresponsible. I just could not find a rational explanation for how anyone could consider themselves qualified or prepared to care for another human life, one that's completely dependent on you.
But we decided to have one anyways ^_^
How timely... my first child is going to be born literally any day now. Thanks for the great blog post! Congratulations to you as well.
I already congratulated you in person, but once again, excellent writing and Congratulations Jeff! ;)
Our son Eli has also changed how I look at the world.
Typical dude here, now a parent of three little ones. Formerly stoic, my eyes got misty when I read your post. The rewiring of a new parent is a fascinating thing.
@Matej I don't understand what you are trying to say.
I doubt that the *choice* to become a parent was nearly as hard as actually *being* a parent, because no matter how many friends and colleagues had kids, you almost certainly couldn't have guessed how hard it would actually be when you made the choice.
A few days after my boy was born, I called my folks and said "Sorry, and thanks."
I liken it to seeing the world in color. You can tell all your child-less monochromatic friends how wonderful and rich the blue sky and green grass are, but unable in their black-and-white world to even imagine what you're talking about, they say "uh, sure, sounds nice", shrug, and head off to the dance club.
Programmers and their damn off by one errors. Congrats!
Many congrats, and welcome to the singleton+twins club.
The comments from others about the first six months being hellish and then it getting easier are absolutely right. It really *does* get easier, and more fun.
I find the biggest relief in the madness, and something I remind my friends that are becoming "first time parents"; is that thankfully we grow into it together.
It would be a whole new level of madness if they came out of the womb ready to walk (like a lot of other mammals). I like to view it as easing into parenthood and having a bit of breathing room between milestones.
Congrats! Both for the twins and a great article. Made my eyes water.
3 is tough - you can't play man-to-man anymore - you've got to go to a zone defense.
This is all 100 percent true. But when they are past the age of ten, you will realize they are not worth it.
Congratulations! You just made me LOL on several pieces of your writing.
BTW twins: You have just taken parallel programming to a whole new level, LOL
@Magnayn It's not a Venn diagram; it's a pie chart of what babies/children are. Aside from the fact that you once presumably were one of these, it's not about you.
Jeff, thanks for honest prose, made me laugh and almost shed a tear.
I have a baby daughter a month younger than yours and a 4yo son, and I've generally reached the same conclusions as you. Thanks for writing them down!
And congratulations on the twins, double misery and double fun! Or is it squared (^2)?
@moioci No, read my comment again. It is nothing to do with the pie chart.
From the text: "It's difficult to explain children to people who don't yet have children"
The word 'yet' makes the implication that for those of us who do not have children, it is just a matter of time. I.E: you either have children, or you will have them. This is exclusionary to those of us who neither have, nor plan to have any children.
Congrats! We are having our first, a boy, next February as well. February 21st is the expected date. Reading about your experience unleashes all kinds of thoughts and emotions. I'm looking forward to it.
As side effect you will notice that the free time will decrease in a non-linear way..
Congrats on the twins! I'm a father of 3 boys, and it's just as you describe. As I've said for a few years, If parenting isn't the most challenging thing you've ever endeavored...you're not doing it right. ;)
Congrats Jeff! I find my children terrifying and awesome as well. When you have that first one you realize that there is another set of basic priorities that get inserted at the top of the internal list you've had, and rarely modified, for your entire life. While you are presumably in love with your wife, she is also someone you've had a lengthy relationship with and you're adults and she's not perfect (just like you) and that love is a faceted thing. With a baby, it's pretty straightforward - they're new to this world and you're wholly responsible for not letting them die. That first night home from the hospital was the first.
What you'll find when you have your twins is that the next kids are even more incredible because they're SO DIFFERENT from the first. Watching the differences develop and comparing to the first actually makes you appreciate the first kid's uniqueness even more now that you have a reference. That was actually one of my favorite things to see. Enjoy!
Jeff, first of all, congratulations on the twin girls! My wife is due next week and this is our 5th. Yep, we were out numbered a long time ago. Your 51%/49% graph is right on. Glad it's not just us.
Buckle up for another change. Boys are one thing, but girls... I was just telling my wife last night that our little girl is my weakness. Her cuteness and daintiness makes me melt. I'm looking forward to your future post on how girls are SO different from boys, right from the start. It's great therapy!
Congratulations Jeff. I think having twins will be an amazing experience for you.
You would be prepare for the transformation of your first child. Two little aliens have came to take over his kingdom. I can tell you from my personal experience that the first two month are going to be very hard, but after that everything will go back to normal :)
(I have actually seen that Lost in Translation quote already three times in the past week)
Well written, having a 1 y.o. and a 3 y.o. I've experienced the same thing become a parent. Both the wonders of how the slightest smile from your kid can make you feel all warm an fuzzy, and the PITA and frustrations.
About getting a second child (congratulations), I was told this before we got our second child:
When you have your first child, you say to yourself "Wow, what did I do with all that free time I hade when I didn't have any children?" because your days are now filled with taking care of your baby.
But when you have your second child, you say to yourself "Wow, what did I do with all that free time when I only hade one kid?" because you realize you actually still had a lot of free time with only one kid.
Now, I can't even imagine what have twins will do to your last remaining free time... :)
Excellent article, and even with such a well thought out explanation it still only touches on around 10% of the emotions you go through with children.
No-one ever feels ready for parenthood, but when it happens you realise that only practical preparation is key, and the emotional-side will take care of itself.
Congratulations on the twins, we thought our second may have been twins due to the size of the bump :-)
Congrats Jeff. Get ready for hell in Feb2012, :D Enjoy..
Congrats, Jeff. And thanks... your description made me mentally relive that time period with my kids, who are now 9 and 13 and equally as fascinating to watch as babies, for entirely different reasons.
Excellent news for your family. Not as good news for your readers. We know you're not gonna have as much time to write for us anymore. Especially since you'd totally throw us under the bus for your children.
We're hoping to have some young ones next year and your words only help to inspire me to have them faster. I just can't wait - it sounds horrible/great!
Great post. I have a 10 week old girl and this post, especially the pie chart, is pretty much spot on.
Oh, and congratulations!
The hardest part of going from 2 to 3 is having to switch to zone defense.
Good luck and congrats!
Congrats to you and your wife. As a parent of 14 year old twin girls, I can assure you that your life is going to get very interesting. Never have I ever been so exhausted as I was their first year. Twin teenagers skew that chart as well: 51% PITA. :-)
Wishing you the best for an uneventful pregnancy and birth.
Great post, one of your best I think. Hope everything goes well with the twins.
Brilliant! Congrats, y'all...
We're not outnumbered by the kids yet, it's 2 vs 2, but, wow, your article perfectly encompassed what it is like to be a parent. My daughter is already 7 years old, but my son is just 10 months. I couldn't imagine having more than one baby at the same time!
This is the perfect quote: "Children give the first four years of your life back to you."
Simple, beautiful, and so very true. Thank you for that, and for this article. And congrats and best wishes for you and your (present and future) family!
HUGE congratulations, Jeff!
I had to share this on my feeds because it nails the painful feeling of transitioning into a parent as well as the overwhelming of joy (even in spite of the frustrations) that being a parent gives you once you're there. It's a strange form of insanity we sign up for, isn't it?
You'll have to switch from a man-man/trap defense to zone.
I like Jerry Seinfeld's line about fathers. From Season 2 episode 'The Jacket', "All fathers are intimidating. They’re intimidating because they are fathers. Once a man has children, for the rest of his life, his attitude is, 'To hell with the world, I can make my own people. I’ll eat whatever I want, I’ll wear whatever I want, and I’ll create whoever I want.'" [http://www.seinology.com/scripts/script-08.shtml]
All the best!
CONGRATS on the kids!
I've got three, all boys, 16, 9 and 7.
Loved the article - kids don't come with manuals, have "error messages" that make Microsoft envious as they aren't as obtuse, do not follow any patterns, factories, instantiation methods, nothing - seem to be the only devices that truly can do randomness, have no concept of "standards" and couldn't care less that they aren't. Oddly enough with the same input, they all came out different. They consume tremendous amounts of system resources and the output is, well, for the first few years, everywhere out of every orifice too.... later on they do manage to control that process (mostly anyway), but then, as they get older they consume everything that is edible (and in the fridge or pantry).
I'll never forget the first time we went out to dinner when our first was at grandmas - every time we'd gone out before with him, he's take great pleasure spreading out the sugar packets and "sharing" them with other tables (or the floor, especially the floor) - so much so, sometimes we'd order food, and before it would get there, we'd be packing him up and take the food to go, we didn't want to ruin other people's meals because our boy wouldn't behave) - we sat there and stared at each other with a "what do we do now" as we'd not been out by ourselves in so long. So, I spilled the sugar packets over the table and we talked about our son for the rest of the night. Kids change you forever. Chaotic bliss at times, and, yep, a PITA the other 49%.
I always have to remind myself, these kids will be picking my nursing home, so be nice to them :)
My son was two when we found out we were having triplet girls. It is a fun, yet tiring, ride. We just got past the six month mark and, as people before me said, get ready for some 'fun.'
You didn't specify if they were monozygotic or dizygotic. Care to share? We had both.
I think the incremental drain on your energy follows something like an inverse-square law: one kid leaches 1/1 of your available energy, which is just about OK. The second takes another 1/4, so you're in deficit. That's where we stopped. Third? Only another 11% or so. Not much worse, really. If my guess is close, then the marginal energy cost of, say, a ninth kid is almost zero, which seems reasonable (how much deader can a zombie get, after all).
My younger one (10) fell asleep against my shoulder last night while we watched a movie - I was struck by the (sad) thought that this may never happen again.
Oh, watch out for the plumbing differences in the first year or two, btw.
Mom, dad, son, twin girls. Come Hallowe’en a few years down the line, that could make for a great ‘The Shining’ family costume.
As the father of 14 month old triplet girls, first let me congratulate you.
Second let me console you on the death of your dear friend named Sleep.
Third let me congratulate you again. My girls have changed me in ways I never thought possible. They have broken me, and rebuilt me better than before. Not quite Six Million Dollar man style but close.
So many magical moments await you. I'm excited for you!
Having more kids would make it obvious how different they are from each other.
Congratulations on having the courage to have more than one child!
Congrats Jeff! Having a daughter is yet different from having a son and you'll have twice that experience! Though now you'll have to transition from man to man defense to learn a zone defense as you're outnumbered. :)
Great thoughts. Being a parent is not like something else at all.
60 things we’ve said to one or more of our children:
- What do you mean you’re still hungry
- Don’t touch that, it’s hot
- Go to bed, I’m tired
- Don’t step in that
- Did you step in that
- I told you it was hot
- Leave your brother alone
- Ew, go wipe that off
- Get that out of your mouth
- Stop it
- Okay what happened
- Does that belong on the floor, I don’t think so
- Put that down
- Could you just stop talking and eat your dinner
- Get over here
- Get over there
- How did the macaroni get in your nose
- Don’t wipe that on me
- Where did all this water come from
- Stop it, that’s disgusting
- What is that on your clothes
- How would you like it if I did that to you
- Is that television still on in there
- Okay go get the Band-aids
- Let’s play the quiet game
- What do you have in your mouth
- Is something burning
- Why are my shoes in the bathtub
- No, dogs don’t like trampolines
- Get back in this house right now
- Are you trying to kill yourself or what
- That’s not funny
- Go wash that off
- Wait, you’re going to jump off of what
- Don’t come crying to me, you started it
- Yes I heard you the first time
- Don’t do that at the table
- Pick that up and put it back where it belongs
- What is that on your face
- Did you hear what I just said
- Don’t put things in your nose
- Put that back we’re about to eat dinner
- What did I just tell you
- What. Did. I. Just. Tell. You.
- Don’t throw that in the house
- Where are your pants
- Stop that you’re getting food everywhere
- Get away from the street
- Close the door
- It’s okay you’re not bleeding anywhere
- Alright who did this
- It’s green beans, you like green beans, they’re good
- What did you say to me
- Let go of that, he was playing with it first
- Get back in bed
- What is that smell
- But you ate the green beans before
- No we’re not having cake for dinner
- What is that in your hair
- If I have to come back up those stairs again
Ahhh, if you're going to experience the newborn days again, x2--you know, that stuff you've mercifully forgotten like how much they cry, eat, and don't sleep--you might need a piece of advice my mom gave me when I had the-baby-who-never-slept:
God made babies cute so you wouldn't chuck them out the window.
Of course, you already know it's worth it in the end, but you know how it is when you haven't slept in days...
Nutpicking, ths is a 2% (51-49)% difference.
Congratulations! We have a 10 month old baby girl and I can't tell you how on-point that post is. One of my top 5 favorite things you've ever posted.
Congrats, and good luck!
I'm an identical twin and a father of three....
>:) <----- evil smile
We have twin girls who have just turned 4.
I have heard people say, children are a gift.
Well there were quite a few times during the first six months that I wished I had kept the receipt but since they turned from babies to kids, they are just awesome.
Sincere congratulations to you and your wife.
beautiful man. Congratulations.
I'll never win the War of Lady Babies, as I have FIVE and have given up. It's possible I have no Y-chromosomes to pass on. It's ok though, because they're all beautiful and brilliant and good at getting anything they want from me.
Also, I'm studying Judo for when they start dating.
Nice post Jeff. I'm a twins+singleton Dad. Yes, I started with twins. All boys. My youngest is 5. So, he's given me the first 5 years back.
We have friends with girls. You'll be amazed at how much faster they develop.
WOOO WOOO WOOO WOOOOOOO!!! Congratulations, Jeff! Having more kids is an even greater joy than one! Not only will your toddler get new eyes to poke, new mouths to stick toys into and new cheeks to kiss, but you will have some of the most trying and delightful times yourself. When our second girl was born, life drastically changed. We thought one was work... two (let alone three) will blow your mind, man. Our girls, though trying at times, are the delight of my life and my constant joy. Congrats and best of luck! ... you'll need it! :D
Congratulations, Jeff, and thanks for a great post! Although I will say that my pie chart is 96% Most Sublime Joy You've Ever Felt, vs. 4% (if even that) for the other (PITA), but I know that every parent's experience is different. My child just hasn't been a PITA very much during her lifetime (yet). It seems like that when I was expecting, all people could tell me was how "horrible" she was going to act, and how much of a pain and hassle it was going to be with her most of the time. they would tell me all of these horror stories about kids and how terrible they were, and how hard they were to handle, and after she was born, I just simply didn't experience that. She has been very easy-going, and a very easy baby to take care of. And with every stage, I have parents telling me, "you just wait until the next stage. She's going to be awful. You're going to have your hands full, and she's going to be very difficult to deal with."...but I keep waiting for that stage, and it just hasn't come yet. I know teenage daughters are really difficult to handle, and it may be that when we come to that stage, I am sure I will be having a difficult time, but for now, I'm just enjoying her as is right now. I haven't really lost any sleep due to her, either. She sleeps through the night, and pretty much always has.
And it may be a difference also, between boys and girls, because I have friends who had boys, and they have had a lot of hassles with their boys, as babies growing up. Also, I have friends as well who have had both boys and girls, and they have said that it was such a completely different experience, that their girls were much easier as babies than their boys were. That being said, I have also had friends who had boys who had about as easy a time with their boys as I had with my girl, so I think it is very individualized towards each child, specifically, but I will say that in my personal experience, in my life, the percentage of girls who were easy as babies is greater than the percentage of boys who were easy as babies.
But I would definitely say that "You form ideas about what love is, its borders and boundaries. Then you have a child, look up to the sky, and suddenly understand that those bright dots in the sky are whole other galaxies." is right on and I love that! I love that description of the love a parent has for his or her child(ren). I described my personal experience the day my child was born to this: Do you remember in "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas", when he was at the top of that mountain, holding up the sleigh full of gifts, and he hears them singing, and there is a line that goes like this: "the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day". Well, when my daughter was born, I physically felt like my heart grew ten times its regular size that day! I was completely overwhelmed by love for my child, in a good way. I had no idea I had that capacity to love.
In spite of the huge amount of love I have for my child, and the positive experience I've had with it, I have decided not to have any more children unless something happens and my life changes drastically in the future. If I end up with as guy who is bent on having children and knowing that joy, I wouldn't want to deprive him of that and would be willing to give that to him, but only if I was close to 99% sure he and I could have children in a good environment for them, where they wouldn't be in a really bad position, economically or otherwise, and also only if I was 99% sure he would make a good father. Otherwise, I plan to not have any other children, because I had my child, and she is AWESOME!!! And it is because she is so good that I don't want to have any more. I have known parents who had more than one child who have said, "If I had known what it was like with my later children, I wouldn't have had any more (or at all)". I don't want to end up feeling like that. Another thing is that I love her so much, that I don't want her to have to share my attention or love or anything else with anybody else. I don't want to take anything at all away from her. I just feel like I did it right the first time, and I don't want to take a chance of having an experience that is not so great the second time around.
As the father of two I remember those tumultuous and joyous years. Now, both of our children (ages 22 and 19) are in college and we're discovering something called "empty nest".
Enjoy the experience!
Great post. Congratulations on the upcoming twins!
Ha, I'm in the exact same boat. My daughter celebrated her 1st birthday this past Saturday the day after the doctor informed us my wife is pregnant with twins due in late April.
lol that list had me in hysterics, did you just reel them off?
Very funny :-)
I can't believe no-one has pointed you towards http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outnumbered yet, one of the funniest and truest tv series in recent years. And yes, I'm outnumbered at home, and all 3 kids are girls as well. My last male ally, the cat, passed away last week so I'm all on my own...
I'm out numbered as well...due to the triplets we had to bring in help...Mother in law...then sister in law lost her job...brought her in, more help. Two cats...both female. That makes 8...lately I've been stricken with the urge to go to tractor pulls, perusing tool catalogs and eating a lot of beef jerky. I think nature is trying to balance things out.
Congratulations on the impending adventure, and on writing a post that distracted every one from being pedantic about the 3rd paragraph.
Congratulations Jeff and Mrs Jeff,
At 30, my daughter is still teaching me new stuff like just how precious life really is.
At age about six, she helped me to realise that computers were more about communicating than counting beans, pointing me in the right direction to appreciate what the web was all about.
They are a never-ending source of joy who mitigate the pain inherent in real life and brings into focus the richness of creation, the cosmos and the complex tapestry of human society. Enjoy!
Congrats on the twins! You think kids are fun? Wait till you have grandkids - you can spoil them and then send them home!
Hey, me too: Out daughter was born in April of 2009, we are now expecting twins in May of 2012. Thanks for the spot-on (Oso?) blog post. It's nice to hear that there are other parents out there just like us.
Beautiful. Thank you for writing about children in such a wonderful way. Too many people see them as something that gets in the way. Parenthood is exactly your graph and you nailed that 1%.
You have that first kid, and you go through the spectrum of terror through euphoria, and all that you just described. You realize that what you thought you saw before as love was just the shadow cast from the real thing. You make it through those first few months of sleep deprivation with your sanity more or less intact, and suddenly you have a crawler, a walker, a little person forming in front of you. You're getting the hang of this.
So you decide to have another! Immediately you're terrified again. There isn't *possibly* enough love in you to share with another kid. You won't love this other child nearly as much as your first. Or, you think that what you have with your first will be somehow diluted by having another. You fret, you worry. You question your decision making. You're not ready for this.
And then have have that second (or second and third, as the case may be :-) ), and you realize something. Love among a family doesn't *get* watered down. Strangely, it seems to reflect back among its members, getting stronger instead of weaker. You still have that ache in your chest that you've become familiar with when snuggling down for bedtime stories, true, but now you get it when the little one grins at her big brother, or you hear them playing and laughing together. It's a whole new world yet again -- completely not what you expected, but still somehow better.
A small piece of advice from someone who is made the transition from 1 child to multiple children. First is understand that it is another big transition. Second, try to take Henry's view of things. In a few months he will go from being the center of the Universe to having to share that Universe with 2 others. If you give it some thought I am sure you can make it so that this will not be a loss for him.
Sophia Coppola absolutely nailed what it's like to be a parent when she wrote that scene in Lost in Translation. A lot of people focus on the line you bolded but there's an equal amount, if not more, insight in Bob's first statement as well.