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A Letter from a Father of Twins

by Chad Kutting December 28, 2015

A Letter from a Father of Twins

 

Before we dive in, because I know it’s the first thing I always want to know, here’s where I’m coming from:

 

# of Children: 3 (3 y/o and  6 mo. Twins)

Married: Yes (5 years)

Sleep Deprivation: 189 nights of less than 3 hours of consecutive sleep

 

Parental Discretion is Advised

When my wife and I first discussed children, I hit her hard with some Midwestern, Irish, Catholic, family planning. “I want at least five”, I said without hesitation. The look on her face was of panic and a bit of you’re joking? Right? I wasn’t. I love kids. Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is pure magic. Despite my excitement and, in my humble opinion, strong arguments for how many children, she held to her preferred two offspring. There wasn’t much more to the conversation until we started seriously planning for our future family. Our first daughter was born in 2012 and we knew we’d at least try for one more. By this time I had lowered my number down to four children. Don’t judge. If you’re a parent of more than 2 kids you should be up for sainthood. This isn’t for the faint of heart.

During my wife’s second pregnancy we actively debated the number of children we wanted. She was stuck on her preference of two, and I was able to negotiate that number to … 2 (husbands you can relate). But now I was in a bind, I’m the last male Kutting in my lineage. If we weren’t going to have a boy, I would want to try again, and most likely again. It turns out, the universe has a sense of humor and I was hit with these life-changing words: “We’re having Twins!” Negotiation over. Three kids under three years old. More kids? No thanks. But you said you love kids. I do, but I love my sanity too.

As soon as I found out we were having twins I felt excited and then terrified. Twice as many diapers? Half as much sleep? Am I going to survive? I thought I’d put together a list of top things I’ve learned as a father of twins (and a 3 year old).

 

  1.     Parental Memory Loss (PML) happens rapidly and without warning

Karma got me here. I made fun of my wife for “Preggo Brain” when she couldn’t remember her phone number while she was pregnant. As a full time employee and sleep-deprived father of three, my brain goes on vacation while my body changes diapers. It’s gotten so bad at times that our three year old has reminded us what we went in the other room to get or the word that we couldn’t think of. As of this publication, I cannot in good faith tell you when or if it will return to normal.

 

  1.     No Sleep is the New Normal; Get used to it

PML strikes again. It’s amazing how quickly you forget about the sleep deprivation you went through with the first child. But with one child, each parent can alternate and get a “normal” night’s sleep. With two babies, forget about it. You’re going to be up all the time until that glorious day your pediatrician says they’re clear for sleep training. Unfortunately for us, our twins caught a cold and then when they were healthy we went on vacation.

 

  1.     You will be frustrated with someone 75% of your day

Sleep deprivation turns you into the worst version of yourself. You’re already mad at your children for no actual reason other than they’re only months old and haven’t figured out how wonderful sleep is. You take it out on inanimate objects like the door handle to your car that wasn’t already unlocked. You’re snippy at your wife for not reading your mind. And people at work start every interaction with, “Still not getting much sleep eh?”

 

  1.     You will not have any “Me Time”

It was relatively easy to take a Saturday or Sunday to go golfing or grab drinks with friends when we had one child. With 3 under 3, just forget about it. We’ve tried to give each other a few hours every other weekend and every single time it results in one of us sending a text message saying “When are you coming home?” with an attached video of three children going nuclear at the same time.

 

  1.     You will have even less “We Time”

I figured there would be a time when the kids would all be on the same sleep schedule. Then I learned that having them all on the same schedule results in under an hour of “kid free” time and multiple hours of everybody needing to be fed, changed, rocked, or played with AT THE SAME TIME. I now much prefer a staggered day where only one child is screaming at a given time.

 

  1.     You will become an expert when presented with “Should we go to the ER?”

Alternate title: Do not, under any circumstances, use WebMD to self diagnose. Fever too hot? Skin too pale? Hasn’t urinated frequently enough? Child in deep sleep that looks like she has a concussion? Does this need stitches? In just three short years we’ve been presented with a lifetime of ER decisions. We’ve only been there a handful of times and each time the children have recovered. Pay attention to what your pediatrician has to say and always go with your instinct.

 

  1.     Traveling is ridiculously complicated

You know all of that stuff you bought to make your life easier and take care of your children? Pack all of it in a suitcase, keep it under 50 pounds, and don’t forget to keep anything essential in your carry-on. For your 3 year old, anticipate her every need and pack it into her carry-on (that you will carry on because she “doesn’t want to right now.”) Flying with your family of five for the holidays? Keep in mind the FAA and certain airlines do not allow more than one lap infant per row on the aircraft (3 x 3 planes) and you’re prohibited from having a lap infant in the emergency rows AND the rows immediately in front of and behind the emergency rows. We recently learned that Alaska Airlines will allow you to book your seats with a lap infant, confirm your seat selection when you call to make sure everything is correct over the phone, and when you check-in the night before. However, they will separate your entire family moments before you’re set to board. Never a dull moment.

 

  1.     Everybody has a twin story

“I’m a twin.” “My mom is a twin.” “My mom’s cousin is a twin.” “My roommate is a twin.” “My friend’s dad’s mom’s cousin’s uncle’s college professor was a twin. “I root for the Minnesota Twins.” No matter where you go, what you’re doing, someone will volunteer his or her twin story unsolicited. Smile, say, “That’s great” (because there is no other way to respond!), and move on.

 

  1.     Most people don’t know what “identical” means

This is my favorite. “Aww you have a boy and a girl twins. Are they identical?” Yes, this one’s penis looks a little like a vagina but otherwise, identical.

 

  1.  You look like hell

I really wanted to say “shit” instead of “hell” but I didn’t want to scare you if you were just skimming the headlines. Look, you’re sleep deprived, have changed hundreds of diapers, washed poop, vomit or pee off of your hands more times that you care to admit, and likely haven’t found time to shower as often as you’d like. I look in the mirror and try to convince myself that the bags under my eyes aren’t really there and that I’ll get back in the gym when they start sleeping through the night. These are our battle scars. Wear them with pride.

 

But they are adorable and I would do anything and everything to make them happy. I love when they smile at me when I sing to them. Hmm. Maybe we should have one more?

{editors note: Nope!!}

 

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Chad Kutting
Chad Kutting

Author



5 Responses

Todd
Todd

December 29, 2015

Mine are 16 now. Gets easier every year. And each year is a blessing. Be proud that you’re in the top 2%.

Marian Lazar
Marian Lazar

December 28, 2015

Yep, another twin story! Had my twins when my firstborn was 2. It’s great that you are such a hands on father. I know you’ve heard it a million times but seriously enjoy these early years. They are truly the best and the CHEAPEST. Just wait till they’re all driving, going to college, etc etc.

Cynthia
Cynthia

December 28, 2015

Absolutely love your story! Your children ARE BEAUTIFUL. Picture of wife? Your 3 yr. old, w/blonde hair, maybe looks like mama?

Briana
Briana

December 28, 2015

“Hey- I’m a twin!” :) Great read! I’ll be keeping your purse organizer in mind for when I have kids. (Hopefully the first time around isn’t twins!).

Jen
Jen

December 28, 2015

I can completely relate! I wanted two kids and my husband wanted three. When my daughter was only 4 months old we found out that we were having twins. The twins were born when my daughter was only 10.5 months, so we had three under the age of one! All the kids are actually the same age for 40 days!

That being said I can completely relate to all your comments! So true! I will tell you now having two seven year olds and an eight year old, it’s still crazy, but it has gotten better and we as parents have just become more efficient…as for the sleep thing, well that’s another story!

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