Tag Archives: Twins blog

The beautiful ballet of social distancing

I’ve been keeping a journal of my family’s adventures during the coronavirus pandemic. And by adventures, I mean I write about how we’re all coping with this new (and hopefully, temporary) reality while we stay at home. Here’s what happened on Day 44 of our self-quarantine.

Whenever the family and I take Ruby the dog for a walk in the evenings, the beautiful ballet that takes place on the sidewalks and streets of our neighborhood begins anew.

With everybody aware of the six feet of social distancing, people who are taking a stroll go out of their way to make way for those who are passing them. If we’re on the sidewalk and see somebody coming the opposite direction, we move into the bike lane. Somebody running the same way who’s already in the bike lane might move a few feet onto the street. Somebody might cross the street entirely up ahead to make room. You might make a half-circle into the road if somebody has stopped to chat with a neighbor.  Everybody moves separately but moves as one to keep themselves as safe as possible.

People with small kids and babies and those with dogs seem to get the right of way. As in, they can stay where they are while others make room by moving to a different area. Just about everybody is accommodating and waves hello, and every night, it’s a graceful dance to stay safe and sane.

On Sunday morning, I took the kids hiking on a local trail, and quite a few other people had the same idea. It wasn’t a beautiful ballet on those hilly trails. To keep at least six feet away from other hikers, we oftentimes had to step off the trail, where vines rubbed against our shoulders and branches scratched our legs. We were less than graceful as we tried to keep our balance on the uneven terrain while stepping on tree roots and avoiding spiderwebs as strangers walked on by.

Everybody, though, was generally happy. We saw a few dogs—one golden retriever named Charlie, who was leading a group of six people down a trail, came up to us and wanted to be petted—and a few babies. And more than a few smiles from those who were just happy to get out of the house and into the sunny 70-degree weather.

For the kids, it was the first time they had been out of the house, aside from those evening walks, since school ended in mid-March. The air was fresh. The scenery was pretty. It was just a nice day to be outside.

But it wasn’t perfect. As Charlie the dog broke off from his group and sauntered over to ours, looking for some affection  I felt a twinge of sadness that we couldn’t kneel down and give him some love. I’m sure he’s a good boy, but we couldn’t pet him to let him know.

“He’s a friendly dog,” one of the group members said to us as they passed us from about eight feet away. “I’m sure he is,” I said. “And normally we’d be all over him. But now …”

They understood, and they walked off. We hopped back on the path and began walking up the hill. The dance of social distancing was done for the moment, and we moved on until we’d have to do it again.

A longing for the past

I wrote this about a year ago. Just now catching up to post it.

A few days ago, we were in New York, and while meeting up with some co-workers at a bar in Brooklyn, I ran across a flagpole in front of the Barclays Center at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Ave.


The plaque on the flagpole reads as follows: “This flagpole stood in Ebbets Field until Brooklyn’s famed ballpark was torn down in 1960.” Ebbets Field was where the Brooklyn Dodgers played their Major League Baseball games before they moved to Los Angeles and became the Los Angeles Dodgers. They were also my Grandpa Dave’s favorite team.

I read the sign, and I suddenly felt a very real connection to my grandfather who’s been gone for nearly 20 years. He often wore a gray Brooklyn Dodgers T-shirt when my family visited him and Grandma Essie in Fort Lauderdale when I was growing up, and my mom told me that she had looked for that piece of clothing after he died. She never found it.

As I looked at the flagpole on that cold day, I was about two miles northwest of the actual site of the stadium where I’m sure my grandfather used to cheer for the Dodgers on warm summer afternoons as a young man.

In the past few days, I’ve been thinking about the past more than normal. I’ve always thought that if I had a time machine, I’d immediately go to New York City in the 1940s to see the men in their baggy suits and their wool hats, to ride the subway amid all the cigarette smoke, to catch an afternoon ballgame at Ebbets Field or the Polo Grounds, and to spend a day without worrying about what’s on the internet. Maybe, I’d even run into my grandparents in Brooklyn—to see what they were like before they had kids of their own (they apparently loved going out on the town—even after their children were born).

But my longing for a past I’ll never experience isn’t unique. Just now, I stopped a DVR recording of my favorite Twilight Zone episode. It’s called “A Stop at Willoughby,” and it’s about an ad executive from the late 1950s who is stressed by his job and his unsympathetic wife. One day, he falls asleep and dreams that the commuter train he’s riding has suddenly stopped in a town called Willoughby. He looks out the window and gazes at a scene where a mustached man is riding a penny-farthing and two barefoot boys are on their way to a fishing hole. A man sits waiting on a horse carriage, and musicians run through a parlor song on a bandstand in the middle of the town square. The conductor of the train tells him it’s 1888.

The episode continues with the ad exec daydreaming about Willoughby and trying to make his way back there. The episode ends in tragedy, but I’ve always appreciated that appreciation of history, and hopefully, my kids will one day share that same sense of wonder of what it must have been like in the days gone by. That’s why I’ve interviewed my parents about our family history. That’s why I’ll do the same for my in-laws. That’s why I interview the kids the night before the first day of school every year.

Maybe someday, the kids of my kids will stand at the former site of Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta and wonder what it must have been like when their grandfather cheered on the Braves in the 1980s, where the men wore mesh trucker hats, short jean shorts, and long, striped socks, where the place smelled like stale beer and cheap cigarette smoke. And for them, I have one clear answer:

It sucked. The Braves back then were fucking terrible.


Why Disney World is magic for parents, too

It’s been 10 months since our trip to Disney, and that means it’s finally the perfect time to post my memories from the vacation.

June 5, 2017 10:11 p.m. ET: LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – As we finish our first day at Disney World – a day that began at 6 a.m. with a wake-up call so we could be at Animal Kingdom by 7:30 and one that ended just a few minutes ago as the kids fell into an exhausted slumber – I have one big reflection.

With the kids finishing first grade, I have begun to think, as I so often do, about the regret that they’re getting older and getting one day closer to outgrowing the little kids they are. B and J claim they’re big kids, but they’re not. Not really.

They still wake us up in the middle of the night when they have a bad dream, and they still need us to carry them up to their rooms and brush their teeth when they fall asleep in the car. But someday, their 3 a.m. visits will cease. Some day, they’ll just walk upstairs themselves and go to bed without so much as a good night.

About a week ago I read a story from a mom blogger about how she’s haunted by the thought that one day she’ll put her kid down, and never pick them back up again. I don’t think we’re anywhere near that moment with B and J – they still, after all, love to be carried around – but in the next couple of years, surely that moment will pass without me realizing it until it’s too late.

But on this day, with the kids blasting out a 14-hour day at Animal Kingdom like big kids, I got to feel that moment when a 7-year-old can still be just a little boy.

We were on Expedition Everest, one of the scariest rollercoasters in the place (and one that made me totally nauseous – going backward really fast on a thrill ride is no longer for me). The first part of the ride is relatively tame with not much of a major drop and not much speed, and I convinced J to put his hands in the air as he screamed in delight.

But a minute later, he was frightened, and he reached out with his hands, grasped my arm and pulled it toward him. He was holding on to me like his life depended on it. And it was so cute and so suddenly sweet that, for a second, I forgot that I was getting majorly motion sick.

A few hours later, he did the same thing again on the Dinosaur ride. It’s not that scary, but a couple dinosaurs do jump out at you and make loud roars. J insisted on riding in the seat on the end, even though Mom told him he could sit next to his sister in the middle of the car between her and me. But again, he was frightened, and he said that if he ever went back on the ride, he would want me to sit on the outside.

It was so refreshing. And probably just as comforting to me as it was to him. We’re in a place where a kid can truly be a kid, where the kid shouldn’t want anything more, where a kid should feel all right reaching out for his father’s hand when he’s scared and needs it most. Big kids need that too.

June 7, 3:59 p.m.: While eating a cinnamon roll that was about the size of his head, J had an important declaration to make today. “I think the best vacation in the world is a Disney World vacation.” Really, I asked? But why?

“It has parks and fun rides,” he said.

Disney World is great and all, but it was probably the sugar high talking.


June 8, 9:12 p.m.: After we went on Spaceship Earth for the second time today (and as the last attraction before we left Epcot for good), B couldn’t stop talking about the postcard from the future we had made. It featured Daddy and B in the future, living together as we ate breakfast at a pop-up table in the kitchen, got dressed by some kind of algorithm that picked out our outfits and took a hover train to our respective jobs that stopped in front of our house and connected us directly onto the back of a centipede-like train.

Anyway, it was a cute video that we helped select on a kind of choose-your-own adventure screen at the end of the ride. But damn if it didn’t tickle B. The video was about 30 seconds. She literally told and retold the story for about 30 minutes.

June 9, 2:10 p.m.: We had our second character meal of the trip today.

The first occurred at Epcot yesterday when we traveled to Norway to eat brunch with five princesses (Belle, Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella and Arielle). Most importantly, the restaurant served us about 20 pieces of bacon (I ate all of them, and so far, it’s my greatest accomplishment of the year).

The second occurred today at the Contemporary hotel where we had a character brunch with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald. I wondered if these were the last times we’d attend a character meal. Assuming we return to Disney in a couple years, will the kids be too old at, say, 9 or 10 years old to appreciate meeting and taking pictures with big costumed characters?

There’s no telling, but here’s what I know. On this day, B and J believed. B wore her Minnie dress, and she was so pleased that Minnie seemed so excited that B was basically her twin. And when B hugged Minnie and when J wrapped both arms around Pluto, the love was real. B and J hugged with an intensity I didn’t expect, and it was so cool to see, especially if this is the last time we do this.

Goofy and Pluto both twirled B around like she was Minnie Mouse herself. Pluto waited patiently (and pantomimed that he was, in fact, impatient) while J swallowed his Mickey waffle before the photo. And both kids gave all their love and affection to Mickey.

If this was the last time, that’s OK. It was also the best time.

June 9, 9:55 p.m.: As a parent, there are some moments you wish you could bottle forever. Most of those moments, you end up forgetting.

I had one of those moments with J on our final day at Disney.

It had been a tough evening. Seemed like everybody was annoyed with each other. B was cranky. J’s feet hurt. The ice cream had run on people’s fingers and sloshed on people’s clothes. It was time for the trip to be over.

But with one last thing to do, J reminded me why we had taken the trip in the first place. As we began watching the night’s final show – an outlandish video montage broadcast unbelievably on Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom – J wanted me to pick him up because he didn’t have such a good view while sitting in his stroller.

I didn’t really want to have to hold this 50-pound boy for the 15 minutes it would take for the show to finish, but I sucked it up and said OK. Then, as Mrs. Potts and Chip began to tell the story that would glitter across the castle, J leaned his face into mine and rested his cheek on my cheek.

And I was transported back to our bedroom in Cincinnati at 3 a.m. in the first few months of the kids’ lives when we’d have to feed them every three hours and I’d hold them against my face for just a few extra seconds to make the world stop. So I could bottle that moment and let it breathe for only a couple moments.

Tonight, J was initiating the contact. He was putting his face on my face and watching the wonders of Disney, watching the true magic of the world. You wish you could bottle those moments, but you can’t. I write about them, and some day, the kids will read about them. J probably won’t remember this moment. But I hope I will. Because it was the moment that makes everything worth it.

The power of our parenting

When I was a young boy and my parents were punishing me, I used to daydream about the future. About when I parented my own children and the punishment I would rain down on them when they disobeyed. I don’t think it was sadism. It was just an adolescent fantasy about the absolute power a parent possesses over their young children.

I remember those far-off thoughts sometimes when I actually have to discipline my 4-year-old twins. Sometimes, I yell, because, sometimes a parent has to yell. My daughter usually goes about her business, which leaves me unsatisfied. Maybe it is a sadism thing, because when I yell, I want her to react. I want her to know that, GODDAMMIT, I mean it. Usually, she doesn’t, but when the tears start flowing, I feel satisfied. For the briefest of seconds.

Then, I feel like an asshole.

But my son actually gives me what I want when I raise my voice. He gets sad. And the power play is complete. I win because I can yell and I can punish and I can make them do pretty much whatever I want. It’s the power I yearned for when I was a young boy sent to my room for leaving my father’s baseball glove out in the rain or for lying to my mother or for not informing them about the teenage girl my buddy once brought over to our house when nobody else was around.

I wanted that absolute power, and now, I have it.

And so, my boy was hopping on his bouncy bull recently a few minutes before bedtime. We told him to avoid the laundry we had folded on the floor, and he barely did so. He was too busy hopping — or as he calls it, “exercising” — to pay much attention. But it’s OK because he’s a kid and he was acting like a kid, and sometimes, you have to let a kid bounce on his favorite toy, even if it’s time to start winding down for bedtime.

But then, he hurt his foot. And he hurt his foot because he was using his bouncy toy as a step ladder, and he fell. We’ve told him not to use that bull as a step stool, and yet, here he was disobeying and he had to be punished.

So, I grabbed his bouncy bull, tossed it down the hall and told him I was locking it up (I immediately thought back to the day when I was about 4, and my parents “locked” all my toys in the closet. Don’t tell me history doesn’t repeat itself.).

And he just looked … so goddamn sad. So goddamn broken-hearted that I wanted to vomit.

“Where are you going to lock up my bouncy bull?” he asked with regret in his voice and his tear ducts glistening. “You don’t need to know that,” I said. “But Daddy, when can I have it back?” Said I, “On Friday.”

It was Tuesday, and with my absolute power, I had taken away one of the biggest sources of happiness in his life. He went to sleep a sad boy. And I went to sleep feeling like I should unlock the bouncy bull right that very instant and return it to his side as he slept.

Sometimes, absolute power absolutely sucks.


I got a text message from my father a few days later. “I wanted to let you know last week I officially retired. Yep, no more work for me, now it’s play time. Love, Dad.”

It was a jolt to my system. I’d never known my father not to work. And when I talked to him on the phone later, he said, “Josh, I’ve been working this job for almost 40 years. It’s time.”

He sounded happy. But it made me sad.

And it made me sad, because it’s not only an enormous step in his life as he transitions into the job of getting older. It’s also a step forward in my life. Now, one of my parents is retired, and something around me has been unalterably shifted.

For me, retirement is so far in the future that it’s not even worth thinking about. What do I have? Another 30 years of working? That’s a house mortgage away.

And one day, long ago, my father probably felt the same way. Retirement is too damn far away to even think about. But now, it’s here for him. And then, in our conversation, he talked about when he should take Social Security, what he was going to do with the rest of his life, whether he should think about taking up golf.

He seems pleased. It’s me who’s a little jolted.

He has absolute power as well, but not over the employees who looked to him as a boss or over his adult children. He has power over his own destiny. He doesn’t have to worry that one day he’ll get laid off or that he’ll be demoted or that somebody younger, hungrier and better will hunt him for his job. He can sleep until 10 a.m. now. He can go out photographing whatever he wants for whomever will pay him. He can buy a ticket and travel to the Caribbean next week.

That kind of power, I imagine, is awfully comforting.


A few hours after I hung up with my father, I held my baby niece. She’s obviously bigger than the last time I cuddled with her five months ago, and somehow, she’s even cuter.

I held her and kissed her forehead and lifted her high into the sky. She rewarded me with a big smile as my daughter tried to distract me by informing me that she was eating a grilled cheese sandwich.

As we walked from the restaurant to the hotel where my sister-in-law and her mother were staying, I trotted in front of the stroller and noticed just how much my baby niece’s cherubic face looked like my brother’s handsome mug.

Sometimes, my wife asks me, “Can you believe we’re parents?” and sometimes, it’s difficult to imagine that two people in this world count on us for just about everything, that they think of me the same way I think of my folks. But after four years, I often say, “Yeah, I believe I’m a parent.”

But my brother as a parent? To this cute little girl who wants so badly to crawl and squeeze my nose and tug on my goatee? That’s almost unbelievable.

If there’s one thing I know, it’s this: this little baby can make my world sparkle for a moment by grinning her toothless smile and touching my face. There’s real power in that, too.


After dropping off the baby at the hotel, I drove a mile north to catch a concert by a band called MewithoutYou. I was probably one of the older patrons there, and even though they were playing one of their albums, front to back and all the way through, from a decade ago, I’ve never heard an audience chant the lyrics back to the singer so loudly.

These kids were in high school (or younger) when this album came into existence in 2004. I had just moved to Cincinnati and was a working man and was three years away from discovering the band even existed.

But as it does, life moves along, and so did the songs on that album as the band shredded on the warm, breezy night.

As my feet began to ache and the tall dude in front of me mirrored any movement I made to see the stage, I began to think about my son and his bouncy bull and my dad and his retirement and my niece and her face.

The band roared into a number called, “My Exit, Unfair,” the ninth song on the album, “Catch For Us the Foxes.”
Mewithoutyou writes many of its tunes about god and what he or she means and what it means to have the faith to believe in such a god. This one is no exception, since it’s partially about a famous story in the bible. And this line — sung with a scream 25 feet away from where my feet hurt and chanted by the sweaty youth who bounced like bulls — caught me in the gut.

“Jonah, where’s that boat going —
Your ship set with eager sails?
There’s a swirling storm soon blowing,
And no use, fishermen, in rowing from the consecrated whale!”

Jonah, where’s that boat going?

We, of course, don’t know. Even if we believe in what the guys in Mewithoutyou believe or you believe in lording your absolute power over your kids or you believe that now’s the time to finish your work for good, nobody can know the answer to that question.

All we know is that we move forward into the great unknown. And we do the best we can. Whether we’re retired, disciplining our kids, or trying to grab the nose in front of our eyes.

Because, really, what’s the alternative? Life moves on. We’re handcuffed to the handrail and we have to move on, too.

Goddamn, we have no power at all.

Snow day, the Olympics and a glass of cranberry juice

Feb. 7, 2014 (2:14 a.m.): Yesterday, my kids, for some reason, wanted a glass of cranberry juice. I’m not sure they’ve ever had cranberry juice before, but they saw their mother drinking it and I guess they wanted to give it a shot. It’s not great cranberry juice. At least not the kind a kid would like. It’s low calorie and low sugar, and every time I fill a small juice glass thinking that I’d enjoy its tanginess, I’m reminded that I don’t care for this particular brand.

Today, school is out. Not because there are eight inches of snow and because black ice dastardly disguises itself against the asphalt, waiting for the next set of rubber tires to appear. No, it’s just cold in Austin with maybe a few slick roads here and there. But the kids should be in school and I should be hacking away at my long list of chores. But they’re not, so I’m not. It’s a day to curl up on the couch and not worry so much about the outside world.

Later today, the Sochi Olympics opening Cceremony will be shown via tape delay on NBC. Proud flag-bearers will lead proud contingents of athletes from countries around the globe. Some believe Sochi will be a disastrous Olympic games, with fears of security, black widows, bathrooms that don’t work, and showers that don’t contain the water that might be too dangerous to use on your face anyway. Others believe the Olympic spirit will triumph, the same as it always does.

Four years ago, my wife poured herself a glass of cranberry juice and walked her 27-week pregnant belly over to the couch. It was cold outside; we were snowed inside our Cincinnati townhouse. We had nothing to do but to turn on the TV, fire up the DVR, curl up together on the couch. And watch the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympic games.

Soon after we settled in, she went into labor. The comfort of the house would soon be replaced by freezing temperatures and a cold hospital. The images of those smiling, happy athletes would disappear from my screen, never to be played again on that TV. The cranberry juice would sit by itself on a coaster in the living room for the next 24 hours.

I was on my way to bed late last night when those three points of the triangle presented themselves to me — the cranberry juice, the icy roads and the Winter Olympics.

Life doesn’t get much more helpless than that moment four years ago. When labor begins and you have to slalom yourself on icy roads, praying to god that nobody is on the blind side of that intersection because red light or nto, you’re speeding through it like a bobsledding gold medal depends on it.

The babies came 2 1/2 months early that week, and life forever changed.

There must have been some point four years ago when, as a father, flushed with worry about the health and well-being of my premature twins, I allowed myself to drift into the future. “I wonder where we’ll be the next time the Winter Olympics begin,” I vaguely remember asking myself. “Will we be safe and happy? Will the scary moments of February 2010 be a distant dream that somehow ceases to seem real? What will life be like?”

Maybe one day I’ll talk to my children about my emotions. Or maybe they’ll just read the writings I’ve produced for them every so often in the past 48 months that described my fears and hopes for them and the dreams and anxieties I felt for myself.

Like my wife so many moments ago, my daughter didn’t finish her cranberry juice last night either. She spilled most of it on the floor, and like parents do, we muttered to ourselves and procured a paper towel to clean it up before the stain could set. My son asked for more, and I poured him another round.

Eventually, the preschool announced that classes had been canceled and I grumbled to myself because I, originally, had set aside today as time for running errands and paying taxes and filing papers and changing light bulbs.
But I know how very lucky we are, and I know that the past four years, we’ve built memories I couldn’t have dreamed about before I knew what it was to be a father.

My son didn’t finish his second serving of cranberry juice either. As my wife got the children ready for bed last night, I finished cleaning the kitchen from dinner. I put all the plates in the dishwasher, wiped off the counters, vacuumed up all the crumbs. Before I went upstairs, though, I spied his unfinished cranberry juice.
I doubled back to collect the plastic cup, and without thinking about it, I took the juice and poured it down the drain.

The next step

The letter below fills me with pride. And makes me a little sad. And makes me excited for the kids. And me. And my free time. But also a little lonely.

Yes, I have mixed emotions about the twins finally heading off to preschool.

Dear Children and Parents,

First of all….WELCOME! I can’t tell you how excited Ms. M and I are about our 2012-2013 class!!

We have been working very hard all week getting your child’s room ready and planning for an (sic) great year of fun and learning.

With the first day of school fast approaching don’t forget that this Friday morning from 8:30AM-10:30AM is “Meet the Teacher”.

Ms. M & I will be on hand, eager to meet you and your child as well as answer any questions you might have in regards to the upcoming school year.

Also, I have set up this e mail especially for the class and will be checking it frequently so please feel free to send us an e mail with any questions or concerns throughout the school year.

Can’t wait to meet everyone and we hope to see you all at “Meet the Teacher” on Friday!

Again, WELCOME! 🙂

Ms. R

Tuesdays and Thursdays around the ol’ homestead now will be just a little lonelier.

Those who have it harder than me (triplets)

Whenever a friend or an acquaintance or, quite honestly, a stranger learns that my wife and I have twins, one of the first responses is usually something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know how you do it.” My answer usually is, “Well, I don’t have much choice in the matter,” or “Well, since these are my two first kids, this is completely normal to me.” These aren’t conversations that occur every so often. They’re weekly discussions, seems like.

Stella and Noah have been really good babies and toddlers, and much of the time, they make our lives relatively simple and pain-free. At this point, I can’t imagine not having twins. And I can think of other parents who have it much harder than us. These are the people who deserve the sympathetic remarks. These are the people who deserve medals. That’s why I started this occasional series – originally for manofthehouse.com – called “Those who have it harder than me.”

Today, we talk to Damon Hack, who covers golf for Sports Illustrated (you can find him on Twitter here). I’d met Damon a few times covering various sporting events, but I’d heard recently that his wife had given birth to triplets. When I ran into him at Super Bowl Media Day in Indianapolis in February, I talked with him for a few minutes so he could describe to me just what it’s like to raise three babies at the same time. At the end of our talk, I thought to myself, “I don’t know how he does it …”

Previous editions of Those Who Have it Harder than Me:

My baby has colic

After a stillborn birth

Josh Katzowitz: For us, having twins probably isn’t twice the work. It’s probably more like 1 ½ times the work. It’s not too bad. But my and wife I have talked about it: what about triplets? We’re like, ‘How do those parents possibly do it?’ because we know how hard raising two at the same time can be. Tell me about your life with triplets.

Damon Hack:
My wife’s pregnancy was really good. She went 34 weeks, which was amazing with triplets. The last week, she had bed-rest because she had mild preeclampsia, which is when the blood pressure kind of goes up and own. She gave birth on June 9, 2011, and she had a quick drop in blood pressure right after the deliveries, so they had to give her a couple IVs. I’m sitting there in the room with her, and I’m watching her numbers drop. I’m freaking out, and she’s half-asleep.

When I think about the changes to our lives, I think of the whole thing. I think of the pregnancy, giving her chocolate Ensure, the things I used to give my grandmother for bone density. It’s really important for the dad and husband to be involved. I wanted to be involved, and you want to go through the pregnancy with them. I just wanted to be a part of the process and be a real good support system for her.

For twins, when they wake up in the morning, you can literally grab them at the same time and walk downstairs with them together in both of your arms. Logistically, how do you do that with three babies?

We’re lucky, because we have help. As you know, I’m a sports writer and I’m on the road a lot, and my wife has her own business. We actually have had baby nurse help since they were born. It’s been the only way we can function. We’ve had times where it’s just me and my wife, and you get through it. But one baby has to stay down. When we don’t have anybody helping us, you do it in order. You feed one baby, you feed the second baby, you feed the third. But you alternate it. You don’t have the same baby not eat first every night.

You make it fair.

Hack: Yes. And what we’re discovering now, is that you want to spend time with each child individually. My wife will take one child on a baby date. She’ll take James one day, Rhys one day and Miles one day. I’ll do the same thing. We have two dogs, so our house is a complete circus. When I walk the dogs, I’ll put on the Baby Bjorn and take one of my boys with me. It’s great bonding time and a chance for the boys to see what’s going on outside.

: That is great. That individual time is something we strive to do, but it’s tough. You really have to work to make that happen, because it is important to get that one on one.

Hack: Absolutely. They’re going to be together a lot. They’re in the same room. Meal time is the same for them when we have our full complement of help. But we bathe them one at a time. We try to get them in a routine. That’s the thing. Everybody talks about it. You go to sleep at the same time. Bath time is at the same time. Nap time.

We were lucky because our kids are easy going, but one of the things we did early on was with sleep. It was one down, both down.

Hack: Exactly, you have to do it.

Katzowitz: You have to have a break at some point.

It’s just for your sanity’s sake. You know, once a week, my wife and I go out on a date night. We have babysitting help, and you don’t want to completely lose yourself. Sometimes, you can’t help but lose yourself to the kids, and it’s important to do so. But sometimes you want to be an individual too and be romantic with your spouse and remind yourself how you got into this trouble in the first place.

But I’ve been tired for eight months. I’ve carried this fatigue with me for eight months. It’s hard to catch up and get back on top with your sleep. When I’m on the road – this week in the Super Bowl – I’ll get more sleep then I ever do.

When did you guys find out, and what was your reaction? It took me a long time to wrap my head around the idea of twins.

Hack: We first thought we were having twins. We had one of our ultrasounds, and they saw two. We went back two weeks later, and they saw the third one. I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. In some ways, I’m still in shock when I walk in the room and see three babies in there. We wanted to have a baby for so long, and it really is a blessing. But it’s a shock also. Most people have one baby, so that’s what you’re used to seeing. But now you see commercials for twins and triplets.

But once you’re there, it’s special. We’re “the triplet family” in our neighborhood. My wife’s family is in Queens, we live in the city, and we’ve had aunts come over. It’s a special, special designation to be a parent of multiples. It’s really awesome.

Katzowitz: I’m not trying to pry, but we get a lot of the, ‘Oh, do twins run in your family?’ question. Which is code for, ‘Oh, did you have reproductive help?”

Hack: I get that a lot.

Katzowitz: How do you handle that?

Hack: I’m honest. Maybe it’s because I’m being a journalist, but because we wanted kids for so long, we had to get help. For whatever reason, medically we couldn’t get pregnant, so we had to do in vitro fertilization. And it worked.

Katzowitz: It worked very well, apparently.

Hack: It worked too well, some would say. No, it worked perfectly well, as far as we’re concerned. But people do pry, because it’s a curiosity. Do triplets run in your family? I’ve gotten that question a hundred times.

Katzowitz: Do you feel like it’s code?

Hack: Yeah, I’ve had some people straight-up ask me if we’ve used in vitro.

Katzowitz: Oh, yeah. People have asked me that. To me, it’s rude.

Hack: It’s noisy and it can be rude. People don’t know what we’ve gone through. There are ups and downs. We didn’t get through on the first in vitro fertilization.

Oh my god, that’s a lot of money.

Hack: It’s a lot of money and stress. But thankfully, all’s well that ends well. I don’t mind telling people, because of those who are struggling and can afford it, at least it’s an option. I share it, because of how happy we are with the end result.

My first conversation with my son

May 16, 2012 (4:24 p.m.): Stella and Noah just woke up from their naps, and as I was changing Noah’s diaper, I noticed a wound on his left elbow. It looked red and angry, and obviously, it was fresh. I had worked today, so I wasn’t around for most of the morning.

It was certainly something new.

“What’s that on your elbow?” I asked.
“I hurt it,” he said.
“Does it hurt?”
“Yes,” he said with a definitive nod.
“What happened?”
“I fall off.”
“You fell off what?”
No answer.
“You fell off what?”
“I fall off.”
Then, Noah: “Outside.”
“You were outside?”
“Take-a shoes off.”
“You were outside and you took your shoes off and you fell?”
“Yes, I fall off.”
“You fell off what?”
“Picture!” he squealed as he noticed me slipping my iPhone out of my pocket in attempt to record our chat.

And that was the conversation Noah and I just had. It was exhilarating, if not altogether enlightening. But the fact it was somewhat informative is, I don’t know, incredible. The fact he can string together six words in a sentence is, like I imagine it is for any first-time parent, a stunning marvel. The fact Stella is not far behind fills us with pride. The fact we can have some semblance of a conversation for the first time is a marvel.

We try not to be overly-complimentary with the kids as they develop with rapid speed in their day to day lives. We don’t praise the heavens every time they accomplish a new task or simply repeat the same ones they’ve done before. But man, sometimes it’s hard.

Sometimes, the words, “Great job,” escapes before you can bottle them behind your lips. I didn’t let Noah know I was blown away by our conversation, but I was.

I never did find out what he fell off (though we later surmised he probably tumbled to the concrete when he was playing in the backyard), and I guess I never will. I’m just stunned he gave me even the faintest idea of what happened.