You know how casinos are known for not having clocks or windows anywhere, and once you’re inside it’s hard to tell if it’s day or night, and all the lights and colors and sounds can get almost disorienting, and you sort of drift through in a near-hypnotic time-ignorant daze? Parenting newborns can be a lot like that. It’s almost like a time vortex ensues. Days go by so fast now that time seems to almost morph and warp forward instead of just steadily ticking by.
All that said, here’s a bit about what’s happened in the last two weeks.
On June 3, Matt, Ellen, the twins and I all got on United Flight 49 and flew from Mumbai to Newark; then Newark to Charlotte, NC; and Charlotte to Wilmington, NC. The first flight was 16 hours, and the twins handled it really well. After getting fussed over by the flight attendants, Julianne and Henry promptly passed out for almost the entire flight. They woke every three hours for a feeding and diaper change, but didn’t make much of a peep other than that. Luckily, Matt and Ellen each had empty seats next to them, so Henry and Julianne each had their own seats, too.
We flew to Wilmington instead of going right home to NYC so that we could introduce the twins to Matt’s dad and siblings, and 86-year-old grandma, and also pick up our dog, Butter, who’d been staying with Matt’s parents for several weeks while we got the kids home from India.
On our first night in Wilmington there was this great moment where Matt’s grandma (Dot), mom (Ellen), sister (Audra), and our daughter were all together for the first time. It was a really cool experience to have four generations together in one room. Though we were a bit bleary-eyed, it was also amazing to be back in the United States after more than 20 days abroad.
Henry and Julianne, 3 1/2 weeks old, playing on the floor at Grandma Dot’s house.
On Friday, June 7, Matt and I headed back to New York City with the twins and the dog. I still had a ton of Hertz rewards points from all of my work travel, so we rented a GMC Yukon from the Wilmington Airport, set to be returned at La Guardia Airport in Queens, just over 600 miles away.
Matt and I have done that drive together quite a few times, usually around the holidays. (We’d fly, but we’re not fans of having Butter ride in the airplane cargo hold.) But this time we had Butter, and the twins, and were driving home through Tropical Storm Andrea. The. Entire. Time. We thought we’d avoid it, but it turns out that instead, as you see from the map on the right, we just ended up driving through the entire body of the storm.
It rained for 17 hours and 22 minutes, pretty much non-stop, as we drove from North Carolina back to New York.
Lucky for us, the twins were pretty great about it. They snoozed in their car seats almost the entire way. Matt drove, doing an excellent job of navigating the storm, while I sat in back and attended to the twins. We did have a couple snafus, once with formula that was cold (it got dramatically spit right back up–oops!), and there were also a couple diaper poopmergencies that got resolved in the trunk of the SUV in McDonald’s parking lots in the pouring rain. (Good times.) I still find it a little crazy that flying home 8,130 miles from Mumbai to Newark took us 16 hours, and driving 600 miles from NC to NYC took us more than 17 hours.
It’s hard to express the relief and gratitude we felt when we rode the elevator up in our apartment building in New York and opened our apartment door for the first time in almost a month. I wanted to simultaneously kiss the ground, and also sleep for about a hundred years.
The next morning it was really nice out, so we had our patio doors open. Matt and I had just finished feeding the kids, and Butter hopped up on the sofa next to us. The five of us were finally gathered at home, just curled up and hanging out together on a Saturday morning. It was a really gratifying bookend to a long journey.
Now all we have to do is raise them.
After our first weekend home, Matt went back to work on Monday morning. My first week as a stay-at-home dad went pretty well. My life is essentially on a 90-minute alternating loop: it takes about 90 minutes to feed, change, and soothe both kids, and then they sleep for about 90 minutes. It’s a binary three-hour block that repeats around the clock. I’ve been taking all the weekday overnight feedings since Matt is back at work, so I usually try and go to bed around sunset, and get about four hours of sleep while Matt watches them. Then I take over again and get 60-to-90-minute cat naps throughout the night.
Tiring? Yep. But it’s really just a predictable series of repeating tasks, and for the most part Henry and Julianne are pretty easy babies. Sometimes they have indigestion, and that can get a little hairy, but most of the feedings are textbook affairs.
Thank god for iPhones and Hulu. During the bottle feedings and burping I’ve watched the final four episodes of Smash, more than a dozen episodes of Scandal, and ten episodes of Mad Men (catching me up on the current season). It’s kind of like pausing and coming back to visual chapter books all night as I take care of the twins. Makes it all go by pretty smoothly.
Matt doesn’t often have to travel for work, but this week he’s gone Monday through Thursday in Atlanta for a work event, so my mom flew in for a few days to meet the babies, hang out, and help out a bit. It’s been great to have her here. It was also pretty amazing to see her holding my son and daughter for the first time. (Mom is holding Henry in the photo on the right.) It’s been a nice bonding experience. Matt gets back on Thursday, and the same day my grandparents will fly in from Madison, WI, and stay for a week. It’s been so nice to have all this family around.
So, do forgive this addle-brained new dad for a somewhat rambling post, but after two hours of sleep last night (the poor kids had probably their toughest night since birth, but are back to normal now), it’s the best I could muster.
Hope to have more photos up soon, too.