Last weekend, we celebrated the end of the school year with a trip to Orlando. AJ and JJ were excited to visit Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter attraction on Friday. The whole family (with nanny Pat and her son) got to experience Gay Days at Magic Kingdom on the customary first Saturday of June. DJ and MJ got to meet the “mouf” that is featured on their diapers at Epcot Sunday. We had a great weekend and were glad that we even got to spend some time with some other gay dads we have met and become friendly with over the last year.
We met our awesome nanny Pat through serendipity. Josh’s mother Phyllis can be quite gregarious and will strike up a conversation with just about anybody. About 8 years ago, before JJ and AJ were born, she met a woman strolling in the mall with what appeared to be triplets. It turned out that Pat was a nanny for these twin boys and their brother who was one year older. Phyllis told Pat all about her son who was expecting twin boys in a few months. Pat said that she was actually going to be looking for a job soon because the three boys in her care would be moving out of state. Phyllis wisely took Pat’s phone number for future reference.
When the boys were born, we foolishly tried to manage things on our own. Even though we both had full time jobs, we figured because we worked different hours we would each be able to juggle the babies in our off hours while the other was working. AJ and JJ’s prematurity made feeding more complicated than most babies, and we found ourselves beginning to lose our sanity after the first three or four months.
Phyllis saved the day by introducing us to Pat, and the rest is history. Pat helped out with AJ and JJ in the daytime Monday to Friday up until they were three years old and ready for preschool. When we told Pat that we were expecting DJ and MJ, she came right back and was ready to start as soon as they came back from India. The kids all affectionately call her “Tatie” which means “Auntie” in Haitian Creole. Including the boys she took care of previously, Pat has cared for three sets of twins, probably making her the most experienced twin nanny in the world!
Today is Chinese New Year! It is the Year of the Sheep. JJ and AJ were born in the Year of the Pig, and DJ and MJ were born in the Year of the Snake. The kids dressed in outfits to celebrate their Chinese heritage and I took some photos. I am particularly proud of the one with all four kids smiling. That is no easy feat these days!
The babies have continued to develop and are both walking and running all over the house. Whereas previously with the older boys it was easier to baby proof our home, it is significantly more challenging this time to keep the boys’ small toys out of the mouths of these babies. However, similar to our experience when the boys became mobile, we are now feeling a bit cramped in this house we have been living in for five years. We spent the remainder of the summer shopping for homes and found a beautiful somewhat larger house sitting on more than an acre of land in a nearby neighborhood so the boys can continue attending the same school. We closed quickly and have spent the last several weeks painting and cleaning in preparation for a move in about a week.
As we approach Halloween and attend various community events, I have worked out a deal with the older boys that if they cooperate with a costume theme along with the babies at family oriented events, they are free to wear scarier costumes at other times and on Halloween night to go trick or treating.
The babies turned 1 year old July 1st, and the boys turned 7 on July 2nd. We celebrated by piling into the minivan with our awesome nanny Pat and her son to spend a few days celebrating in Orlando. We went to Epcot July 3rd and spent July 4th at Magic Kingdom. It was very hot and crowded but I am very proud of what we managed to accomplish despite our cumbersome crew of 8. The boys were just tall enough to have their first ride on Space Mountain!
DJ and MJ are definitely developing faster as full term babies than AJ and JJ did as preemies. They are eschewing the bottle in favor of solids and sippy cups. They are now both crawling, pulling to stand, and are awfully close to taking their first steps!
AJ and JJ finished a great year as 1st graders in the gifted program of their elementary school. They are spending the summer reading the Harry Potter books together with Josh and just finished the first volume. Watching them read together brings me full circle to July 2007 when Josh waited on a line at midnight for a copy of volume 7 and then went straight to the hospital to read out loud to AJ and JJ in the NICU. Some of the nurses teased Josh saying that he was spoiling the books for AJ and JJ by reading them the end of the series. But I have to believe some of their current fascination with the books has its roots in rudimentary memories of their Daddy telling them about Harry, Hermione and Ron’s adventures from outside their plastic isolette incubators.
Maybe we will take them back up to Orlando at the end of the summer to visit Harry Potter at Universal Studios!