Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Feeding time for the twins has evolved greatly over the last twenty-two months. It started out as a bizarre sideshow novelty act, evolved into a scene from "The Fly", switched to just plain gross, and has now become only slightly messy and amusing. I shall attempt to re-create each of these phases in detail, but I warn you, it's not for the faint of heart.

This was by far my favorite stage, for two reasons: 1) it required no participation from me whatsoever, and 2) who doesn't love a carnival freak show!? It may not have been as gawk worthy as the Elephant Man or the bearded lady, but it still filled me with shock and awe, and I didn't even have to pay admission. If I only had a straw hat and a cane I could have made a fortune.

I had seen women breast feeding in the restaurant before, sitting in a corner booth and trying to be very discreet, covering themselves with a blanket. I must admit this always left me a little embarrassed, and I thought these women were very brazen for doing such a thing in public. Enter the twins. My wife was topless for six months straight, and I can still draw her mammaries from memory. Burned into my retina is the image of the large u-shaped pillow around her belly, my son perched on one side and my daughter on the other, both attached like hairless parasites to her chafed and swollen udders, draining her of the life force necessary to sustain their own existence. There were salves and balms applied between feedings, which occurred in regular intervals, dissecting the clock face into pieces of La Leche League pie. Sometimes this became a bit much for the wife, and the alternative was a mechanical breast pump which was somehow even more preversely entertaining than the parasitic feeding frenzy it replaced. I miss this stage.

When we started the twins on solid foods, I was called upon to do my part and shovel spoonfuls of colorful goo into the uncooperative mouths of my otherwise beautiful children. This was the single most disgusting act I have ever been forced to subject myself to. No airplane noise or choo choo sound was able to coerce my childrens lips to part, and the act quickly deteriorated into a waiting game whereupon any smile or yawn was met with the quick and forceful jab of spoon into mouth. Not to be outdone, the children would simply spit out the goo, leaving me to scrape it off their chins and try again. And again. This half an hour or so was more stressful than any IRS audit. I love my kids, but this was almost too much for me to stomach. In the mouth, out of the mouth, catch it with the tiny spoon, and back in again. It reminded me of "The Fly" vomiting on his food before eating it. Ugh.

Finger foods saved my children. Just about the time I was ready to give up on them, feeding time was downgraded to just plain gross. This stage again required very little participation on my part, mostly hosing them down after they smeared themselves with whatever foodstuff was made available to them. At this point, we gave up on bibs, opting instead to strip them naked and let them rub themselves from head to chest with peanut butter, jelly, pizza, cheerios, and ketchup. Jack began food fights and discovered holes in his highchair into which he could stuff anything he did not wish to eat. Ella was much neater by comparison, although we quickly discovered that spaghetti dinners would always be followed by bathtime, even though she looked positively radiant in marinara mascara. The worst part about this stage was the cleanup, as the twins often left the kitchen resembling a slaughterhouse caught in a tornado.

Although far from dextrous, the twins have begun to master the fork and spoon. This process has been gradual and deliberate, and met with great encouragement from the wife and me. They are growing up and growing fast. When dinner time is announced, they run to the highchairs and fall upon the food before them with great verve and gusto. Usually. We no longer have to cook separate meals for them, which makes life easier and also helps out with the grocery bills. Family dinners have become much less stressful, and we can sit back and marvel at the wonderful job we have done molding these alien parasites into little human beings. Oh, sure, sometimes food still hits the floor, but the difference is that now they are forced to pick it up and throw it away. And they actually think this is fun! The good news is that they now eat more food than they waste, they say "Mmmmmmm!" when they like what they're eating, and they don't completely embarrass us when dining out.

They are growing up so fast, and I wonder what the next step will be. Will they fold napkins into their laps? Will they drink from their sippy cups with their pinkies in the air? Will they know which course the little fork is used for? Or will they sniff the cork, swirl the glass, and debate the merits of tannin and it's impact upon the palatte?

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