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The Twins Journal
by Charles W. Dowdy

Anyone who has spent an entire day trapped between four walls with two one-year-old boys knows that at certain points in the afternoon the clock actually starts to move backward.

It was a rainy April day. My wife had a Saturday full of birthday parties, social events and church obligations for our two older children, which left me and the twins stuck at home.

All day.

Days like this will help you appreciate a stay at home mom. Sometimes I don't know how my wife does it. I do know one secret of her success. She is big on scheduled events and adopts a kind of cruise director mentality to each and every day.

"OK, kids, at 9:15 we will have juice; at 9:22 we will make up our beds and clean our rooms; at 9:45 we will have quiet time; and at 10:15 we will paint."

My wife is big on letting the kids paint. Even the one-year-olds! Why not just arm them with handguns and let them shoot up the house?

Anyway, with a whole day at my disposal I decided to keep a little journal. Initially, I did not plan to keep the time that each requisite act occurred, but during the course of the day I came to realize that raising young children is all about time. Maybe when the last two are graduating from high school my wife and I will look at each other and wonder where all the time went. Or maybe we will pretend to share that look for the sake of those around us as we contemplate our gloriously empty and quiet house. I don't know.

But I do know on that day my eyes kept glancing over to the clock, then I would stare with incredulity at the time that HAD NOT passed since the last time I looked. It was like having a grandfather clock in a maximum-security cell with nothing but the tick, tick, tick against the swishing of their little diapers as they climbed all over the house.

So here are the highlights of the day and the time each event did, or did not, consume:

--Balancing objects on my head - nine minutes

--Balancing objects on their heads - three minutes

--Staring out the window at the dogs - fifty-two seconds

--Watching youngest dog digging up new flowerbed - four minutes

--Feeding the twins a nutritious lunch - eighteen minutes

--Cleaning up the powdered doughnuts, fish sticks and Cheerios off the floor - nine minutes

--Mopping up little powdered doughnut footprints where they walked through what I was trying to clean up and tracked all over house - twelve minutes

--Rolling a ball between them to stimulate motor coordination and encourage the concept of sharing - three seconds

--Finding another ball when one of the twins takes off like a speedy bandit, encumbered only by his saggy diaper as he steals the ball and leaves his brother in a crying heap on the floor - two minutes

--Hide and seek - eighteen minutes (Be prepared to get sweaty as you wait in the closet with the door half open and call them repeatedly. Just because you call them by name and tell them you are actually in the closet and they still can't find you doesn't mean they have some kind of developmental problem. They might think you are the one with the problem, standing, sweating in a dark closet. And it will take a while. They will look under anything on the floor, it could be a thimble and they will pick it up like their Da-da might be under it.)

--Watching as one of them tries to wedge his head into a space between the wall and a chair, a space so small that the laws of physics deem this action hopelessly impossible - four minutes

--Pulling the chair away from the wall when he actually succeeds - twenty seconds

At the end of the day when the wife comes home, you'll look at your watch and wonder aloud, "College already, where did all the time go?" She'll frown at you like you've done something wrong, and you'll follow her to the twins' room and look in on the sleeping babies as you think:

Watching two young children all day, keeping their hands out of electrical sockets, keeping them off the stairs and changing the diapers of what have to be the two most gastronomically active children in the world . . . exhausting

Watching the well fed, clean, little monsters sleep peacefully, dreaming of defying physics in other tight, dangerous spaces . . . priceless.


Note from Ye Editor:
Newspaper columnist Charles Dowdy describes fatherhood in hilarious prose that leaves us wondering how diapers and runny noses can be so funny. Charles lives in south Mississippi with his beautiful wife, 4 children, 2 miniature horses, a cat, and until recently, 2 dogs -- LuLu and Molly Jett. Molly Jett has just blessed the household with 8 puppies. That makes, uh, 10 dogs. What else do you want to know?

Write Charles at Dowdy E-mail.

Read more of Dowdy's stories at USADEEPSOUTH:
She Was Such A Dear
Goodbye, Debt; Hello, Ricecakes

Charles Dowdy's web site is not to be missed! He has to be one of the funniest, most irreverent writers in the South . . . or anywhere. Go see!


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