Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Song

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day One

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shameless Shilling for Shutterfly by Amanda

Normally, Noah and I make elaborate handmade holiday cards with funny themed letters about our year’s adventures; they are a perfect blend of my craftiness and Noah’s comedy. This year we are going with a photo card from Shutterfly. Let me tell you why:

  • We have 5 month old twins so we do not have time for an elaborate handmade card or a funny themed letter. The twins are a perfect blend of my craftiness and Noah’s comedy.
  • We have 5 month old twins so people are happiest when they have a photo of the twins; Shutterfly has great holiday photo cards with a huge selection.
  • We have 5 month old twins so we need to practice thrift; Shutterfly cards are a good price.
  • We have 5 month old twins so everybody knows about our year’s adventures already.

Our local twin club is holding a breakfast with Santa tomorrow. We are crossing our fingers we’ll get a good photo of the boys with the big guy then. Of course the chances of both boys smiling and looking at the camera are pretty slim, but we’ll see. Once we have those photos, we’re going to let Shutterfly do the rest.
Depending on whether or not we decide to pay the extra postage for square cards, here are a few of my favorite designs:

Holiday cards are just the latest in our Shutterfly purchases. Over the years, we’ve made numerous photo books—usually one each year, but we’ve also done them of the twins for the grandparents. I’m currently spending this year adding to a photo book which will become a baby book.

After our wedding we spread the photo wealth with a calendar for ourselves and our parents. Of course we used Shutterfly for our wedding thank you notes.

And, we are thinking about getting their photo ornament as a baby’s first Christmas ornament.

Overall, we’ve found Shutterfly to be very useful as we preserve and share our latest adventures from our wedding to Semester at Sea to twins.

Check out Shutterfly to order your Holiday Photo Cards today. Also, you can follow them on Twitter and "like" them on Facebook.

Disclaimer: We will be provided with 50 Holiday Cards from Shutterfly's 2010 Holiday Collection in exchange for this post. Twins are expensive, and freebies are always appreciated!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nominate me!

Hi guys! Wanna help me win an award? Of course you do! Please click this link!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Breastfeeding Twins by Amanda

I recently sat down with myself for an interview about breastfeeding twins. I caught up with myself while pumping one evening.

Reporter Amanda: Do you breastfeed your twins?

Interviewed Amanda: Yes. Right now I manage to do it exclusively.

RA: Wow! You do it exclusively? That must be a challenge.

IA: I constantly worry that they are not getting enough to eat. When I hear or read that someone I know has had to add formula to their baby’s diet because they aren’t producing enough milk, it increases my own worries.

RA: If you are always worrying why do you do it?

IA: Basically three reasons--I’m cheap, I’m not a quitter, and I’m a little bit afraid to stop. Philosophically, I didn’t have a real opinion about breastfeeding. My mom didn’t breastfeed me (I also grew up without a father, as a latch-key kid, in an asbestos house, had a mom who smoked while she was pregnant and ran behind the DDT truck when she was a kid, and any number of other things that were bad--but I turned out okay and she’s such a good mom we joke about all the “bad things” she did to me). Really, my desire to breastfeed was completely about money. Breast milk is free; formula is not. As for not being a quitter, well once I get going, I’m in it for the long haul. And, I’m afraid to stop because if it will mean plugged ducts or any other complications I’ve already had, I’d rather not do that again.

RA: Complications?

IA: I think I’ve had them all. I even got to add mastitis to the list earlier this week. However, the complication that takes the cake is my incision. I should warn you that describing this has grossed out a pharmacist and a nurse practitioner.

RA: Okay, thanks for the warning. Go on.

IA: In August, I had a lump removed from my breast. I think everyone knew it was nothing, but better safe than sorry. It was nothing. The surgeon sewed me up tight with 9 stitches. He warned me that the incision could leak milk as the milk will look for the path of least resistance to get out. He said he used hard core stitches and did it so tight to try to prevent the leaking. After the stitches came off he put what amounts to butterfly bandages on it. All of the incision healed up except for the very end. This has been leaking milk on and off ever since. Sometimes it is a lot--I have to change my shirt because the entire right side is soaked down to my waist. Other times it is just a small trickle. In all of these times I get sad that this is milk the twins aren’t getting.

RA: Well, on to more interesting questions. Do you feed the twins one at a time or at the same time?

IA: Most of the time I feed them one at a time. I can do tandem; I’ve got the special pillow, but it isn’t the most comfortable for me. I also end up being totally unable to do anything else. Plus I worry a little wandering hand will do something to start my incision leaking again. Though sometimes one baby will be eating leisurely while the other is screaming. I might take pity on the second baby (or my husband who is trying to calm said baby) and go tandem.

RA: How often are they eating now?

IA: Still about every three hours. That means if I don’t do tandem, I might nurse one for 20-30 minutes, the other for 20-30 minutes and get 2 hours in between. At night they can usually go from 9pm to about 1:30am before needing a feeding. Then it is about every three hours.

RA: With that schedule do you ever get out of the house during the day?

IA: I think I’ve nursed at just about every Starbucks and Coffee Bean in Los Angeles. Thank goodness for my breastfeeding cover (aka Udder Cover, Hooter Hider, Peanut Shell, etc.).

RA: How do you make enough milk?

IA: I pump at night after the last feeding to signal to my body to keep making milk. I have been storing that milk in the freezer. We’ve gotten so much stored that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are storing some in their freezer. I also take herbal supplements; fenugreek and blessed thistle, but I can’t find goat’s rue. Noah thinks these are all from Prof. Snape’s potions cabinet.

I’m lucky that our Kaiser Permanente is working to become a “baby friendly” hospital (don’t ask me what they are now if they aren’t already “baby friendly”) so they have good support for breastfeeding. We can get the twins weighed whenever we want to make sure they are gaining enough. They’ll even evaluate the latch and weigh the twins just before and right after a feeding. It is sort of like a reverse Biggest Loser.

RA: Well thank you Interviewed Amanda for sharing this info with us. We really appreciate you taking the time.

IA: You are welcome Reporter Amanda. Thanks for distracting me while I pump.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meet the Twins!

There have been requests for photos in addition to a blog video this week, so here are some samples.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Trimesters and Tribulations


Hi, I’m Noah. This summer my wife and I are having twins. It’s June! We’re in the home stretch! So I’m gonna try to do a Vlog every day this month. Hey, I might as well use my free time while I have it.

The third trimester is not as much fun as the second.

Those of you who have been pregnant or are close to someone who has know what I’m talking about. For those of you who don’t … let’s talk. And I have a lot to say, so I’ll talk fast. Transcript on the blog.

So a nine month pregnancy can be divided into three equal trimesters. And they really are noticeably different.

The first trimester is marked by a lot of weariness. The woman isn’t showing yet, but her body is devoting most of its energy to getting these babies launched and it leaves her pretty exhausted. To give you an idea, the day after we found out she was pregnant, Amanda ran a half marathon. By about two weeks after that, she couldn’t handle one of her standard two-or-three mile runs. Then, of course, once we found out it was twins our doctors told us Amanda should basically stop all forms of exercise beyond light walking, which was fine by her because Amanda hates running. Why, you may ask, would she run a half marathon if she hates running. Well, in fact, last fall she ran two half-marathons and a 10K, but that doesn’t mean she enjoyed it. Amanda just likes having a project. And she kinda has a new one to replace the running.

First trimester is also when you get the nausea and the cravings. I was kind of bummed that Amanda didn’t have the crazy food cravings like you get on TV. I was really hoping I would be making late night runs for garlic pickles and marshmallow fluff, but basically she just had an increased sweet tooth … sugar being, of course, the one thing you DON’T want to get more of during pregnancy. Thanks, chemistry.

Amanda certainly did suffer from nausea. She cooked pretty much our whole Thanksgiving dinner this year, but just as we sat down to the table, she suddenly got repulsed by the whole affair and couldn’t eat anything. But I’m a dutiful husband, so I ate it all myself. Hey! I was eating for four!

On the other hand, second trimester is a freaking breeze. Yes, there’s weight gain and you really start to show, but you have your energy back, you’ve adjusted to your body making all kinds of changes. Now if you go on an Internet message board about pregnancy and you mention how the second trimester is a piece of cake, you will get bombarded by women telling you how awful and painful their second trimester was.

Nothing against these message boards. They’re a great resource and the people who post on them are usually great people who want to share wisdom and experience. But once in a while, these things can turn into “Oh, you think you had it bad? Well, wait till you hear what happened to me!” contests.

And, hey, okay. I’m sorry it was rough for you. I’m glad you got through it. And I’m very happy I don’t have a story to enter into your little contest.

You see, Amanda is really, really good at being pregnant. Remember, day after we learned she was pregnant – half marathon. Every doctor’s appointment we had was great. Her weight was good, blood pressure was good, babies were right on schedule …

Then the third trimester hit.

Don’t worry, this is not about to turn into a horror story. Amanda’s third trimester has not been any bumpier than the average twin pregnancy. In fact, it has been considerably less so. But we did learn that Amanda was anemic, which we had expected for a while, so she’s taking iron pills. The first day she took them she emailed me to say “Iron pill poop is just like a New Yorker’s wardrobe. All black.”

Then there was the concern that she has gestational diabetes. I have no desire to build up false suspense, so I’ll tell you that she does not have it. And if she did, it’s something that can be controlled pretty well through diet. But in order to prove that she did NOT have it she had fast for about 16-18 hours and, as Amanda put it “You know what is a fun thing to do to a pregnant woman? Tell her she can't eat for 16-18 hours.” Then she had to drink this bright orange flat soda with more sugar in it than Willie Wonka’s wet dreams then get blood drawn once an hour for four hours. The drink itself made Amanda feel like she’d been punched in the face by the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Then four needles!

And then there’s swollen hands and feet – Amanda is wearing her wedding ring on her watch band these days. And it’s impossible for her to get comfortable in bed. And her hands keep falling asleep. And she’s short of breath. And Baby B thinks it’s hilarious to kick her in the ribs.

But we’re not in any rush for it to end. Keep on cooking, you two.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Mailbag for April 12, 2010


Hi, I’m Noah! This summer my wife and I are having twins. You know, I heard the theme music I use for TwinDadBlog in a Pepsi Commercial. Dear PepsiCo, you are a multi-billion dollar corporation, you don’t have to use free, public domain music lifted from Garage Band. Even if it does sound as cool as this.

Hey, it’s mailbag time! These are from emails and Facebook messages I’ve gotten from friends, most of whom had no idea I would be using their names and comments in this forum. Um … thanks!

Jason, a friend of mine from Alabama writes
“I gotta give it to you. TwinDadBlog is not that bad.” –Jason

Thanks Jason. I have to give it to you. Not everyone from Alabama is an inbred donkey lover.

XXXXXX of San Diego California asks
If the twins had fetal super powers, what would they be?

Okay, now I’m trying to think of superpowers a fetus could have that wouldn’t prove incredibly detrimental to their mother’s health … for example, adamantium claws would be right out.

Bobby Rodgers writes
"congrats daddy-o."

I just like this one because ever since I’ve known Bobby I always thought his name sounded like a 1950s teen idol and him calling me “daddy-o” just adds to that. So, thanks Bobby, I think you’re the bee’s knees, too.

XXXXX of San Diego, CA writes
Will you do a vblog in the hospital during delivery? But in the current style, where neither Amanda nor twins are allowed near the camera?

Yes, that’s my plan, to be off in some other corner of the hospital with Amanda’s MacBook, making a sardonic video blog entry, while she’s screaming in pain from her latest contraction.

Mr. Richard Feder of Fort Lee, NJ writes,
Now that you have a beard, how can we tell the difference between you and your evil twin Haon from the Evil Twin video?

What an utterly preposterous question.

XXXXX of San Diego, CA writes
Are you going to be one of those embarrassing dads that go around the house naked?

XXXX, I would prefer it if you spent less time thinking about me naked.

I’m going to have to put this next one, from Emily Wilson, on the screen.

"holy %^&*! Congratulations!"

Thanks Emily, though I’m uncertain if you said percentage sign, caret, ampersand, asterisk exclamation point, or if you said percentage sign, caret, ampersand, asterisk and then punctuated it with an exclamation point. Either way, please keep this kind of filthy language off my number sign, asterisk, at symbol, ampersanding blog.

XXXXXXX of San Diego, CA writes
Are you ready for two daughters? Like, really?? The mere idea of one daughter becoming a teenager and then going to college would freak me out!

I met XXXX when Amanda and I were working with college students on a program called Semester at Sea. Israel organized a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture show and convinced a number of the female students to dress up in lingerie for the event. So my answer is, I think I’ll be fine if I have daughters and they go off to college as long as they stay away from people like XXXXXX of San Diego, CA.

And finally, Eric Keenan-Gray posted a quote from an Anonymous author:

"Two faces to wash, and four dirty hands
Two insistent voices, making demands
Twice as much crying, when things go wrong
The four eyes closing, with slumber song
Twice as many garments, blowing on the line
Two cherubs in the wagon, soaking up sunshine
Work I do for twins, naturally comes double
But four arms to hug me, repay all my trouble.
~Author Unknown

Um … I should probably say something snarky and hilarious now, but … that was just … wow.

Hey, let’s do more of these, like, maybe one where not all of the questions from come from XXXXXX of San Diego, CA

(PS, XXXX’s really a great guy and I was just kidding)


Games! Who needs video?

Video coming soon. I have one shot, just not edited. Sorry, we were away for the weekend for a Baby Shower at Amanda's Mother's house in York, PA. It was a great party and a great weekend, all of which I will tell about soon. But for now, please enjoy two little quizzes I made as party games for the shower. Answers are in white below the question, so highlight the blank space to read.

one point for each correct answer

What chewing gum used identical twins in their advertisements?

In the Harry Potter books, what are the first name of the Weasley Twins?
Fred and George
BONUS: Name another pair of twins from the Potter books
Padma and Pavarti Patil or Fabian and Gideon Prewett (unconfirmed if they were twins, but we think they were)

What sign of the Zodiac represents twins?
BONUS: The name of this sign inspired a Saturday Night Live parody of Destiny's Child called _________________
Gemini's Twin

What two legendary twins founded Rome?
Romulus and Remus

Two Shakespearean comedies feature twins.  Name them

In mythology, twins Castor and Pollux had a pair of sisters who were also twins who married a pair of brothers.  One married Menelaus, King of Sparta, and famously left him for another man.  The other married Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, and eventually murdered him.  Name these twin sisters.
Helen (of Troy) and Clytemnestra

What popular series of children's novels featured two sets of twins in one family, Bert and Nan and siblings Flossie and Freddie?
The Bobbsey Twins

They were born Esther Pauline Friedman and Pauline Esther Friedman, but we know these twins by what pen names?  (HINT: Both had long running newspaper columns)
"Ann Landers" and "Dear Abby"

What were the powers of the Wonder Twins from The Superfriends?
One could turn into any animal and one could turn into any form of water
BONUS: What were their names
Jayna (animals) and Zan (water)

Who played twins in the original The Parent Trap?
Haley Mills
BONUS: Who played the twins in the 1998 remake?
Lindsay Lohan

What former NFL star and current broadcaster has an identical twin (who also played in the NFL), and will soon become the father of twins?  (HINT: He's been in the news latelty because he's divorcing his 8-month pregnant wife to be with a much younger woman ... yeah, he's kind of a jerk)
Tiki Barber

Which of the following celebrities have a twin brother or sister?
Mario Andretti
Jose Canseco
Aaron Carter
Vin Diesel
Joseph Fiennes
Linda Hamilton
Ryan Howard
Scarlett Johansson
Ashton Kutcher
Alanis Morissette
Giovanni Ribisi
Isabella Rossellini
Kiefer Sutherland
Billy Dee Williams

They all do.

Which of these TV shows did NOT have a pair of twins as its central characters?
Beverly Hills 90210
The Patty Duke Show
Sister Sister
The Suite Life of Zach and Cody

The Patty Duke show featured "identical cousins" Patty and Cathy Lane

Match the names from Column A to their twins in Column B (sorry, you don't get last names in Column B, exept in one case, where the character's first name is unknown)

Column A
Luke Skywalker (Star Wars movies)
Austin Powers (Austin Powers movies)
Phoebe Buffay (Friends)
Patty Bouvier (The Simpsons)
Dot Flagstone (Hi and Lois comic strip)

Column B

Luke and Leia, Austin Powers and Dr. Evil, Phoebe and Ursula, Patty and Selma,  Dot and Ditto


Within five years, how old are the oldest living twins in Britan?

Within two inches, how tall are the tallest living twins?

That was one game, here's the other one.

with a phrase including the word "baby" "babies" "twin" or "twins"

When baseball's Washington Senators moved to the Midwest, they became ____________
The Minnesota Twins

1964 hit by the Supremes ________________
"Baby Love"

Marty McFly was in the parking lot of the ______________________ when he traveled back in time to 1955 in Back to the Future
Twin Pines Mall (in 1955 he ran over one of the pines and when he returned to 1985 the mall had become the Lone Pine Mall)

In a popular early-90s TV series, Kyle MacLachlan was an FBI agent investigating the murder of Laura Palmer in _____________
Twin Peaks

In 1975, Boston Red rookie sensations Fred Lynn and Jim Rice were known as the ____________________
Gold Dust Twins

This song, a duet about a wintery night, has become a holiday standard _______________
"Baby, It's Cold Outside"

Haitian dictator "Papa Doc" Duvalier was succeeded by his son who was known as ________________
"Baby Doc" Duvalier

Due to high birth rates, the years between 1946 and 1960 are known as the _______________
Baby Boom

Married couples in TV sitcoms of the 50s and 60s usually slept in ______________
Twin Beds

Stephen Sondheim song from the 1971 Broadway hit FOLLIES _________________
"Broadway Baby"

A double play in baseball is also known as a ______________________
Twin Killing

His porridge was "just right" __________________
Baby Bear

Twins with an alleged psychic bond are said to be ____________________ named after a Mediterranean island and characters in a novel by Alexandre Dumas
Corsican Twins

If an actor is playing two roles in a soap opera and the second character has a goatee or eyepatch, he is probably the first character's _______________
Evil Twin

1987 Diane Keaton comedy __________________
Baby Boom

So, yeah, a tricky quiz.  But, hey, people had to WORK for that Toblerone bar that we gave out as a prize.

So, how did you do?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Am Not Phil


Hi, I’m Noah! This Summer, my wife and I are having twins! Anyone know where I can get a good deal a on a blue space monkey?

One of my favorite shows on TV these days is a new comedy called Modern Family. In many ways, it’s a pretty typical family sitcom, albeit one shot in that faux-documentary style everyone is using these days. But it’s buoyed by sharp writing and a pitch-perfect cast who delivers consistent, multidimensional, and very funny character performances every week.

A particular standout is Ty Burrell as Phil, a 40ish father of three. Phil is that sitcom standard, the doofy, childlike, suburban dad, but the show brings a new energy and a real humanity to a potentially hoary archetype.

The running gag with Phil is that he desperately wants to be a cool dad and to relate to his kids on their level. For Phil this means learning all the dances to High School Musical and using teen slang like “WTF” which he thinks means “Why the face?”

I’m very nervous that I will turn into Phil in years to come.

There’s no question that I am roughly as dorky as Phil, at least proportionately for the real world. I am, however, slightly more self-aware. I know I’m not cool. There might have been a time when I attempted to be, or at least convinced myself I was, but I have long since abandoned such illusions.

I think the nail in the coffin came a few years back when I bought a Weird Al album –

The fact that I was buying Weird Al albums in my late 20s or early 30s was probably a sign I wasn’t particularly cutting edge –

And, when I got it home, I discovered that I didn’t recognize any of the songs he was parodying. Not only was I out of it, culturally, but I was significantly less cool than Weird Al Yankovic. Not a good day.

So the advantage that this self-awareness gives me over Phil is that now, unlike him, I have utterly no desire for my kids to think I’m cool.

If my kids grow up thinking I’m cool, they are completely screwed. Any child who uses me a as a role model for how to seem hip might as well just pre-wedgie themselves every morning before they leave the house.

So which way do I go? Do I censor myself? Hide all my comic books? Try to make it through the day without referencing Monty Python, every day for the next eighteen years?

These are tough questions! I didn’t expect the Spanish Inqu … DAMMIT!

Or do I go in the extreme opposite direction and crank UP my natural dorkiness so high that it annoys my kids so much that they rebel against me by being cool.

Or maybe there’s a middle ground, where I just monitor the kids for how cool they are and if they’re not cool enough I just … buy them some cigarettes or something.

Decisions, decisions.

Anyway, the point is, I need to do SOMETHING to make sure my kids don’t think I’m cool. Not if I ever want them get laid before they turn 30.

Hold on … if my kids don’t have sex until they’re 30, that would save me a lot of tsuris. Maybe there’s something to be said for having dorky kids.

Hmm … yeah …

Tonight, I think I’ll wait till Amanda’s asleep, then I’ll put headphone on her belly and play the twin the Dead Parrot sketch.



Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Cat's Out the Bag, Part 2

Hi! I’m Noah. This summer my wife and I are having twins! That’s right, I’ll be the father of Twins … just like Darth Vader.

When last I left off this topic, I was telling you how Amanda and I told our parents, my brother, and her grandfather the news of our pregnancy.

After that, it was time to tell everybody else. But, here’s the thing. Once you tell people you’re having twins, THEY want to tell people, too. So we now had to get into the nitty gritty of dividing up which people we would tell, ourselves, and who our parents got to tell.

I called dibs on grandparents. All three of my grandparents who are still alive already have great-grandchildren, so we’re not breaking brand new ground. But we are the first set of twins on either side, so we’re doubling my paternal grandparents’ number of greats and tripling my maternal grandmother’s. So they were very happy to receive my phone call. My favorite response came from my grandfather, who said that Amanda is “good wood.” I’m not 100 percent certain what that means, but it sounds awesome.

I also got to tell some cousins and uncles and aunts, and some friends. Now, I’m not much of a telephone person, so when I called and left a message like “I have big news, call me back!” everyone could guess what the news was. But, once again …

Nobody guesses twins, be-yotch!

I’m trying to start building up catch phrases so I can sell t-shirts.

As I said last time, the outpouring of love and excitement you get when you tell people you’re pregnant is unlike anything else. Everyone we told was thrilled for us. When Amanda and I were in India, we went with a group to volunteer at a school in Chennai. We were supposed to work on a cleanup project, but they were apparently so excited to see us that they did all the cleanup before we came. But when we got off that bus, we were greeted like the Beatles touching down at JFK in 1964. They had a band playing, they threw petals at our feet … honestly, I have never felt that honored and that welcome before in my life.

Telling people you’re having twins? Kind of like that.

Once we had told the people we planned to tell over the phone, we compiled a list of people to tell via email. Now, it does feel a little weird to divide your friends and loved ones into tiers like that. But it really was just a matter of practicality. We simply couldn’t call EVERYBODY.

And we probably love the telephone people more.

But, even then we couldn’t spill all the beans! Amanda told her boss, but she couldn’t tell all her coworkers until they had a big staff meeting that week. So that meant we had to keep the news quiet for just a few days more. So, no Facebook, no Twitter, and we couldn’t return all those phone calls we kept getting from TMZ.

We did a pretty good job of keeping it hush hush. There were a couple of slip-ups, when overzealous loved one posted messages of congratulations on our walls, but we nipped those in the bud pretty fast.

So, finally, Amanda told work and we let the news hit the web. Once again, incredible reactions. Got a little jealous because Amanda got 32 Likes and 57 comments responses to her post on Facebook and I only got 29 Likes and 44 comments, even though I have 627 Facebook friends and Amanda only has 512. Then I remembered … she’s the one actually having the babies.

She’s always going to have that to hold over me.

Telling people good news in the 21st Century is a little complicated, but it’s still pretty awesome. I look forward to doing it all over again when the twins actually arrive.


Monday, March 15, 2010

The Name Game, Part 2


Hi, I’m Noah! This summer my wife and I are having twins. Someday, they will rule Poland.

I promised you I would say more about the process of baby naming. So it’s time for more on names.


Thank you.

Today I want to talk about sources, places to look for names for babies.

A great source for names, from a Western perspective, is the Bible. Good solid names that stand the test of time. People know them and they can spell them … sometimes.

Sidebar: When Michael Jackson died, practically every trending topic on Twitter was about him, including “Micheal Jackson,” spelled M-I-C-H-E-A-L. Yes, enough people were spelling the name wrong to make it a Trending Topic. Enough people cared enough about Michael Jackson to tweet about him, but didn’t know how to spell the name Michael, which is the most popular boy’s name of the last 20 years. Seriously America, there is a reason why this country is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the People’s Republic of China.

I like Bible names for, somewhat obvious reasons, though, when I tell people my name is Noah and my brother is named Abraham, they tend to assume we’re insane Biblethumpers who were home-schooled to believe that the one true path to heaven comes from eating buttermilk and barley sandwiches and shooting Mexicans on sight.

Yes, my brother is named Abraham. My mother’s father was the most lapsed of lapsed Jews, yet somehow he wound up with grandsons named Noah, Benjamin, Abraham, Samuel, Aaron, Daniel and Jeremiah. Conversely his granddaughters all have Jane Austen names Jane, Jessica, Emma, and Tessa.

Another good source for names is Shakespeare. Actually Shakespeare isn’t so great for boy’s names, since they either tend to be standard English names like John and Henry or impossibly fanciful fake Italian names like Prospero and Malvolio or dirty jokes like Falstaff and Pickledick.

There isn’t really any Shakespearean character named Pickledick, but there ought to be.

But Shakespeare is FULL of great girl’s names – Cordelia, Miranda, Viola, Rosalind, Cecily, Portia, Etcetera.

Etcetera isn’t the name of a Shakespearean woman, but it ought to be.

Then, of course, there’s family names. Now, for my own personal taste, I’m not a great fan of giving a child your own name, or that of any close relative who’s still alive. Actually, in the Jewish tradition it’s considered unlucky to name a child after a relative who’s still living. But if you go back a few generations on your family tree, you’ll probably find some good ones.

Of course, this gets into the problem of giving your child a name that seems like an old person name. But remember, these things are cyclical. In fifty years, everybody’s grandmother is going to be named Brittany or Tiffany. Does this mean all the little girls born in 2060 will be named Ethel and Prudence? I don’t know, maybe, but I could definitely see some old lady names like Rose or Clara come back. Remember that only a few years ago, Sophia was totally a grandma name, and now it’s the _________ most popular name for baby girls.

On the other hand, some old names are NEVER coming back into vogue. For example … Dorcas. Yes, that is a real name, a real woman’s name. It’s not a HAPPY woman’s name, of course. There’s a reason why the song doesn’t go “Who’s skipping down the streets of the city, smiling at everybody she sees? … Everyone knows it’s Dorcas.”

Still so much more to say about names. Do you have other good sources to find great baby names? Let me know.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Name Game, Part 1


Hi, I’m Noah. This summer my wife and I are having twins … At this point we’re just signing our paychecks directly over to the Burbank Ikea.

To paraphrase comedian Mitch Hedberg, “If I had a baby I would have to think of a name. So I would need to buy a baby naming book or invite someone over who has a cast.”

Naming a baby is obviously a very important thing. It’s a key decision you make long, long before the child has any say in the matter

I feel like this must have been easier hundreds of years ago. Read a Shakespearean history sometime. Every character is named either John, Edward, Richard, or Henry, because those were the only names available.

Amanda grew up with a very common name. She was never the only Amanda in her class, and she didn’t like that. My parents gave me my own fairly uncommon first name to balance out my very common last name. The nice thing about my name is that everybody knows how to spell it and pronounce it, and they know where it comes from.

And yet, back in 1976 at least, it wasn’t very popular as a name. It’s gaining more popularity now, but I only knew a handful of other Noahs, growing up.

The less nice thing about my name is that I get to hear a lot of hilarious ark jokes. Well, not really hilarious, and not really jokes, plural. Just one joke, and it’s not even really a joke. It’s just “Hey, where’s your ark?” To which my usual answer is “I think I left it at your Mom’s house.”

I wonder, other people with Biblical names, do they get these same questions, too? “Hey, Adam, where’s your apple?” “Hey Mary, where’s your … virginity?” Though I suppose a good answer to that would also be “I think I left it at your mom’s house.”

Anyway, the point is, Amanda and I are trying hard to give our twins distinct names, but not bizarre names. We will not go the Hollywood route and name them, like, Effervescence and Ultra-Detective Atkinson.
Oh, yes, we have decided that our kids will have the last name Atkinson, rather than Smith because I don’t want to force anybody to have the name Smith and have to hear hilarious jokes from hotel clerks every time they check in.

For another, my father is the eldest of eight children and, in addition to my brother I have seven male cousins with the last name Smith. I’m not too worried about the family name dying out.

So, our criteria.

A) Distinct names, so they will not be one of a dozen Jennifers or Jasons in their classes. No offense to the Jennifers and Jasons of the world. I’m just saying your parents didn’t love you as much as we love our unborn twins.

B) Not too weird. I am a huge Marx Brothers fan. But I will not be naming a son Groucho Atkinson. I will not be naming a son Groucho Atkinson. I will not be naming a son Groucho Atkinson.

C) Something people can spell. When I was acting in children’s theatre, we would sign autographs for the kids at the end of the show and all the cute little quirky alternate spellings people were giving their children’s names were the bane of my existence. I think there are more ways to spell “Caitlin” than there are Eskimo words for snow. I wrote one children’s play with a character named Caitlin who spelled it Q-H-8-T-L-exclamation point-N-N-N. Audiences don’t always get that joke, but I appreciated it.

D) Something people can pronounce. There are a lot of lovely names out there that are just too tricky. I am one quarter Irish and I love Irish names. But when you look at how some of them are spelled versus how they’re pronounced … well, you can kind of see how the country’s reputation for drunkenness happened. If I name a kid Seamus or Siobhan, I’m dooming them to a lifetime of Seemus and See-oh-bann and I can’t do that to a child.

E) Something that goes well with the last name Atkinson. This rules out a lot of names that end in A sounds, because the first name and the last name would run together in a mushy way. For instance, my name would not go well with Atkinson. Noah Atkinson. That’s too many vowels in a row, when you say it, it’s like you started speaking Hawaiian for a few seconds. We’ve also had to rule out one of our favorite names, Atticus. Atticus Finch is a great character from To Kill a Mockingbird and it’s just a is a great name in general. But you can’t really name your son Atticus Atkinson unless you want him to grow up to be a Gilbert and Sullivan character.

I have a lot more to say about this, so this is really only part one of an ongoing series talking about names.

Please feel free to leave your own thoughts about this issue and I will happily steal them and pretend they’re my own.

Thanks. Bye.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Your Evil Twin and You

Hi, I’m Noah. This summer my wife and I are having twins … our house is never going to stop smelling like excrement.

So the first question you have to ask, when you’re having twins, is “how can I tell if one of my twins is evil?”

We’re all familiar with the idea of the evil twin. Soap Operas use them all the time, so do cartoons and science fiction. So if one of your twins is evil, you really need to look for warning signs before he straps you to a load of dynamite or steals the identity of the good twin in order to seize control of your company.

I’ve done some research into this and I’m going to present some of the warning signs to look out for.

Part One: During Pregnancy

Does one baby kick and the other baby stab?

In addition to normal food cravings, do you also hunger for the blood of virgins?

On the ultrasound, does one baby seem to have a ring of fire surrounding them?

Part Two: At Birth

Is one baby born with a goatee or eye-patch?

When you cut the umbilical cord on one baby, do wailing evil spirits come out?

When you get the birth certificates, do you suddenly notice that one baby has the same name as the first baby, just spelled backwards?

Part Three: Once You Get Them Home

When one baby cries, does the other cackle?

Does one baby show a marked preference for double-breasted onesies and black cloaks?

When you give one baby his bottle, does he swirl it around like a brandy snifter?

Does one baby refuse to listen to the Wiggles, preferring instead “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana and John Williams’

Does one baby speak baby talk with an English or German accent?

(SUBTITLE: 5 EVIL STUFFED ANIMAL (yes, there are two number fives. Hey! I'm new at this)
Does one of the babies reject his teddy bear and instead stroke a stuffed white cat, absentmindedly?

Is one twin’s first word “Dada” and the other’s first word is “Triumph!”?

So, if one of your twins is exhibiting any of these warning signs, there are steps you can take.

1) Send the child to private school in Europe. Make sure this school stresses horseback riding, fencing, and falconry. An evil child needs to channel his energy into wholesome pursuits like these. Can you imagine an evil horseman with a sword and a pet falcon? Wow. That would be awesome.

2) Sell the child to gypsies. Now, before you get upset, I’m not talking about actual Roma people. The Roma people live very modern lives and are productive members of twenty-first century society. So they are not useful for our purposes. I don’t mean the actual people who have been called the offensive term “gypsy” I mean non-Roma people who have adopted the stereotypical “gypsy” lifestyle. I mean real, travelling caravan, campfire and tambourine gypsies, someone who can teach your evil twin arcanna and magicks and potions, and foster in them a thirst for revenge against the world that has done them wrong. As I am saying this, I forget why I thought it was a good idea.

3) Apprentice the evil twin to a pirate. A life at sea will fill up your child’s lungs with good salty air and wash away all the evil. Plus, since your baby probably already has an eye-patch, this life is just a natural.
The good news about having an evil twin is that the other twin will be pure good. Nobody ever heard of an evil twin and a mediocre twin. So, for every murder, arson, or corporate takeover the evil twin will commit, you know the good one will open a hospital or save a busload full of orphans or what have you.

So, am I worried that one of my twins will be evil? Of course. What rational person wouldn’t be. Luckily, I have my own evil twin. His name is Haon and he has already agreed to adopt the evil one, should it come to that. Right, Haon?

HAON: Yes, yes, precisely. Everything is proceeding precisely according to plan.

NOAH: Haon’s a great guy. I mean, sure, periodically he’ll knock me out and leave me tied up in a closet so he can assume my identity to perpetrate an evil scheme. But … well, boys will be boys.

Talk to you soon. Bye!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Welcome to TwinDadBlog


Hi. I’m Noah. This summer, my wife and I are having twins. We’re never going to sleep again.

Hello again and welcome to the first entry on this new video blog or “vlog” as the kids call them, because apparently the word “blog” wasn’t nuspeaky enough.

As I said, this summer I will become the father of twins. This blog is a place where I can share thoughts and experiences along the way. Now, you might be asking, why should we care about you? Isn’t your wife the one who is currently growing two human beings inside of her?

The thing is she also has a real job, while I am wildly unemployable. So I’m the one making the videos. I’m pretty sure Amanda will appear from time to time, but mostly this is the Noah show. So feel free to stop watching now and start looking for videos of English children biting each other or something.

Anyway … me. My name is Noah. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Drama and a Master’s Degree in Playwriting, because if the novel was the medium of the 19th Century and film of course was the medium of the 20th Century, surely plays, theatre, drama is the medium of … the 17th Century. So we moved to Los Angeles, because we figured, since I know how to write plays, I could just add “screen” or “tele” in front of them and quickly become the toast of Hollywood. Here’s a montage of my work writing for film and TV.

(A clip from "Weekend Update" on "Saturday Night Live" is shown of Amy Poehler saying "New research shows that women think men with square jaws are good short-term partners, while men with softer, rounder faces are perceived as better long term mates. In other words, you date Bert but you marry Ernie.")

Yep. That was it. One joke on Saturday Night Live. Once. Three years ago. But actually, things were going pretty well for me. I had an agent, I writing scripts, I was taking meetings. Things were going really well. Then suddenly everyone decided to go on strike. I was not consulted about this.

So, during this strike, Amanda and I had the opportunity to travel around the world. All the way around. That was pretty cool.

By the time we got back, the strike was over and the two sides had agreed on one thing “Nobody hire Noah.” So, there were, back in the country and one of us was wildly unemployable, so clearly it was time for us to start having children.

After trying for a while -- that was the fun part -- we discovered in November that we had succeeded and we were, indeed, pregnant. Then, a month later, we learned we were double-pregnant. That’s right.

Two babies, one uterus!

And here’s the part they don’t always tell you. When you have two babies, you need to buy twice as much stuff. Two cribs, twice as many diapers, two sets of therapists bills.

And, as it turns out, if you take twins to day care, they expect you to pay for both of them! And daycare for just one baby costs about as much as the average person's salary.

So, we had a few options.

A) One of us takes a second job, so two of our three salaries will cover day care for the twins

B) We could attempt a farcical solution involving stacking one baby on top of the other and dressing them in a long trenchcoat, so it looks like they're just one really tall baby

C) To increase household income, bring a third person into our marriage, ideally Scarlett Johannson.

C was my favorite, but my wife vetoed it, for whatever reason, so we've decided to go with

D) Noah becomes a stay-at-home dad.

Since of course, as I said I am wildly unemployable and I possess almost no valuable skills, it only makes sense to entrust the care and upbringing of two helpless, needy, proto-humans.

So, while things may change, for now, this is what you should expect from this blog. A few months of posts where I say “Isn’t it wacky that my wife is having two babies?” followed by several months where I say “Isn’t it wacky that I’m staying at home trying to take care of two babies?”

So, join me, won’t you, on this journey? It’ll be a double-dose of fun.

Okay, sorry, I don't want to end it like this.

So come along, it should be pretty twinteresting.

Not that.

It’ll be a pair-adise?

God, no.

Please continue to visit my blog. I will attempt to make it not suck.