You don’t have to wait until the Twins Days Festival this August to see lots of twins. Just north in Chagrin Falls, you’ll see double every day. At Gurney Elementary, there are nine sets of twins! In honor of Father’s Day, we talked with the dads of some of them in hopes of learning from their wild and wonderful experiences.
Jason Deeken is the father of two sets of fraternal twins. Anna and Emma, age 9, are in third grade. Matthew and Sarah are 1-year-old twins. Their brother Ben, 5, will be entering kindergarten this fall.
Mark Watson’s fraternal twins, Maggie and Jack, are in third grade.
Brad Lucas has twin daughters in second grade (Ava and Quinn), as well as two older sons (Austin and Cameron). One is in high school and the other is in college.
What was your first reaction when you found out you were having twins?
Jason: “I was very happy about it. We had been married for several years and were eager to start a family. The twins-factor was a little scary, but we were somewhat clueless about how much work that was going to mean anyway.”
Brad: “We weren’t even certain there was going to be one pregnancy. I was preparing for either zero or one additional child. Seeing two babies on the ultrasound was the biggest surprise of my life. Honestly, it took a few hours to come to grips with that. There were many early fun thoughts, but also some worry about the likely challenges ahead.”
Mark: “Speechless, aside from trying to ask the ultrasound tech why there were two heartbeats on the monitor.”
What do you love about having twins?
Jason: “Seeing them help each other, challenge each other, cooperate on things and learn together; it is very rewarding.”
Brad: “Everything! The satisfaction of knowing they will always have each other is huge, almost immeasurable. As a parent you spend a lot of time thinking of your children and how well you are providing for them and caring for them. Twins give extra insurance, as they will have each other when mom and dad are no longer around. Twins learn early on that life is not always just about you as an individual. Twins learn to be unselfish quickly.”
Mark: “I love that they are so close. I love having girl and boy fraternal twins because my wife and I are able to experience the best of both worlds as they are growing up, such as sports games and now we are getting into horse shows with Maggie. I love that they are so active and are having fun with their activities.”
What is one of your favorite memories as a dad?
Jason: “When the youngest twins came home from the hospital, the elder twins did a great job of being helpful; learning to hold the babies, make a bottle and even change a diaper.”
Brad: “I love is seeing the joy in your children’s faces when they realize they have succeeded in a challenge, whether it is sports or school or making others laugh. Parenting is an incredible challenge. Seeing your children flourish is a reward like no other — don’t miss your chance.”
Mark: “Of course the day that my twins were born. Every time that I hear my kids laugh or giggle I know they are loving life and having fun. Something little that we do as a family that always creates great memories for me is going on Sunday car rides. These are little mini getaways when we can spend a few hours together as a family going for a bite to eat or ice cream and enjoying each other’s company.”
Words of Wisdom
Joe Cipolletti is the father of Vince and Nathan, who is on this issue’s cover. He also has a kindergartener named Jack. Here are four things Joe suggests keeping in mind on your journey through the early months of parenthood.
- You will sleep later in life. “Our first child, Jack, was so easy. Within three months he was sleeping through the night. Vince and Nathan didn’t sleep through the night for about a year. Since the boys share a room, one wakes up the other. My wife and I were so sleep deprived that the first six months are a complete blur. What made things even tougher was that my wife had a C-section. For the first two weeks I played Mr. Mom because she couldn’t hold them. I was up to change diapers, feed them and soothe them. To compound the sleep deprivation, our oldest wanted to do all the things he was used to doing. Naptime for the twins meant ‘Jack time’ for Mom and Dad. Don’t worry, it will change before long and you will get to sleep again.”
- Teamwork. “From the beginning, my wife and I worked together so one of us could sleep while the other handled the boys. As they have gotten older we still have our assigned chores. My wife will make dinner while I clean and play with Jack. I handle baths for everyone and Robyn dresses them. In the morning, I get up first and get the milk and a snack while Robyn wakes everyone up and starts the morning routine. As she is dressing the kids, I am loading the car, running the dishwasher and cleaning up again. Having a plan makes everything go smoothly. You get in a routine that works.”
- Nothing will go as planned. “Expect the unexpected. Since Robyn and I both work, all our kids have been in childcare since they were age 3 months. As you can imagine, kids get sick. Then they bring it home to you. Someone is always under the weather here. I have taken the honor of being the ‘Urgent Care Dad.’ Anytime someone needs to go to the hospital, I take them! Try to be flexible.”
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. “With Robyn’s family in Chicago, we rely heavily on my parents, family and friends along with our babysitter. Without them, things would be much tougher.”