In my younger days, which date back to the last century, I was a two-fisted drinker, with a bottle in each hand and one large mouth to fill.
In my older days, which date back to last month, I was a two-fisted feeder, with a bottle in each hand and two small mouths to fill.
The latter scenario took place when my wife, Sue, and I met our new twin grandchildren, Zoe and Quinn.
Our older daughter, Katie, had given birth to the dynamic duo three weeks before Sue and I visited for seven days and (more important) nights, during which we helped Katie and our son-in-law Dave with babysitting Zoe, Quinn and their big brother, Xavier, who is 2 and a half and is a sweet boy who loves his little siblings even more than he loves playing with me, which he did constantly at home, at a friend’s house and at a birthday party to which I, a bigger kid than any of the toddler guests, was invited.
The two bottles came into play when I fed Zoe and her younger (by 25 minutes) brother, Quinn, both of whom have healthy appetites that must be sated simultaneously to keep them on the same schedule.
This entailed, often between the wee small hours of 1 and 4 a.m., placing them on either side of me while using an ingenious invention called My Brest Friend, a nursing pillow that wraps around the feeder to ensure that always the twins shall eat.
I did double duty several times and even did quadruple duty (two twin feedings in one night) twice. I also did double doody (dual diaper detail) each time I did double duty, always before the feedings but sometimes directly afterward, too, which is doubly daunting for a geezer working on precious little sleep.
The greatest challenge was getting the bottles into both mouths and keeping the babies balanced while each guzzled between two and four ounces of 100 percent, all-natural mother’s milk.
At halftime, there was burping. The babies also had to be burped, then fed the remainder of their meal, after which further eructations had to be coaxed before they could be swaddled (the only part at which I did not excel) and put back in their bassinets to sleep it off while I attempted to do the same on a nearby couch.
Two hours later, it was feeding time again.
Katie, who is nursing, had the most important role, of course. Dave did double duty with the pillow, but Sue never got the hang of it because, she said, “I’m too short.” During the day, she fed either Zoe or Quinn while I fed the other.
Xavier provided moral support, saying hello to his infant siblings and kissing them in a touching display of brotherly love.
He also provided moral support to Nini and Poppie, by which Sue and I are known to our five grandchildren, who now number enough for a (very short) basketball team.
Xavier helped Sue make blueberry bread and meatball pizza, which he scarfed down for breakfast and dinner, respectively. And he helped me be uncharacteristically useful by reading to him, driving his toy trucks and trains, and engaging in spirited games of hide-and-seek.
“Xavier has joined the Cult of Poppie,” Katie remarked, noting that his cousins, Chloe and Lilly, are already members and that Zoe and Quinn are applying for admission.
They proved it by spitting up on me after a nighttime feeding. The next morning, I attended the aforementioned birthday party with Xavier and Katie in a T-shirt streaked with spit-up stains.
But I didn’t care. Meeting my newest grandchildren was a twin-win situation.
Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Hearst Connecticut Media Group, which includes his hometown paper, the Stamford Advocate. His column is distributed by Tribune News Service of Chicago and has run in newspapers nationwide and abroad. He is also the author of four books, Leave It to Boomer, The Empty Nest Chronicles, Grandfather Knows Best and Nini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures, all of which are “crimes against literature.” He has won seven awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for his humorous writing.