During the early days, Papa definitely bore the brunt of baby fatigue, doing the hard feedings — midnight and 3 a.m. — while Daddy took the evening (9 p.m.) and the morning (6 a.m.) shifts. It is hard on anyone to have their routine consistently disrupted, and Papa functions much better on shorter stretches of sleep.
To jazz up the morning session, after bottles and burps, Daddy used to put the twins on their boppies, played some tunes, and got them ready to “dancercise.” Daddy would take their pastel blankets, one in each hand, and shake them to the beat (usually some dance version of Madonna’s “Music”) over their boppies, while they stared and wiggled. It was when Daddy would drop the blanket far enough down that it brushed lightly against them, that smiles would break out. At the end of the “routine,” Daddy would switch it, starting with the blankets above their heads and then drawing them toward him so that the entire length of the blanket would pass lightly and slowly over their faces and bodies. After rinsing and repeating, it was hard to imagine how those little blobs at the time could look any happier than in those moments.
Sometimes the dancercising would tucker them out and the blankets brushing over their heads, faces, and bodies would lull them back toward sleep, and sometimes Daddy would just drop the blankets on their bellies to let them enjoy a little catnap…
Four years later…
F: Daddy, can you tell me a story?
D: About what, Fisher Bug?
C: A story about when we were babies.
D: Oh, guys, there are so many good stories about when you were babies. You were the cutiest patootiest babies. And you loved to…
C: Can you tell about the blankets dancing?
D: Which one?
F: The one where you, er, uh, take the blankets and, uh, er, dance them over us on our, er, uh…
D: On your boppies?
C: Boppies, yes, Daddy.
D: How about I show you?
They exchange bewildered looks. Boppies having been handed down years ago, Daddy situates each of them on their bean bags. Their pastel blankets having also been retired for years, Daddy grabs the receiving blankets given to them by their Aunt Sarah and Uncle Dennis. Cue the music. Blankets wiggle. Eyes widen. Smiles form. As the pace picks up, they try to grab the blankets with their arms and legs but without lifting themselves off of the bean bags, acting spontaneously like babies on boppies. After a couple of songs, Daddy draws the blankets down across their faces and bodies slowly, lightly, repeatedly.
No catnaps follow, but eyes do close, smiles persist, and, perhaps solely in Daddy’s eyes, this blend of present and past brings them a few moments of heaven on earth.