Monday, March 2, 2009

Inside the Real 24: The Paternity Leave Chronicles

For those of you who haven’t seen the TV show 24, I’m right with you because I’ve hardly ever seen it either. But as we’ve started raising twins, the main thematic element of the show has been coming back to my mind with surprising regularity.

Everything on the show’s season takes place within a 24 hour period, which is probably how they came up with the name. The main character, Jack Bauer, is having a very bad day. He has to save the world before the clock strikes midnight and terrorists from the mountains of Montana turn us all into radioactive pumpkins. Or whatever the crisis du jour is.

Now, we’re not saving the world here, but in all honesty, it sometimes feels that way.
I’m sure that Jack Bauer’s kid was young at some point, and if Jack took paternity leave, he would have had a very different version of “24.” If you’ve had a child (or say, three children in 18 months) you know what this version is like.

So, welcome to The Real 24. In this slightly more realistic version than the Fox show, contestants have to keep infant twin boys fed, diapered and usually not screaming. Not a challenge you say? Well, our little kicker to the plot is the 18-month old wonder named Asia who has more energy than the Chinese National Gymnastics team. (And in about 6 months, she should be about old enough to join.)

Instead of torture scenes, we have 3 AM feedings and double, make that triple, diaper duty. There may be no crazed terrorists trying to capture The Football, which as most people know contains the launch codes for America’s nuclear arsenal. But, we do have disposal of nuclear diaper waste, which is close in potency to a dirty bomb. We also have Asia running around the house at 11:30 PM, yelling her head off. (We couldn’t get her. Brooke was feeding one boy and I was burping the other.)

The premise is simple. Survival is the goal for us, the parents. The goal we must achieve with our tiny trio is two thriving and happy baby boys and one daughter who smiles and smells like lavender all day long in the spotless duplex in which we live. Parental guilt is not an option.

So, for the next few posts, join us for a look inside Season One of 24: The Paternity Leave Chronicles. Hour one starts tomorrow. The following season takes place between 5:30 AM Nov 7, and 5:30 AM Nov. 8, 2008.

The fact that this happened about 4 months ago should let you know something about my amount of free time. The boys were less than two weeks old at the time and Asia was 18 months old…how time flies. What’s the prize for winning? The pride of having played well, and Another 24 Hours.

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