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You know those funny Instagram posts by parents who are joyfully leaping and fist-pumping in the air because they’re so excited to send their kids back to school?
You won’t be seeing that in Neil Patrick Harris’ feed anytime soon.
The father of 7-year-old twins Harper and Gideon with husband David Burtka, Harris is wistfully sad that summer will soon be over.
After spending much of the past year shooting the role of Count Olaf in the Netflix series “A Series of Unfortunate Events” in Vancouver, Canada, Harris was not around his kids much.
“It didn’t allow me to be in the same town, let alone room, as my kids. This summer has been so fantastic for us to all get to hang out together. We’ve done a lot of traveling, we’ve gotten to watch a lot of movies, gotten to explore,” he told TODAY Parents. (And, yes, we saw that one trip was with Sir Elton John and his family!)
“Once the school day starts…I’ll regret not being able to just have a free-for-all with my gaggle of knuckleheads.”
But while papa is not quite ready for school, he describes the twins as “cautiously enthusiastic” about heading into second grade, anxious to know which friends are in their classes and which teachers they will have.
Harris says he and Burtka run a tight ship when the school year starts — from family dinner time to bathtime to book reading. The biggest struggle for the kids, he says, will be that early 7:30 p.m. bedtime after a summer of staying up late.
The twins may not be thrilled by the prospect of homework, but their dad is a big fan. “I have no interest in doing their homework for them, but I think school is such a great opportunity to learn all kinds of things you didn’t know you needed to know. I’m hoping my enthusiasm rubs off on them,” he says, joking “and if they aren’t enthusiastic, then they are grounded.”
Given that Burtka is a trained chef, it’s no surprise the twins are prodigious eaters, as often shown by their dads on social media. So, we asked Harris: Are kids who love sashimi and scallops and urchin, reverse picky eaters? Can you get away with making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for an after-school snack?
Apparently, peanut butter granola bars will be part of the afternoon snack mix (Harris is currently partnering with Jif Power Ups, a new line of snacks) along with veggies and hummus or fruit or string cheese.
“Their palates are adventurous but they also appreciate simple, wholesome ingredients. They don’t have an appetite for burgers from fast-food chains or chicken nuggets with weird sauces,” Harris says, adding that there is a perk of having a chef dad. “When they do eat chicken nuggets, David makes them at home, from scratch.”
Having a chef dad has also inspired the twins to want to cook. And this, Harris says, has demanded some parental perseverance.
“It has become a challenge to eat everything that they serve. And not only that, to ‘actively enjoy’ everything that they serve us because more times than not, it doesn’t turn out quite as delectable as we might hope.”