'They’ll do something that blows your mind and then they’ll spit all their food out on the carpet'
Neil Patrick Harris has his movie star hat on this week with the release on Wednesday (1 August) of his new film Smurfs 2.
But he will soon be putting back on his TV star hat when his CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother begins production of its ninth and final season. Then in September, his awards show hat goes back on when he hosts the Primetime Emmys.
But amid it all, the 40-year-old Harris is wearing the hat of parent to nearly 3-year-old twins who he is raising with fiance David Burtka.
It’s been an adjustment.
‘For the better part of 20 years, I was a solo practitioner,’ he tells USA Weekend. ‘Then I got David, and that changed my dynamic. I had to be very conscious of another person, but we were still able to jump into a car and go to Vegas or spend three weeks in Italy. Although we were a unit, we were still very free.’
The births of son Gideon and daughter Harper have changed all of that.
‘When you have kids, everything anchors to their wants and needs, so you get less sleep and have to be more aware all the time,’ Harris says. ‘You have to be adaptable because they constantly keep changing. They’ll do something that blows your mind and then they’ll spit all their food out on the carpet. The first year with them was complicated. They were twins, and they were crying a lot. Thank God for David. He is so good at differentiating cries.’
But he has grown into the role.
‘The older they get, the more I love being a dad,’ the actor says. ‘Now that they’re talking, I’m really loving the camp counselor end of parenting. I think that’s where my strengths lie.’
‘I’m all about reasoning. If they fall and are OK but crying, David will be the hugger, and I’ll be the "Show me where it hurts; let’s talk about it" one. I come from a family of lawyers, so explanation is crucial.’