Basic qualifications required for consideration as a NASA astronaut include a degree in engineering, biological or physical science, and the ability to pass the NASA long-duration space flight physical – including 20/20 vision.
Unlike most children their age, the muppets already have one graduate degree. (More average kids don’t typically experience a graduation until at least kindergarten – we earned our first degree before their expected delivery date. They’re NICU grads, with an emphasis in breathing.) Given the medical attention they received, and the wires and sensors that surrounded their tiny bodies throughout their stay, it seems like they’ve earned a bioscience degree for not letting anything hurt their little bodies and an engineering degree for navigating all those wires.
We have another opthalmology appointment tomorrow to confirm 20/20 vision, but their little eyes are tracking objects they are interested in with a laser like focus. The minimal Grade 1 ROP was declared dissipated months ago.
Astronauts often operate in a zero gravity environment, so I figure the muppets’ inability to sit up of their own accord is irrelevant. But sadly, we can’t explain away the height requirement. Astronaut candidates need to be between 60-75 inches tall; the muppets are pushing 26 inches.
Nevertheless, we spent these past few beautiful California days practicing for some hard missions. NASA notes that training for long-duration missions lasts two to three years beyond the initial training and evaluation period.
The muppets experienced their first swing ride at the park. My little thrill seekers loved every minute of the swaying adrenaline rush. Due to size restrictions (again with the “tiny” issue), Search and Destroy decided to share a swing. They already look like little space men, ready for a moonwalk.
Tonight we took upon a second trial mission. We set out to procure some basic household items. We loaded up, headed out and bundled back into the stroller. A woman sidled up next to us as we entered the store. “Oh bless your heart,” she smiled at me. “Twins?”
I started to smile, and let her know how blessed we are. “A boy and a girl?” she asked? I sighed. “Two boys,” I assured her. I aimed the stroller in the probable direction of oatmeal. We maneuvered our way past the candy aisles, which were swarming with last minute Valentine’s Day sweethearts in search of sugar.
“Aww,” a voice cried out from among the throngs, “Twins!” I looked up. “A boy and a girl, right?” said a very excited woman. Again, I assured her Search and Destroy were both boys – this time without the smile. I pushed forward faster, determined to locate the oatmeal and get back home. But once again, we were thwarted in our pursuit of mashed grains. A woman standing amid the family planning and prevention paraphernalia. “Wow! Twins. A boy and a girl?!”
“Two boys,” I said through clenched teeth.
It finally occurred to me that most of these exuberant multi-sex proponents never even take more than a cursory glance at the double stroller before pronouncing what must be the “ideal” twin result. Search and Destroy are both very much boys (despite a friend, who incidentally does have boy/girl twins, said that “Searchce” has a nice ring to it – pun intended).
No, they are not identical. They are brothers. Both boys. And the “ideal” twin result – is two healthy babies, who may or may not be future astronauts.