Neil Patrick Harris on his most important role: Fatherhood

Matt Sayles, APNeil Patrick Harris and David Burtka

Matt Sayles, AP
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka

Out entertainer Neil Patrick Harris is the subject of a profile in USA Weekend, where he discusses the “magic in everyday life” with his fiance David Burtka and the couple’s twin toddlers, daughter Harper and son Gideon, who will be 3 in October.

Matt Sayles, AP
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka

Harris, 40, who grew up in the public eye as star of “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” and who plays the womanizing Barney Stinson on CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” between gigs as this year’s host of the Emmy and Tony Awards, says fatherhood is by far his most important role:

For the better part of 20 years, I was a solo practitioner. 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.

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. 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.

David is so drawn to parenthood, just in his core, that I suddenly felt I was a perimeter guy. I was the man who put the cribs together and took the trash out. I tried to balance the equation.

The older they get, the more I love being a dad. Now that they’re talking, I’m really loving the camp counselor end of parenting. I’m all about reasoning. If they fall and are okay 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.

Harris’ new film, “The Smurfs 2,” opened this weekend.

Read the full story at USA Weekend.

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