With the help of a surrogate, the actor and David Burtka welcome twins and adjust to their new world of sleepless nights and endless love

By Julie Jordan
January 10, 2011 12:00 PM

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka have their hands full-again. It’s feeding time in their Hollywood Hills home for their fraternal twins Harper Grace and Gideon Scott, who were born on Oct. 12 via surrogate. Each dad grabs a bottle and a baby. “I’ve always been in control of most things, but these two come along and it all changed,” says the How I Met Your Mother star, looking down at Gideon, who is happily gripping his pinky. In between burps and coos, Harris, 37, and actor/chef Burtka, 35 (“Papa” and “Daddy,” respectively), sat down with PEOPLE’s Julie Jordan to discuss their journey to parenthood:

You have been together almost seven years. How did you decide you were ready for kids?

HARRIS: We just wanted to wait until the timing was right. I always thought I’d make a good parent, but I was single and led a solitary life for many, many years. Then I met David, and he had experience with kids and wanted to have a family too. In a previous relationship of his, [his partner] had already started the surrogacy process on his own so David got to help raise his kids.

BURTKA: They never called me Dad, but I’m still a very special uncle to them.

HARRIS: We still see them a lot. They can’t wait to meet these two.

What was your surrogacy process like?

HARRIS: We found an egg donor anonymously through a hilarious process of looking at people’s profiles and then an amazing surrogate who had helped a same-sex couple before. And then we inserted two eggs, one with my sperm, one with David’s sperm and they both took.

BURTKA: When we first found out it was fraternal twins, we were thrilled. We don’t know whose is whose, but it’s amazing how different they already are. She is all girl and he is all boy.

HARRIS: She’s more emotional and verbal. He sleeps and burps a lot.

How did you feel when you first held them in the delivery room?

BURTKA: Just absolute joy. They didn’t cry; they were incredibly alert.

HARRIS: I was trying to take it all in, but also nervous for their safety and wanting everything to be okay.

Did you jump right into diaper duty?

BURTKA: Immediately. We stayed with them in the hospital every night.

HARRIS: And we have a remarkable nanny who is sleep-training them. If she wasn’t here, we’d be calling the pediatrician every half hour.

What’s been the biggest adjustment to parenthood?

HARRIS: The sleep deprivation. You have to live in those spurts.

BURTKA: And with twins, we can’t really take turns getting up.

Do you two want to get married?

BURTKA: I’d love to.

HARRIS: When we’re allowed to, it’d be nice to move my ring to my left hand.

You seem blissfully happy.

HARRIS: Everyone has been so supportive of us having kids. And not only do they get older and more developed and interesting, but David’s and my relationship changes too. We’re required to have each other’s back, and I’m just amazed at the human being that he is. He’s an amazing dad.

BURTKA: And you’re an amazing Papa!

HARRIS: [laughs] We’ll see.