August 15, 2011 04:00 PM

Dara Kushner/INF

Matthew Broderick is officially on the mend.

After undergoing back surgery, the actor admits he’s feeling better — but the recovery time is already taking a toll on Tabitha and Loretta, his 2-year-old fraternal twin daughters with wife Sarah Jessica Parker.

“I’m not allowed to pick them up for awhile and it’s hard to explain,” Broderick, 49, told PEOPLE at the Showtime and Cinema Society’s premiere of Homeland in East Hampton on Saturday.

“But they’re pretty good about it. They got it very quickly. I keep telling them, ‘I’ll be back…'”

And it won’t be long before the girls can express their own opinions, reveals the doting dad.

“They are into talking, saying every new word,” Broderick says. “They repeat everything a lot of times. Their ‘R’s and ‘L’s are not so good, but that will come.”

Meanwhile, James Wilkie, 8½, is in far better shape than his famous father.

“He likes to take tennis in sports camp,” says Broderick, adding his son‘s goal isn’t to better his skills. “There is a girl and on the tennis court they actually just take out their Bey Blades and play … they don’t give a damn about tennis.”

— Jeffrey Slonim

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