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Behind the scenes with a dad who gained internet fame tweeting about his 4 daughters.

When it comes to capturing the humor of parenting, James Breakwell is a pro.

Behind the scenes with a dad who gained internet fame tweeting about his 4 daughters.

James Breakwell has four daughters between the ages of 1 and 6, well over half a million Twitter followers, and an unfailing sense of humor.

James with three of his daughters. Image via James Breakwell, used with permission.

Known on Facebook and Twitter as Exploding Unicorn, Breakwell has been sharing his and his wife's parenting adventures with the world since 2012. He writes about the joys and sorrows of fathering four girls, proving that humor can be found in even the smallest moments.


Breakwell with his daughters dressed up as Harry Potter characters for Halloween. Image via James Breakwell, used with permission.

Like any father, Breakwell enjoys watching his kids grow up.

He loves watching their personalities change along with their likes and dislikes. "It’s fun to see what my daughters take an interest in and what they reject out of hand," he explained in an email.

For now, the girls have a wide variety of hobbies. "They love princesses, sci-fi, and zombies, and it all gets blended together in games that are as weird as they are loud," Breakwell said. Only time will tell what those games turn into when there are four teenagers in the house.

Raising four daughters comes with a unique set of challenges. But, Breakwell said, "whether it’s math, science, or zombie slaying, I teach my kids that both genders are equal at everything that matters."

"Ultimately, I don’t know what it means to be a woman any more than they do right now," he continued. "It’s up to them to define that for themselves. I just have to make sure they’re confident enough to deal with any challenge, regardless of if it’s a sexist boss or an undead monster."

And to their credit (and their parents'), the girls seem to be doing pretty well as far as confidence goes.

Family photo time with four young kids. Image via James Breakwell, used with permission.

What's the secret to getting such great tweets? Breakwell wrote that he spends all his time listening to his kids.

"I don't have a choice," he said. "They never stop talking."

And with four kids, he's got a lot of material to work with. Enough, actually, for an entire book. "Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse" is a work in progress, scheduled to be published in late 2017. It'll be a combination of parenting tips, a zombie survival guide, and the same humor that gained Breakwell his internet fame to start with.

The kids love being the subject of their dad's Twitter and are pretty convinced that he's a celebrity. Breakwell's wife, he explained, used to think the whole thing was a waste of time, but she's become more supportive as he's managed to secure a few ads.

Overall, Breakwell described his parenting style as "results-oriented."

"The ends justify the means," he said. "If my kids survive, I did a good job."

His advice for other fathers is similarly lighthearted: "Don't worry too much. Kids are more durable than you think."

Of course, there are tons of great dads like Breakwell (minus the Twitter account and a daughter or two) who are doing their best to help their daughters grow up well. The only difference is that in Breakwell's case, we all get to share in the comedy.

A behind-the-scenes look at a family photo shoot. Image via James Breakwell, used with permission.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less