Neil Patrick Harris: 'The Older My Twins Get, The More I Love Being a Dad'

07/27/2013 at 08:00 PM EDT

Neil Patrick Harris: 'The Older My Twins Get, The More I Love Being a Dad'
Neil Patrick Harris (inset) and a Twitter photo of his twins
Courtesy Neil Patrick Harris; Andrew H. Walker/Getty
Neil Patrick Harris admits that it took a while for him to adjust to being a dad to twins Harper and Gideon.

"The first year with them was complicated," he says in an interview with USA Weekend. "They were crying a lot."

But as the toddlers approach their third birthday in October, it's a whole different ball game.

"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," he says. "I'm all about reasoning. If they fall and are okay but crying, David [Burtka, his partner] 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."

But the 40-year-old also loves playing with them!

"We do circus tricks together," says the Smurfs 2 and How I Met Your Mother star, who's president of a private magicians club in L.A. and has a "Magic Room" in his home.

And when he and his kids aren't hanging out in their backyard pool – "They're remarkable swimmers," he reveals – he's cherishing the more peaceful times. "I love reading books to them … I use different voices," says Neil, who his kids call "Poppa." "I like moments of quiet connection – like giving them back scratches."

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