Control Issues

okay, you guys start with "twuck," and i'll chime in with bus. got it?

We’ve officially reached the echo stage at our house. You know, when at least one phrase from every sentence spoken gets repeated by a toddler? While that might get a touch old fairly quickly, it’s nowhere near as bad as hearing the triplets repeat their own words. Incessantly. Which is what’s been happening in the car lately.

All three of them were going nuts this past Saturday. “Show, Daddy, show. Show, Daddy, show. Show, Daddy, show.”

No. They’re not repeating their favorite Ben Roethlisberger pick-up lines. They’re demanding to watch a video in the car while we run our Saturday errands. (Pongo and Perdita. We’re off Elmo.)

At least that demand could be met, which pleased our little associates and quickly restored the peace.

For a little bit.

“Twuck,” said B.

“What’s that, buddy?” I asked.

“Twuck.”

“I don’t see any trucks.”

“Twuck.” This time it was A.

“Twuck, twuck, twuck, twuck” they began chanting in unison, each iteration louder than the previous one.

They wanted to see trucks, which put Lovie and me at the mercy of the truck Gods. Though they’re money on the interstate, they’re shaky at best on windy neighborhood roads. Which is where we were at the time. Which meant we were in for several minutes of “twuck” talk.

At least C isn’t big on trucks. She’s more of a…

“Bus.”

…bus kinda gal.

“Bus,” she said again. “Bus, bus, bus, bus, bus!”

Allow me to breakdown the situation for you. Three toddlers, wanting to see two different things, doing one annoying thing to drive home their point. Lovie and I were frustrated to say the least. Why? Because we weren’t in control of the situation.

From the very first day we brought our little guys home, one thing was clear. If Lovie and I didn’t establish control quickly, it’d be the tail that wagged the dog around our house for eighteen years. So we set a strict schedule for the triplets from day one. We seldom deviate from it. Nap times, feed times, bath times, and bed times are all set in stone. We got started early on the potty, successfully training all three shortly after their second birthday. We always make them clean up after themselves, we hardly ever pick them up and carry them, and we’re not afraid to put them in time out. Please and thank you are a must, as is sir and ma’am.

Old shool? Maybe. Instill-respectful-order school? You bet.

We’re pretty damn strict. And people can say whatever they want about it, but unless we want our family life to resemble a methodically moving train wreck riddled with endless fussing and distracting drama, we have to put the hammer down. And we like our end result. Because of our philosophy, the trips are down by seven each night, allowing us to spend some quality time with Pookie at the end of our day without the presence of an echo. And Pookie needs that. Come to think of it, her parents need that, too! And we get it, so long as we have control of the situation.

Which is what made our Saturday drive all the more difficult. We had no control of the situation. Not only could we not physically stop A, B, and C from their chanting, we also couldn’t magically make buses and trucks appear while driving down Northshore to Kroger. So their simultaneous, bi-gender, vehicular-related meltdowns were difficult to endure.

Twuck, twuck, twuck, twuck, twuck.

Bus bus. Bus bus.

Twuck, twuck, twuck, twuck, twuck.

Bus bus. Bus bus.

After about ten minutes? Let’s just say we were over all of the twuckin’ bussy-ness. If Lovie and I could have produced a gaggle of eighteen-wheelers, each pulling a trailer of buses, we would have done so in a New York minute. Because we needed to get control of the situation, and that was impossible because…well…

Because our triplets were trying to do the same thing. That is, they, too, wanted control of the situation. So it was a battle of wills. We wanted order. They wanted trucks and buses. In this instance, neither side won.

And we’re okay with that. If we keep it up, we’ll win our fair share. And if we win our fair share, I have a feeling that the triplets and Pookie will be winners, too.

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • http://tempestbeauty.wordpress.com Mandy

    I love your blog.

    I don’t know why. Maybe the same reason I loved your book. I can hear your voice in my head when I read it, and you make me laugh!

    I admire yours and Lovie’s parenting philosophy. We strive for the same sort of control. Sometimes, though… ya got to enjoy the lack of control all around. If you cant beat them, join them?

    Twucktwucktwucktwuckbusbusbus!

    At least it’s good for a laugh. :)

    Also, that picture is priceless.

  • http://tempestbeauty.wordpress.com Mandy

    I love your blog.

    I don’t know why. Maybe the same reason I loved your book. I can hear your voice in my head when I read it, and you make me laugh!

    I admire yours and Lovie’s parenting philosophy. We strive for the same sort of control. Sometimes, though… ya got to enjoy the lack of control all around. If you cant beat them, join them?

    Twucktwucktwucktwuckbusbusbus!

    At least it’s good for a laugh. :)

    Also, that picture is priceless.

  • http://www.fabricmarketknoxville.com Laura Higdon

    John, I am so glad to hear that you have control issues! I will never forget looking at my 2 little babies shortly after their birth and saying to myself and out loud, “You are NOT the boss of me.” Sure, I missed out on what some might consider precious bonding times, like rocking your child to sleep, etc. But the reward was they learned crib = sleep. Not swing = sleep or rocking chair = sleep. And nary a baby EVER slept in my bed. They learned the remote control was not a toy, nor were keys or Mommy’s purse. They learned not to touch the Christmas tree. Of course we kept it gated in the parlor for 3 years. (We let them visit it on occasion) Haha! “No touchin’!” was a buzz phrase at our house early on. My point is, they learn as early as you teach them. Whether it is to soothe themselves back to sleep or not to touch, they learn from the day they are born. A direct consequence of exercising control early is pleasant, obedient children the older they get. (Most of the time) It was always a goal of mine for others to enjoy my kids. Not for them to whisper behind my back, “OMG, here come those Higdon’s and their wild kids.” Why, just the other day a middle school golf coach commented to me, “Your daughter is so polite. She called me sir.” Even when you dispair that it’s not working, it is. And you WILL win in the end! Carry on!

    PS: Please don’t think I am recalling these memories through rose colored glasses because my twins are now 13. We absolutely did have our awful moments, but it was pretty much a blissful time because of my absolute determination NOT to be run ragged by my kids. Now, the teenage years might be a different story!!!!!

  • http://www.fabricmarketknoxville.com Laura Higdon

    John, I am so glad to hear that you have control issues! I will never forget looking at my 2 little babies shortly after their birth and saying to myself and out loud, “You are NOT the boss of me.” Sure, I missed out on what some might consider precious bonding times, like rocking your child to sleep, etc. But the reward was they learned crib = sleep. Not swing = sleep or rocking chair = sleep. And nary a baby EVER slept in my bed. They learned the remote control was not a toy, nor were keys or Mommy’s purse. They learned not to touch the Christmas tree. Of course we kept it gated in the parlor for 3 years. (We let them visit it on occasion) Haha! “No touchin’!” was a buzz phrase at our house early on. My point is, they learn as early as you teach them. Whether it is to soothe themselves back to sleep or not to touch, they learn from the day they are born. A direct consequence of exercising control early is pleasant, obedient children the older they get. (Most of the time) It was always a goal of mine for others to enjoy my kids. Not for them to whisper behind my back, “OMG, here come those Higdon’s and their wild kids.” Why, just the other day a middle school golf coach commented to me, “Your daughter is so polite. She called me sir.” Even when you dispair that it’s not working, it is. And you WILL win in the end! Carry on!

    PS: Please don’t think I am recalling these memories through rose colored glasses because my twins are now 13. We absolutely did have our awful moments, but it was pretty much a blissful time because of my absolute determination NOT to be run ragged by my kids. Now, the teenage years might be a different story!!!!!

  • Patrick

    John, as always, I love your insight and commentary. And good for you and Lovie for going for the old school polite and respectful upbringing!

    Note to self: After buying book, get John to sign it. And give him two toy twucks and a toy bus for future trips. :-p

  • Patrick

    John, as always, I love your insight and commentary. And good for you and Lovie for going for the old school polite and respectful upbringing!

    Note to self: After buying book, get John to sign it. And give him two toy twucks and a toy bus for future trips. :-p

  • http://www.blogonkevin.blogspot.com home and uncool

    Wait until they start echoing the words you don’t want them to say.

    Like “Nintendo DS.”

  • http://www.blogonkevin.blogspot.com home and uncool

    Wait until they start echoing the words you don’t want them to say.

    Like “Nintendo DS.”

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    Go Twuck yourself. 😉 Sorry, couldn’t help myself, had to be done.

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    Go Twuck yourself. 😉 Sorry, couldn’t help myself, had to be done.

  • Nicki

    I hate to tell you, JCO, but you and Lovie may come to realize this soon anyway. Control is an illusion. You are outnumbered and that is going to only get worse as the trips get older. Trust me on this one and prepare to lose control! :)

  • Nicki

    I hate to tell you, JCO, but you and Lovie may come to realize this soon anyway. Control is an illusion. You are outnumbered and that is going to only get worse as the trips get older. Trust me on this one and prepare to lose control! :)

  • http://daddyfiles.com Daddy Files

    I can’t imagine triplets. I’m sure it’s three times the reward, but…wow, I just can’t imagine.

    And I think I will always strive for the middle ground between old-school strictness and being a laid back parent. Like you, I’m huge on the manners. Everything is please and thank you, even before he could talk he knew sign language for those two.

    And while a routine is important, I try not to get too bogged down in it. I never wanted to be one of those parents who could never take his kid out to someone’s house at a certain time because it would cut 30 minutes into nap time. Again, it’s probably much different with one kid vs. three, but I like your style.

  • http://daddyfiles.com Daddy Files

    I can’t imagine triplets. I’m sure it’s three times the reward, but…wow, I just can’t imagine.

    And I think I will always strive for the middle ground between old-school strictness and being a laid back parent. Like you, I’m huge on the manners. Everything is please and thank you, even before he could talk he knew sign language for those two.

    And while a routine is important, I try not to get too bogged down in it. I never wanted to be one of those parents who could never take his kid out to someone’s house at a certain time because it would cut 30 minutes into nap time. Again, it’s probably much different with one kid vs. three, but I like your style.

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    Nice big ben comment. I cant spell Rothleswhatever so he is big ben. I cannot imagine trying to maintain control over three kids. Kudos to you for doing a good job. I have a battle of wills every day with only one child. I win a lot but it requires a fight. It is never easy.

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter321

    Nice big ben comment. I cant spell Rothleswhatever so he is big ben. I cannot imagine trying to maintain control over three kids. Kudos to you for doing a good job. I have a battle of wills every day with only one child. I win a lot but it requires a fight. It is never easy.

  • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

    @ Mandy — we do our best and do what works for us, just like, i bet you do. your kind words made my day.

    @ Laura — it’s always good to hear from my bestie. one thing that i think is hard for parents of singletons to understand is that you can’t employ the same tactics for multiples and expect to have anywhere near the quality of life you want. i love what you had to say, and cannot wait to run into you IRL.

    @ Patrick Bird, i assume? if so, thank you, old friend, for stopping by. i’m so glad we’re in touch via FB and now the blog. (just no twuck gifts, okay, wise guy?)

    @ home and uncool — EXCELLENT point. i consider myself lucky and totally understand that i totally do NOT understand what we’re in for down the road.

    @ jack Hey, at least it took five full comments for the twuck you jokes to come out. (though i did resort to twuckin’ bussyness in the post)

    @ nikki — i do fear that control is an illusion. you, of all people, should know that, given the amount of children you had in such a short period of time. the ultimate control is when you get what you want by having no control. thus, the triplets are control freaks. damn them.

    @daddy files — i’d be right there with you in the middle if it weren’t for three. w/ three, i personally believe that tight is right.

    @ otter321 it’s always a battle regardless of number, no? not sure how good of a job we do, but we are certainly doing our best.

  • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

    @ Mandy — we do our best and do what works for us, just like, i bet you do. your kind words made my day.

    @ Laura — it’s always good to hear from my bestie. one thing that i think is hard for parents of singletons to understand is that you can’t employ the same tactics for multiples and expect to have anywhere near the quality of life you want. i love what you had to say, and cannot wait to run into you IRL.

    @ Patrick Bird, i assume? if so, thank you, old friend, for stopping by. i’m so glad we’re in touch via FB and now the blog. (just no twuck gifts, okay, wise guy?)

    @ home and uncool — EXCELLENT point. i consider myself lucky and totally understand that i totally do NOT understand what we’re in for down the road.

    @ jack Hey, at least it took five full comments for the twuck you jokes to come out. (though i did resort to twuckin’ bussyness in the post)

    @ nikki — i do fear that control is an illusion. you, of all people, should know that, given the amount of children you had in such a short period of time. the ultimate control is when you get what you want by having no control. thus, the triplets are control freaks. damn them.

    @daddy files — i’d be right there with you in the middle if it weren’t for three. w/ three, i personally believe that tight is right.

    @ otter321 it’s always a battle regardless of number, no? not sure how good of a job we do, but we are certainly doing our best.

  • http://bwakeling.wordpress.com Ben Wakeling

    My son has started asking “Why?” to everything I ask him to do. Sometimes I’m in the mood, and we end up distilling the initial instruction into its most basest form, and sometimes I use those excellent words, “Because I said so!”

  • http://bwakeling.wordpress.com Ben Wakeling

    My son has started asking “Why?” to everything I ask him to do. Sometimes I’m in the mood, and we end up distilling the initial instruction into its most basest form, and sometimes I use those excellent words, “Because I said so!”

  • http://sahdpdx.com gylcol

    Show Daddy doesn’t work for Big ben either

  • http://sahdpdx.com gylcol

    Show Daddy doesn’t work for Big ben either

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    @ jack Hey, at least it took five full comments for the twuck you jokes to come out. (though i did resort to twuckin’ bussyness in the post)

    No twucking way.

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ Jack

    @ jack Hey, at least it took five full comments for the twuck you jokes to come out. (though i did resort to twuckin’ bussyness in the post)

    No twucking way.

  • http://sahdinlansing.com Chris (@tessasdad)

    I can’t stop laughing, because I can almost picture the trips in the back chanting, “twuck, twuck, twuck…”

  • http://sahdinlansing.com Chris (@tessasdad)

    I can’t stop laughing, because I can almost picture the trips in the back chanting, “twuck, twuck, twuck…”

  • http://louispartyof5.blogspot.com Kim

    “Twuckin’ bussyness” sounds a lot like my “fuffin beebabies”. One of my trips started calling blueberry muffins “fuffin beebabies” and Daddy was away on business at the time. He got a kick out of sharing it at the dinner table that night and later he heard it exclaimed as someone stubbed their toe. Funny things those kids can say!
    I’ve got to get a copy of your book one of these days! I hear that I can find it locally in Knoxville, so I’ll be sure to grab one.
    Still love the blog and I hope that we can exert as much control over ours as you have yours. Can you stop by to teach them how to stop the throw-myself-onto-the-floor-tantrum drama? I could really go the rest of my life without another one of THOSE!
    Take care.

  • http://louispartyof5.blogspot.com Kim

    “Twuckin’ bussyness” sounds a lot like my “fuffin beebabies”. One of my trips started calling blueberry muffins “fuffin beebabies” and Daddy was away on business at the time. He got a kick out of sharing it at the dinner table that night and later he heard it exclaimed as someone stubbed their toe. Funny things those kids can say!
    I’ve got to get a copy of your book one of these days! I hear that I can find it locally in Knoxville, so I’ll be sure to grab one.
    Still love the blog and I hope that we can exert as much control over ours as you have yours. Can you stop by to teach them how to stop the throw-myself-onto-the-floor-tantrum drama? I could really go the rest of my life without another one of THOSE!
    Take care.

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    Reason #1, 2 & 3, why you should drink.

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    Reason #1, 2 & 3, why you should drink.

  • http://clarkkentslunchbox.blogspot.com/ Clark Kent’s Lunchbox

    Like baby chicks, one starts peeping and then they all are. I can just imagine the look on your face when they are doing this. I’m wondering as they get older what else they will be copying from one another. You’ve got trouble.

    And the Roethlisberger line–classic.

  • http://clarkkentslunchbox.blogspot.com/ Clark Kent’s Lunchbox

    Like baby chicks, one starts peeping and then they all are. I can just imagine the look on your face when they are doing this. I’m wondering as they get older what else they will be copying from one another. You’ve got trouble.

    And the Roethlisberger line–classic.

  • http://www.realmendriveminivans.com PJ Mullen

    And here I thought I had problems when my son demanded “M M’s” for breakfast this morning.

  • http://www.realmendriveminivans.com PJ Mullen

    And here I thought I had problems when my son demanded “M M’s” for breakfast this morning.

  • Tommy Schmid

    Loved this post, John, especially your respectful strict rules. Keep to it and it will pay off. While some days I wonder if my kids, almost 20 and 17, ever heard me when they were growing up, I am told they always use their best manners around others; yes sir, yes ma’am, please and thank you. One day they will thank you for being strict!

  • Tommy Schmid

    Loved this post, John, especially your respectful strict rules. Keep to it and it will pay off. While some days I wonder if my kids, almost 20 and 17, ever heard me when they were growing up, I am told they always use their best manners around others; yes sir, yes ma’am, please and thank you. One day they will thank you for being strict!

  • http://www.wonderfriend.com Missy

    Just found you via Ivy League Insecurities and I love your blog! I really enjoyed this post. We have one preschooler and one just-now-becoming-a-toddler, and this week has been all about control in our house. We have it (mostly); they want it (entirely). As they have no jobs and very little else to think about, they are doing their best to wear us down. They’ve come close, but we’re determined to win in the long run! It’s constant, hard, trying work. Worth it, though.

    I look forward to reading more!

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      missy, if you found me through aidan, then you’re good in my book. anyone who reads her gives thought to thinking. she’s fantastic. i bet you are, too. look fwd to swinging by your blog.

  • http://www.wonderfriend.com Missy

    Just found you via Ivy League Insecurities and I love your blog! I really enjoyed this post. We have one preschooler and one just-now-becoming-a-toddler, and this week has been all about control in our house. We have it (mostly); they want it (entirely). As they have no jobs and very little else to think about, they are doing their best to wear us down. They’ve come close, but we’re determined to win in the long run! It’s constant, hard, trying work. Worth it, though.

    I look forward to reading more!

    • http://www.johncaveosborne.com johncaveosborne

      missy, if you found me through aidan, then you’re good in my book. anyone who reads her gives thought to thinking. she’s fantastic. i bet you are, too. look fwd to swinging by your blog.