The Problem with Competing Against Caroline

Okay. Here’s the deal. I’m a pretty competitive person. And it turns out that my wife’s a bit competitive, too. And from time to time those competitive spirits collide, if you will.

I’ve written about said collisions a time or two, you know. Most notably a tennis-related collision. I won’t bore you with the details, but the long story short is this: I used to regularly wax my wife at tennis. I’m talking 0-and-0-type stuff here.

But then she started playing tennis regularly and formally via a competitive league and went all Evonne Goolegong on me outta nowhere. So I challenged her to a match. And she…

kicked my ass.

[Read more…]

Toddler Related Train Wrecks

You see that picture just above this line? That picture, my friends, is of the chandelier in our furniture-less dining room. But more importantly, that picture is the perfect metaphor for Caroline and me right now. We’re awfully close — in the grand scheme of things — to being right where we’re supposed to be. Yet, sadly, we’re noticeably askew. Still, we’re hanging in there. But, let’s fact it… we could collapse at virtually any moment.

Why, you ask? Because of toddler-related train wrecks. That’s why. And I learned of the most recent such train wreck just two days ago via a phone call from my beautiful wife. A phone call which began with a question that no man ever wants to hear his wife ask, especially over the telephone. “How do you turn off the water to the house?”

[Read more…]

Annoying Toys and the Parents Who Loathe Them

So, I’ve been on a bit of a deep thread over here at my personal blog, one which I intend to deviate from with my next post which should be up tomorrow. (Wait til you hear what the triplets did yesterday…) But fear not, dear friends. For I still possess a sense of humor. And today it’s on display over at AimingLow. And I gotta say, I’m kinda partial to this post as I think it’s quite funny. Remember the post I wrote for TLC called 10 Astonishingly Annoying Toys? (It wound up on the homepage of YahooShine!) It was inspired by one toy in particular. And that toy is featured in the AimingLow post that just went up today. But what’s also featured is another dialogue with my exceedingly clever and lovely wife. One in which she, per usual, gives me all I can handle. See what happens when we disagree on whether or not a toy will prove to be annoying by clicking HERE. And, again, swing back by tomorrow if you wanna see me try to be funny on my personal blog for a change.

It’s the Holidays — What Were You Expecting?

Wait, what?

It was Sunday, November 7, the first day of daylight savings time, and I was fired up about the extra hour. In fact, I stretched it to two by sleeping til 8 as opposed to my regular 7. True to form, Lovie did no such thing. By the time I stumbled into the kitchen, the tiny trio were already finished with their breakfast and out of their highchairs, roaming about like diminutive tyrants as my industrious wife cleaned their royal carnage. The sweet scent of syrup told me it was pancakes the monarchs had devoured.

I felt like such a deadbeat for not being a part of the culinary efforts that I offered to assume full responsibility for two-thirds of our toddlers. With Pookie at her dad’s house, that would leave my wife just one child with which to contend. And one child? That’s a flat-out layup.

Biggs wanted to stay with Mommy, so I corralled Monster and Peanut and took them upstairs to the playroom where, by complete coincidence, there happened to be a television tuned to ESPN, thereby allowing me to preview all the day’s upcoming football contests. In front of said TV sits a blue couch — an extremely comfortable blue couch.

The table was set for some good ol’ fashioned multi-tasking via a controversial but effective supervisory technique known as sleep-parenting. I, um, read about it. In a book. Or magazine. Somewhere.

Anyway, there I was, minding my own business, sleep-parenting on the comfy blue couch in the bonus room with Monster and Peanut playing contently nearby (and quietly—which is critical for sleep-parenting), when Biggs stumbled in with the phone.

“Call Mommy.”

I quickly dialed her cell, concerned that my often misinterpreted sleep-parenting was about to be called under attack (yet again).

“Hello,” she said from the kitchen.

“What’s up, babe? You need something?” I asked, in my best wide-awake voice.

“I’ve been obsessing over something that I have to tell you about.”

“What’s that, honey?”

“I think I’m pregnant.”

Holy shit.

“What?!”

“I think I’m pregnant.”

Holy, holy, holy shit. As in the very most holy of shits — I’m talking Mahatma-Gandhi-type fecal matter, here. Okay, stay cool. Obviously a false alarm.

“What? Why do you think that? Are you late or something?” I asked, suddenly no longer worried about my voice. I was confident that it was far from sleepy-sounding.

“No. I’m not supposed to start until next week.”

Phew.

“Stop worrying, then. I’m sure we’re good.”

“I don’t know,” she countered before continuing with my boobs, this and my body, that.

“Well what do you wanna do about it?” I asked.

“Take a pregnancy test,” she answered.

“HELL no,” I replied. “That’s WAY too much drama for a Sunday. I am NOT signing up for that.”

Twenty minutes later, my candy-ass was double parked in a blue handicapped zone outside of Walgreens while Lovie was busily be-bopping along the family-planning aisle. Only the three screaming toddlers in the backseat reminded me that we were planning no such thing. Neither one of us wanted to have another child.

“Sorry,” Lovie said as she got back in the car. “Couldn’t find it right away.”

“Did you take it?” I asked.

“Are you crazy?” she answered. “I’m not taking a pregnancy test inside of a drug store. I’ll wait til we get home.”

“No you won’t,” I answered. “You’re taking it now!”

“What? You’re the one who didn’t even wanna do it today to begin with.”

“True,” I began. “But since you overruled me, I’m all about finding out as soon as possible. So, chop-chop, Pooh Bear. Where do you wanna take your test?”

“You’re getting coffee, right?” she said.

“You’re gonna rock a pregnancy test at Dunkin Donuts?” I asked.

“What’s wrong with Dunkin Donuts? There’s usually a line for the drive-through. I can take care of business while you’re waiting.”

Which is exactly what my beautiful wife did. And it timed out perfectly. Just as we were pulling away from the pick-up window, she was walking out the door. And by the time the dust settled, I wound up with a large coffee (cream and sugar), a bagful of glazed donut holes, and…

and a fifth child.

In what can best be described as complete role reversal, for once, the triplets were quiet as church mice, kindly leaving the crying to Lovie and me, which we did as quietly as we could, stealing quick glances at one another and holding hands above the center consul, our soft sobs occasionally interrupting the sing-songy banter of Dora and Diego.

Another baby.

Onesies. Baby gates. Johnny Jump-Ups. Bodreaux’s Butt Paste. Those velcro things that attach to and dangle from the car seat handle.

Another baby.

Boppy pillows. Blankets. Diapers. Bottles. Burp cloths.

Another baby.

Gliders. Bouncy seats. Vaseline. Baby Bjorns. Rattles. Exersaucers. Those plastic, squeezy bugger-extracting dealies I’ve never seen anyone use.

Another baby.

Holy shit.

Eventually we pulled it together and went to a different Walgreens, one where we had understood we could get an actual blood test. But the pharmacist said we were misinformed. They had no such test there. She did, however, look at our pregnancy test and confirmed what we had suspected. It appeared as if Lovie was, indeed, pregnant. False negatives, she explained, happen from time to time, but false positives were exceedingly rare.

Three hours earlier I had walked into the kitchen feeling guilty for oversleeping. That moment, I was stumbling through a drugstore in a literal state of shock, watching silently as Lovie compared two different brands of prenatal vitamins.

Unplanned child number five. The one we thought was impossible to have. The one we thought could have only come about with the assistance of fertility treatments. The one our calendars say will arrive just in time for our 42nd birthdays. The one that…

Holy shit. What if there’s more than one?

The first ultrasound’s next Tuesday. I’ll make sure to provide y’all with regular updates as this is sure to be a wild ride. But I can promise you one thing. Lovie, Pookie, Monster, Biggs, Peanut, Briggs (our dog), and me? We’re up for it.

We’re good like that.

xo

Photo: MorgueFile

The Trail to Fatherhood

It's good to get your bearings.

Pssst — please google connect with me. Surely there are more than 8 of you out here. I’m gonna have to take that damn thing down unless a few more of your help a brother out.

Just because I spent the first weekend of October away from my family doesn’t mean that they weren’t on my mind. For I was on my annual Appalachian Trail trip. And whenever I’m backpacking, my thoughts are frequently with them.

In many ways, my time on “the Trail” serves as an excellent parenting metaphor. After all, it’s difficult. It takes lots of preparation. There are many ups and downs. It can often be thankless. Yet it’s also impossibly rewarding. And, at times, it seems never-ending.

On Sunday, as we inched closer to our awaiting car, I finally acknowledged what I hadn’t dared to in the previous two days — our trip was an utter success. Never before had one gone so smoothly. I think it had to do with our preparation. We were more organized than ever.

Take, for example, my “bag” system. There were five of them. The green one was my “utility” bag — rope, batteries, GPS, Flip video, fire-starters, lighter, duct tape, cell phone, and head lamp. The blue one was my “water bag” — water purification tablets, toothpaste, toothbrush, camping soap, aspirin, wipes, hand sanitizer, vaseline, aspirin, and first aid kit. I stuffed both of those bags inside a larger gray bag which also contained a towel, a backpack cover, and an ankle brace (just in case).

This important gray bag was at the very top of my pack which allowed me to access it in an instant’s notice. Beneath it lay my two other bags. Well, one of them was not a bag at all, but rather all of my clothing which was bundled up neatly by my light-weight Arcteryx wind/water shell. The other bag contained my food as well as my camping stove and fuel. Aside from my 20 degree Mountain Hardware sleeping bag (housed in the lower compartment of my backpack) and tent (strapped to the outside of my backpack), those highly compartmentalized bags were all I needed.

A mile or so from the car, it dawned on me. If only I could organize the tools I need as a parent as well as I had organized my backpacking tools, surely parenting would go smoother than ever before, too. This thought filled me with great hope, if not pride, as I imagined a day in the not-so-distant future when temper tantrums would cease to exist.

Why? Because I’d simply take off my backpack of fatherhood and pull out the gray bag. Inside it, my blue bag would be readily available. And inside it would lay reason, empathy and compassion. I’d pull out equal amounts of all three and intercept the would-be tantrum by communicating with my child like never before. He or she would look at me with a perfect mixture of awe and love before happily skipping off toward a pocket of unparalleled and serene happiness made possible only by my sage-like wisdom. Well, that and my sick-ass parent-tool organization, I suppose.

On the drive back home, I smiled from ear to ear as I envisioned the reception I was sure to receive. Lovie, Pookie, and the triplets would welcome home their virile Viking — the one who had summoned up the preposterous amounts of fortitude needed to brave the elements and conquer the wild — the one who had returned home not only in tact, but also armed with indispensable parenting knowledge he was astute enough to glean along the rugged way.

Honestly? I was half expecting a trophy.

And I got one. For as soon as I broke the threshold Lovie handed me a vertical figurine.

My trophy.

“What the hell is this?” I asked loudly to compete with the meltdown my arrival had interrupted

“A plunger,” answered Lovie equally as loud. “The triplets’ toilet is clogged. I need you to unclog it.”

None too pleased, I made my way up yet another incline — the stairs — my right hand ahold of the trophy. (If only it were my hiking stick.) Hey, not a problem, I thought. I’ll just open the gray bag, and then pull out the green one. For in it, I’m sure to find the patience I’ll need to get through this.

As ripe as I was from having been in the woods for three days, I was no match for the deplorable situation that awaited. The water in the bowl of the toilet was littered with an epic amount of toilet paper and was, for lack of a better description, a light shade of soupy brown. I would later find out that it had been, um, incubating for two days.

After 30 seconds of what can best be described as extreme plunging, I.. dry heaved (literally). But that was all I had accomplished. The clog remained. By this time, Monster had scurried up and was overseeing my plunging efforts. Unbeknownst to me, he must have engaged in one of his favorite pastimes — flushing. Or so I gathered when he ran out of the bathroom giggling just as the soupy brown mess began to rise.

Lucky for me, I pulled out some quick thinking (I keep it in the blue bag — which, after all, is my water bag) and immediately reached down to turn off the toilet’s water source so it wouldn’t overflow.

The handle broke off in my hand.

Undeterred, I lifted up the porcelain lid to the back of the commode and jimmied the ball upright so as to trick the tank into thinking it was full, thus stopping the flow of water. (See? Quick thinking.) But it was too late. For by then, the bathroom was covered in a quarter inch of the foulest of water that not even a year’s supply of my purification tablets could remedy.

It was at this time when Monster decided to come check on me again, heading my way via his signature hobbly, bouncy-hop, running deal, his eyes wide with excitement, his mouth slightly agape. “Monster, No!” I yelled as he drew closer, but it was to no avail. Into the bathroom he came, and as he did, he lost his footing on the slimy sludge and quickly resembled a cartoon character after a banana-peel-encounter — his body slipping out from under him, at one point a full twelve inches above the ground, perfectly parallel, mind you, before descending and ultimately landing with a splat on his back in the murky fecal water.

Sadly, my friends, I have nothing inside any of my parenting bags for such a scenario. And what’s more, no amount of organization could ever change that.

The next day, the plumber found the original cause of the problem. The triplets had flushed a pair of Peanut’s shorts down the toilet. They were pink.

We think.

My Brush With Greatness

Last night was quite a treat for me. At the kickoff reception for the M3Summit, I got to hear Cal Ripken, Jr. speak up close and personal.

And if this picture taken by Lovie is any indicator, I must have developed a bit of a man crush on the former big-leaguer.

Wow! Then what happened, Cal? *bats eyelashes*

Simply smitten, no? So much so, I got all flustered and forgot to “pose” with Cal. So I did what anyone would do. I waited patiently for the next person to finish with the Hall of Famer, then briefly explained what happened and asked if he’d mind if I posed with him for a quick shot. One of his handlers, however, seemed to think my request was a little aggressive. Or maybe he thought it was a bit frenetic. Because he said “Whoa, fella. Relax. You must drink a lot of coffee.”

Not even sure what that meant, but, hey, at least I got the pic.

cal's tall. i'm short.

After my the pic with Cal, Lovie and I thanked the coffee-comment guy for letting us cut back in. He must have liked Lovie more than me. “Do you know how beautiful your wife is?” he asked.

“Why do you think I drink so much coffee?” I countered. “Gotta stay alert.”

Cal was extremely personable and his people were fantastic, too. Coffee guy included. All of our back and forths were very tongue and cheek. Good clean fun. Lovie and I had a wonderful time and are both really looking forward to the rest of the conference.

The Riddle

UPDATE: One of my readers saw fit to ask me a question that had absolutely nothing to do with this post, so check out the comments if you’re so inclined.

I’ve been awfully quiet lately. Suffice it to say that I’ve had a lot on my plate. But don’t give up on me. Soon, I (and my blog) will be back to normal. In the meanwhile, I got something for you.

Pookie is swimming in the city meet today and Lovie is cheering her on which has left yours truly in charge of the terrible trio. And something happened first thing this morning that left me scratching my head.

The scenario: I walked into the boys’ bedroom and was immediately blown away by an unpleasant odor, near certain there was an accident of epic proportions awaiting me. But there wasn’t. At least not one of epic proportions. Just three separate quarter-sized brown spots in three very different locations.

Puzzled, I walked into their bathroom where the scent intensified. B was sitting ON TOP of the vanity, playing in the bathroom sink wearing only a pull-up and tee shirt. A was in the bathroom, too, wearing nothing but a grin. He was proud to tell me that he had gone poo poo in the potty, and as he made this announcement, I noticed a small amount of, um, you know, on his forehead. A thin, brown line. The potty which A had just used? Nothing in it. The mandatory parental wipe I administered? It yielded nothing that would lead me to believe that A had anything to do with the spots on the bedroom carpet.

So my question for you is what happened?

As I washed A‘s face, I couldn’t figure out how his well-executed, and well-contained scatological effort could have rendered such mass destruction. That’s when it hit me. There was one stone which I had left unturned. And that stone was still playing in the vanity sink.

B‘s diaper was a train wreck, containing a preposterous blowout, and was clearly the source of the aforementioned mass destruction.

One riddle solved. Two boys to bathe. And three spots to sanitize. My day had gotten off to a shitty start (sorry), but I didn’t mind.

Pookie is swimming in the city meet today and Lovie is cheering her on which has left yours truly in charge of the terrible trio. And I love taking care of the terrible trio. No matter what.

The Struggle for Freedom

As we inch closer to the Fourth of July, I thought it’d be the perfect time to parallel two epic struggles for freedom — The American Revolution and one which you may not yet know about.

Freedom — it’s a tricky little paradox, no? Though entire wars have been fought to attain it, neither side of those wars has ever defined it the same way. To the British colonists, freedom meant escaping the tyrannical rule of the throne. Yet to England, that same freedom was experienced as nothing more than dangerous insubordination. Fast forward nearly 250 years to the other fight for freedom, the one that’s happening as we “speak” in my very home.

That’s right, Lovie and I have been under attack for quite sometime now, as our wee threesome have teamed up in an attempt to collectively undermine our authority. Though there are many small skirmishes each and every day, of late there has been one flat-out battle, and it’s waged at bedtime. Which brings me back to the paradoxical nature of freedom. To Lovie and me, it’s attained when we finally get our three monsters down for the night. Yet our trio will never go quietly into that good night because, to them, being told when to go to bed violates their freedom. Simply put? They’re not going down without a fight.

The parallels between our ongoing fight and the American Revolution do not end with the paradoxical takes on freedom. They’re only just beginning, though I will admit, they may not be readily apparent to the casual observer. No, there’s not an ocean between us, but there is a flight of stairs. And, no, the reigning authority doesn’t speak with a cockney accent, but we do roll with a mild southern drawl. And no, our insurgents haven’t gone so far as to throw a Boston Tea Party. But the do Often Pee in the Potty.

And though they haven’t come up with a slogan behind which to rally, it’s simply because they’re too young to formally articulate one. While the colonists were galvanized by “No taxation without representation,” our guys seem to circle the wagons with something along the lines of “Bedtime’s bullshit, y’all.”

Betime's bullshit, y'all.

Little cutie-pie C, believe it or not, was the leader of the charge when the attacks first began. The only one to have graduated to a “big bed,” she took it upon herself to repeatedly get out of that bed and scream bloody murder. At first we thought it was just a phase, which to be fair, it was. But it was also a grim harbinger of things to come.

Having roused the rebels into action, C now goes to bed without event. She’s passed the baton to her brothers, A and B, who currently carry the midnight torch while my adorable little peanut gets her beauty sleep. Each night, we can hear the boys plotting in not-so-quiet tones, speaking much like Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid — with little or no regard for grammatical nuances such as tense or subject-verb agreement.

The Bedtime Bandits hours before the battle.

After such strategy sessions, a period of eerie silence ensues which will inevitably be broken by the tell-tale thump-thump — not the beating of a heart, mind you, but rather the landing of little feet. The noise serves as confirmation that one of our junior associates has scaled the thirty-inch crib wall and leapt onto the plush carpet of freedom, from whence he can and will openly defy the monarch by playing with his toys, grabbing a book, or perhaps even rocking a forbidden nighttime deuce on the big potty.

You know what will sometimes put an end to the uprising? A swift smack on the ass. That’s right. The King is a spanker. And while he completely understands and respects parents who don’t spank their children, his counter to their stance is but one sentence. Show the King a parent who doesn’t spank, and the King’ll show you a parent who doesn’t have toddler triplets. Once the King administers his can of whoop-ass, order is often restored.

But not always. You see, it seems as if the freedom fighters have learned to execute the landing of their forbidden jumps with silent agility, thus pushing their nighttime envelope further still. Yet even if they hit the carpet of emancipation without alerting the ruling party, sooner or later, the duo will slip up. Like the other night when the King and Queen heard the sound of muffled screaming through the royal monitor.

The King and Queen quickly scurried upstairs to see what was the matter, more than a little puzzled. Why are their cries muffled? they wondered. Predictably, A and B were out of their cribs. Unpredictably, they had locked themselves in the bathroom which adjoins their sleeping quarters which explained why the cries weren’t as loud as normal.

“Just open the door,” the King urged the rebels, though his words were probably inaudible thanks to their deafening cries. “I don’t get it,” he told the Queen. “They know how to open the door even when it’s locked. All they have to do is twist the handle.” Another thing he didn’t get was why the air was heavy with the scent of lotion. Or was it baby shampoo?
The King retreated to Princess Pookie’s quarters to look for something to help him spring the soldiers who by that point were nobly screaming “Mommy!” With the glossy cover of a Hannah Montana notepad, the King jimmied the lock and sprung the little idealists from their ironic and temporary incarceration.
The regal couple were not prepared for what they next saw. Virtually every single thing in the bathroom was covered with a mixture of lotion and Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. (No more tears, my ass.) The floor was completely coated in a goopy mess. As was the vanity cabinet. Even the boys, themselves were covered with the concoction from head to toe, so much so that B’s ongoing cries were accompanied by bubbles each and every time he opened his mouth to emit one.
The doorknob was not immune, either. It got slimed, too, which, incidentally, is why A and B were trapped — their hands couldn’t hold a grip as they tried to twist the handle. In their efforts, they must have accidentally pushed the button and locked themselves inside. (Good thing the King used to be a garden-variety hoodlum, or they might still be trapped). Newly freed, A and B scurried to the Queen, slipping and sliding along the way like intoxicated chimpanzees ice-skating across a frozen pond.
The Queen gave them a bath after which the King gave them a spanking and order was eventually restored. But the ruling authorities weren’t born yesterday. They know another battle will soon be waged. And another one after that. And another one, still.

It is with equal amounts of dread and thankfulness with which they will await said battles. After all, their kingdom is a blessed one. And they know it. That’s why they fight to keep it in tact.

Happy Fourth of July, y’all.

The Karate Trips

In the summer of 1984, I developed a shoe fetish. Check that, it was actually a Shue fetish. As in Elisabeth Shue. You know, the unassuming hottie who played Ralph Macchio’s love interest in that deplorable movie, The Karate Kid?

Yet as memorable as Elisabeth proved to be, it was Mr. Miyagi who made the biggest impression on me. In fact, even after all these years, I still think about him every day. Can you guess why? No? Maybe the following exchange will help.

Daniel: Hey, what kind of belt do you have?
Miyagi: Canvas. JC Penney, $3.98. You like?
Daniel: [laughs] No, I meant…
Miyagi: In Okinawa, belt mean no need rope to hold up pants. [laughs; then, seriously] Daniel-san… [taps his head] Karate here. [taps his heart] Karate here. [points toward his belt] Karate never here. Understand?

Give up? I’ll always remember Mr. Miyagi for telling Daniel-san that, no matter how much he practiced, his, um, “johnson” would never be able to administer a karate chop.

Kidding. Sorry about that.

So seriously. You still don’t know why I think of Mr. Miyagi every day? Here. Read this exchange and see if you can figure it out.

Daniel: Hey – you ever get into fights when you were a kid?
Miyagi: Huh – plenty.
Daniel: Yeah, but it wasn’t like the problem I have, right?
Miyagi: Why? Fighting fighting. Same same.
Daniel: Yeah, but you knew karate.
Miyagi: Someone always know more.
Daniel: You mean there were times when you were scared to fight?
Miyagi: Always scared. Miyagi hate fighting.
Daniel: Yeah, but you like karate.
Miyagi: So?
Daniel: So, karate’s fighting. You train to fight.
Miyagi: That what you think?
Daniel: [pondering] No.
Miyagi: Then why train?
Daniel: [thinks] So I won’t have to fight?
Miyagi: [laughs] Miyagi have hope for you.

Give up? I think of Mr. Miyagi every day because my toddlers talk just like him. They’re finally able to express their thoughts, and like the karate master, they do so with surprisingly few words as well as with little or no regard to grammatical nuances such as subject-verb agreement. The nouns in their short sentences may not be preceded by articles, but Sam, Jack, and Kirby are able to make their points nonetheless, even if they choose to make them while referring to themselves in the third person. Just like Mr. Miyagi. (And that annoying, little red bastard, Elmo.)

Whenever I happen upon Jack, he’s quick to tell me what he’s doing. And he’s always doing the same thing.

“Jack play with twuck, Daddy. Jack like twuck.”

“I know you do, buddy. Here. Let Daddy play, too.”

“Daddy play with twuck? Jack turn. Jack play with twuck now.”

It’s the same thing with Kirby, only with a twist. She, too, speaks like Mr. Miyagi, but she does so while treating me like an unwanted suitor.

“I love you, Kirby.”

“Kirby love Mommy.”

“Don’t you love Daddy, too?”

[Like Daniel-san, she ponders before giving her answer.] “No. Kirby love Mommy.”

While Jack is busy playing with “twucks,” and Kirby is busy worshiping Lovie, at least I can always count on Sam for a little back and forth. The other day, we were walking into his room when I made the mistake of opening the door.

“No, Daddy. Sammy open door. Sammy do it. Sammy do it!”

So I closed the door and let him open it. Once he did, he ran into the room with a grin that begged me to chase him. So I did. And once I caught him, I pulled up his shirt, buried my face on his belly, and gave him a world class zerbert, causing the little guy to laugh uncontrollably.

“Daddy tickle Sammy,” he said as he touched the stubble on my chin that had exacerbated his reaction.

“That’s Daddy’s beard,” I explained.

“Daddy beard,” he repeated.

“That’s right, buddy. Sammy will have a beard one day, too.”

Sam touched his smooth face and looked into my eyes with wonder. “Sammy beard?” he asked.

“Yep.”

He smiled at the prospect of his eventual manliness, until a look of concern swept over his face.

“Daddy?” he began as he reached up and touched the bare spot on the top of my head. “Sammy bald?” he asked in a serious tone.

And just like that, Sammy took the Mr. Miyagi thing to the next level. After all, Sammy-san not only talk like Miyagi, he think like him, too. Wise Sammy know when some man grow hair in one place, he lose hair in other.

“You’ll probably be okay, buddy.”

A look of relief accompanied his widest smile yet. “Sammy no bald, Daddy. Sammy no bald.”

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.

Related Posts with Thumbnails