Curiosity Killed the Cat?

Raising children is a curious task, indeed.

Take B, for instance. He loves all things vehicular. Just yesterday we were stopped at a red light on a road which paralleled the interstate, a truck-lover’s paradise. Honestly? B could have sat there all day. Every time an eighteen-wheeler drove by, he would utter “Twuck,” slowly, almost forlornly, as if it were a long lost love he’d not seen in years–one he knew, all too well, he might never see again.

So when B plays with toys, it typically looks like this:

B likes his vehicles.

Yet the other day, it looked like this:

that's not a truck!

What in the world? I thought, as I witnessed my little guy giving Dora the eye.

Seconds later, I learned that I wasn’t the only curious one.

I wonder if there's a truck under here.

They say that curiosity killed the cat, but in this case, it merely prompted B to look for it. (Oh my. I am sooo sorry for that. Just pathetic…)

Son, stick with trucks. For now at least. Okay?

Singing With The Triplets

Happy Fatherhood Friday, everyone. Head over to dad-blogs and see what the rest of the dad-blog community is up to this fine day.

Lovie and Pookie went out last night which left yours truly to take care of the terrible trio. Bedtime has been a real issue of late, particularly with C, so I was a bit worried about how I would fare. After all, Lovie is the unquestioned star of our little show, and though that show must go on, I couldn’t help but wonder how smoothly it would run without her on stage alongside of us.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a solid understudy. Ready, willing, and able to take center stage at the drop of a hat. But for me to carry the show, I had to alter the script a bit. Especially given the bedtime drama that’s been going down. So I decided to turn that drama into a musical.

You’ve heard of “Dancing With the Stars,” right? (I know. I hate Kate Gosselin, too, but more on that in a future post…) Well last night, I hosted “Singing With the Triplets.” Actually, I did more than just host. I also got my vocal on during dinner and kept it going through potty time and bath time. I hoped that by doing so I would not only make my trio forget about Lovie, but I’d also wear them out to the point where they’d fall asleep with little resistance.

Act I: Dinner. Once A, B, and C were in their highchairs, I grabbed their milk from the fridge. Cue the lights. Start the music. The first selection? A tribute to that which held their milk, sung to the tune of Kiss’s hard rock anthem, “Lick it Up.”

“Sippy cup. Sippy cup.
Whoa-oh-oh.
The lid’s on tight, now.
Sippy cup. Sippy cup.
Whoa-oh-oh.
Oooh yeah. Oooh yeah.”

The judges weren’t amused. In fact, they were growing impatient. And who could blame them? With all the singing, I’d forgotten about their dinner which I was heating in the toaster oven. Luckily, the food wasn’t burned. But it was hot. Very hot.

Cue the lights. Start the music. Time for some Billy Idol. While dishing up their sizzling meal, I sang the following to the tune of “Hot in the City.”

“Hot dinny-dinny.
Hot dinny-dinny tonight.
Hot dinny-dinny.
Hot dinny-dinny, s’alright.”

The boys liked it, but C wasn’t feeling it. Or at least that’s what I gathered when she offered up the following.

“Stop it, Daddy.”

All right, then. Intermission. May as well give the little monsters some peace and quiet while they gobble their goodies. Besides, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was gonna sing next, anyway.

Once dinner was behind us, I got the triplets out of their highchairs and instructed them to take a turn on the potty, but B refused to go (could he have been holding out for another song?). That’s when the next selection smacked me in the face. I went all new-school and busted out an altered version of Lady Ga Ga’s “Paparazzi.”

“Listen to your dad,
it’s time for you to use the potty.
I’m the
Potty Nazi.”

Maybe I was connecting with my son through the magic of music, or maybe he was just trying to shut me up. Whichever the case, B dropped trou and wobbled to the bathroom where he discarded his cloth shackles and hopped up on the big potty. Only one problem. His, um, deal-i-o was pointing north which meant the hardwood floor was getting an unnecessary watering. So I cued up some George Benson and sang my next song to the tune of his 1982 classic, “Turn Your Love Around.”

“Point your pee-pee down.
I can show you how.
Point your pee-pee down.
Gotta do it now.”

B smiled from ear to ear and, indeed, pointed his pee-pee down. Aside from the initial splatter, the floor remained dry. Crisis averted.

After all three had faithfully obeyed the Potty Nazi, it was time for a bath. And when C started crying after getting soap in her eyes, it was also time for a little Deep Purple.

“Soap in the water.
The burn is in the eyes.”

By 7:15 all three were in bed. The drama I was worried about? There was none. Well, except a little bit from C. She wanted to sleep in the boys’ room. So I scooped her up and deposited her in the extra crib before telling the trio that I expected them to go to sleep without a fuss.

When Lovie got home, she couldn’t believe the song that greeted her. Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence.” It was literally the first time in weeks that everyone was fast asleep by 8:00.

“Oh, by the way,” I said, “C wanted to sleep in the boys’ room, so I moved her.”

“She’s asked to do that before, you know, and each time all hell breaks loose.”

“Well, it went okay tonight.”

“Really?” asked Lovie.

“Really,” I answered.

“What did you do?” she asked incredulously.

“I dunno,” I shrugged. “Just the same ol’ song and dance, I guess.”

*whispers to the audience*

The understudy’s a rockstar, y’all. Recognize.

Our Pookie Gets Kookie–Lets Loose on Dr. Seuss

Pookie and her classmates paid tribute to the late, great Dr. Seuss in honor of his March 2nd birthday by creating their very own version of his 1974 classic There’s a Wocket in My Pocket. Lovie and I are usually well aware of Pookie’s various assignments, but this one caught us off guard. In fact, the first time we learned of it was when she brought the completed project home earlier this week.

How great is that? Seriously? I mean who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss? I couldn’t wait to read all of the nonsensical rhymes that these sweet children had come up with.

One girl depicted the mysterious presence of a JHOTTER on her FLYSWATTER, which was drinking her flavored WATER. Adorable!

Another child wrote of a SHAT on his CAT which liked his friend MATT. I kinda wondered if this kid wasn’t confused, though. I’d be willing to bet it was nothing more than a CAT who SHAT on a MATT, but, hey, it ain’t my book.

One boy detailed the presence of a WACKET in his JACKET which was making a lot of RACKET. Well, I suppose that one’s okay as long as he didn’t WACKET in his JACKET. Because that really would be a RACKET, you know.

Another boy reported a LONUT on his DONUT that was eating his COCONUT. Good effort, but probably my least favorite of the bunch thus far. I’d put it just behind the one about the cat that was taking a shit all over the place. And, hey, I don’t mean to pry, but you really don’t want anything messing with your DONUTS, especially if it’s eating your COCONUT for crying out loud. Plus, it’s a little early for the onset of a LONUT, don’t you think?

If I were that kid’s father, I’d be hauling his ass to the doctor post haste. What’s that? No appointments available? No problem. Me and Mr. LONUT, here, will be happy to wait. You know, just in case someone bails. We need to see you ASAP. That’s right. We don’t mess around when it comes to the parts down there. The last thing we want is for this thing to get worse and turn into a case of Green Eggs and Ham. I don’t care what Sam has to say about it. You do NOT want that.

I waited with bated breath until I finally came across Pookie’s contribution. It’s the second one on the page below.

“Lovie! We need to redo the password on the DVR. I’m pretty sure Pookie’s been watching Meet the Parents!”

Is it just me, or does that font make the “o” in “Focker” look a lot like a “u?”

“Look on the bright side,” I told Lovie. “At least the sport’s not called sucker. Then we’d have a real problem on our hands. Oh, and don’t forget to put that boy with the LONUT issue on the blacklist, okay honey? The last thing we want is for that kid to wind up taking Pookie to the prom one day. I’m not so sure about the one with the JACKET either. Better put him down, too. Just in case.”

Triplet Standard Time

The blurry red numbers looking back at me from the clock atop the bedside table weren’t the ones I was expecting. It couldn’t have been that late. The sun wasn’t even up. At least I didn’t think it was. If it were, our three little roosters would have been cock-a-doodle-doo-ing through the monitor. And they weren’t. I scooted closer to Lovie and buried my face back into the pillows before curiosity got the best of me, forcing me to groggily lift my head yet again. This time the red numbers were a little clearer, as was the reason why they seemed to be at odds with the environment around me. I’d lost an hour to that dastardly devil yet again. Daylight Savings Time.

“Honey,” I whispered to Lovie. “What are we gonna do about the trips?”

“What do you mean?”

“The time change. We lost an hour.”

“We didn’t lose an hour,” she answered. “We moved our clocks forward an hour.”

“Right. It’s almost eight, but it’s really almost seven which is why the triplets haven’t made a peep yet. If we get them up in a few minutes like normal, they’d lose an hour of sleep.”

“What time is it again?”

“Five before eight.”

“So it’s the old five before nine?”

“Honey,” I answered. “Do I need to make you a chart?”

Once Lovie had finally mastered the new-time situation, the question of which strategy to employ with A, B, and C still remained. What little peace we’ve managed to attain around the house is due to a strict schedule. For that peace to continue, the schedule could not be compromised, which meant that the time change had to be handled with great care.

If we woke them up too early, there’d be hell to pay thanks to tired, fussy toddlers. But if we let them sleep too late, we’d never get them down for their nap at one, or, even worse, for their bedtime at seven. The ensuing domino effect would spill into the next day, and the longer they were off their schedule, the harder it would be to get them back on it. Ultimately, we decided to split the difference and wake them up a little past the new eight, then put them down a touch later than usual for their naps, thus setting the table for a normal bed time of seven.

The morning was sheer hell. As it wore on, one thing became clear. A, B, and C didn’t give a rat’s ass about Daylight Savings Time. It was also clear they didn’t care that Lovie and I were coming off of a rare night out. A rare, late night out. Nope. No sympathy from them. If anything, they turned it up a notch.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we thought they’d care about the time change, or the late night. After all, they don’t care that our dog’s name is Briggs. They call him “Move, Briggs.”

C doesn’t care to distinguish between ma’am and sir, constantly calling me “ma’am” no matter how many times I correct her. She also doesn’t care that her “no, ma’am” sounds more like “snowman.”

B doesn’t care that 70% of all his bathroom efforts end with a stream of pee on the floor. Little things like urine trajectory simply haven’t hit his radar. I guess you could call him our whiz kid. Don’t worry. We’re working on getting him to point that thing down.

And A doesn’t care that he’s not supposed to climb out of his crib. He also doesn’t care that he’s not supposed to play in the toilet, regularly parlaying these forbidden activities in one fell swoop. Once apprehended, he’d just assume go right back to bed. Why? Because he doesn’t care that both pajama sleeves are soaked all the way up to his shoulders.

Once we got them down on Sunday night (at seven) we knew that the extra effort we had exuded all day to combat sixty missing minutes (not to mention fatigue), went completely unappreciated if not unnoticed altogether.

A, B, and C don’t care about stuff like that. They don’t care that minor inconveniences for singleton parents are head-scratching riddles for us. And they shouldn’t care.

That’s our job.

And we’re good at it.

Pappy Campers

The triplets start preschool in the fall, and Lovie has decided to send them to one that’s associated with a nearby church. It has an excellent reputation, but it’s also notoriously difficult to get into.

“So how’s this gonna go down again?” I asked Lovie.

“I’ll get there Monday morning and–”

“Wait,” I interrupted. “I thought registration was Tuesday morning.”

“It is. But to make sure they get in, we need to be first in line. To do that, I have to get there on Monday.”

“So you’re gonna spend the night?” I asked in disbelief.

“No, honey. Don’t be silly.”

“Oh, good, ’cause I was gonna say–”

You’re gonna spend the night.”

*record scratch*

Lovie would establish our place in line, then I would relieve her after work. Which meant that I would spend a cold February night camping out in a church parking lot (alongside several other overzealous suckers) in hopes of getting Monster, Biggs, and Peanut into a highly coveted preschool.

Honestly? I’d rather mud wrestle with Adam Lambert. Or watch a slow-motion replay of the bronze-metal, Olympic curling match. With Rosie O’Donnell. In Afghanistan. Or maybe even pull a one-hour stint as Roseanne Barr’s thong.

All that said, I had heard several wonderful things about the program–enough to convince me that it really was a great choice for our trio. Plus, I’m a team player. So I was willing to take part in the silly charade, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t bitch about it. Lovie provided me with my first opportunity when she called me around noon on Monday.

“Some lady told me that I needed three chairs–one for each child, and I only brought one.”

“Chairs? What are you talking about?” I asked.

“Chairs. To mark our spot in line.”

“I thought there was a sign-up sheet that marked our spot.”

“There is,” confirmed Lovie. “And since I got here first, Monster, Biggs, and Peanut are at the top of the list. But you’re supposed to put up chairs to confirm your spot on the sign-up sheet.”

“Are you supposed to rub your tummy and pat your head, too? Or sing The Wheels on the Bus in F minor? Honestly, honey, this is so stupid. Who is this lady, anyway? Another parent?”

“No. She works for a doctor who’s got a two-year-old and a four-year-old. He sent her over here to wait on their behalf, and she was told she needed two chairs.”

I wondered if the woman was questioning our legitimacy because she feared that the triplets would make it impossible for her boss’s two-year-old to get in.

“Did you tell her about the ‘Blood Only’ rule, which states that only blood-related relatives can wait in line?”

“Is that a real rule?” asked Lovie.

“Every bit as real as the bullshit ‘Chair Clause’ that Ms. Nosey Nurse threw at you.”

Ours is the one up front.

By the time I arrived at the church, Lovie had gotten to the bottom of the chair debacle. Nurse Betty was wrong. One chair was all we needed. Relieved, I collapsed the back seat of my Chevy Tahoe and prepared my make-shift bed–a camping cushion, my sleeping bag, and two pillows from home.

I spent the next couple of hours surfing the internet on my phone, wondering if one could actually perish from boredom. Until, that is, I noticed a man walking up to the sign-up sheet on the door. He looked put out. Moments later, a woman approached him. The two engaged in a brief conversation before the man abruptly walked away. Soon, several other folks were all huddled together, prompting me to see what was going on.

“What’s up, y’all?” I asked as I approached the group.

“That guy just left,” answered the woman who had been speaking to him.

“Why?”

“I don’t know. He said he was thinking about leaving, and I told him that if he did, his name would get crossed out. He said he’d like to see someone try it. Then he drove off.”

The process of elimination told us the man in question was number nine. Everyone agreed that he should be marked out, and just like that, number nine was no longer. Though the right decision was made, the preceding debate on whether or not it was fair for a grown man to temporarily vacate his spot in a twenty-four-hour line left me wondering who, exactly, the preschoolers really were in this scenario.

An hour and a half later, number nine came back, only by then, he had earned a new name. Number twelve. When he learned of his numeric demotion, he was none too happy. Thirty minutes later, he got out of his vehicle and marched briskly toward the door, marked his name off the list (yet again), and grabbed his chair. Within seconds, he had pulled out of the parking lot, never to return. Part of me was sad for him. Another part of me was proud of him for taking a stand. I drifted off to sleep, ultimately uncertain as to how I felt about the entire ordeal.

the scene mere minutes before the 7:30 registration.

Until I woke up. For that morning, I saw things from a different perspective. I had endured an unpleasant night (with the help of a bourbon drink courtesy of number eleven), and was suddenly mere minutes away from our ultimate goal–procuring three spots at a fantastic preschool for Monster, Biggs, and Peanut. The other parents and I engaged in jovial conversations as we waited for those final minutes to pass — conversations which were accentuated by energetic tones that belied the dark circles under our eyes.

The unpleasant night was over, and it had suddenly transcended into a badge of honor–one that my love for the triplets had compelled me to earn–one which I wore proudly for the rest of the day. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll never be good with that process. I feel strongly that it needs to be changed. At best, it’s childish. At worst, it has the potential to turn ugly. But if enduring such a process benefits my children? I’ll do it a hundred nights in a row.

That still doesn’t mean I won’t bitch about it, though.

And Briggs Makes Seven

“Your dumbass dog is at it, again,” announced my pregnant wife one night early on in our marriage. Lovie was referring to my faithful chocolate lab, Briggs.

What, exactly, was Briggs doing, you ask? Slowly, steadily, and silently releasing dense clouds of noxious gas. Pockets of reprehensibility so flagrant as to even be equipped with their own (and noticeably different) barometric pressures. Tiny, malodorous weather fronts of filth which were greatly disgusting my lovely wife. I looked over at my hound only to find him sprawled out on his bed, his mouth eerily agape, snoring like a bear.

Birggs

That’s right. Briggs was sleep-farting.

And he’s got other bad habits, too. Like going certifiably ape-shit each and every time an outsider bursts our domestic bubble. A knock at the back door, the ringing of the front doorbell, or even a barely audible conversation between two women taking a leisurely neighborhood stroll is enough to send Briggs into a frenzy. A full-blown gallop ensues, throw rugs helplessly askew in his wake, Briggs sliding out of control with each and every change of direction his dash requires, eventually culminating in his breathless arrival at wherever the action is, panting with desperate impatience while shamelessly rocking a solid inch-and-a-half of pink lipstick as he awaits our visitor with… um… excitement.

As soon as said visitor enters the house, Briggs’ll make a bee-line for the toy bin and deftly snatch whatever’s on top, before galloping back to his new friend with the welcome gift he’s selected, wrapped thoughtfully in his slobber. He’ll then circle our dumbfounded (and slightly frightened) guest with speeds that conjure up images of the Tasmanian Devil until he feels it’s just the right time to engage in a little world-class crotch-sniffing.

And I haven’t even touched upon his legendary dirty-diaper escapades. Briggs makes Marley look like one of Paris Hilton’s lap dogs. So the fact that Lovie was having a hard time adjusting to him early in our marriage wasn’t surprising at all. What was surprising, however, was that not only did she eventually accept Briggs, she also ended up liking him.

Pookie and Briggs during one of his calmer moments.

Briggs’s birthday is in December, and as each holiday season approaches, Lovie and I wonder if enough dog years have passed to notice a decrease in his high energy level. This year was sure to be the one, right? After all, he’d be seven. But, if anything, his energy level was even higher thanks to our broken invisible fence. Without it, we couldn’t even let Briggs go outside to blow off some steam without fearing he’d leave our property, barge into an unsuspecting neighbor’s house, and start dry humping their four-year-old.

So his outside activities were limited to bathroom-related engagements only. At least that was the plan. The actual outcome was that Briggs made countless escapes. No fewer than eight different households came to our assistance with either a phone call alerting us of his whereabouts, or in two cases, front-door delivery.

Everyone was very nice about it, but Lovie and I were all too aware that we had likely become “those neighbors.” In our minds, three two-year olds is pretty much a good enough excuse to let anything slide a little bit. But it’s not like others realize what we’re up against. (except for one family–shout out to the Huneycutts) So I was always embarrassed whenever we got one of the dreaded phone calls and often turned to humor as a way of masking my shame.

Ring-ring.

“Hello.”

“John, it’s Anne. I think I see Briggs across the street in the Baker’s yard. He’s sniffing around their nativity scene. He’s right beside the three wise men.”

“Well, at least it’s comforting to know that he’s keeping good company, right Anne?”

We finally got the fence fixed in January. But our relentless brown hero has grown so enchanted with his neighborhood jaunts that he’s decided such strolls are easily worth the jolt of electricity he’ll endure as he hurdles through our invisible barrier to embark upon one. So we’ve been keeping him inside again, unless, of course, it’s time for him to use the bathroom. But having been burned in the past, we’re often skeptical when he whines as if he needs to go. Ever the clever hound, he’s taken to offering up undeniable proof of his plight via large piles discretely left beside the side door.

And that’s where we are right now. At just two and a half years old, all three of our little guys are going poo poo in the potty while their dog is droppin’ the deuce on the kitchen floor. I wonder if we could somehow teach Briggs how to use the toilet.

The Name Game

Lovie played the name game with the trips today. As they sat in their highchairs enjoying lunch, my lovely wife held up random articles of clothing from the pile of clean laundry she was busy folding.

“What’s this,” she asked as she held up…

Pookie pants! all three shouted in unison.

“Good. Who knows what this is?”

Daddy sock!

“Y’all are good. Okay, what about this?”

A, B shirt!

“And this?”

C big girl pants!

“And this?”

A, B big-boy pants!

“Last one,” said Lovie. “What’s this?”

per the Good Spouse Act, panties pictured above are not Lovie's. (hers are hotter. WAY hotter. CALIENTE!)

Mommy BIG BOY pants!

What? Mommy’s big boy pants?? I thought that Lovie was playing The Name Game. But according to the trips, it turns out she’s actually been playing The Crying Game all this time.

Well, I suppose it makes sense. If I truly am One of the Girls, then that would leave Lovie to wear the big boy pants in the relationship.

Donuts With Dads

Yesterday was a big day for Pookie. Her second grade class was holding a special event–Donuts With Dads. It’s an annual thing, so I’ve known about it for a while, and I gotta say, I was more than a little curious about how it would go down. After all, her real dad lives right here in town, so his attendance was a given. But what about mine? I would have been okay if I’d been left out of the mix. Being a stepdad can be tough. And so can being a stepdaughter. Accordingly, I figured that on some level, this would be a difficult decision for her.

On Monday, Lovie broke the great news. Pookie wanted “both of her dads” to go. (Insert your California joke here.) I was obviously thrilled, but also knew that a certain degree of awkwardness would likely ensue. But as Pookie led her father and me around the classroom on the “scavenger hunt,” I was pleasantly surprised by how skillfully she was navigating the situation. It wasn’t awkward at all.

Until we went to the far wall to admire the cute drawings the class had made of their dads and I saw this soon-to-be-classic staring right back at me:

Egads! My eyes quickly scanned the entire wall until I found the drawing she had made of her biological father, and, well, it’s safe to say that I got the short end of the crayon.

Forget, for a moment, that the left side of my face is bulging out as if experiencing the gravitational pull of a large planet. And forget the fact fact, if you will, that there is a certain, though difficult-to-pinpoint, alien element to the depiction. And forget, also, the zipper on my fleece (I’m reasonably sure that’s what she was drawing) looks like Uncle Jed’s shotgun.

Take a gander at my head, more specifically my hair–and disregard the fact that I don’t have a crew cut and that my real hair is not six inches off my ears. Focus, instead at the very, very top of my hair.

There are only a handful of explanations.

  1. To enhance the aforementioned alien theme, Pookie has drawn a flying saucer which has landed on my head.
  2. I’m sporting a flesh-toned yamaka.
  3. Pookie believes that I’m actually a volcano.
  4. Pookie’s imagining that I’ve recently endured a lobotomy.
  5. The circle is actually a halo, a symbolic representation of the angelic role I’ve played in Pookie’s life.
  6. Or, most likely, that skin-toned circle that is surrounded by hair is Pookie’s artistic rendering of my bald spot.

I suppose that’s how she sees me. And I’m okay with that. Especially given the fact that her insistence that I be a part of the festivities tells me something else about how she sees me.

As her dad.

I love you, Pook.

The Bathroom Attendant

I usually get home from work at around six o’clock. And at our house, that can only mean one thing.

There’s a potty goin’ on.

For by that time, our triplets have finished their dinner and are required to take a turn on the potty before their bath. “You have a new and important role,” Lovie casually informed me the other night. “I’ve officially appointed you our Bathroom Attendant.”

Sounds good to me. I’ve been dealing with shit at work all day long. I guess it only makes sense that I should do the same at home.

Our potty-training initiatives have actually gone pretty well. So well that our toddlers wear their big boy and big girl pants every waking moment, only donning the diapers whenever it’s time for nite-nite. To get them to this point, we had to employ a reward system. They get one M&M whenever they go pee pee, and if they “make it happen,” they receive a cookie.

Recently, however, they discovered a pee-pee loophole. Since said discovery, whenever even a drop of urine hits their potty, they feel entitled to some candy. We reluctantly rewarded them with an M&M the first few times until we finally realized that they were doing nothing more than intentionally time-releasing microscopic amounts of pee every five minutes just so they could quadruple their chocolate intake. Our trio, it seemed, were turning into little sugar junkies. And speaking of junkies, if the trend continued, we feared their candy-coated teeth would eventually look like they belonged to two-year-old meth addicts.

Even worse than the candy pandering were the fights that ensued over who got the honor of flushing. Initially, the two non-flushers were content with the default honor of being an integral part of the pee-pee/poo-poo send-off committee. While the flusher flushed, they would energetically bid their bodily waste a cheery farewell.

“Bye bye, pee pee! Bye bye, poo poo!”

But when the fighting for the handle began, we decided to let each of them flush their own. Until we started adding up our water bill, that is, which prompted us to once again combine all of their efforts into the big potty and return to the single-flush policy. The resulting mad dashes to the magic handle resembled three hardcore gambling addicts wrestling for the lever of the lone, unoccupied slot machine at the Bellagio.

Funny. I thought their game was craps.

Whenever they jockey for pole position next to the handle, one of them often brushes against the open seat, inadvertently sending it hurtling downward toward the porcelain with alarming velocity, like a guillotine screeching down from above. We feared it was only a matter of time before one of the boys got beheaded. (sorry)

When they weren’t fighting over flushing, they were busy opening and shutting the bathroom door. It was actually quite cute. For the first four thousand times. But not only did the slamming grow old, so, too, did the shouting matches that went down by the bathroom door.

Fighting over flushing? Shouting over slamming? Such affairs were so foreign to us, that we decided it was time to implement a concept of foreign affairs. That’s right. We busted out our own Open Door Policy. All doors remain open. Period. It doesn’t matter who’s “making it happen.” And Lovie has designated me to enforce this policy and restore order to their bathroom endeavors. I am now the keeper of the door, the judge of which efforts warrant rewards, as well as the designated flusher.

So every day when I return from work, I take my seat on top of the closed toilet lid while my little guys hunker down on the three plastic potties immediately in front of me. They contort their tiny bodies while pushing for all they’re worth til their innocent faces turn red and the veins in their neck stand at attention, all in the name of frosted animal cookies.

Yep. That qualifies. Would you like a red or green M&M?

I offer words of encouragement during their valiant efforts and they respond with quizzical expressions, much like the ones I used to give those clowns who offered me a stick of gum or imitation Drakkar cologne as I washed my hands in the bathroom of a downtown Seattle hot spot.

I’m re-learning something I first learned when I was a twenty-something club-hopper. Being a Bathroom Attendant is a thankless job.

Only now that I’m forty, I’m wise enough to know that I’m the luckiest man in the world to have it. In fact, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Trip Picks

I’m in a sports slump. It’s that simple. Why? Because most of the big-time games I wanna watch go down on weekend afternoons. And around my house, that’s a serious conflict of interest. As a result, the only blitzes I’m privy to are the ones executed by our tiny threesome as they bull-rush our domestic quarterback (Lovie), while this lineman helplessly tries to prevent them from knocking her out of the game. Instead of rooting for my favorite team to get a first down, I’m left assisting Lovie until we get a third down. In bed that is. And by that time, most of the action is over.

When Lovie and I discovered that she was pregnant with triplets, I (jokingly) told her that if they were all girls, Briggs (my faithful hound) and I were packin’ up and leaving. After all, the last thing we needed was the estrogen fest that would ensue with a household of five females compared to just one (human) male. So you can imagine my relief when we welcomed two boys and one girl into the world. At long last, I’d finally have some testosterone on my side.

But I soon realized that sharing a house with a mommy, a little girl, and three babies is far from a Harley Davidsion convention. Two years later, not much has changed. This past weekend was one of the biggest sporting weekends of the year, but no one that I lived with seemed to care–not even my boys. NFL playoffs? Un uh. The only thing they wanted to watch was an animated nursery rhyme. Which brings me back to the first sentence of this post. I’m in a sports slump.

On Friday night, after we got the kiddos down, Lovie, Pookie, and I watched a movie called Imagine That. A single dad (Eddie Murphy) discovers that with the help of his daughter (Yara Shahidi) and her magic blanket, he’s able to pick stocks that are destined to soar in value, thus helping him further his career in finance.

I quickly realized that Imagine That contained the elusive solution to my sports slump. You see, without my usual high dosage of sports, I’m not as well versed in the ways of football as I once was, an unfortunate fact that has led to a slump within a slump–namely that of accurately forcasting which teams will prevail each and every weekend. Thanks to Eddie Murphy, I had a feeling that was about to change. After all, if his kid could pick stocks, surely the triplets could pick winners.

So on Saturday morning, I put two stickie notes in front of A. He passed over the one that read Bengals, instead picking the one that said New York. Apparently, my little guy was down with the Jets catching three and a hook on the road against Cincy. I repeated the selection process for the three remaining NFL matchups and logged his selections before bringing B, and C into the mix. Ten minutes later, I had my plays.

A is FIRED UP about his picks.

In addition to the Jets, A also liked:

Dallas -3-1/2 over the Eagles,

Baltimore +3-1/2 over the Pats, and

Green Bay -3 over Arizona.

He was a smoking hot 3-1 for the weekend.

B flashes a confident smile before disclosing his selections.

B chose

Philly,

Cincy,

Baltimore, and

Arizona.

He wound up 2-2 and was the only one to correctly pick the Cards.

C's picture may be out of focus, but her selections were anything but.

C liked

the Jets,

Philly,

New England (she thinks Tom Brady’s hot), and

Green Bay.

She started off well, but fizzled, going 1-3 for the weekend.

I played the teams which got the majority backing from the trips (New York, Philly, Baltimore, and Green Bay). Oddly, all four were on the road, which any seasoned gamer will tell you is a Wildcard Weekend no-no. Still, I ended up 2-2. And as the old adage goes, a push is a win, right? So I was thrilled.

Only one problem.

I still didn’t get to watch.

Stay tuned for how they do throughout the playoffs.

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