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?

Whiz Kids

A little nap-time mishap leaves me wondering what in the world is wrong with my boys. I documented the situation via the one-minute video below. The quality is not the best, as it was shot with my phone.

A Matchbox Made in Heaven

A special happy anniversary to Fatherhood Friday, a wonderful weekly event brought to you by the talented folks over at dad-blogs. For those of you who don’t know, dad-blogs is a wonderful community of clever people (and me). I strongly encourage you to take a visit by clicking here.

Lovie and I constantly ask ourselves one simple question. How can three kids who shared the same womb for thirty-six weeks (and one day) turn out to be so different?

A’s a daring, wiry little monkey who’s been known to climb out of his crib, literally disassemble the child-proof handle of his bedroom door, open said door, and (after successfully negotiating the child-proof gate) waltz downstairs in the pitch-black night. Once on the main floor, he’ll nonchalantly tip-toe into the kitchen, startling Lovie and me, while cleverly concealing his mischievous grin with the thumb he’s temporarily parked in his mouth.

C’s the vocal one, continuously muttering to herself, often singing along to songs with nonsensical words she’s made up on the spot. She effortlessly parlays her good looks (which she inherited from Lovie) with her precocious command of the English language to further whatever cause happens to be hers at the moment.

Which brings me to B. He’s the sensitive, inquisitive one, content to simply watch events as they unfold, his mouth slightly agape, his almond-shaped brown eyes wide with wonder. Whether he’s on the playroom floor witnessing A and C fight for control over Elmo, or at the living room window watching the UPS man become Briggs’s slobber-covered bitch, B absorbs it all with the same stoic expression.

If A is not afraid to push the boundaries, and if C is not afraid to express herself, then it’s safe to say that B is not afraid to be his own guy. Not only is he a voyeur of all things mundane, he’s also extremely content to play by himself. This, we’ve discovered, is both good and bad. It’s good because he’s easily entertained. It’s bad because he’s a little young to be playing with himself. (Sorry.) Actually, it’s bad because since B is perfectly content to play by himself, he’s decided that no one else should have access to the toys that entertain him so.

As a result, he’s taken to a mild manifestation of hoarding, cramming whichever toy(s) he currently covets into any one of several secret hiding places. Recently he raided Lovie’s bathroom drawer and pulled out a bunch of pony tail holders. Dismayed that A and C wanted in on the action, he found just the right spot to safeguard his loot.

I bet they'll be safe in here.

Yes, there was urine in there. You can’t see it, though, because it got soaked up by his elastic buddies. Thank goodness he hadn’t laid one down, right?

Of all the toys, it’s the matchbox cars he fancies most. Seriously, we must have fifty such cars, and B could be happily playing with forty-nine of them, but as soon as A or C so much as even looks at the lone remaining vehicle that’s somehow managed to escape B’s grasp, he loses it.

His remedy? Stashing them in other, larger toy vehicles and parading around endlessly with them–a mobile, matchbox car monopoly, if you will.

I know. I'll throw 'em in here.

Am I crazy? Or am I light on Ford Mustang?

In B’s mind, he’s protecting his metal pals from the clutches of A and C. As he makes his rounds, he’s continuously on the lookout for new and improved hiding places, places where the rolling objects of his desire will go undetected until he’s able to swing back by and pick them up again.

They'll never think to look under the ice machine.

Honestly? His preoccupation is starting to make Lovie and me feel like we’re one of his coveted cars. Why you ask?

Because he’s driving us up the wall!

But most of the time, Lovie and I feel like we are B and that B is one of the cars. Because whenever we see our little introvert staring back at us with those big, brown, curious eyes?

All we wanna do is snatch him up and keep him all to ourselves.

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.

Guaranteed Winners

Click below for my five-star, can’t-miss, NFL playoff locks. Okay, fine. They’re not mine. The triplets picked ‘em. But the triplets are mine, so that kinda makes their picks mine, too, doesn’t it?

That faint smell in the air? Straight cash, homey.

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.

The Good, the Bad, and the Snuggie

Okay. So the Christmas season of 2009 is officially in the books. Here’s a little recap of how the holiday went down in our neck of the woods via something I like to call The Good, the Bad, and the Snuggie.

It’s important to note that potty training is alive and well in our house. In fact, B is doing so well that he went all “next level” on us. One night in early December he commandeered C’s pink car, you know, a little toddler toy that wee ones roll around on? With a seat that lifts up so the wee ones can put their blankies inside? Well this wee one decided to put his wee-wee inside.

What? I see you lift up the lid all the time. Hypocrite.

Shortly thereafter, we got a bit of snow, a rare occurence in our fair city these days. Sadly, Pookie was with her dad, but A, B, and C got into the spirit and even took time to pose next to a snowman.

B, C, and A ain't skeert of a little cold.

C, B, A, and Frosty.

Then the holiday season got amped up a bit when Lovie, Pookie, and I went ice skating at an outside rink on Friday the 11th. Look how pretty Pookie and Lovie are.

Lovie and Pookie fixin' to get their skate on.

When I get done skating with her, I think I'll go on a quick tri-state crime spree.

Pookie, graceful as always.

That Sunday, Lovie, Pookie, and C went to a cookie-swap, which left the boys and me to hang out during the afternoon. Excited to have some quality male bonding time, I anxiously went upstairs just past four to wake them from their nap, but but before I took even a single step into their room, I knew something was drastically awry. Long story short, one of the boys had experienced the blow out of the century. The pictural evidence of said blow out is truly remarkable, but Lovie insisted that I leave it out. (I could, however, be coaxed into inserting it with a well phrased request or two…) We had a good afternoon, but from that point until Christmas, it was official. A stomach bug had infiltrated our clan and would remain throughout the holidays, eventually affecting nearly everyone.

Still, by Christmas, we had rebounded. Despite a couple of us waking up looking pretty rough…

B, halway undone on Christmas morning, and somehow the possessor of a gender-inappropriate passi.

A, our little monster, on Christmas morning.

…all in all we felt much better and were ready to enjoy the day. Pookie didn’t get back from her dad’s until 2:00, so after breakfast we played in the garage for a bit before going for a ride in the car.

B and A, feeling better, and excited for Pookie to get back home.

Little Sissy waiting for her turn in the Barbie jeep. Wait, does that mean my BOYS are playing in the Barbie jeep? Fellas...

Finally, it was time for us all to gather round the tree. Lovie’s mom and her fiance’ came over, and together, the eight of us enjoyed a wonderful little slice of Christmas.

There are enough lights on this tree to illuminate a small village. A small, dark village.

Pookie loved her green fleece.

B plays with the cars that go in the big truck.

A waits for a turn with the cars.

Sweet Pea, C, plays with the latch board. Yes. That's a wipe on her head. No. We don't know why, either.

The day after Christmas was another big one as that night, Lovie’s mom and her fiance’ got married. Pookie and her cousin would walk her down the aisle. Pook looked beautiful and so did her grandmom. A, B, and C looked great, too, but we were in such a hurry that, unfortunately, we didn’t get pictures. Aside from their baptism, the trips had never been to such a ceremony. We were more than a little nervous about how they would do. Thankfully they were great, especially given the little stomach bug that was still alive and well.

Until the very end, that is.

As the moment was drawing nigh when the happy couple would be pronounced man and wife, an unmistakable low rumble escaped one of the trios’ backsides. Followed by two more just like it. Followed by a sweet, little high-pitched voice singing “Toot, toot, toot. Toot, toot, toot.”

Though not exactly according to script, the minor transgression did nothing but add (a pretty good amount of) laughter to the happy occasion and with its conclusion, the gauntlet of the holidays had passed. Not only did we survive, we triumped. But that’s not to say we didn’t come out unscathed. For on Sunday the 27th, the stomach bug reared its ugly head again on a morning car ride.

Oh boy.

Two hours later, feeling very queazy, I limped back to our bedroom. It would be twenty hours before I re-emerged and during that time, I did everything imaginable except eat. It’s Monday night and I still haven’t had anything more than a handful of crackers, a chicken sandwhich, and an English muffin. But as bad as my stomach has felt during the past thirty-six hours, it could never have compared to the sinking feeling it had on Christmas when Pookie opened a gift from Santa–a gift that I can assure you I knew nothing about.

Santa? How could you?

So it’s official. I live in a house equipped with a Snuggie. And I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I think the fact that it’s a snuggie “for kids” makes it even worse. I looked into a couple of reputable snuggie relocation programs, but was told it wouldn’t make a difference. I’d still be considered in violation. So I’ve contacted the authorities and have made the neccessary arrangements. I’ll be meeting them on January 8th to hand in my man card. Since I’m a first-time offender, they’ve been kind enough to let me keep it through the bowl games.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Instant Classic

Okay, let’s see here…Lovie? Check. (Don’t let the near-perfect smile fool you. She’s barely holding it together, but Lovie’s still a check.)

Alright…Pookie? Check.

A, B, and C? Check.

Bald spot? Check.

Meltdowns? That’s a check and a double check thanks to both A and C.

Look of fear? Yup. B’s got that covered. Check.

Santa? Santa? Uh oh. Where in the world is Santa?

Houston, we have a problem. Santa’s nowhere to be found, and I don’t like our chances of getting this bunch back here for a second picture. In fact, I think the dad just made a beeline for the bar.

WAIT. WAIT. My bad. We got him. Santa’s in there. His eye that is. And that’s all we really need. You know, the whole “He’s sees you when you’re sleeping,” bit. We’re good. False alarm.

from l to r: B, Lovie, C, Santa's eye, Pookie, A, and me.

Ashton Kutcher, Alyssa Milano, Twitter, The Triplets & Me

So perhaps you’ve heard of one Ashton Kutcher,  actor-hearthrob,  Mr. Demi Moore, fellow stepdad, new media magnate, and Twitter force of nature.

Well, to my great surprise, he’s heard of me. Or at least, he somehow ran across one of my You Tube videos – one depicting a night I spent solo parenting the triplets without Lovie, who was enjoying a much-deserved evening out with Pookie.  I still have no idea how Ashton Kutcher happened on my video, but however it happened, he was nice enough to tweet about it.

Yes, you read that right Ashton Kutcher gave my video a shout out to his 4 million-plus Twitter followers.  Not long after that, Alyssa Milano (who was always the boss in my book), tweeted about my video as well.  And now, parenting bloggers are talking it up, and people are trying to get Ellen Degeneres to notice it via Twitter.

This is amazing.

And here’s the video that seems to be capturing people’s attention.

Monster’s Scared

Monster

Last night, the noise emanating from the monitor sounded different from all the others we had heard in the past. Usually Lovie and I can tell within the first minute or two who it’s coming from as well as what the problem is. Sometimes it’s Monster letting us know he’s lost his blankie. Other times it’s Biggs telling us he’s pooped. Every now and then it’s Peanut babbling incoherently to herself. But none of these was the case last night. I made my way upstairs with curious impatience, wondering what the problem was as well as which of our triplets was the affected one.

The cries turned out to be Monster’s, the only respite coming whenever he shuddered out a sigh between his loud wails. I held my two-year-old close and whispered in his ear, but his cries continued. He wrapped his arms and legs around my torso with surprising and ever-increasing strength as he stared at the bathroom door, seemingly mesmerized by the light that shone from beneath it. I turned my body to divert his attention, but it didn’t work. He simply craned his head and continued his stare, still hypnotized by the spectacle, his cries growing louder, his little face mangled in a scowl that I had never seen him make before.

It finally registered—my little guy was frightened.

Worried the ruckus would wake the other two, I carried Monster to the bonus room where we sat on the blue couch in complete darkness, his wet cheek pressed against my dry one. After a while, his cries subsided, though the strength with which he clung to me never did. So I squeezed back, holding him even closer than before — close enough to feel the pounding of his heart so distinctly that it felt like my own, or at very least like one we shared. Thump-thump—thump-thump—thump-thump—thump-thump. I rocked him back and forth to the beat while running my fingers through his thick head of hair, pausing every now and then to softly kiss his forehead. Before long, he was out like a light.

While Monster slept, I contemplated the fear that had woken him, wishing he knew that there was nothing to be scared of. But even if he did, it probably wouldn’t have mattered — fear always sides with whatever you’re scared of. Suddenly I began thinking about the scary things that kept me up at night — the economy, our business, my book, my family’s safety, the health of my aging mom, my sister’s battle with cancer, the contentious relationships among my in-laws, and the unknown mystery that is the future as it relates to any one of those things. A wave of anxiety overcame me, which, when it had finally passed, left me with a feeling of futility.

I turned my attention back to Monster. He was sleeping peacefully as if he had already forgotten whatever it was that had scared him in the first place. His arms and legs were still wrapped around me, but no longer with the same force as before. His heartbeat was still pulsing its way through my body, but no longer with the same speed or ferocity. I started to take him back to his crib, but thought better of it. Moments like the one that Monster and I were sharing have a feeling which too often goes unfelt. And I wasn’t going to let that happen. I wasn’t done with that moment yet and neither was Monster.

So there we sat on the blue couch in the pitch-black bonus room, cheek-to-cheek, sharing the same heartbeat, as well as the same magical, primal moment that belonged to us and no one else. I basked in the comfort we were providing for one another and smiled at a sudden revelation.

Thanks to me, Monster wasn’t scared anymore. Thanks to him, I wasn’t either.

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