Dear Elmo

Back when I liked you.

Dear Elmo,

You suck.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, before I had children — back when I was merely “Uncle John” — I actually liked you. A lot. You were a funny and irresistible little monster. Plus my niece and nephew LOVED you. Remember that holiday season when you were in such high demand? Well, I was one of the lucky ones who actually managed to get his hands on your red ass, chicken suit and all. I’ll never forget what a hit you were that year. The kids played with you for hours. But what I didn’t realize then was that their parents must have hated every single minute of it.

C getting her Elmo on.

No, my furry friend, I wouldn’t learn that lesson for quite some time. But learn it I would, when I finally became a dad. I will admit, though, even after spawning the tiny trio, it took a while for the disdain to set in, likely because the triplets adored you so. It’s hard for me to dislike anything which brings such joy to my children.

But it’s not impossible, my misguided monster. Hearing your little chicken-dance song 5,412 times certainly proved that.

“Elmo wants to be a chicken. Elmo wants to be a duck. Quack, quack, quack, quack.”

Well, which is it, Elmo? Do you wanna be a chicken or do you wanna be a duck? You’re quacking, so I assume you wanna be a duck, yet you’re dressed in a chicken costume, which would indicate a poultry preference. Not to mention the fact that the package you came in? It didn’t read Duck Dance Elmo.  It read CHICKEN Dance Elmo. So why in the duck are you quacking? You’re setting a horrendous example for my kids who could very well be acquiring a sense of entitlement by witnessing such behavior. I can hear it now. “I wanna do this. No, I wanna do that. No, I wanna do this. No, I wanna do that…”

As much as I loathed you in your chicken-dance format, there was a simple solution–hiding you from the light of day. Once I did that, I figured you were behind us. Until long-ass car rides came onto the scene. That’s right. Seven-hour drives to the beach with three fussy toddlers is quite an experience. To keep the peace we tried everything. But only one thing seemed to work. Your Best of Elmo DVD.

Oh the irony, Elmo. Hiding you at home brought me great peace. Yet, on the road, from a monitor behind my head and well outside my field of vision, you still managed to wreak a hell-like havoc on the vacation commutes I haplessly executed. Back in the good old days, three hours on the road meant we were in the middle of Spartanburg. But suddenly, three hours on the road meant that we were in the middle of the SEVENTH showing of your mind-numbing collection of skits.

Do you have to use that high-pitched voice, Elmo? Or rap. Do you have to rap? You’re about as gansta as an imaginary tea party. With princesses. And do you have to rock the third person all the time? Hmm? Because John Cave Osborne doesn’t like that. It bugs him. In fact, it bugs pretty much everyone and everything on this planet.

Telephone, Elmo. It’s Fran Dresher. She wants me to tell you that her laugh thinks you’re annoying.

Speaking of annoying, Elmo, Whoopie Goldberg? REALLY? What, Star Jones all booked up? And how ’bout your deal with Julia Roberts? Just hearing the two of you trying to scare each other is enough to make me wanna throw an apple at the monitor. Don’t worry, though. Should I ever lose control like that, no one would actually get hurt. Any apple thrown anywhere near Julia Roberts would do nothing more than harmlessly lodge itself into the top row of her preposterously large teeth.

Oh, and I think it’s nice that you gave the Unhappy Honker your last drawing, but if you needed at least one to display at the Monster Art Show, why in world did you give it to him?

I smell a dumb dumb.

And then everyone’s supposed to feel all sorry for you and return the dozens of drawings you just spent the better part of thirty minutes handing out as gifts? Again, not a great example. Back to the entitlement deal.

Yes, Elmo, you do suck. But, honestly? I’ve kinda enjoyed disliking you so. The acrimonious fire you’ve set within my soul has kept me warm for nearly eighteen months now. And that’s the real reason why I’m writing you.

Sadly, it seems the fire is going out. You see, A, B, and C no longer wonder where your chicken-dance doll is. They don’t enjoy your DVDs anymore, not even the one where you selfishly insist that every day be Christmas. (You’ve GOT to work on that entitlement thing.)

 

Sorry, Elmo, but you’re yesterday’s news. In fact, you’ve already been replaced. And wouldn’t you know it–you’ve been replaced by something else that’s red. And what’s more, much like you, your replacement emits high-pitched noises capable of giving me migraines. And truth be told? I’m kinda sad about it. My new foil, though similar to you in color and sound, will be nowhere near as fun for me to hate.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t hate it. Because, rest assured, I will.

And I can also promise you this. That damn thing will NEVER be allowed in the car. EVER.

So long, Elmo.

 

Move over Elmo, for this God-awful thing.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Get Real

Lovie and I got married in 2006. She was a thirty-seven-year-old single mom to Pookie, and I was a thirty-six-year-old, semi-professional bachelor. Despite our relatively advanced age, we knew before we even tied the knot that we wanted to have a child together.

A child, mind you. At least that was my thinking. Lovie thought that more than one might be nice. “Let’s just focus on having one,” I offered. “Then we can see how we feel about having another.”

Obviously the news that we were expecting triplets tabled any future conversations concerning more children. Or so I thought. One night, when our trio was just six months old, Lovie casually mentioned to me that sometimes she thought it would be “funny” if she were to get pregnant again.

There were many adjectives that came to my mind with such a scenario, but funny was not among them. After all, in trying for a simple addition to bring us just below the national family average, we had somehow become the Waltons in one fell swoop. I wasn’t convinced that my potent brand of semen could be trusted to produce only one more. With my luck, I’d knock Lovie up with quintuplets. Then we’d be burdened with our own reality show:

John and Caroline Plus Nine

I don’t know about you, but one-upping the Gosselins didn’t sound like anything that I would ever consider even remotely “funny.” What if she wanted more after that and we duplicated our inaugural effort with yet another set of triplets? Talk about reality shows.

Our Good Lovin’ Made a Dozen? I don’t think so.

In December, I read that Kate Gosselin has a new show in the works. Frankly, it scared the hell out of me. After all, America needs more Kate Gosselin like Lovie and I need more children. If TV execs could possibly think that such a show was a good idea, I knew it was possible that Lovie just might relapse and again ponder the hilarity that would ensue with the addition of more children to our brood. Accordingly, I thought it would be prudent if I armed myself with TV show titles that would discourage such insanity.

Even If We Tried, Her Tubes Are Tied

But her tubes aren’t tied. So that didn’t make sense.

No More Trips ‘Cause John Got Snipped

Only I haven’t been snipped. And I never will get snipped. I’m scared of the knife, and I certainly don’t want to duplicate my good cyber-buddy Ron Mattock’s recent procedure. Besides, I hate frozen peas. The last thing I wanna do is sit on them.

Lovie’s Bod Will Not House Quads

Not bad. But that title left a little too much wiggle room for my liking. Technically, it allowed for the possibility of Lovie’s petite frame housing fewer than four. And then I came up with it–the perfect title for the only reality show I would ever consider when it came to our family—no matter what Lovie had to say about it.

Ain’t No Maybes—No More Babies

Luckily, it’s been nearly two years since Lovie has mentioned anything about the humorous act of adding to our family roster, so my clever title has not been necessary.

But you never know.

That’s why I’ve got it. Just in case.

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