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Posts Tagged ‘Triplets’

I can’t decide if this is super-cute or wildly disturbing.

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Control Issues

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

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

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

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

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

For a little bit.

“Twuck,” said B.

“What’s that, buddy?” I asked.

“Twuck.”

“I don’t see any trucks.”

“Twuck.” This time it was A.

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

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

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

“Bus.”

…bus kinda gal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twuck, twuck, twuck, twuck, twuck.

Bus bus. Bus bus.

Twuck, twuck, twuck, twuck, twuck.

Bus bus. Bus bus.

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

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

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

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Photo Haikus

This post is proud to be a part of Fatherhood Friday. Go check out what the other great dads are blogging about today by visiting dad-blogs.

Quick note to my Ktown peeps — my blog got a shout out on Live at Five at Four on Wednesday. A big thank you to Katie Granju for the love. If you’re visiting because of the reference, take a peek around, as this is not my typical post. But this is. So’s this. Oh, and maybe this, too.

Moving on…

If you stop by my modest blog regularly, you know that I’m usually good for a (reasonably) solid literary effort.

Today? Not as much. All I got for you this time is nine pictures. Three of A, three of B, and three of C.

Well, I suppose I have a little more than that. I’ve also written a haiku for each of our toddlers–one line per picture. So why the haikus? I’ll explain them with yet another:

Just a normal night.
Until I saw something else,
Mundanely magic.

Sammy Monster

He's stoked for bath time!

can be tentative at first,

He likes to fill the cup up.

Our Sammy monster.

Laid Back Jack

Jack is sensitive.

Curious and to himself,

thoughtful, shy, and sweet.

Kirby Girl

Kirby's precocious.

So charming like her mommy,

beautiful like Pook.

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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 says 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 A, B, and C 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, A, B, and C 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.”

debating the fate of number nine.

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 A, B, and C. 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.

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