Archive for May, 2009


green is the color

green is the color

Alex was feeling a bit under the weather this morning, so when the 6AM peeping began, I stealthily crept out of the bedroom and launched, macho-man like, into action. There is a certain Fear Factoresque thrill at doing the morning feeding solo, and I felt up to the challenge today. So I diapered, transported, warmed, fed, rolled (news alert: Satch rolled over by himself!) and then got the boys into their new home away from home, the feeding troth…er…table. No-one was looking, so I thought this would be the golden opportunity for…Guacamole!!! All dads love guacamole. It makes us think of the super bowl. So I’m in there chopping up onions and cilantro, crushing garlic, shaking tequila. No, not really.  The boys are purists, and I knew they’d settle for nothing less than the simplest, ripest, most wholesome smashed up avocado money could buy. If you want a more complex recipe though, and a singing history of the green goodness, you will find none better than here.

Meanwhile, I smashed and mashed until I had a semi-liquid salsa verde, and then attempted to enlighten my sons about the joys of Mexican cuisine. What I wonder is this: when did these boys learn the “what the @#$% is this” face? Someone snuck in taught them I suppose, because they have it DOWN. I was bouncing from boy to boy with my little pink spoon, inserting little verdant globules into one as similar globules emerged – in streams or as missiles – from the other two, all six of their imploring eyes beseeching me, “father, why is this morning different from all other mornings? On all other mornings we have gruel with fruit in it, but on this morning we have ONLY fruit, and that fruit happens to be a great big alligator pear mashed into a distasteful mucilaginous mush.” And of course at this stage I was tempted to grab the tortilla chips and Coronas and show these boys – they’ve got to learn some time – what’s what. But instead I capitulated and whipped up a batch of infant oatmeal, stirred in the Guac until I had what looked like the pale green sauce you’d find covering your shrimp at an expensive West Village Mexican joint, and commenced to administer this horror to my quickly deteriorating offspring. At this happy moment my beloved wife, roused from her own mucilaginous slumber, arrived to restore order. Oh the sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, and she found me in there on this cold, cold wet day, green as the day I was born. Al played Little Cat Z to my Cat in the Hat, and before long the boys had their faces washed, gums scrubbed, tempers soothed, and were dispatched with haste to their dreamy counterlife. It’s a bit of blur now, if you want to know the truth. But I still maintain we’re all the better for it.


May 27, 2009 at 10:29 am 1 comment

a day in the life

surfing safari

surfing safari

It’s at about this instant each year when I thank the heavens for my chosen profession. Spring grades are in at last, and the summer looms before me like a blank canvas, stretched and primed for me to convert all that potential into honest work. I am also so grateful to be able to pick up some more of the slack avec les trois. Those wintry 12-hour days certainly took their toll on Big mama, and lord knows she’s worked hard enough this past year. We have set up a daily schedule that allows each of us several hours to attend to our art, or other pressing civil matters (dry cleaner, Apple store, etc.) The rule is that weekdays are working days, and those precious hours off (not quite as precious as those other hours ON) must be spent wisely. Al and I are now sharing what was once the guest room and subsequently became my studio. We get along famously. Two nights ago we were in there together, she preparing paper jaguars for a trip to the bronze foundry, me working on a bleep blop piece for wind quintet to be performed later this summer. If our boys can function with studied and benevolent obliviousness to one another, then so can we.

I am currently ON, though you’d probably never guess it. I’m sitting here with a nice Caesar’s salad (homemade dressing) enjoying the last hour of my shift while the boys enjoy their second nap of the day. The daily routine – when neither of us have specific work obligations or other nuissances – looks something like this:

6am – The boys wake up. Almost like clockwork, though today they didn’t really fully activate until 6:15. In theory, we are up 15 minutes before them getting ready. But this generally doesn’t happen.

6:15-6:30 Teamwork. Change diapers, heat bottle water, add bottles to the warm water, stir in multi-vitamins (once a day), carry boys (still in their PJs) into the bedroom for the morning bottle. They always wake up with smiles, and if we move the process effectively the bottles are in their mouths before any complete meltdown begins. (I would say that happens, the no meltdown thing, one out of every four mornings). 

6:30 – 7  We lounge in bed, bottle feeding the little men. One of us takes one, the other two, and we sometimes trade off. This is a happy, groggy time for all of us, punctuated by burping, farting and singing. 

7-7:25  We make our way into the kitchen and plunk the musketeers into their new table (scroll down for a pic). One or the other of us makes up some infant oatmeal and stirs in some fruit. Today, for the first time, it was fresh, fork-mashed banana – and the boys got to have some of that blissful sweetness by itself too (unblanded by the soupy gruel). This is sometimes happy, sometimes noisy, always messy. Bananas, as you might have guessed, were a big hit. 

7:30ish Bedtime. Our routine is as follows. We put on a playlist on the boys’ bedroom ipod that consists of the first two tracks of On a Starry Night – a great dreamy CD that a friend gifted us – and then, and you’ll think this is narcissistic of me but oh well, our lullaby “everybody’s going to sleep” four times (count em). While this music is playing, we’re softly putting the boys in their sleeveless cotton sleep sacks, and swaying gently with each of them for the duration of almost one lullaby. We put them down in the cribs, ninety percent of the time awake, but they are usually asleep within minutes. 

7:45-8  Cleanup time. Teamwork. 

8-9  A nice open window for breakfast, a run, emailing (limited!) etc. 

9-1  On weekdays either Al or I takes this time “off.” Which is to say we go to work. Alex is working on pieces for a fall show in Portland, among other projects, and I’m working on a book review, a book, an opera and a wind quintet. 

9:30ish – 11:30ish – Whoever’s on gets the boys up if they don’t do it of their own accord. Then it’s: warm bottle water and bottles, check diapers, get the boys dressed, get them out to the bright and sunny living room and in their bouncy seats. Throw on some bibs and feed them. Our newest helper in this endeavor is the much heralded Podee bottle, which essentially is a bottle with an extension cord so that a bouncing baby can more or less feed himself. It just seems a lot safer and nicer than a bottle propper, but the boys’ did quite have the sucking horsepower to use them until just now. It IS possible to hand feed three boys at a time, but it is taxing and over the long haul not so much fun. 

When the boys finish their bottles they are burped, they sit upright for a while, sometimes they poop triumphantly, and when a fair amount of time has passed, we roll them on the floor and do all sorts of wonderful and horrible things with them. This includes tummy time (sometimes horrible), sitting up (fun), rolling over (horrible mostly), reading books (fun), playing with toys (still relatively neutral, which is to say these boys are as yet still only minimally able to distinguish a toy from any other of life’s myriad objects). The one or more of the brethren can get pretty fussy during this period, which makes it a wholesome challenge for one industrious parent to keep all the wheels in motion (all the faces smiling and heinies clean is the ideal – though perhaps more platonic ideal than realistic goal at any one moment). The trick here is to correctly identify the onset of drowsiness before it metastasizes into its evil cousin fatigue. At that moment, the bedtime routine begins again, with the added complication that one parent is responsible for shuttling the boys across the apartment to their room, one (or two) at a time. Ideally, they conk out at around 11:30. 

11:45 – 12  Clean up time. Reset the living room, bring in bottles, bips, burp cloths, put toys away. 

12-1 Lunch/work/etc. The boys are pretty reliably sleeping during this period, and it goes pretty quickly. At 1, the changing of the guard occurs. 

1-5pm Parent tag team tradeoff. Parent A reemerges from the studio or the library or coffee shop (for days when the library’s closed), and assumes the position while parent B attends to his or her worldly ambitions. Four afternoons a week Jen is here with us, sent Mary Poppins-like from the heavens to maintain sanity amongst the savages. 

1:30pm Around this time the boys stir from what will be their last significant-length nap of the day. It’s 1:23 as I type this and I hear them in bed talking. Actually Jen has scooped away Satchel, so it’s only Levi and Pablo quietly conversing, as if disagreeing over some obscure passage of the Talmud. Anyway, they’ll get scooped up, and then it’s bottles and more of the good stuff that went on in the morning. We’ll put the boys in Exer Saucers for a short while once each day (longer, apparently, isn’t so good for their sense of equilibrium), and it’s usually during this period. 

3:30 Around this time comes the third nap of the day, which in the inimitable words of Dr. Weissbluth is “either short, long, or absent.” 
We can usually squeeze 45 minutes to an hour out of them here, but we will sometimes opt instead to put them in the stroller and parade them around town, ensuring, of course, our own celebrity, but also achieving a nap on the go. The boys sleep instantly when connected to any sort of consistent motion.

4:15-4:30  Back up again. This time we strip them down to onesies and plunk them back into the feeding table, where the dinner festivities begin. They get peas or carrots or string beans, sometimes squash, mixed in with whole grain rice cereal. Unlike the morning, this time we give them the solid food before their bottle, so it is generally consumed with great interest. There are times, however, when that insidious fiend, bottle hunger, creeps in and throws our gentle feeding ritual off the rails. This typically happens if we’re running a little late, say if the boys eat closer to 5. I don’t know how, but always around 5:10 or 5:15 this alarm goes off in their little brains – I can see the flashing red BOTTLE in my mind’s eye as I write this. From that point on we make some haste, get them into their pajamas, nestle them softly in boppy seats in their bedroom, and feed them their final liquids of the day. Oh somewhere in here…

5pm Parent B emerges from solitude or the world and pitches in. So on four out of five week days we have three (or should I say six) hands on board for this exciting final hour.

The boys drink their bottles greedily and studiously, losing the world around them for those ten or fifteen sanctified minutes. The noises gradually diminuendo from desperate grunts to contented sighs and sonorous belches, and usually sometime before completely kicking the kegs the boys look up dreamily.

Either during or just after the bottle we read to them. Lately it’s been Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which are so thoroughly weird and disturbing we’re going to have to discontinue them  before too long for about ten years. We also have some nice picture books, and my all time favorite Hop on Pop, which even has a panel about a father of triplets (go look!). 

We play the music, do the holding and swaying, and put the boys down – again, ninety percent of the time awake but drowsy. They will whimper and sometimes even holler for about three minutes, and that’s essentially the last we’ll hear of them for twelve hours. They will occasionally speak up during the night (usually during the first few hours of the snooze), but almost always to no consequence. If one of them gets really worked up – at this point a very infrequent occurrence – we’ll put the timer on, and if he’s still having his say five minutes in, we’ll pay a visit. But that visit almost never happens. We do, however, sneak in once or twice a night just to peak at the little guys sleeping – they do it awfully cutely. 

And there you have it. I’ll spare you the details of our OTHER 12 hours, suffice to say that somewhere in there we DO actually get some sleep, eat, and every now and then turn on the boob tube.

May 25, 2009 at 1:05 pm 4 comments

Six months later…

Feeding table and 6 month b-day

bet you wish you had one of these

 Somebody woke up this morning to a delightful surprise – a brand new triplet feeding table! And somebody woke up to an awful surprise – no more eat-in kitchen. Well, that’s not exactly true. It’s still eat in, just not for grown-ups. Because the instruction manual states quite clearly that neither grown up food, nor grown up elbows are appropriate for this stunning hand-wrought piece. It also says, with equal clarity, that this table is only okay for kidlings six months and older, a thrilling coincidence since this just so happens to be the boys’ six month birthday! Can you imagine? Honestly, November 23 feels more like a lifetime ago than a mere half year. I mean really, what did we know of anything back then? I, if you recall, was even afraid of poop! Now it is veritably my life companion. 

The table – I can report after a single feeding – is quite as much fun as it looks like…even more. The boys adapted to it seamlessly, and are unconcerned at the obsolescence of yet another artifact of infancy: the bouncy seat. Well, I suppose we aren’t quite fully done with the bouncies just yet, but their days are numbered. Bouncies, you see, encourage slothfulness. When you sleep about 17 hours a day, your waking moments ought to be filled with serious endeavor. I’m talking about head control, toy manipulation, rolling over, all the usual touchstones on the path to world domination. 

Clearly the Grinch’s chair is not quite entirely the right color. But he’s an agreeable sort, for a grinch. The slight look of terror and surprise shared by him and the wee man to his left is not fear but hunger, since this photo preceded the actual gruel-fest. 

And now my friends, a scant hour and fifteen minutes into the first morning nap I hear the glorious sound of music: a well conceived piece that starts with a few blips and bleeps and crescendos to a gale force symphony of misery. Tiny and the boys are back in the limelight, and they haven’t lost a step.

May 23, 2009 at 7:51 am 3 comments


Hip hip hurray for Papa and happy birthday.

Happy Birthday Papa.

The boys with some help from Meema and Mom decided to send their first birthday wishes. Happy birthday from all of us. Posted by big mama

May 18, 2009 at 8:41 am 2 comments

Hello muddah

We had a happy mother’s day chez cloneville, and my better and smarter half was grateful for the nice messages she received. Lord knows she deserves them, as she’s done some hard core mothering this past year (I could write a book). I tried to run the show as much as possible today and give Al a chance to see the world, do some shopping and smelling of flowers, that sort of thing. There never is enough time, as you can imagine.  I ran myself ragged looking after our brood, most particularly during one Chernobylesque poop event involving Satchel [did you see Slumdog Millionaire? That’s what I’m talking about.] I also cooked for and attempted to pamper the great woman, and hope I succeeded at least somewhat. Now that my semester is drawing to a close I will happily be able to assume more of the day-to-day responsibilities around here, and lord knows there’s plenty of doing to do. More than all the pedestrian nuts and bolts factors though, A. has brought inner strength, fearlessness, and wisdom to this complex thing of parenting, and I’ve been happy and lucky enough to be ride on her coattails.

A last word here. This mothers day, for us, follows on the heels of several, three, four, maybe even five, that were less happy. Of course we always cherished the opportunity to celebrate OUR mothers and grandmothers, but the yearly reminder that the one thing we most wanted had been denied us for yet another 365 days grew increasingly difficult to bear as the numbers mounted. As much as mothers have done to earn this special day of celebration – and they’ve done plenty – I hope we all remember that there is no holiday for would-be mothers without children, who face each day bravely  with hope, or sadly without it. They are in your midst whether you realize it or not, and I can promise you that for many of them today was a hard day. To those who are trying and hoping know that we thought of you early and often today. Next year in Jerusalem.

May 10, 2009 at 10:46 pm 3 comments

Some recent snapshots

I am meaning to write a long post about sleep. But instead, I will go do that very thing. But here are some photos I’ve been saving up. 

Waving my legs in the air

Waving my legs in the air

Feeling all right... (Pablo)

Feeling all right... (Pablo)

more peas please (Levi)

more peas please (Levi)

can't be serious ALL the time! (Satchel)

can't be serious ALL the time! (Satchel)

Heads up! (Satch and Levi)

Heads up! (Satch and Levi)

May 8, 2009 at 10:57 pm 5 comments

New friends for May!

new friends

new friends

Alas this blog is just not designed for landscape-oriented photos. I think if you click on the above beauty you’ll see a slightly better version of the boys and their old friends George (pink bib) and Oliver (green bib), who were born one day before the trio in the very same place. You can read all about their exploits here. (and you can even see a better oriented version of this pic). George and Ollie’s folks are Aysha and Ben, and they share something of an understanding of the challenges and joys of launching clones upon the world. We had a swell time with them, exchanging tales of doody and spitup and smiles and rolling over over bagels and outstanding coffee. Through no fault of the coffee served – this was last Sunday – I’ve since quit the stuff. On Facebook I learned the term is officially “coffee vacation,” since I plan to start up again in about three or ten months. Had a couple of days of headache and lethargy, but now have emerged out the other end feeling pure. The boys had become my excuse (of course I need four, five, or six cups a day, I’ve got triplets!!). Now it’s a cup of black tea and then the herbal.

We have some more funny pictures of boys eating rice cereal with peas, a neverending source of amusement, and even some photos of boys smiling and laughing. If I had that cord, or that camera, or the wherewithal (where DOES one get wherewithal), I’d show and not tell, but for the moment the tell will have to suffice. They smile and laugh now and it’s the darndest thing. I.O.U proof.

More soon. ‘member what I said about April? It was busy. Now it’s May and we professor types start to live off the fat of de land.

May 2, 2009 at 8:52 am 2 comments

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