Archive for June, 2011

AFPOT Volume 2 Part 4

Me again. I’m mad busy and shouldn’t be doing this. No idea when we can meet again. But here we be…

I givest thou…Satch.

(he doesn’t look like ET here, does he? That’s not my intent)

13. At some point you may conclude that any kind of long distance traveling w/ triplets is hopeless. It is doable, but exacts such a cost in exhaustion and achyness that it becomes ideal to invite visitors to come to you instead.

Honestly, you shouldn’t go anywhere. Fashion seatbelts on your couch, strap them in, get an intravenous tequila drip going, and just sit and pray for like, I dunno, FIVE years to just pass? No no no…just kidding. Really. Traveling is like anything else in YOUR life, o triplet-besotted progenitor, HARD. Waking up is hard. Getting to the back yard? Hard. Oh it used to be, in like, May, I would just open the door and say shoo! shoo! Out in their pull-ups would march my confederate army, but in about three days they had, between them, 137 mosquito bites. I counted. No, I didn’t really count…you think I have time to do that? But there were a lot, so that avenue of pleasure was crossed off, and even unfurling the maestros of mayhem on my own land became a lot of work, so I opted to just strap them in for TV, 24/7. No, kidding. I swear. My kids have never seen TV. TV? Dis. Gusting. I won’t have it. (that was me until about 16 mos., when I learn to capitulate and worship the boobulous tube as my personal lord and savior). Just kidding. What was the question again? Does that joke get old at some point?

14. If you ARE exclusively giving your babies breast milk for any length of time, pumping and bottle feeding enable dads to participate in the process. Moms need to be able to sleep or get out of the house once in a while.

Yes. I’m glad I participated in the process. Particularly those days when I was up at like sixty-o’clock, with 24 8 oz. bottles filled with a 63-37% combination of breast milk and shaken-not-stirred formula. At that moment, it was the process that mattered.

15. When searching out a pediatrician, be sure to find an office who is willing to accommodate three babies at once, and be sure that you like the nursing staff, and that they return calls promptly. You will be calling the doctor two to three times as often as singleton parents.

It DOES slow down. We hardly ever go any more. But it’s still good that we like the office, and, I have to say, even with their multiple-friendly scheduling tendencies, I find myself booking their physicals about a year in advance. “What are YOU doing in February 2012…say the 25th?” “Good GOD! How do I know? No, no, it’s good. 9am? Okay, we’re on. Write it down? No worries…it’s all…right…HERE [taps on noggin].”

Sorry, I’m ornery tonight. Is that the right word? Maybe fuddled? I promise to show up again some time soonish. x


June 28, 2011 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

AFPOT volume 2, part 3

You see what I did there? AFPOT. Made that up meself, fueled by laziness and this mediocre but cold beer.

This is Pablo:

I had the ludicrous idea tonight, as a way of burning my copious excess free time, to start a food blog. Stay tuned.


8. If you read other triplet blogs and maybe Triplet connection, you’ll come to expect people in public to make crude or repetitive comments. Our experience is that it’s not as bad as people say. You’ll hear “you’ve got your hands full” every time you go out though. Try not to get annoyed. Most people genuinely wish you well, and are amazed to be confronted by a triplet stroller, or three identical (or similar) looking babies. Try not to adopt a snobby or annoyed attitude about it. I was ready for people to be outright pigs, and that just hasn’t been the case.

First off, I NEVER go to Triplet connection. I was treated badly there and made to feel unwelcome. Men, over there, are DHs, which they say stands for “Dear Hubby,” but I know stands for something else. That said… everybody says “you’ve got your hands full,” as if they’re the first to think of it. It’s almost like they want you to clap them on the back for their cleverness. But truthfully, people don’t actually notice us quite so much, now that we tend not to travel with the babe-magnet triplet stroller. Also, this blog’s motto notwithstanding, our guys are actually not all identical (a quick persusal of any of the photos posted here should clear that right up for you), and Satch is enough smaller than the other two so that people don’t actually always assume they’re triplets unless we tell them. I, being the attention whore that I am, tend to want more, and not less, spotlight for my magnificent band of brothers. In any event, the amount that people do or do not pay attention to you and make dumb comments when you’re out in public is (if you have triplets) so low on the list of difficult things you have to deal with it’s barely worth thinking about.

9. It is ideal to have your three babies sleep on the same floor as you sleep and live. Apartment or ranch living is ideal early on. (Big apartment, though).

Yeah, I suppose that makes sense. Apartment living probably won’t last you too long, though.

10. It is good to attempt to breast feed for as long as you can, but essential to be kind to yourself considering the reality of your situation. Hospital lactation consultants may make you feel morally bankrupt for even considering using formula, but you should know that many, many triplet families have to sooner or later. Some time or other you will be confronted with literature that makes you feel inadequate for not breast feeding. Just throw it away. [This is no diss on breast feeding, or the heroic mothers who manage to breast feed multiples for any length of time; just an acknowledgment that the pendulum has swung far in the direction of belittling and vilifying non-breast feeding mothers.]

Hey, I wrote that? That’s pretty good. Yeah, it’s true. Because breastfeeding was once really frowned upon, there’s a legion of advocates who think they’re still fighting a war that’s been won long ago. I stand by this #10 perhaps most of all.

11. Dr. Sears’ books, relevant and helpful as they may be for singleton parents, are probably not for you. [You don’t need to read about the serious damage a C-section does to the mother-baby bond, for instance; and it is impractical to imagine you’ll sleep in the same bed with your entire litter]

Still agree. Regift the Sears books you get.

12. Just a theory: expose your kids to as wide a variety of foods as possible. Stick with your pediatrician’s advice about when to give what (no eggs till 9 months, no nuts or shellfish till 1 year, said ours), and avoid choking hazards, but help them to develop a broad palate. At 14+ months our boys eat everything under the sun – though most people assure us that won’t last.

Yeah, it didn’t last. I mean it sort of did with Satchel. He’ll still eat most anything, and he has a burning curiosity about all new foods “what’s this??” But Pablo’s unaltering response when confronted with something unfamiliar is “I don’t like that.” We still try, though. I think it’s a mistake to conclude, because your devil-child refused broccoli twice they’ll definitely refuse it the third time. I resist capitulating to a diet of nothing but pb&j, grilled cheese, apple sauce, yogurt and chips, though each of those items has been rather useful in our travels. (Oddly, our boys really do seem to like broccoli.) I’m still throwing new stuff out there all the time, and accepting the fact that sometimes they don’t eat it. Our guys are behemoths, a missed meal now and then (since we generally don’t substitute for refused items) is no great catastrophe.

I gotta hit the hay. Word on the street is I get to sleep in all the way to 8am (if I can) for papa’s day. Gonna get right to that.


June 18, 2011 at 10:08 pm 4 comments

Advice for Parents of Triplets volume 2, part 2

Whoa – two days in a row? Must be that age-old adrenalin shot of watching the blog stats spike upward for a day. No idea what I actually have to say though – but good thing I’m in the middle of a thing. Right?

Let’s dispense with the cuteness first.

in the woods near home (l to r = L,P,S)

And to that project.

4. Dads – you have to help, and help a LOT. Whether that help boils down to a 50/50 division of labor (probably rare), or some other ratio will depend upon your life and work situation, but if you had any illusion that you’re not really a diaper-changing sort of guy, drop it now.

Yeah, this remains pretty much exactly right. I have something of a more flexible schedule than many dads, I guess, but that means it comes in waves. As an academic, there are periods of time when I’m completely off radar, teaching into the night or drowning in grading and prep, and then there are the fat periods where I am abundantly available.

I remember when changing diapers was a thing. Funny. Funnier: Big Al and I once watched a couple argue in our presence over whose turn it was to change the diaper – “I did the last one!” The notion that either one of us would EVER whine about changing a D is giddy lunacy. Oh sure, there are those mornings when you’ve just done like five – and we’re talking seismic blasts – and the sixth comes along and you lay stomach-first on the floor pounding and screaming (we’ve each learned to interpret such behavior as a gentle cry for help). Those days do come. But then, we’re attempting early potty training now, which has, I’m sorry to report, brought our day-to-day hands-on involvement with excrement to a whole new level. I long, at times, for the simplicity of the changing table, and diapers, those ready-made mailers, perfectly suited to shuttle the wasteful outpouring of my progeny into the next world after a small layover in the Diaper Champ. Now it’s pull-ups and big boy undies, it’s good honest work, in the soil, as it were.

I think I once said that I would rather change 100 diapers (or some such figure) than clean the hindquarters of my (long-haired) cat just once. I’d like to state here and now that that remains true. I can’t remember what I was talking about.

5. Never skimp on diapers. Get the best (whatever you judge them to be), and change them often. I cannot imagine cloth diapers working out for any length of time.

What the eff, was I like shilling for Pampers in Jan 2010? Shameless product placement, and yet I remain the struggling artful type to this day. Can’t I do anything right? Listen, through a complicated algorithm which I don’t feel like divulging, just now – w/ my little desktop calculator – I figured out that we’ve probably used about 14,000 diapers (I’m including pull-ups in that figure). Let’s say diapers are somewhere between $.35 and $.50 a pop when you go for the good ones (doing this from memory, but I think I’m ballpark. They get pricier as they get bigger). You do the math. We are colossally effed by the financial and psychic burn of all that waste. Our wallets empty, our carbon footprints those of some ecological Bigfoot. And we’ve tried everything. Target brand diapers are not terrible – we’d use them for spells. The trouble is that the quality control seems  suspect. Every so often there’d be a whole box whose diapers wouldn’t stay fastened. And they didn’t quite have the absorbency to make it through a whole night of Satch-uration. We tried Huggies, they’re okay. Our favorites ultimately remained Pampers – but the Cruisers, not the awful, awful Baby Drys (which, I kid you not, veritably exploded on us a couple of overnights, with odd silicone-like little fragments all over the place. I only managed to stick with the brand by suppressing that horrible memory). And yeah, change em often, but I guess not too often. Eventually you develop a sixth sense about when the thing’s taken what it can bear, or when the gathering storm cloud is gonna blow. I am ready to leave this topic alone now.

6. No matter how often you change those diapers, diaper rash may crop up from time to time. Use Weleda diaper cream to cure it.

More product placement. No product we ever tried, though, ever came close to the numbingly expensive Weleda stuff. I recommend it still.

7. When you get to the stage where your kids are taking regular naps (and make sure you get there), clean up the play/kids area entirely after every nap. I’m a slob and my own workspace is generally a disaster, but adopting this methodology from Big A. has been extremely gratifying.

It’s funny, this item, if I recall, generated some hot feedback back when I posted this advice. I stand by it. There are days when it doesn’t quite happen, but mostly it does. It really doesn’t take long – 10 minutes maybe – to put the toys away, straighten up, even grab the vacuum for a second. Get it back to a clean field for the next round of combat. Same with the kitchen – don’t let it all pile up on you. Man, wish I could live by these words in my own studio, where I spend most of my time. It’s permanently a dump, though. In the outer regions of the house, however, I really do like Big Al’s mandate of order during the in-between segments. Otherwise your world is just so thoroughly dominated by kidstuff there’s not room for much else. In your head, like, is what I mean.

Gotta stop now. Will I write again tomorrow? hmm…

June 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm 1 comment

Advice for Parents of Triplets volume 2, part 1

About a year and a half ago I posted this slightly sanctimonious but hopefully helpful blog entry called Advice for Parents of Triplets.  As was my way, back in the day, it was endless, and filled with the hard-won pearls of wisdom owned by a father slightly better than one year in the soup.

Anyway, over the next several days, weeks, months, or years I’ll be revisiting that post and offering some comments from my current vantage. Each time I’ll post a cute (I say so) pic of the boys, so that you don’t feel cheated by, you know, only words only words only words.

So first:

satchel, pablo, levi (l to r)

And now to business. You can read the whole tome above, but here I’ll go piecemeal. I secretly think this will afford me a chance to unleash some pent up paternal steam, but you just never know.

1. Nothing is more important than getting your babies sleeping early in the game. Have them sleep in a crib from the moment you get them home, and try early on to establish regular naps and bedtime rituals. With Big Al, I continue to swear by Mark Weissbluth’s sleep books – but there are others too. Each day I believe a little bit more that a well rested child is a happy child (AND, potentially, has well rested parents).

This is mostly true. The part about well-rested parents is just me rattling off some jingo I must have read in a parenting pamphlet, because there’s no such thing, but I digress. At 2.5 yrs old, our boys still sleep basically uninterrupted through the night, as they did since they were three months old. I still believe in Weisbluth, though even Big Al seldom consults the oracle anymore. I am sorry she never elected to publish an English translation, because I think it would have been a hit. I rarely sleep when the boys go down for nap. I hustle myself into my studio, or get out to mow the lawn, or go for a run or take a desperately-needed shower (this reflects my schedule when the university where I teach is NOT in session). A failed nap, which happens once in a while, is a tragedy beyond my capacity to tell it. People say the afternoon nap will one day go away (our model is anywhere from 2-3 hours, at about 1:30pm). But the boys will be getting tequila with their O’s long before I let that come to pass. Sometimes, in the aisles of Trader Joe’s, which I seldom hit before 9pm, I’ll spy a parent with a 2-year-old (or younger) child navigating the landscape, and I will look on them as some sort of space alien. I don’t judge, I just know that that madness is a luxury that was never affordable by the likes of me.

2. Don’t panic.

Sorry. This one’s way off the mark. Honestly? Panic. Life as you know it is over, and you better be ready to reinvent yourself and your way of conducting business if this is gonna work out happy. I remember thinking, some time before D-Day, that…life won’t really be THAT different, right? But this is wrong. Life is incalculably richer, but also absurdly more difficult. If you are independently wealthy and your sole ambition in life is to shepherd little pods into adulthood the One True Way, you will have achieved your dream and can relax. Kinda. But if you harbor other ambitions, be they creative, financial, social, you are going to need to just recalibrate your brain and get down and dig.

3. Early on, everyone will tell you to ask for help; it’s a good idea. But ask for specific help. The best things are: food, laundry, cleaning up, and food.

Meh. You’ll need the help, and you’ll need it forever. You’ll have it for a month, and you will be eternally grateful and never properly pay it back. But long after those whole-grain-crusted quiches and home-fried rices dematerialize into your warmly romanticized memories of the “early days,” you’re gonna still be stuck with the basic math problem: 3 > 2. After those early days, when just feeding yourself is indeed a stretch, what you’ll need is humans, halfway intelligent if possible, brawny if possible (that’s usually unlikely). Wanna take your triplets to the playground? At minimum you will need two adults – and with two, it is a never-ending stress-coaster. (with three, i.e. man-to-man defense, it is so easy as to be almost insulting). Mind you my three are boys, and they are outlaws. Brazen outlaws, who don’t even make the effort to lie when caught red-handed. “Levi, what happened?” “I bite Pablo.” “Why???” “I don’t know!” “Will you do it again?” “Yes!” People tell me that girls just kinda sit there, until they’re eleven, and then your goose is cooked. I’m not buying it. But three boys? It’s all it’s cracked up to be. You need humans possessed of excess time, sufficient strength, and nerves of silly putty.

That’s all for this installment. I’ll do this again soon, if I do.




June 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm 4 comments

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