Posts filed under ‘triplets’

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

Big Boy Walking

Hi everyone – merry xmas if that’s your bag! (that means YOU, Santa!)

Don’t think I haven’t been thinking of you. For the holiday, I present to you a barrage of unprecedented cuteness, in the form of a music video featuring a new song by yours truly. The recording is really a demo, actually, made back in May, but time keeps on ticking and the genuine article hasn’t yet been made…and I can actually live with this one for the time being. The title phrase comes from words of encouragement uttered repeatedly by the boys’ occupational therapist Davida, and I got some backing vox help from the great Elizabeth Burd (aka burdumspoo). Enjoy!

p.s. – quality seems to be much higher if you actually watch on YouTube. Is that always the case?

December 25, 2010 at 2:06 pm 4 comments

Sunny and cold

There are these terrific moments of cooperation sometimes, though as a rule we can’t get the boys to smile for the camera all at once.

December 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm 3 comments

One Year of Phun

Hi friends. Hard to believe I wrote the first blog post a year ago today, sitting in Alex’s hospital room, thinking about the blood flow of  Baby B, the baby soon to become Levi. Oddly I had a bit more time on my hands then than I do now, but I still love chiming in with photos and expostulation from time to time as I can.

In celebration of a year with you, I’ll share a video of this afternoon’s exploits. It’s another backyard affair, and has something of a cerebral pace, but I think it has a surprisingly satisfying conclusion (I’m not promising Two Boys in a Crib here, but it’s pretty neat. Makes me think of a scene from the original The Thing, but that’s neither here nor there).

November 21, 2009 at 10:18 pm 5 comments

A new lullaby for the boys…


This quick update, written from Serbia, where I’ve been away from Al and the gang for over a week now. Mary Bastoni is the first to have answered my call to write a lullaby, and she’s done a brilliant job of it. I can’t tell you what it was like to watch this while being separated from the brothers S by thousands of miles. Have a look and listen!

July 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm Leave a comment

Oh, could you hold this a sec…

Sax and Sons major supporter Doug Swift

Sax and Sons major supporter Doug Swift

Stop by our apartment and you may find yourself (after you’ve washed your hands to the bone, been DNA screened, strip searched, and subjected to a polygraph) with an armful of babies. Here is Doug Swift, the mastermind behind our LotsaHelpingHands site, who dropped in with a crate of sweets for the sweet. The comatose, floppy dispositions of Levi (in green on the left) and Satch (in yellow on the right) are by no way attributable to Doug’s sterling personality. As if. The boys had just scarfed down nearly five ounces of juicy life between them and were drifting into never land. I had an itch to scratch, or some similar task, so I handed Doug little Satch even though his arms were already full of the small man’s younger brother, and this moment was born. 

Meanwhile, we’re soldiering on with glee. Gram Jane took off for Connecticut after a week of honorable service, sharing a few words with her replacement, Meema Suzy, on her way out. The latter will be down in the trenches with us for the next week. We’ve had visitors of all stripes dropping off groceries, veggie pies, carrot soup, chocolate – it makes us think we should have told people we were having triplets a LONG time ago (whether or not it was a fact). Our gratefulness continues to grow exponentially. I dream of all sorts of philosophical screeds to tack in this space, but the in-between moments continue to be a bit more fleeting than in times past. If all else fails, it’s well past time for an extended sermon on poop – right?

January 4, 2009 at 8:11 pm 2 comments

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