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Control Issues

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...

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The Revolution Begins From Within

For me, the word revolution has always conjured up images of violent epic battles fought for a noble cause. Revolutionaries would sacrifice nearly everything to ensure a better future for themselves and generations to follow. As for fatherhood, the revolution really begins from within. The battle waged is fought in the mind between one’s independent self and the father to be. Stress laden thoughts, sleepless nights, irrational fears and more can all be attributed to the enormous change an expectant father must attempt to grasp in a small window of time. Yet similar to every revolution, one moment in history can be traced to the life changing catalyst that sparked the call to action. For most Dads I would guess the revolution began not with a bang but rather the soft-spoken words, “Honey, I’m pregnant.” (Insert expectant Dad’s primal scream here.) The days and months that followed rushed by like a cascading effect that knocked down previously held priorities and erected new ones. The deconstruction of the existence you once held dear runs parallel to the construction of the new man you are to become. My fiercely independent self would need to adapt or get crushed by the reality about to unfold. I remember often hearing from my friends and family members with children how I should “enjoy myself” now because once the kid arrives, everything changes. That the freedoms my wife and I enjoyed and took for granted would no longer avail themselves to us as parents. And it wasn’t that they were necessarily trying to be vindictive, it was more along the lines of getting me prepared for my new life as a Dad, a family man. Suffice to say, I was in crisis mode throughout most of my wife’s pregnancy. As our due date approached, my anxiety heightened. When we attended Lamaze class my heartbeat would often drown out the sounds in the room. I was lost in thought all except for one, our child will be what saves me. Like a zen meditation mantra, it was the thought of our child “saving” me that gave me a sense of calm. It was the one clear connection that enabled me to brush aside the mountain of thoughts that weighed heavily on my mind. My son arrived two weeks early. I remember in the months prior expressing to my wife how I was adamantly opposed to being...

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Singing With The Triplets

Lovie and Pookie went out last night which left yours truly to take care of the terrible trio. Bedtime has been a real issue of late, particularly with C, so I was a bit worried about how I would fare. After all, Lovie is the unquestioned star of our little show, and though that show must go on, I couldn’t help but wonder how smoothly it would run without her on stage alongside of us. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a solid understudy. Ready, willing, and able to take center stage at the drop of a hat. But for me to carry the show, I had to alter the script a bit. Especially given the bedtime drama that’s been going down. So I decided to turn that drama into a musical. You’ve heard of “Dancing With the Stars,” right? (I know. I hate Kate Gosselin, too, but more on that in a future post…) Well last night, I hosted “Singing With the Triplets.” Actually, I did more than just host. I also got my vocal on during dinner and kept it going through potty time and bath time. I hoped that by doing so I would not only make my trio forget about Lovie, but I’d also wear them out to the point where they’d fall asleep with little resistance. Act I: Dinner. Once A, B, and C were in their highchairs, I grabbed their milk from the fridge. Cue the lights. Start the music. The first selection? A tribute to that which held their milk, sung to the tune of Kiss’s hard rock anthem, “Lick it Up.” “Sippy cup. Sippy cup.Whoa-oh-oh.The lid’s on tight, now.Sippy cup. Sippy cup.Whoa-oh-oh.Oooh yeah. Oooh yeah.” The judges weren’t amused. In fact, they were growing impatient. And who could blame them? With all the singing, I’d forgotten about their dinner which I was heating in the toaster oven. Luckily, the food wasn’t burned. But it was hot. Very hot. Cue the lights. Start the music. Time for some Billy Idol. While dishing up their sizzling meal, I sang the following to the tune of “Hot in the City.”  “Hot dinny-dinny.Hot dinny-dinny tonight.Hot dinny-dinny.Hot dinny-dinny, s’alright.” The boys liked it, but C wasn’t feeling it. Or at least that’s what I gathered when she offered up the following: “Stop it, Daddy.” All right, then. Intermission. May as well give the little monsters some peace and...

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The Driving Force

We all know that I love Lovie. And how could I not? There’s just something about her. Anyone who knows Lovie would agree that she possesses an indescribable sweetness, channeled by a heart that is both pure and true. Seldom does a bad thought ever cross her mind. She’s a positive force who is filled with such earnest and good intentions that people can actually sense it. Animals, too. Birds stop chirping and squirrels take a break from their nuts just to catch a glimpse of my beautiful wife whenever she happens upon them. Knoxville, we have a problem. But such inter-species tranquility does not mean that my wife is without flaw. One of them? She’s among the worst drivers in the history of organized driving. Honestly? It’s astonishing. And the fact that she drives a big-ass Denali loaded with the tumultuous trio and an eight-year-old doesn’t exactly help. For not only is she driving a vehicle that rivals a Sherman Tank in bulk, but she’s also doing so while handing out passies to toddlers, helping Pookie with her homework, and rocking the occasional call on her cell–all over the deafening din emitted by that red, furry anti-Christ, Elmo, along with his gang of equally annoying and off-key-singing buddies. If only Lovie’s enormous vehicle had an outer body constructed of nerf, and the driver/passenger seats were enclosed by a NASCAR-designed roll cage, maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t worry each and every time she hits the road. But I do worry, and so should you. So allow me to impart the following advice to those who share our local roads. If you see Lovie barreling down the street, you must remember two things. First, it’s usually parking lots which trip her up, so you’re probably okay. But second, remain calm, and, as if Lovie were a firetruck, slow down and pull over as far as you can to the right until Lovie has lumbered on by. Then and only then should you continue along your merry way. But if you’re in a parking lot, God help you. For like a drunk cat with no whiskers, little Lovie, in her colossal car, has no dependable spacial-sensing mechanism–her mere judgment, woefully inadequate. As such, she is not afraid to feel her way through a tight spot with a bump here or a nudge there. While not exactly life-threatening, Lovie’s parking lot shenanigans...

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Donuts With Dad

Yesterday was a big day for Pookie. Her second grade class was holding a special event — Donuts With Dads. It’s an annual thing, so I’ve known about it for a while, and I gotta say, I was more than a little curious about how it would go down. After all, her real dad lives right here in town, so his attendance was a given. But what about mine? I would have been okay if I’d been left out of the mix. Being a stepdad can be tough. And so can being a stepdaughter. Accordingly, I figured that on some level, this would be a difficult decision for her. On Monday, Lovie broke the great news. Pookie wanted “both of her dads” to go. (Insert your California joke here.) I was obviously thrilled, but also knew that a certain degree of awkwardness would likely ensue. But as Pookie led her father and me around the classroom on the “scavenger hunt,” I was pleasantly surprised by how skillfully she was navigating the situation. It wasn’t awkward at all. Egads! My eyes quickly scanned the entire wall until I found the drawing she had made of her biological father, and, well, it’s safe to say that I got the short end of the crayon. Forget, for a moment, that the left side of my face is bulging out as if experiencing the graviational pull of a large planet. And forget the fact fact, if you will, that there is a certain, though difficult-to-pinpoint, alien element to the depiction. Take a gander at my head, more specifically my hair–and disregard the fact that I don’t have a crew cut and that my real hair is not six inches off my ears. Focus, instead at the very, very top of my hair. There are only a handful of explanations. 1.    Enhance the aforementioned alien theme, Pookie has drawn a flying saucer which has landed on my head.2.    I’m sporting a flesh-toned yamaka.3.    Pookie believes that I’m actually a volcano.4.    Pookie’s imagining that I’ve recently endured a lobotomy.5.    The circle is actually a halo, a symbolic representation of the angelic role I’ve played in Pookie’s life.6.    Or, most likely, that skin-toned circle that is surrounded by hair is Pookie’s artistic rendering of my bald spot. I suppose that’s how she sees me. And I’m okay with that. Especially given the fact that her insistance...

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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...

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