Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why I Gave Up My Opposition To Pink

When I first joined the world of Dad blogging I couldn't help but notice that lots and lots of Dads who blogged hated the way they had to dress their daughters.  There were plenty of articles in the mainstream press on the same issue.  Mommy blogs jumped in as well.

Were we limiting our daughters, or worse yet, damaging them, by dressing them in pink?

I was certain that society limits girls, telling them both subtly and not-so subtly that they can't do certain things.  And sure, an adult is free to do whatever an adult wants, but once those signals are broadcast its hard to overcome, especially when those signals are received early and often.

Now, my daughter wasn't going to run into quite the same situation, because she has to brothers the exact same age so they pretty much all play with the same stuff.  The boys play with Minnie and she plays with trains.  Though, somehow, she shows more interest in Minnie and baby dolls and they have more interest in trains.  Maybe I'm broadcasting subtle signals, maybe I'm not.

Anyway, during the first few years of her life I took up the good cause and resented having to dress my daughter in pink.  When I dressed her, which was lots of days, I tried to steer clear of the pink outfits in her dresser.  Admittedly, this left me with little to choose from, since nothing is says love like aunts and grandparents buying a girl her one-thousandth pink article of clothing, even though she already has 1,003 articles of clothing.

But recently I've had a conversion of sorts.  I'm giving up my opposition to pink.

Some of this stems from the fact that as I see my infant daughter grow into a little girl I'm less convinced I have much to do with her choices.  As I mentioned above, she nurtures the heck out of her babies.  Sure, I give her all kinds of attention for it, but I'd like to think I give her attention for the things she does and that I give the boys the same.  Yet she chooses to nurture.

And part of it is that waging a war on pink accomplishes nothing.  Nothing.

Making pink "bad" won't make girls feel any less "girly" or incapable of something.  In fact, its just the opposite.  By making feminizing pink and making it inferior, we tear down the girls and women who wear it.

What we as men and Dads really need to do is wear more pink ourselves, something I wasn't always willing to do when I was younger but am more than happy to do today.  We also need to stop worrying about whether our daughters are wearing pink and analyzing its impact.  Spending 1000s of words and hours worrying that our girls are wearing pink only makes pink, and the girls and guys who wear it, something of a pariah.

So, for most of September I'm going to photograph the outfits my daughter wears and post them here at triplethedad.  You'll see lots of pink, I'm sure, and that is OK.  That doesn't mean she can't be a doctor or a scientist or that a physician wearing pink is any less respectable.  You'll also notice, I hope, that its entirely possible to dress a girl in stuff other than pink clothing, even if it requires you to ignore a little pink piping on pants or a cute pink bow on a shirt.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

16,425

The part where I change a lot of diapers:
Sixteen thousand four hundred and twenty five.

Every year since their birth I’ve put up a post about how many diapers I’ve changed since the triplets’ birth.  The threesome turned 3 about three weeks ago now, so while this post is a bit belated, its nonetheless appropriately scheduled I suppose.

And as you can probably guess, that shocking number above is how many times we’ve changed one of the three kids’ diapers over the last three years.  Three years, three kids, 16,425 diapers.

You know, approximately.

We’ve been lightly potty training for a while now and plan a real ramp up (Potty Boot Camp!) in a couple weeks, so the number is probably just about topped out.

The part with interesting facts
Googling 16,425 turned up the website www.textingmypancreas.com  I didn't click on the link.  You are  more than welcome to if you want.

It also turned up more homes than you would imagine.  Apparently 16,425 isn't very popular except as a street address.

Ki16425 is a LPA receptor antagonist with selectivity for LPA1 and LPA3.  Whatever the hell that means.

Skipping the elevator and taking the stairs burns an extra 16,425 calories per year!

About 15 minutes of bodybuilding per day burns 45 calories and done daily, it would burn 16,425 calories!

16,425 calories equals 4.7 pounds of body fat.

The part where I show my work: 

How did I come to 16,425?  Well, I figured 365 days in a year, times 3 years, times 5 diapers per day, times 3 kids.  Five diapers is about where we are at now, maybe a few less, but any excess accounts for the fact that we averaged about 8 per day per kid early on.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Another One

We had trouble conceiving so we were late to game of having children.  While everyone around us was getting pregnant and rearranging their lives for kids, we trudged the miserable course of trying and failing, testing and failing, anticipation and disappointment.

Luckily, we succeeded, in a big way, in time for this period in our lives not to pass us by.

And we did it early enough that lots of our friends are having a second go around of it.  In fact, one of our triplet friends is due in December.  A friend of mine from a long-ago job is also pregnant and due soon.

I can only think one thing: What are those people thinking?

Sure, we had difficulties conceiving that probably colored the whole process for us.  And sure, having triplets probably gives us a different spin on what babies are like than most.

To wit: When we are out, people ask me how we do it all the time. How do we do it; how do we handle it; can we handle it; it sure must be hard.  Sure, we can handle it.  I can't imagine anything else.  But what I really can't imagine is having another.

One time around was hard enough.  Having three at the same age presents certain, um, difficulties, but it also provides for certain economies of scale.  We were exhausted, really, truly exhausted all at once.  But it was such an exhaustion and such a busy time that, looking back, we hardly noticed.

That wouldn't be true if we chose to have another.  You want to know what scares this triplet Dad?  The idea of "another."   Because, its one thing to be that tired when all you have are infants.  It has to be a whole different ballgame when you are that tired AND have a two year old running around.  When I did it, they were all immobile.  By the time mobility comes to children you aren't nearly tired or sleepless, thank you very much nature.  But if you choose to have a second, well, then you have exhaustion of an infant AND mobility.  That is just your own damn fault.

Come to think of it, triplets are just about the perfect way to go.  I truly believe this.  Except for those times when I see my little ones' getting so big and I realize that those cute little phrases and word mixups aren't going to be around forever.

Then I think, well, maybe it would be nice to have "another one."  And then I get to think about it.

Nah.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Conspiracy of Three

Help me; I think my kids may be conspiring against me.

Some nemesis gaining the ability to think is a facet of lots of recent movies of course.  I’m thinking of The Planet of the Apes series for one.  The Will Smith led I Am Legend is another.  And of course I’ve already compared my brood to zombies.

So maybe its just recent media that has me up at night worrying.  Then again…

You see, it seems to me that when urgency is most valuable, they are at their slowest.  When time is of the essence, they are black holes, sucking all the time away.

One day they will show me how they can put their shoes on – all by themselves.  Two days later when I have to have them out of the house – like that minute – they suddenly revert back to one year olds.  Shoes are roughly banged onto feet at angles that leave no hope of success; shoes that do make it onto feet are on the wrong foot, or worse, backwards.  How can someone who can barely manage to put on shoes manage to one on backwards?

But that is nothing compared to the planning, collaboration and coordinated attacks that occur when I’m at my most vulnerable.

I’ll tell you: My kids are awesome.  They are more awesome than yours, by a long shot.  They are awesome at speaking.  They are awesome at behaving.  They are awesome at listening.

Except that once I’m tired, they go into a three-pronged flanking attack.  Suddenly, they are rendered caveman like: unable to speak and left to communicate only through whines and grunts.  A kid who can, on a good day, choose from a menu of words to express themselves can suddenly solve the problem only with a full throated shout followed by a complete meltdown.  Accompanied with a side of biting or some hitting, perhaps.

Now, that might seem reasonable if they had their favorite toy take away or had been bitten.  I’m not a troll, I understand they are 3.  But when it arises in all three of them, and simply because one has more Gold Fish than the other, well, its hard to believe it’s a coincidence.  And not just "more" Gold Fish.  One.  More.  Gold Fish.  A kid that repetitively skips 5 when counting will suddenly know exactly what five Gold Fish looks like.  At a distance of 100 yards.  Through a bowl.

Kids that can open doors and take incredible tumbles with the ease of acrobats are suddenly flailing their heads about, nearly blinding me.

They've gotten so good at pulling their pants up and down that we stopped giving them rewards for doing it before going potty.  Like I said, my kids are awesome.  But then, suddenly, in a fit of disability, one will become incapable of using thumbs and instead uselessly slap at his pants with nub-hands.  I can only assume is some scientific process through which he hopes to discover some new Zen way of removing pants. 

There was movie recently about a sisterhood of traveling pants.  I don't think it involved new, Zen ways of nub-handing pants.  I didn't watch it.  But maybe all my concerns of a little zombie takeover is all a media creation.  Or maybe, just maybe, I’m in some weird game of three-year-old Catfish.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Loving Your Kids: At A Distance

I wish I could blame my month-long posting hiatus on my recent vacation, but alas, I can’t. 

I can, however, tell you that I learned some lesson while visiting Virginia for a cousins wedding.  When you go on vacation without your kids, you do a couple things differently.

1)      You begin using your spouse’s name again, and what a nice feeling that is.  Instead of “Mom” she becomes a wife again.  The shift was almost immediate for me, and I don’t even thing I recognized it until about the third time I called her by her name.  It was both awesome and freeing, as if I had been transported back to a time before kids.
2)      You don’t realize how stressed you are until you leave it behind.  I’m such a better Dad the last two or three days and I credit the vacation.  I feel less stressed.  And yeah, I realize that is the reason for vacations, but still, worth noting.
3)      As much as I missed the hell out of my kids, I also missed them like  you miss scratching poison ivy.  Its such a visceral and fulfilling thing, scratching poison ivy, that you love it no matter how much the underlying issue bothers you.
4)      As much as you might dread returning to the structure and the crying and the diapers and the kid talk and the lack of personal time, the minute you walk in the door, you’ll realize how much you missed being Dad.

I want to return to #2 for a moment and its interplay with #3 and #4, because I think its something that is easy to miss.  It was hard leaving our kids behind.  It was the first time when we did it last year, it was this time, it probably will be next time, I imagine.  It was made more difficult by the fact that these are cousins I haven’t seen in 10 years or so, and who really wanted to see the kids.

Make no mistake - taking the triplets on trips is fun.  But taking the kids to Virginia is no kind of vacation.  It requires extra planning, extra packing and extra managing, to say nothing of the extra room we would need to book.  Between the extra planning, packing, and managing, it is more a chore than anything. 

And that is where point number 2 comes in.  Some stresses are immediate, like deadlines.  The Supreme Court is going to issue an opinion on the contraceptive mandate on Monday, so Monday is going to be one of those immediate stresses type of days for those of us who write about the litigation.

But other stresses are slow burners.  The petty kid fights, the strain of constantly being “on,” the need to always plan your next move so that one of the kids don’t explode – it all adds up.  The stress sneaks up on you.  Your shoulders tighten over the days; your outlook darkens over the weeks; your mood crashes over the months.  And pretty soon you aren’t the Dad you want to be anymore. 

Being away for four days – glorious days of mornings with no plans and days with nothing booked - washed the stress away. 

I’m more calm now, more in control now, more able to see my “happy place” when I need it now.  So while my kids may have missed me during those four days, they get a better Dad for the next month or two as a result.

And for the record, they hardly seemed to miss us at all. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

World War T: The Prequel

We aren’t getting any sleep, here, and before you say “welcome to the club,” know that our triplets have always been pretty good sleepers.  Anyway, we aren’t getting any sleep, and you can probably relate.  We are now part of the Slow Zombie Parents. 

A little introduction:  When I say slow, I don’t mean it derogatorily.  Instead, “slow zombies” refers to the types of zombies typically featured in older movies.  Those are the zombies we in the parenting set are most familiar with, I’d imagine - Zombies slowed by the fact that they are held together by rotting flesh and essentially brainless.  Not the newer, “fast zombies” that move at Usain Bolt speeds and cut on a dime like Adrian Peterson.  Those zombies move spectacularly for even a healthy human construction, let alone one made of only the flimsiest of remaining connective tissue.

You know what can make you a zombie (in real, real life)? The poison from a fugu fish - i.e. Japanese Blowfish.  Really.

You know what else?  Having 2.5 year-old triplets who aren't sleeping.  Think about it.  We groan as we roll out of bed, our eyes swollen with the 4 hours of sleep they still need.  Becaues our eyes are blurred by that lack of sleep, we stumble and slide-step our way to the nursery.

We reach mindlessly into cribs to pull out our victims, er, children.  After putting them we immediately realize what we have done and begin to chase after them.  However, children are the one age at which humans can actually move like fast zombies, regardless of little sleep they have had.  In fact, sleep appears to be inversely related to how fast they can move.  So now they are zooming around getting into,

hey, get out of that, get away from there, no, don’t do that


and we are right behind them, hands outstretched.  Know what we look like in this pre-caffeine, no-sleep state?  We look like the picture at right?  What I have just described looks exactly like the dance from Michael Jackson's Thriller.

That example doesn't require anything like toxoplasmosa gondii to turn an average parent into a zombie.

Have you heard of mad-cow disease?  When a human eats infected cow and contracts the disease they call it Creutzfeldt-Jakob.  Anyway, what are the symptoms?  Glad you asked:

1 - Changes in gait (walking)
2 - Hallucinations
3 - Lack of coordination (for example, stumbling and falling)
4 - Muscle twitching
5 - Myoclonic jerks or seizures
6- Rapidly developing delirium or dementia

Um, OK.  If that defines zombie, well, good luck.  A tired parent is, um, well, lets go down that list, shall we?  Number 1: Changes in gait? Check, as I noted above.  Number 2: hallucinations?  Completely reasonable in someone missing sleep.  Number 3: lack of coordination?  Lack of coordination?  As I noted in a recent post, I lack coordination on good days. 

Well, we are already 3 for 3, so, lets quit before we come to any existential crisis, OK?

Worried a zombie apocalypse could actually occur?  Don't read this.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nature v. Nurture?

Three things I don’t know how my kids learned:

-          All three sleep on their bellies.  We were big “back-to-sleep” parents, so its not like we were putting them down that way.  I am, and always have been a belly sleeper, but they have been in their own room since they were just months old - there is no way this is a learned behavior.  I guess two of them could have learned it from the other, but its odd that they all ended up that way.
-          What is it, from a genetic standpoint, that makes kids not eat crust?  I eat my crusts; my wife eats her crusts.  At 2.5 years old our kids haven’t been around any other children who refuse their crusts.  And yet…no crusts
-          They all like to have their ears covered when they sleep.  This is something my wife does.  I wasn't really totally aware of that fact until she mentioned it in reference to the kids.  Its not like we talk about it – or again – is something they would see.

  Nature?  Nurture?  What do you say?