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“How was your Palm Sunday?” asked good friends we had dinner with last night.  Truth be told, it was not so great.  Not that Palm Sunday is a historically a great day anyway, but their question was motivated, I think, by a curiosity about how we juggle five children under seven during mass — especially mass on Palm Sunday which, by my estimation, is the longest mass ever. 
We take our children to church every Sunday.  We always have.  I was raised Catholic and even attended Catholic school for several years  (until an unfortunate incident involving a certain Sister Mary Lynch made me go public!).  I went to church every Sunday until I was 18 and then took about a decade off, spending Sunday mornings either sleeping off the effects of the night before or running a race in Central Park.  I suppose I’ve always been a gal of extremes; it was either up for a healthy morning run or down and out after a few too many the night before; up and out for mass or a decade of religious abstinence.
Then I met Des, who is now my husband.  I was stunned that a cute, fun, single guy actually went to church every Sunday.  And, since I was instantly madly in love, I started to go with him.  We got married, had children and I accepted Des’ proclamation that they “will be Catholic and Yankee fans.”  To this day, I still wonder about the equal weight of this mandate of religion and sports fanaticism, but frankly, I’ve got bigger fish to fry so, I just go along with it.
As our children arrived, we took one, then two, then five children to church every Sunday.  What a sight we were just a few years ago as we rolled in ten minutes late with five tiny tots strapped into a double and triple stroller.  Even today, we joke that the 10:30 mass is really the 10:45.  We may be late, we may be slightly more sloppy than I’d like but, we show up.  Every Sunday.  Including Palm Sunday, which, in addition to being one of the longest masses ever, is also the only day in the liturgical year that everyone is given a slight, wispy weapon upon entry to church. You guessed it:  palms!
Imagine if you will, what one seven year old, one five year old and three three-year olds can do with a fistful of palms.  If sword fights, fishing, tickling, tackling and tug-of-war come to mind, then you guessed it right. It’s hard enough for us to control our clan at church on any given Sunday but on Palm Sunday, it is downright impossible. It’s no easy task to try to listen to the gospel while intermediating the increasingly violent escapades of the palms of our pew.  It’s not easy to keep our cool in the front row (yes, we sit in the front row!) while the kids are clobbering each other, climbing over us and creating weapons from a religious symbol.  At one point yesterday, I took a palm to the eyeball and could have sworn I tore my retina.  Thankfully, I didn’t.  Although, I’m pretty sure I did swear under my breath. 

So, in considering the question “How was your Palm Sunday?” I can only recall the power struggle in our pew as the palms waved and the kids whined.  And, I think about how I prayed for peace. And patience.  This is my wish for Easter, for my family and for all of you.  Peace and patience and perhaps even a pretty palm or two to adorn our home until next Palm Sunday — when the battle of the palms will almost surely start anew!

I recently wrote a piece for Parents where I shared the many personas of pregnancy.  One such pal I met along the way was Felicia the Forgetful.  She arrived during my first pregnancy at the onset of the second trimester — right about the time when I forgot to bring my lunch to work and couldn’t remember where I left the car keys.  I naturally assumed she would leave once the baby arrived and, like so many assumptions I had about “when the baby arrived”, I was wrong.
As it turns out, Felicia is here to stay and, the prognosis isn’t good.  I heard a report on the radio the other day that one of the symptoms of perimenopause is forgetfulness.  What does this mean?  I fear it means we ladies don’t stand a chance.  We get a severe case of “Mommy brain” before we even meet our babies and now it seems that a good decade before the big M (Menopause!) sets in, we officially have no chance of finding the mind we lost; it just may be gone forever.  Which brings me to an interesting little tale from this week.  It involves our dog who, under different circumstances, just might have been gone forever as well.
It was Valentine’s Day.  We’re not big believers in Valentine’s Day since my husband rightfully proclaimed many years ago, “when you love the one you’re with, every day is Valentine’s Day.”  So, we didn’t have big plans. Some might say we had no plans at all.  Des was going to take our second-grader to his 6:30 basketball game, leaving me home to tend to dinner for our other four kids.  After basketball, we hoped to hustle them all to bed as quickly as possible and then cuddle in with some wine, fondue and last week’s episode of 30 RockSounds romantic, right?
I got home from work a few minutes earlier than usual and realized I needed to get a baguette for the fondue-dipping.  Perhaps not surprisingly given my post-pregnancy, pre-menopausal brain, I’d forgotten that critical detail for our Valentine’s dinner.  Being the consummate multi-tasker, I decided to take our dog with me while I ran around the corner for bread… it wasn’t quite doggie exercise but, at least it was a chance for our large, loyal lab Finnegan to pee.
I returned home pleased with my bounty and quite content to whip up a Valentine’s meal of “Dinner Eggs” and heart-shaped toast for the kids.  When I cracked the eggs, I recall saying “have you guys seen Finnegan?  That’s weird that he didn’t come running when he heard the eggs crack.”  This is a dog that loves a good eggshell.  Don’t ask. He just does.  In any case, when he didn’t come running, I assumed “we must have left the gate closed at the top of the stairs.” And I carried on.
About 15 minutes later, my sweet Valentine’s kiddie supper had pretty much imploded.  There were fights about the not-so heart-shaped toast, spilled milk and a 5-year old having a fit.  That’s when the phone rang.  In an effort to diffuse the tension, I asked the sobbing 5-year old if she’d like to answer it. And she did.
I couldn’t help but notice the caller i.d. was “Mima” – the name of a cute little Italian restaurant right around the corner.  My heart leapt.  Could it be?  My sweet hubbie had a Valentine’s day surprise in store?  He’d booked a sitter and made a reservation and we were headed out for a late dinner after tucking the tots in?!  It seemed to good to be true.  And, as my confused 5-year murmured “What? You have Finnegan?” into the phone, I realized it was.
As you may have guessed by now, when I went around the corner for that baguette, I left the dog behind.  Tied up and totally forgotten. I never even looked back. When I snatched the phone from my bewildered little girl, the lovely hostess on the other end of the line said “I’m really sorry to bother you but he’s been here over an hour and he’s really starting to look sad.”  Um, oops.  Chalk that one up to Mommy Brain!  
The kids were crushed “You left him in the dark?! All alone?!  On VALENTINE’S DAY?!”  Yes, yes I did.  But, I didn’t mean to.  And, after calling a neighbor to watch the kids while I ran back around the corner to get him, he greeted me with a wagging tail and unconditional love.  And we all had a Happy Valentine’s Day after all.  I think.  Part of me doesn’t quite remember…
Tomorrow is a national holiday and I for one am thrilled.  For starters, our five and seven year old actually seem to understand a bit about Martin Luther King and the importance of his role in our society; to see these little people we created start to have some cognizance of the world around them is really pretty cool. Beyond that, like many folks, I’m glad for a day off of work and time to spend with my family.  Although, truth be told, we’re only two days in to this three day weekend and I have to say, I’m more tired — and more broke! — than ever.
Here’s a quick rundown of the events of the past 48 hours…
  • Breakfast, breakfast and more breakfast.  Yesterday there was an appetizer course of two boxes of cereal followed by a main course of about a dozen eggs and six bagels, washed down with a half gallon of juice and almost as much milk. What did I get out of the deal?  Coffee and a lot of dirty dishes.  Thank God for coffee!  Today’s breakfast was pretty much a repeat, but the eggs and bagels were replaced by dozens of pancakes.  Good news though, I got one before they were gone!  Score one for Mom!
  • Costco & Wine.  Our cupboards — and wine supply — hit an all-time low this weekend.  So yesterday, my dear hubby took two tykes to the wine store while I took three to Costco.  I didn’t realize what a bad deal I got until two of the triplets started crying that the clementines I loaded on top of them were too heavy and I realized I could no longer see my five year old, Ciara, over the top of the cart.  For all I knew, she could have been lingering near the lady giving out PopChips but thankfully, she was still hanging off the end of the cart, doing her best to keep a month’s worth of snacks from falling overboard.  Things got worse when I had to navigate the parking lot with a cart that weighed more than I did, three howling kids and gale force winds that were decidedly not at my back.  The upside? An ample supply of wine awaited at home. The downside? A massive dent in our bank account, a back that still aches, four broken nails, a case of possible frostbite and, to add insult to injury, the fact that I arrived home without any milk or paper towels.  And had to go to the grocery store today. Grrrr.
  • Accidents.  The triplets, who turned three in October, have been doing pretty well with potty training.  They flaunt their big boy underwear and will show them off whether invited to or not. They are generous in the sharing of their undergarments and the morning chatter often includes things like “Hey KooKoo, wanna wear my Spiderman underwear today?” “Ok MacMac, you can have my red boxers!” I assure you I never thought I’d have a band of brothers swapping skivvies — just as I never thought my house would be a urinal.  As good as these little fellas are, when they are tired, they get a bit lazy.  So lazy in fact that they forget to go to the potty and free willy — and all of willy’s contents — wherever they may be. So far this weekend, that has been on the couch, under the table and ON OUR BED! Not good.  Especially since the caffeine has worn off, the wine at this point is unappealing and the reality of several more loads of laundry seems especially daunting given my aching back! 

Looking ahead to tomorrow, the day that we honor this amazing man who had a dream, I realize I have a dream too — it is nowhere near as noble and is admittedly self serving.  By comparison, it’s a downright selfish, small little dream but I bet it’s a dream I share with many busy, juggling moms; I dream of a night of uninterrupted sleep that lasts for at least eight hours; I dream of the day the kids will bring me breakfast… or at least share a bit more of theirs; I dream of the day I’m not scrubbing urine, snot, and other bodily fluids out of clothes, furniture and rugs; and, I dream that when those days arrive, I will look back on these days fondly.  Because as long as each day can be, the years most certainly fly by far too fast.  And, aching, tired bod and all, I am so psyched for one more day to play with our little clan. And, when I get to work on Tuesday, I will be grateful for a yogurt to call my own and a chair to sit down on!

Do you have nicknames for your kids?  We do.  Lots of ‘em.  So many that I fear they may be causing some issues with our identical triplet boys.  But, to be fair, let me start at the beginning. 

When Liam, now seven, was born, he was a real snuggle bug.  It was the winter of 2004/5 and during those long, cold, dark months, he spent a lot of time snuggling in and scootching up my shoulder in that way only a newborn can.  You know about schootching, right?  It’s that wiggly way babies nuzzle in, up and over your shoulder; it’s really quite pleasant to experience, especially when the wind is howling and the temperature is falling.  This sweet baby maneuver earned Liam the nickname of “Scootie” in addition to an original little ditty we’d sing to him that went something like this: “Ooh, ooh, Scootie, ooh Scootie-Loo.  Ooh ooh Scootie.  Ooh Ooh, we love you!”  Sleep deprivation can do strange things to you and this was definitely one of ours.  I’m sure Liam is grateful to have outgrown the Scootie nickname but, the standard was set and his four other siblings are now suffering the consequences. 

For Ciara, it’s not that bad.  When she was first born, we called her “Bitsy” because she seemed so itsy-bitsy compared to her big brother Liam, who was almost two at the time.  As the months passed, she turned into “Little Bitsy Burps A Lot” because, well, she burped a lot and it sounded like a cute doll name and she seemed like a cute little doll.  When she started to talk, she couldn’t say “Ciara” and it came out like this “Ciaga” — pronounced like this: “Key-Ga.” Somehow, that one stuck.  We all call her Ciaga.  Which has line extensions including: Ciaga-Loo, C.Loo, Lucy Loo, and LuLuLemon.  Don’t ask.  It just happened.  Sleep deprivation still reigns supreme. The bad news is that as this five year old hops on the bus and heads to kindergarten, we are waving good-bye to our sweet Ciaga-Loo.  The good news is that the kids at school all call her Ciara; she can say it, spell it and knows without a shadow of a doubt that Mom and Dad’s silly nicknames stay at home.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said of our identical triplets who, at three years old seem to already have some identity issues brewing.  We consistently dress Kevin, Declan and Cormac in red, blue and green to help folks tell them apart; this backfired rather dramatically when Declan started to tell people his name is “Blue” .  You would think given the challenges that these guys face, walking around town with identical little faces, we would stay true to the names we gave them.  But alas, that is not the case.  I find nicknames just too irresistible and as such, Kevin has become KooKoo Bear, Declan is Duckling and Cormac is MacMac.  But wait, it doesn’t end there, there’s more!  

For Kevin, KooKoo Bear has several iterations, our favorite of which includes pretending to page him, like those announcements you hear in the airport.  “Mr. Bear?  Is there a Mr. Koo Koo Bear in the house?”  He thinks it’s hilarious and so do we.  Our little Duckling (formerly known as “Blue”) tends to take things relatively in stride, including the occasions when we quack at him, assuming that he must speak Duck. For the record, he does not and seems to find our antics and quacking less amusing by the day.  Last but not least, there is MacMac.  He was born last and came into the world as “Baby Mac.”  Not to be outdone by his identical siblings, he was a chow hound from day one and clearly committed to becoming “Big Mac” on the fast track… which of course led us to all sorts of fun including the occasional “Mac Snack Attack”, “Mac & Cheese” and the final grand evolution to “Macaroni” which, of course, culminated in our admittedly absurd paging game: “Mr. Roni?  Is there a Mr. Mac A. Roni in the house?”

Is it sleep deprivation? Are we insane? Do all parents have numerous strange nicknames for their kids?  I don’t know.  All I know is that yesterday, Kevin came home from preschool with some “artwork” that said “KooKoo” on the back.  Apparently the teacher tried to write “Kevin” and he indignantly insisted “my name is NOT Kevin.  I am Koo Koo Bear!”  Um, Houston, I think we have a problem.  I hope it’s one he outgrows.  But if not, I beg you not to make fun of my Koo Koo Bear.  If you do, prepare for the wrath of his loyal back-up unit because if there’s one thing I can say about Scootie, Ciaga, Duckling and MacMac and KooKoo, it’s that they stick up for each other… which, I suppose, is at least one thing we’ve gotten right in this hazardous, sleep deprived world of parenting!

In the days leading up to Christmas, people often said things like “It must be great to have all those kids on Christmas!” Or, “Wow, Christmas in your house must really be something!”  It is great to have “all those kids” on Christmas (and the other 364 days of the year!) and this year, our Christmas really was something.  Something like this.
It started at 5:15AM because little Mac couldn’t find his “Wawa” and was wailing like a madman.  That smelly, soggy “Wawa”, as it turns out, was right underneath him the whole time.  With that crisis solved, we sighed, rolled over and said a prayer that we would fall back asleep until sunrise.  No such luck.
At 5:30, Liam appeared in our room. You might think he was there because of the excitement of Christmas and anticipation of opening his gifts but alas, that was not the case.  As it turned out, the reason for his pre-dawn appearance was a bloody nose. A very bloody nose.  
It was about 6:00 when that nose stopped bleeding and Ciara got up to pee… and ask if it was time to open presents yet.  This reminded Liam that it was indeed Christmas and started the frenzied repetition of “Did Santa come? Can we go downstairs? Did Santa come? Can we go downstairs? Did Santa come?” You get the idea.
We managed to hold them at bay until about 7:30, which was no easy task.  Liam and Ciara took a peek downstairs and scampered back up announcing, as if with a megaphone, that “Santa came! Santa CAME!  SANTA CAME!”  These whoops of joy awoke the triplets — all of whom, until then, had been peacefully slumbering with their respective WaWas.  
What happened in the next two hours is unclear.  Perhaps because my husband and I were so tired, we couldn’t see straight — not to mention the fact that it was especially hard to see through the flying gift wrap, bubble wrap, boxes and tissue paper that blew across our living room much like last year’s Christmas blizzard blew across the Northeast.  It is also possible that our memories of the gargantuan gift opening are vague because our camera batteries died at roughly 7:32, just as the kids were coming down the stairs. I’m not sure how it happened, but Christmas Day dawned without a single AA battery to be found in the Lyons Den; next year, I’m putting batteries on my list for Santa!
At around 10:00, we were putting away dishes from our Christmas Eve dinner and getting ready for breakfast; as I reached up to get the silver chest out of a cabinet, a stack of dessert plates came careening down onto my head, shattering on the floor around me.  Needless to say, this just about shattered my Christmas spirit.  And, my scalp.
With that mess cleaned up and pancakes and bacon on the table, we all enjoyed a merry breakfast.  All of us except Ciara, who suddenly looked flushed, dazed and confused.  Out of nowhere, the poor girl spiked a fever of 102 and was whisked off to bed.  Where she slept for two hours.  Leaving me to wonder, “any chance I could spike a fever and get a two hour nap out of the deal?!”
By around 1:30, Ciara was up (and pumped up with Tylenol) and we went over the river and through the woods (well, over the river, anyway!), to my parents house, where we had a truly wonderful time.  It was a remarkable, memorable and magical Christmas with generations of family visiting and exchanging gifts.  It was really very Norman Rockwell.  The fire was crackling, the music was playing, the kids weren’t fighting, it was all good.  Very good. And very much the way Christmas should be.
Of course, this little reverie was abruptly broken when we returned home; Declan had a fit because he couldn’t find his Hexbugs, Kevin peed on the rug and a quick glance in the mirror informed me that I received a zit the size of Texas for Christmas.  Oh well.  Such is life.  And I will take it.  All of it.  The good, the bad, and the merry.  Because really, on Christmas and every other day of the year, life with “all those kids” will undoubtedly have ample bits of good, bad and merry.  And I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way.

I don’t know about you, but this week was a rough one in the Lyons Den and I attribute a lot of it to what I’m coining the “Halloween Hangover.”  It’s not pretty.  It can be scary.  It is the aftermath of the sugar-induced carnage we call Halloween… ironically enough, the Catholic Church recognizes November 1st as All Saints Day but inside our humble abode, our offspring have turned to demons.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween.  I definitely liked it as a kid… except for the year that my Mom decided I should be a “Jar of Jellybeans.”  How?  By putting one of those plastic dry-cleaning bags over my head and filling it up with balloons.  Today, she’d probably end up in jail for such a thing; back then, the greatest offense was that I literally popped on the way to school, had to walk home full of deflated balloons and then was sent back as Miss New Jersey – a title that was never exactly aspirational and was next to impossible to pull off as a fifth grader with glasses and a retainer.  But I digress…
Halloween is a big deal in our town.  A very big deal.  There are jack-o-lanterns aplenty and a big parade; it almost feels like Christmas except that the lights are orange and Santa has been replaced with the fire department handing out treats.  There’s a lot of pressure – pressure to create your own personal haunted house, to turn out tasty Halloween treats and to come up with crafty, creative costume ideas.  None of these are my strong points.  In fact, given that our family has four birthdays (five if you count the dog!) and our wedding anniversary between October 5th and 12th, I really don’t have the mental energy to consider Halloween until the week before.
That’s why this year, the kids wore musty old costumes from the basement and once again, our amazing neighbors came to the rescue and affixed an eight foot spider to our roof.  This is true; we came home from grocery shopping last Saturday and there it was.  And there is still is.  And there it forever may be.  Because much like the weeks before Halloween, the weeks after don’t provide much of a respite from the treadmill we call life and I have to prioritize…. Plan Liam’s 7th birthday party or remove that spider? Do another load of laundry or remove that spider?  You see where I’m going right?  That spider just might be wearing a wreath, some holly and twinkly white lights before long.
As for the kids, Halloween reckoned them unrecognizable.  And not just because it was hard to tell the triplets apart when they abandoned our color-coding scheme and went all Spiderman, Blues Clues, and Fuzzy Lion on us but, because they literally went so coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs — or, more accurately stated, for Reese’s, Hershey’s, M&Ms and Starburst — there wasn’t a trace of the sweet children I know and love.  The sweets they consumed turned them sour and their sugar-fueled antics turned me into the Wicked Witch of the West.  No costume required. 
In the past few days, it’s been impossible to drag them out of bed; they have one track, candy-focused minds; they have opted out of all our family rules and let’s just say that I’m the one left cleaning up the mess that all that sugar has wreaked on their delicate little digestive systems.
I really think they have Halloween Hangovers and sadly, they haven’t had the time to sleep it off. I’m hoping that this weekend will provide the ample rest and sugar detox they all need; until this passes, I will do my best to channel my inner Glenda the Good Witch… and I know that my kids will be as happy to sing “ding dong the witch is dead” as I am!  

There are a few phrases I never expected to hear in this lifetime, among them “You’re having triplets” and “They’re identical.”  Given that I had two toddlers at home when I received this news, it was especially unsettling… and all the more so when the disturbing facts and frightening statistics about birth defects and premature labor finally settled in.

The pregnancy was a long haul — 36 weeks of ups and downs, worrying and fretting, and sleepless nights with an alarmingly large belly, as noted for posterity here:

Freakishly large belly with 17+ lbs. of bouncing baby boys inside

When the little fellas finally arrived, we had a plan for telling them apart.  While my husband Des wanted to tattoo them, I decided that just a bit of nail polish on the big toe would be a better way to go — red for Kevin, blue for Declan and green for Cormac.  For the better part of their first two years, these little guys had a better pedicure than I ever did… typically with a coordinating outfit to eliminate any possibility of a mix-up.

Onesies with their names helped in the beginning… could you tell these guys apart?!

As time passed, we all comfortably relied on the color coding system.  It has helped me and Des, Liam and Ciara, my parents, neighbors and friends and extended family to know who’s who here in the Lyons Den.

Color-coded kids from the very beginning — circa May 2009
That said, I’m not so sure it has helped the very fellas it was intended to benefit: Kevin, Declan and Cormac.  Since the day they were born, these poor guys have had their toe nails painted and their hand-me-downs organized by color.  When we don’t have red, Kevin may get orange or yellow.  When we don’t have green, Cormac may get gray or white.  But we never seem to run out of blue… which I suppose is why when strangers ask Declan what his name is, he responds with great sincerity “I’m blue.”  

Yikes, now is that a motherhood mishap, or what?  The poor kid thinks his name is Blue!  Not to worry, this is an issue we’re actively working to address, first and foremost by letting them each choose their own clothes.  The problem?  Now they all want blue.  To make matters even more challenging, on many days they all want “Yankee uniforms” and Declan (a.k.a. “Blue”) now mutters to himself as he stumbles down the hall “Derek Jeter!  Derek Jeter!”  I suppose in terms of aspirations, it’s better to be Jeter than be Blue but, my hope is that one day, he’ll be happy just being Declan… and until then, I hope that we — and everyone else — will find a way to tell who’s who!

Cranky Yankees circa June 2010 in color coded crocs & clearly not too happy about it!

When I look back on the summer of 2011, many memories will be of the hard time I spent in potty time — “tile time” as my good friend Jill calls it.  Call it what you will, it’s hard and it’s not fun.  Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s time well spent; the last thing I want to be is the mom of triplets who go to college in diapers but really, since that’s unlikely (both the diaper part and the ability to pay for college!), I can’t help but lament the hours I’ve spent in bathrooms this summer. 

I’ve spent so much time in our bathrooms at home (no, we don’t have three of them, only 1.5!) that I think there’s now a dent in the “big potty” seats I’ve spent hours perched upon.  I’ve spent so much time in restaurant bathrooms, that I think I’ve lost a few pounds  — admittedly, this is the potential upside to being held hostage in a public bathroom by three two-year tyrants waving their willies everywhere but IN the actual potty!  I’ve spent many a sunny afternoon in the bat-cave like bathrooms you’re prone to find at pools and beaches; again, eager to find the bright side (in this case, literally) I suppose I should be grateful for less of those damaging rays and subsequent wrinkles.  I’ve also spent a fair amount of time in the bathroom at church which, on the one hand, gives new meaning to “praying to the porcelain God” but, hasn’t done much for my spirituality… other than, of course, repeated prayers that Kevin, Declan and Cormac finally get the swing of it (for lack of a better term!) so we can put these potty-training days behind us.

Truthfully, it’s getting old.  And I’m out of PullUps.  And I’m loathe to buy more.  My little guys really seem to be getting it.  Or so it seems until I find a turd on a chair (as I did during dinner one night this week) or sail across their bedroom on a pool of pee on the floor (as I did this evening).  One step forward, two steps back.  I suppose that’s how it goes.  Try, try again.  As much as I want this phase to be behind me, I also have a keen appreciation for the fact that when it’s gone, it’s gone.  Much like the bottles and onesies and highchairs, diapers and pull-ups will soon be gone.  Already, my sweet babes look like big boys as their shorts sag behind them in the space the diapers once filled but “training pants” don’t.  By the way, has anyone else experienced these training pants?  If not, don’t bother — if they worked, I wouldn’t have experienced a Slip n’ Slide of pee earlier tonight!

In any case, I know that this too shall pass. And when it does, I will be proud of my guys for figuring it out.  And I will be glad that my house no longer smells like a urinal. And I will be just a little sad about those saggy shorts for I know they represent the next phase and I’m not 100% convinced that I’m ready for my babies to become “big boys”.



Liam in simpler times: after the loss of tooth #1



The tooth fairy has officially visited our home five times.  Our six year old has officially lost six teeth.  As you may have noticed, there is a discrepancy here.  As far as I can tell, the issue was the loss of tooth #5.
I can’t recall where or when it fell out and neither can Liam, the aforementioned gap-toothed six year old.  The fact he can’t even remember the details of this little tooth makes me feel a bit better about my own vague recollection. I do recall that when it came out, it eventually ended up in a little “treasure chest” – one of those Melissa & Doug hand-painted projects which, for some reason, ended up on top of our entertainment center (yep, we still have one of those!) several weeks back.  That’s when my mind goes blank.
Fast forward to this morning, when I got home from walking our dog to find a pouty gap-toothed Liam sulking on the front porch.  “What’s wrong?” I asked.  “Daddy moved my pillow last night and the tooth fairy never came!”  Hmmm.  I had to think quickly on this one.  Had tooth #7 fallen out last night?  Did I have amnesia?  What exactly happened and how could I respond glibly while keeping his faith in that apparently dim-witted fairy? 
A career in advertising has left me relatively quick on my feet, good with a retort and polished in the arts of ambiguity and empathy, which I can conjure up as needed.  Without dissing the tooth fairy or the Dad, I was able to discern that at some point last night, Liam found that treasure chest with tooth #5; it had slipped behind the TV and was discovered during a search for a Tom & Jerry video (yes, we do let our kids watch them and if you haven’t seen Tom or Jerry in a while, I’d highly suggest that you revisit them!). 
Like any other 2nd grade believer, Liam assumed the tooth fairy must have radar and would intuitively know when a small boy places a toothy treasure under his pillow.  With this in mind, Liam had slid the treasure box under the pillow without uttering a word about it to me or the Dad.  When he woke up this morning and found the tooth and treasure chest under his bed, he reached the reasonable conclusion that when Dad did the final late night tuck-in, he must have knocked the treasure chest under the bed, thereby sending the tooth fairy off course.
This was a lot to take in so early in the morning but, grateful for the large cup of coffee I’d consumed, I explained that Liam was right.  Of course the tooth fairy’s radar doesn’t work under little boys beds; it is only effective under pillows!  That answer seemed satisfactory and so it is that tonight, tooth #5 (and the fairy!) will be getting a second chance.  Having reviewed the contents of my own treasure chest of Liam’s teeth (yep, I save them… gross, right?), I came across these little gems from a few months ago.  I can’t help but think that my little guy’s initial excitement when he wakes up and discovers that the absent tooth fairy finally reappeared might be diminished when he realizes she only left $2.00…

Here it is, Sunday night once more.  Once again, the weekend has flown by in a flurry of activity.  As I look back on the past few days at the pool, Liam’s first swim meet, a trip out for ice cream, our obligatory Sunday mass and a great grilled dinner, there is one unifying theme.  The heat and humidity that has the nation talking?  Nope.  What I will recall most from this weekend is the inordinate amount of time I spent in the bathroom with our two year old triplets.  I don’t think I’d be exaggerating to say that it adds up to hours.  
We are deep in the throes of potty training. It’s reached the point where Kevin, Declan and Cormac are far more enthusiastic about it than I am.  The initial excitement of “PooPoo on potty!” has pretty much waned for me.  The cries of “Gotta pee Mom! Gotta pee NOW!” have me callously responding “NOW?! But you just went!”  Or, worse yet, “Can’t you just hold it, little buddy?”  Needless to say, my weary responses are not to be found in any potty training manuals.  I don’t have time to read them anyway but, it just feels wrong to tell a two-year old in PullUps whose personal pride is currently wrapped up the “Three P’s” (pee, poo, potty) to take a chill pill because Mama would like a view of something other than a porcelain (or in this case, plastic) bowl!
While I would have preferred to spend less time crouching on the bathroom floor and more time enjoying the great outdoors (believe me when I tell you that 100 degrees in the pool beats 100 degrees in the potty!), there were (as there always are) a few bright spots during our shared potty time…
  • There was Cormac kindly encouraging me.  “Good Girl Mama!” he joyfully exclaimed as he barged in on what was to be my private moment on the potty.
  • There was Kevin, completely enamored with the “Magic Potty!” at the pool… that self-flushing variety is apparently a lot more exciting than what we have at home.
  • There was Declan, who can pee more than any kid I’ve ever seen.  He spent more time at the potty than in the pool… leading me to believe that perhaps he was drinking a lot of kiddie pool water… a thought I really don’t want to linger on.
  • There was their shared joy at wearing “big boy underwear!”  My, how we’ve progressed… just a few months ago, they thought Ciara’s old Princess Pull Ups were big boy underwear.  Now they are in Liam’s hand-me-down tighty whities and just as thrilled.  Geez, the bar for these little guys is really set low!
  • Last but not least, was our adventure at church today, where I spent more time praying to the porcelain god than the big guy upstairs. 

I think it’s starting to pay off though. Just think of all the money we’ll save when we officially bid adieu to diapers! Just considering life without repeat orders from diapers.com is all it takes for  me to muster up enough enthusiasm to take three little fellas out of their cribs for one last trip to the potty… after all, I don’t want to disappoint their image of this “Good Girl Mama.”