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Archive for July, 2008

Deep Sleprivation

See that nucleimg_Jul_31_2008_20_43ar warning siren there? That’s the approximate equivalent of hearing a baby cry. At least one of ours. Number one was loud, which she passed onto two, and so three can bring on the noise, too.
Since three was born last May, tonight marks approximately 14 and a half months since anybody in this family has slept through the night.
Oh, right, there was this one night when three’s (let’s call her Rose, her middle name) had a cut on her tongue and my wife asked if we should give her Benadryl. My wife mixed up some Benadryl and Tums, as I pretended to carefully calculate the appropriate dosage, while inside my brain was screaming, “YES, YES, YES! Put her under like she’s having surgery!” That night, Rose slept all night, and that’s the one and only night she’s ever done it.
One time, since last May.
We’ve been holding off on “letting her cry it out,” because my wife keeps saying she’s getting teeth in.
“I think I see a white splotch under the gum,” she’ll say, so maybe we shouldn’t do it yet.
We wait five months…tooth comes in.
“I think she’s getting her one-year molars,” wife says, so we shouldn’t do it yet.
Molar appears.
“I think she might be getting ready to have her wisdom teeth out,” wife says (oops, made that one up).
So at this point, it’s not just wife and myself who have added rows of character lines under our eyes, but Fontaine came down this morning looking like she’d been on the wrong end of a bar fight.
What comes next is highly controversial. But, at some point, you got to let a baby cry it out. Get the idea that he or she (what am I talking about, always a “she” with us), that she can’t just scream and get Mommy in there. Some people favor the Dr. Sears method of swooping right in there and trying to get her back to sleep. Others go with the famous and infamous Ferberization.
You can go with what you want, but one thing you can’t go without? SLEEP!
Fontaine, the six-year-old, has therefore packed her bags, and her mattress and 19 stuffed dolls that are her “children,” and is sleeping tonight in the walk-in closet in our room. Not by happenstance, that closet is as far away from Rose she could go in the house without actually being outside.
To boot, she’s got an air filter running in there, and insisted that the closet door be fully closed before I left.
I’m surprised she didn’t ask me to perforate her ear drums as a precaution.
To be honest, it looked kind of cozy, and just before I walked out, I took a good look at leftover floor space.
I’m thinking before the screamfest is over tonight, she might have some company.

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There are several famous pop-culture icons who have somehow achieved icon status without ever making an appearance. Coming quickly to mind are Norm’s wife on “Cheers” and Charlie from “Charlie’s Angels.” So there migimg_Jul_30_2008_05_47ht be nothing wrong with being out of the picture, so to speak.
But the five devoted readers of mythreedaughters.com may have been wondering: Um, didn’t you say three daughters? You only ever write about two?
And they may also have been wondering, assuming they are teen-aged readers: Are you a single Dad or, like, where’s your wife?
Well, the answer is one and the same (boy, I’m a cliche factory tonight, huh?): The third daughter is presently upstairs screaming, and the first wife is up there trying to get her to cut it out. That’s where my wife has been since last May, when daughter number three was born. Tending to her.
In the mornings, I come downstairs and get breakfast going with the two bigs, and she stays up and tends to the one little. On the weekends, sometimes, I take the two bigs to Home Depot, or to a ballgame, and my wife tends to the baby.
It’s a little divisive, bringing a baby into the house (just ask the two bigs…or wait, don’t) and I was pleased to read on a Mommy blog that we are not alone.
Just to be fair, the 14-month-old is great when she’s around. Another redhead, another feisty redhead, and into everything. Lately, she digs through the trash, so all the trash cans in the house have been put up on countertops, as though we have a Dumpster-diving labrador or something.
Really, she’s great, but I do sometimes end up with a paraphrase of that Talking Heads song running through my head:
And you may ask yourself, where IS my beautiful wife?
Then I hear the screaming, and I know.

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Since Fontaine waimg_Jul_24_2008_20_37s one year old, people have told us that she’s precocious. Seems about right.
She had her first golf lesson on Sunday, then when we went out to hit some balls last night told her sister: “I can teach you how to hit it out to the first flag.”
This morning, before any of the others came downstairs, I was asking her about it, and she informed me she aims to be “as good as Tiger Woods.”
Really?
“Is he the best golfer in the whole world?” she asked.
Yes, I said. Most people think he’s the best golfer who’s ever played.
“Really?” she said.
Yes. He makes a lot of money playing golf.
“Does he have the most money of anyone in the whole world?”
No, he has a lot, but not that much.
“Then who has the most? In the whole world?”
A guy named Bill Gates.
“How did he get his money?”
Well, he invented a computer system that runs almost every computer.
“Does he have a big house?”
Yes, very big, I read. (I’m trying to make coffee at this moment.)
“Is it bigger than our house?”
Yes, it’s bigger than five of our houses put together. Or 15, or 20.
“Wow.”
So, being me, I see a chance for one of those positive lessons and decide to take a flyer on it. Kind of like when Phil Mickelson has a tough shot and goes for it.
And you know what? He’s decided to give almost all of his money away. He’s spending a lot of his money¬†to give shots to people in Africa, so they don’t get sick and die.
“Why to Africa, why doesn’t he give it to people in a different state?”
Well, I don’t know, they need it the most.
“I bet he’s keeping some of his money,” she says, “so he’s still rich.”
That’s right, honey, I’m sure he is.
Hardly ever works for Phil Mickelson, either.

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When I was img_Jul_22_2008_45_55growing up, we had these paperback collections of Hank Ketchum’s Dennis the Menace cartoons. We had at least half a dozen books and I read every one.
One of the cartoons that I remember went something like this: Dennis woke his Dad and called him in, because Dennis was thirsty and wanted a glass of water. Dad dutifully came in with the water and Dennis rejected it: “This is bathroom water,” Dennis said, “I wanted kitchen water.”
Fontaine, the six-year-old, has always been a rule follower and rarely if ever leaves her room after being tucked in. Elizabeth, the almost-four-year old, sometimes busts that rule four, five, six times a night.
By the time I get down the steps, I turn around and she’s there. “Daddyyyyyyyy,” she says in a sweet voice, then comes the excuse.
Daddyyyyy, I’m thirsty.
Daddyyyyy, I can’t sleep.
Daddyyyyy, I’m too tired, so I can’t sleep.
Daddyyyyy, it’s too dark in my room.
And the one I just got interrupted with right this minute as I was writing this. (Sometimes, they make these entries way too easy for me.)
Daddyyyyy, there’s too much light the way I am sleeping.
“Well, turn around and face the other way.”
Elizabeth still sucks her thumb, and we’ve been trying to get her to wean herself.
The other night, after one of these disruptions, after she had literally come downstairs six times in 10 minutes, I lost it.
“Elizabeth, go upstairs, get in your bed, put your thumb in your mouth AND SUCK IT!”

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Croc Hunter

There’s no <i>odile</i> missing from the title. There is, however, a Croc missing as usual.img_Jul_19_2008_09_39
Crocs, for those who don’t have kids, or don’t have feet, are a wildly popular brand of shoes. If you look at the feet of the kids standing in line on any given day waiting for the school bell to ring, about 50 percent of them are covered with Crocs. Parents love them because you can slip them on a kid and be out the door in a minute. No laces, no tying, no double knotting, no worries.
Unless they are Elizabeth’s Crocs, in which case a Croc hunt ensues. She’s always missing one.
Always. Just one.
So then the wife and I and the eldest walk around the house looking for the other one. While we are doing that, Elizabeth sits by the door, waiting.
“Elizabeth, where did you put it?”
I don’t know.
C’mon, you must have some idea. Did you take it upstairs? Is it out on the porch? Elizabeth, can you at least help us look?
“I’m looking,” she says, while not looking and sitting on the step waiting for someone to find it.
Many times, we do. Sometimes, we can’t.
So we find another pair of shoes, then have to go find a pair of socks because no other shoe works quite as well sockless as a Croc.
And we tie them for her, because she’s not yet four. And we double-knot them. And we leave the house 10 minutes late for wherever it is we are supposed to be.

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We’re baimg_Jul_16_2008_01_05ck, fans of My Three Daughters, after a long week of vacation.
And we need a vacation.
The trip home from Pennsylvania would likely be illegal under the present torture policies for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
Here is an approximation of the dialoge during the seven-hour car ride down I-95. All of the below should really be in all caps, but I’ll spare you:
“Mommy, she’s in my personal space.”
“No I’m not. She’s in my personal space.”
“She took my snake!”
(We went to an outdoor market, and of all things, she two olders chose wooden snakes make in China as the one thing they wanted to bring home).
“No I didn’t.”
“Give it back!”
Do you kids ever want to visit Gram and Poppop again? If you do, you’ll be quiet.
“Give my snake back!”
Daddy’s trying to drive, it’s very dangerous, see all these cars? Do you want us to wreck and die?
The 14-month-old: “Mee! Mee! Mee! Mee!”
“She’s bothering me, I want to SLEEP!”
“Her pillow touched my arm!”
I swear, if you kids don’t shut your mouths, we’re going to pull over and wait until you do.
“She scratched me.”
“No I didn’t.”
OK, Daddy pulled over. We’re going to wait. If we have to get home at 11 o’clock tonight, so be it.
Peripheral vision: wooden snake swings into the air and smacks one of them.
Arm reaches into back seat, grabs snake and tosses it onto the front floor…confiscated!
“GIVE ME TENNEFIN BACK!”
(Who names a snake ‘Tennefin’ anyway?)
“Mee! Mee! Mee! Mee!”
See that picture up there? We thought about it, strapping one of them to the roof.
We should get co-parent-of-the-year honors for not.
We need a vacation from the vacation.
Anyone want to sit for three, charming young ladies?

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