Thursday, January 28, 2010

All Politics is local.

If you follow Sarah’s blog, you know the past two weeks have left Sarah & I with little to zero time for anything other than caring for our daughters (and work). The craziness in our house reached a new level with three sick toddlers, a toddler bed conversion, and a house reconfiguration sucking every ounce of our energy. Several posts I had intended to write did not get written. Our plan to catch up on sleep last weekend did not happen. Many things did not happen.

Of course, despite all that life threw at us the past couple of weeks, the world continued to move and news continued to happen: a devastating earthquake in Haiti, and just a few days ago, Nancy Kerrigan’s name resurfaced in the press. Then, of course, there was the election to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s seat in the US Senate - I cannot seem to hold back on commenting about that news story.

I don’t really care about Scott Brown's daughter Ayla and her availability, or the fact that Mr. Brown is married to a local news reporter. I also don’t care that the Brown family happens to live in a nearby town. What has been on my mind is all the talk about how Massachusetts and America needs a Republican in the Senate and how the White House has gotten out of hand with spending and bailouts. Interestingly enough, it seems to me that the negative comments toward our leadership have been coming from Americans with few needs, but with many wants. I didn’t watch much of Scott Brown’s victory speech, but someone commented on the number of millionaires on the stage – Schilling, Romney, Flutie, et al. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find fault in Americans making a comfortable life for themselves, but let’s be serious – how do you compare the needs of those wealthy individuals with the average American?

The voters in Massachusetts spoke and they elected a Republican. I guess can live with that. I am just tired of people complaining about BIG government and irresponsible fiscal spending in Washington. If the banks had failed and the millionaires had lost ALL their investments and could no longer receive a lavish bonus so their child could spend a summer in Tahiti, those same individuals would complain that the government should have stepped in. Yes, the government is spending. I don’t see it as wasteful spending, however. I see the spending as necessary. I believe the elected officials currently serving on both sides are working toward a better tomorrow for all Americans and an announcement regarding the 2010 Omnibus Appropriations Act (H.R. 3288) has helped solidify my belief in the current leadership.

This is directly from eInsights, the electronic newsletter of the Spina Bifida Association:

In an extraordinarily lean budget year highlighted with a national recession and government stimulus package, the Spina Bifida Association is very pleased to announce that the National Spina Bifida Program housed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received $6.2 million -- a 14 percent increase in funding over last year! This substantial increase, included in the Fiscal Year 2010 Omnibus Appropriations Act (H.R. 3288) recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama, is critically important, as it comes in a year when new data indicating that the number of Americans living with Spina Bifida may be as high as 166,000 – more than double what was previously thought.

As a father to three young daughters, one of which was born with Spina Bifida, I was very pleased to read that our leaders found funds for a much needed cause. I don’t know (or care) if the elected official who pushed this section of H.R. 3288 through is Democrat or Republican. I also don’t care if he/she has a million dollars in the bank or one hundred dollars in the bank. What I do know is that the individual in Washington who helped get the bill passed is a person who cares. Sometimes that is all that matters.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Poor Anna.

Today's post was going to be something else, but I changed my mind because I haven’t been able to think of anything but my little Anna. Anna has been fairly miserable since the weekend – it started with a little cough here and there on Saturday and culminated with Grammy (thank you Sheila) taking Anna to see the pediatrician this morning. According to the pediatrician, Anna only has “the beginnings of a cold”. Whew. Thank you.

It has been breaking my heart the past several days watching Anna mope around the house, ever so slowly. Anna’s restless sleep and congestion has made her understandably unhappy.

This picture, taken by Grammy this afternoon, says it all.

As testament to Anna’s misery, she and I actually cuddled for a few minutes on the couch this morning before I left for work! Yes, Anna naturally prefers Mommy or Grammy (over Daddy) to hold her so I knew she wasn’t feeling well when she sat with me on the couch without a fuss. Needless to say, I absolutely savored the moment!

Sarah and I, of course, have our reasons for being extra sensitive when it comes to Anna. Countless doctor visits, daily medications, and Anna’s random slips and falls around the house will do that to any parent, I guess. It reminds me of a comment made to us a few times by Anna’s doctors and nurses (when referring to Anna’s various procedures and surgeries). They would say “It’s worse for the parents…” Maybe. I’m not sure. What I do know is that my entire family means everything to me. I just want Anna, her sisters, and their mom to be happy. Not sick. Not grumpy. Not unloved. Just happy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Winter fun in the 70's.

I thought it would be fun to share some video that my parents shot of my siblings and me when we were kids. The video below, from the ‘70’s, is of us playing hockey and skating at our house in Boston. Each winter, if the winter weather cooperated, my dad would build a rink in our yard so we could burn off energy and pretend to be Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito or one of the other Bruin greats! I think this video is evidence to a couple of things:

- My dad was a hard-working man dedicated to his family. If he was not working at his full-time job, he was working on the house or spending time with his children.
- Hockey was not my sport.
- As a boy with ten older siblings and two younger siblings, I always had someone to play with!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How This Dad to Triplets Does It.

As parents of multiples, Sarah and I always get comments from strangers such as "You must have your hands full" and "God bless you". Another comment we often get is "I don't know how you do it". That comment has been on my mind quite a bit lately. I've haven't been thinking about that comment because I don't know how we do it, but because Sarah has been telling me about mothers of multiples who complain that their husbands don't help out. By not help out I mean everything from the father not helping when mom is home to not being able to watch or care for the kiddos without assistance. These “deadbeat dads” are not physically and mentally unable to care for a child - they are just incompetent, uncaring, or plain lazy!

So, with the dad who cannot do it by himself in mind, this father of toddler triplets thought he would provide some insight into how he takes care of his girls. The following narrative and video are from this past Saturday morning - I took the girls with me to run some errands.

Breakfast - first I help the girls out of their cribs and down the stairs to the living room for diaper change(s) and removal of sleep sacks. Next step: breakfast. I consider two things before preparing a meal for the girls – 1) what have they had for breakfast the past few days and 2) what do I have in the house to offer. Today I decide to heat up some Aunt Jemima French Toast, drop some butter on it and pour some yummy Vermont maple syrup (thank you Heather!) on top! Pour a little milk in plastic cups, provide a little entertainment while they eat, and we are done with breakfast.

Dress and Distract - at about 9:00 it is time to start the long process of getting the girls dressed. Distraction is important in this step as the girls are not always cooperative when it comes to having their hair combed and clothes put on. I do not hesitate to turn on the T.V. to the Sprout channel to provide the distraction. I am at an obvious disadvantage with three girls when it comes to doing their hair and clothing them, but I think I did okay on this day(see video).

Load - since the girls were looking forward to going for a ride, they are happily cooperative for the loading part. I have to take them through a garage filled with potential toddler hazards, so I load them one at a time. One final check to ensure we didn't forget Elmo (Allie's pal) and we are on our way to the bank!

Fuel - before we even get to the bank we make the necessary Saturday morning stop at Dunkin Donuts (drive through, of course). Munchkins provide at least 20 minutes of entertainment for the girls and a java boost for dad!

Bank - another drive through transaction, which is key. The only concern is the logistics of passing additional munchkins to Emily, who is seated at the very rear of the van. Deposit made. Errand #1 complete.

Grocery Store -
this is maybe the fifth or sixth trip to the grocery store I have made with the girls so nothing new here. The only issue this time is the weather - the temperature is below freezing so I must move quickly so the girls do not get too cold. Step #1 - find a shopping cart with the additional seats. Check. Step #2 Wipe the cart clean with Bleach wipes (Sarah will love that part). Step#3 wipe the girls' faces and hands with a wipey - they are sticky from the donuts! Step #4 Load the girls into the shopping cart, one by one, always keeping an eye on the cart. Step #5 Proceed into Stop & Shop. Step #6 Shop and take in all the looks and comments from strangers! This particular day there seemed to be more comments than usual. "They are adorable" was said at least three times. Step #7 Feel like a proud dad.

CVS - Drive-thru #3 to get Anna's meds. The clerk was very friendly and helpful -the transaction took longer than usual so the woman and I exchanged small talk. She says "you're the guy with the triplets, right?" LMAO! I have to admit, it made me feel good when she said that. Then, as I'm waiting at the drive-thru window, a couple of other clerks came to the window to wave to and admire the girls. What a way to end our Saturday morning! Home we go for lunch.

That's how I did it. Was it easy? NO. Was it time consuming? YES. Did I have time to watch SportsCenter or go to the gym? NO. Did I have time to play pool at the local watering hole? NO. I did, however, have the chance to share a smile with some strangers, laugh with my girls and just be a dad. Enjoy the video.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Our own Winter Olympics.

With the 2010 Winter Olympics just over a month away, Sarah & I thought we would start getting the girls ready with some outdoor winter fun of our own. Before we started, Anna did a safety inspection of the grounds and quickly detected a blade of grass protuding through the snow! Anna did, however give the okay for the games to begin so Allie jumped right on the sled and said "pull me Mommy"! After sledding the slopes of our yard it was onto the luge - better known as the slide on the jungle gym, complete with ice and snow. Let the games begin!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


It's wonderful when a child has an extended family to provide additional love and support, especially the kind of love that comes from a grandparent. Time spent with a grandparent forms memories to last a lifetime and our girls are fortunate in that they have three “young” grandparents and two great grandparents: Grandma, Grammy & Papa, and Mamaw & Papaw! A bonus is having Grammy care for our little crazy ones during the day - Grammy gets to watch them grow and develop while Sarah & I get peace of mind knowing our girls are getting the best care available. The only regret I admit to sometimes having is that my dad is not here to share the joy of watching our girls grow up. I have a sense that the girls would have enjoyed Grandpa's ability to make a child smile.

Since three of my four grandparents passed away either before I was born or when I was just a baby, I only have memories of my dad's mother who we called “Nana”. Memories of Nana are mostly from our Sunday morning visits to her house in Somerville. My grandmother always put ice cream, soda and candy on the kitehcn table when we arrived! I chuckle to myslef when I look back because my grandmother would always pull us into the pantry, and in a secretively way, hand us a bag of candy to take home. She would not say “don’t tell your mom and dad” but she did not ask permission from my parents either! Sarah and I hope that when our girls are older they have the same memories of their grandparents as we do of ours.

This Christmas was a bit different for us in that we were able to spend Christmas afternoon at Sarah's parents' and two days after Christmas we visited my mother. The video clip below contains a few highlights of the visits. Hopefully these visits to see Grandma, Grammy & Papa will continue for many years!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Call to Dr. Santa Claus.

A couple of things said to me regarding young children have been coming to mind lately.

First, I remember Anna's nephrologist telling me that children's vocabulary usually increases dramatically when they are about 18 - 24 months old. Well, I cannot recall how much the girls' vocabulary increased at this time last year, but what I can tell you is that the stuff that comes out of their mouths these days is amazing and hysterical (to me anyway). Unfortunately, because Sarah and I many times have three talking at the same time, we don't have the luxury of hearing everything. But, when I listen, I cannot help but shake my head and think "where do they come up with this stuff"?

The video clip below is a good example. There has been a lot of talk in our house about Santa (for obvious reasons) and the dentist (they are beginning to brush their teeth). Well, in the beginning this video Anna is talking to Santa about the effect on teeth if you don't brush them - apparently Santa is a dentist. Em also chimes in about cavities and Allie feels the need to tell me where she is going to sleep.

The second thing said to me many years ago by my brother in law (regarding his two young girls) was "they are a lot of work but they bring a great deal of joy". Amen.