… Or is it?
Matt is in L.A. right now, so you can imagine his day was spent looking out over the top of his sunglasses at palm trees while driving around in a vintage convertible. Here’s what my day looked like:
Some unholy hour: Matt wakes me up to say goodbye and then leaves for the airport.
6 AM: Alarm goes off. I swipe at it until it goes silent. Finn is asleep next to me instead of in his crib because I caved in during the night. I shove a pillow next to him so he won’t roll off the bed and then quickly take a shower, drag a comb through my hair and throw on some clothes.
6:30 AM: I walk into the nursery and chirp “Good morning!” to Jem and Bran. Two mushroom clouds of hair pop up. Underneath the hair are puffy, unhappy faces. The faces begin to whine and sob as I change their diapers. I lead them back into our bedroom where their griping can wake Finn up like a really shitty zen alarm clock. Now everyone is unhappy. The day has officially begun!
7 AM: After all babies are changed and dressed (which involves a lot of clothing being thrown about and dragged along the floor), we go down to the kitchen. This requires two trips up and down the stairs, first with Finn and Jem dangling under each arm and then with Bran. The crying that began the moment they woke up is now reaching its zenith. I frantically slice bananas, pour milk into sippy cups and toast English muffins. To lighten the mood, I stick raspberries on their index fingers while they wait for their muffins. They don’t like it. They LOVE it. And just like that I’m back in the good graces of my three little Joffreys.
7:30 AM: Once they’ve eaten, they’re much happier fellas. I shuttle them into the playroom. Did I mention that I am crushing it right now? We are 15 minutes ahead of schedule and I feel like I could rule the world.
One thing these guys have in common is they all have to go #2 within minutes of having breakfast. You can set your watch to it. I leave them to their squatting and race upstairs to dry my hair, put some makeup on and grab all of our coats.
“Mama?” I hear Finn call.
“Yeah buddy I’ll be right there.”
“Mama?” he calls again. It’s odd, because he sounds really close. I dart out of my bedroom and find Finn on the stairs, grinning at me. After investigating I see that the boys have shaken the gate to the playroom likeTurkish soccer fans and escaped. Perfect. I collect all of the babies from different rooms and start dealing with their diapers. As I’m changing Finn, Bran toddles over and shows me a toy snail with big eyes that light up.
“Oggumph,” he says, handing it to me. I take it and try to discreetly put it on the ground on the other side of me. He catches me and comes back to retrieve the snail. “Blilliup,” he explains as he hands it to me again, and again I have to enthusiastically accept it. A few minutes later as I’m changing Bran, Finn comes over to investigate the snail.
“No,” he tells it. “No” is his favorite word and he says it a lot. He says it to me, Matt, his brothers, the dogs. He even says it to Siri when she’s giving us directions:
“Turn right on Cox Road.”
“Take a left onto Three Chopt Road.”
Now it’s Finn who’s trying to give me the snail, so once again I have to pause to receive this thing-which-I-do-not-want.
When I start changing Jem, Bran comes back with, you guessed it—THE FRICKIN’ SNAIL. “Inny” Bran tells me, holding it out to me. But I’m done playing this game. I ignore his offering and continue with my diaper duty. Bran waits for a moment, then nonchalantly drops the snail on Jem’s scrotum and waddles away.
8 AM: Very quickly you can go from crushing it to being crushed by it. The last part of the morning ends in a mad dash—shoes and coats on babies, water and food for dogs, a packed lunch for me, and everyone into the van. I drop them off and then reward myself with a coffee from Starbucks before heading to work. The reward is key. Without the reward, there is only darkness and despair.
5:30 PM: I race out of work into the throes of rush hour traffic, inch along 195 and 64 and sprint into their daycare. I hate being the last one to pick up my kids, so I am pleased to see that there is still another baby there. Bran is stealing this baby’s food. When I hold my arms out to him he screams and runs away. It’s kind of our thing. Two trips to the van and we’re back on the road. I like to use this time to interact with the boys, but 95% of the time it’s me asking questions that no one answers.
“What does a doggie say?”
“Are we going home to eat dinner?”
“Can you say, ‘Hi, mama’?”
“No,” comes a voice from the back seat.
Once I’ve run out of questions, I try to think of something cool to sing to them, and my mind goes blank. I always end up singing “Old MacDonald,” which I dislike very much and basically just yawn my way through. We spend the last 10 minutes of the car ride in silence.
6 PM: One by one I load the boys out of the van and into their high chairs in the kitchen for dinner. They hate this because they have been eating all day and would rather rummage in the recycling. I heat up and serve a polenta and kale lasagna that Matt made. They eat some and throw the rest at the dogs.
6:30 PM: I grab Finn out of his high chair because he is the most likely to stand up in it if I leave the room. Polenta cascades down his body and splatters on the floor. We go upstairs to start running the tub. I peel off his gummy clothes and stick him in the pack ‘n play in our bedroom, then go down to grab the other two. One by one I strip the babies down and plop them in the tub. I
waterboard lovingly bathe them, and take them out one by one into the bedroom to apply lotion and diaper cream and pajamas. This is where everyone gets turnt up. Jem, who refused his dinner, is eating diaper cream. Bran is throwing himself around on the bed like a wild donkey. Finn has found a dust bunny and is snuggling it to his face as he sucks his thumb and rocks back and forth. I set them up with bottles, and, after they’re done, usher them into the nursery and hoist them into their cribs. We listen to a Beatles song together and then I turn on ocean sounds and kiss their crazy asses goodnight.
7 PM: Finally, I can rest. Just kidding! Because there is kale in the bathtub and polenta on the stairs and tomato sauce on the highchairs. There are puzzle pieces and Legos all over the playroom and butt paste smeared on my bed and dirty diapers in the sink in the bathroom. There is a milk trail courtesy of Jem and a diaper genie that smells like a whore’s carcass. And then there are dishes and loads of laundry and a million other things that need to be done to keep us all on track.
But first, there is a glass of wine. Because you have to have a reward.
People always tell us they don’t know how we do triplets. Obviously parenthood is hard no matter how you slice it. One moment it’s all raspberries on fingers and the next it’s all toys on scrotums. But at least I have someone helping me.
I would say that I don’t know how single mothers and fathers do it on their own everyday because that seems way harder. But I do know. I get it. Because after the worst and most disappointing day as a parent—the day when you are counting down the seconds until you can put your kids to bed and be done with it all, you still are happy to visit them once they’re asleep and tuck their blankets around them. And when they wake up crying for you, you bend the rules and bring them to bed and let them curl against your body, and in those small, vital moments you are both reset and all the bad stuff falls away. And the next morning that same baby throws a truck at your face and somewhere Elton John starts singing, “The Circle of Life.”
Anyway, this is all to say that we miss you Matt. And we can’t wait to show you this fucking snail.