Halloween (by Ken Tarter)

(submited by Ken Tarter, Geneva, Illinois)

My kids, L, M 'n O, are 3yrs 8mos old and for some reason that I did not understand, I decided to go home this year for trick or treating. My heart wasn’t in it, but I made the commitment to go. My father was never part of t-o-t when I was a kid. Nor was my step-mother. They gave us a shove out the door and an admonition regarding curfew. Of course, that was later – the years that I remember – so I guess “mom” was there when we were younger.

So there I was for not necessarily all the right reasons, but I was there. It seems to me that is the way with dads of multiples - at least more so than other dads. I guess we just consider our odds and consider ourselves fortunate. That’s how it is with those who are fortunate anyway. Because for every two dads we know with healthy children, we know one dad whose children have some handicap – the way of higher-order multiples. My girls (2 girls and a boy, by the way), have some permanent hearing loss and I consider myself extremely lucky to have this smallest of handicaps. We all know plenty with much more sever conditions. Anyway, for whatever reason, I was there. Dads of trips are always just… there. That’s how it is. Despite whatever upbringing or family relationships we had. There we are.

And there I was. I arrived after the first round with Mom. It waas difficult to get the usual hugs and kisses and “Daddy-Daddy’s” with a fresh haul of candy burning a hole in their plastic pumpkins. So after a round of eating candy like it was going out of style, I took them out. In total, they probably hit 20 houses – 10 or so with Mom and another 10 or so with me. It was non-eventful (to me) and that was all they could take. All-in-all, a good outing with the kids. There was no fighting, no whining, no “I want this” or “that”. A good outing – h---, a great outing!

So after trick-or-treating, wife asks O, “Did you have fun trick-or-treating?” (I doubt they remember last year).
He says, “Yeah, with Daddy.”
“Not Mommy?”, she questioned.
Matter-of-factly, he said, “With Daddy. Because he was there.”

(if you are a father of triplets and would like to submit an article to "Father's Corner", send your article to memorrow2002@yahoo.com)


"Momma done"

I have a new phrase I use with the boys. It's called "momma done." The conversation goes like this:

dad: "is your homework done?"

son: "yes"

dad: "is that a yes from your perspective or is that a yes in terms of momma done?"

son: "it's momma done"

You see, now that the boys are in 7th grade, momma has decided to reenter the job market and isn't home as much. Dad is trying to fill the void by attempting to ride rough shod over homework when momma's not home. I've discovered that there is a huge difference between being "done" and being "momma done." Momma checks answers, handwriting, and content. Early on, I got caught up in thinking the boys were done (I asked them and they said yes) and when momma got home, discovered that there were a few hours remaining. I'm learning.


Pre teen years - sigh...

The boys turn 13 in the near future. Another milestone. Another reason to think back and smile. All those mornings when our boys would stumble out of their beds still in their one piece nighties with a binkie in their mouth and a couple more in their fist. Hair standing straight up. Soft, chubbie cheeks to plant a good morning kiss. A climb into your lap. A big hug. Dad would put down the sports section of the paper and pick up the auto section. The boys would smile, point to a picture of a car and scream with delight - "car, dayie, car!" Most of the time with their binkie still secured in their mouth. Those days are gone now but the memories are still there. Coupled with three teenagers.


It's getting harder

Mom (looking outside): "why is dad laying on the ground?"

Json: "he's celebrating"

Mom: "celebrating what?"

Json: "he beat me in tennis - he thinks it's funny..."

Ason and Json made the middle school tennis team this year. Tson likes to play but doesn't play on the team. Dad has a new way of working out. The boys play rock/paper/scissors to decide who plays dad first. Then second, and maybe a third (although dad rarely lasts past match #2). One set each. I can still hold off son #1. By son #2, I'm really tired and they've learned to just lob the ball barely over the net to make me run. Json almost beat me that way the last time. I managed to pull through but just barely. I celebrated like I'd just won the US Open. Json just rolled his eyes and went inside.


Homework and the 10 second rule

Remember the ten second rule? For those of you that have had three kids at different times, you know how it works... The first one got their binkie boiled any time it hit the floor. The second one got it washed off, the third one got it put directly back into their mouth as long as it hadn't been on the floor for more than ten seconds.

Homework with triplets can suffer similar effects if you're not careful. After helping the first one do his math problems, it's hard to have the same patience with the second one. Especially when they are the same problems. By the time you get to the third, you're running to the copy machine (yes, we have a copy machine - a must if you have older triplets). I guess the secret is to do the homework in a different order each day so the third son who basically gets his answers handed to him isn't always the same son.

English homework assignments are much tougher. You can't really replicate the problem solving process. The best you can do is speed up the transcription. Using the computer helps. That way, no one can tell who's typing. If it's early or on the weekend, the boys type in their own papers. If it's late (past dad's bedtime), then we go into power typing mode where son A, B or C reads his paper while dad power types. We turn spell check on and walla - save and print.

If you have other helpful hints on getting through a triplet set of homework assignments, I'd sure appreciate hearing about them!


The Auto Show

Written when our boys were five... On weekends I would look for things where I could grab the boys and go. Anything to give mom a few hours of peace and quiet so she could gather herself - maybe even take a shower or grab a nap. The auto show seemed like a "guy" thing to do so we started going when there were three and have gone ever since. I'll write about the time we lost Tson at the auto show another time...

What is becoming an annual event for dad and our three triplet boys. This year was our first WS showing (without stroller). It all started as a Saturday morning event with dad and the boys reading the morning paper looking through the auto section for cool cars - or in our case, cars that would hold three car seats. Almost an oxymoron. It grew into the four of us trekking down to the Hoosier Dome and giving mom a much needed break after a wild week of wrapping Christmas presents, writing Christmas cards and tending to three demanding four-year-olds (and a husband home on vacation!). Now that the boys are older, we don’t get the “triplet stare” you can all relate to. That is until we got to the auto show. The first thing we did was check out the rotating car with a model describing the details of the new Chevrolet 16 valve overhead cam engine (as if she could find it!) In the middle of her description with microphone being piped into all sections of the dome, she stopped and asked me if the boys were twins (a common question since Ty is 2 inches shorter than his brothers). I replied, “no, they’re triplets…” and suddenly, the Chevrolet she was describing became secondary to the four of us and about a hundred others who were now staring at us. So much for just a regular outing for dad and the boys! We quickly left the Chevrolet section in hopes that they didn’t hear the commotion at the Toyota stand. After an hour of boys going in and out (and in and out and in and out) of at least 75 cars and trucks, we picked the “best car” award. That’s the award for the car the boys claim as their own. This year, the boys picked the same car I would pick (like father, like sons?), a bright yellow SAAB convertible. Totally impractical for our family needs but a whole lot of horsepower. The boys liked it because the color was the same as the paint they had spread all over the basement carpet. Dad liked it because it was totally impractical for our family needs and he’s pushing 40. Anyway, the SAAB model stopped and asked if they were triplets. I give her credit for not asking if they were twins. If I had known how models were attracted to triplets, I would have rented some in college. After 2 hours, we “hit the wall” and headed for home. Three (make that four) tired boys and another year of memories at the auto show.


First Day of School

There's something about the first day of school that marks the time - especially with triplets. Mom and dad will never forget the first time our triplets boys left for school. After five years of mayhem, the house was completely silent. We sat at the kitchen table and just looked at each other. I came home from work to be part of this milestone. I must admit I cried on the drive back to work. Silence can be deafening. Seven years later, the boys still ride the bus to school. They still wait outside in the driveway and that old bus still squeaks to a stop in the same spot. The only thing that's changed is that dad now sits inside and watches out the window until they get on. They don't want us outside for fear that their friends will see us.

Lean on Me

{Father's Corner article originally written in 1998 when our boys were four}

Raising triplets can put a tremendous strain on family finances. We all know that. With this strain comes added pressure to succeed in your job, business and career; knowing that in not that many years, you’re looking at around $100,000 a year to send them to college. And invariably over a career there will be times when things don’t go your way. When that happens you may find, like me, that these three additions to your family who arrived as a surprise, demanding every bit of time and energy during their early years can begin to play a different role in your life.

For four years, our boys have depended on us for everything - food, clothing, diapers, feeding, love and support. As parents, we worked harder than we could ever have imagined, on not enough sleep, in a world that is turned upside down. Most people go home to relax. With triplets, you go to work to relax. And when work gets to be stressful, life gets tough. At this point something wonderful can happen. You find yourself spending time with your children, not because they need it, but because you need it. You need to feel their affection, their love. They could care less what your boss said to you or how your career is progressing. They are genuinely excited to see you, to be with you. Your own built-in cheerleading squad! To them, you’re Daddy. It’s that simple - nothing complicated about it, no strings attached. Just pure love times three. It’s truly amazing that three children who came into this world so fragile can grow, in four short years, to become an incredible source of strength --- strong enough for daddy to lean on.

The boys

These are my boys (taken a few years ago). They are fraternal triplets but Json and Ason look a lot a like. For awhile, I had to look twice to see who I was talking to. The boys are use to being called by the wrong name. Mom and I use to know who was coming down the hall at 2 in the morning just by the way they walked and the way their diapers rubbed together. Almost every night we would wake up with a pair of two-year-old eyes staring into our face.... with hair standing straight up and a binky securly in their mouth. Now, we pull them out of bed. Posted by Hello