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Waffles are Enough

They’re old enough, right? I mean, they can ask me for things on a regular basis, let me know when they’re pissed or need help, and even give me hugs or hold my hand. If they can do that with me, why can’t they do the same with God? We think at least a couple of the kids are old enough to start praying.

We started slow, by praying with them at bed time, letting them hear us, first. After a few nights, it was their turn. I started, like before, then I asked them to do it. I walked them through the process, explaining that you’re just talking to God, and He just wants to hear what’s on your mind. Maybe thank him for something, ask for something for someone you love, and then tell him bye. Just like calling Mamoo, only you don’t have to repeat yourself 5 times because she gets distracted. He’ll catch it on the first try.

Marley went first, but I have no idea what they talked about. It might have been an awesome prayer, interceding for the lost, the hurting, and everyone she knew. Most likely it was about penguins, Reese Cups, and cute shirts for school. Unless some future prophet pens the Epistle of Marley, the world will never know the content of that prayer because it was muttered so fast, it sounded like one humongous word. I’m pretty sure I heard “Amen”, so at least she didn’t just hang up on God.

Everyone was quiet for a second or two since she just prayed like the Micro Machines guy. I’m trying to be all quiet and respectful for her time with God, when a tiny, bony little fingers slides between a couple of ribs. I’m fairly certain she hit something important in there. I look up, and a blonde version of that little girl from “The Ring” is staring at me. Through clenched teeth she tells me “I’m done. Bubby’s turn.”

Ok, Gav-o, you’re up. Between you, me, and the fence post, I was really, really nervous about what he was going to say. After all, this is the kid that can’t go a day without using the words toilet, butt trumpet, and giant floating baby head.

“Dear Lord, thanks for waffles. They’re awesome. Amen.”

You know how when you think you hear someone say something either really wrong or really weird, you kind of cock your head to the side a little and concentrate really hard in case they say it again? I didn’t do that. I knew exactly what he said. No messing that up.

Do I say something? Do I explain why you don’t pray for breakfast pastries? Yeah, I probably need to address this so that next time he doesn’t go further and thank God for allowing him to get rid of that “back door goblin” that he just flushed a few minutes ago.

“Hey bud, that was great. You know how you thanked God for waffles?”

Blank stare. Blink. Blink. Wrinkle nose a bit. Blink. “Yeah. Of course I know. I said it. Waffles are awesome. ” Blink. Blank stare.

If this was the set of “Step Up” or “Bring it on”, there would be 5 other guys standing behind him, all dressed in urban swag that I just don’t understand. Their arms would all be crossed threateningly their chest, but in slightly different ways. Just staring at me, daring me to bring it.

I’ve been stared down by a few 8 year-olds in my day, but never over a prayer. Changes things a bit.

This is where I straighten him out, where I explain what is acceptable and what isn’t. Waffles, little boy, are……..

He’s still staring. And blinking.

……Perfectly acceptable. He may have trouble telling me what he likes, what he enjoys, and what he is thankful for, but that wasn’t him talking to me. He would never, ever, no matter what, be able to thank me for anything.

He loves waffles. Deeply. He eats them every morning, without fail. So when I told him to be honest and just talk to God, he did just that. He thanked God for something that is near and dear to him, for what he felt was important. And tasty.

As weird and unconventional as that was, I’d say we can put that one in the “W” column. Thanks, buddy, for being honest and sincere. You always remind us how much we can learn from you.


We talked about it. We plotted, planned, researched, and asked around. Adding one more surely won’t change things that much. I mean, Gav can basically take care of himself, as long as he doesn’t have any shoe laces to tie, and as long as there are Reese’s Cups and an episode of Gravity Falls or Jessie, Marley is content. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the kid that inspires Stephen King’s latest thriller, and 10 being what I imagine toddler Jesus mixed with Taylor Swift acted like, then our kids are a solid 8.5. They don’t have secret cough syrup addictions, they don’t steal from our friends, and they rarely dial 900 numbers late at night. All in all, I’d say they’re ok. We can handle another.

I’m not saying that people lied to us. Nobody ever made it out to be a field of roses or a trip to American Pie for ice cream, but they didn’t exactly let me know that what I was picturing was so ridiculously wrong. I pictured the 5 of us outside, the boys in our brightly striped polos, khaki shorts, and deck shoes, the girls in their sun dresses and flowers in their hair. We’re all sipping Arnold Palmers, croquet mallets in hand, smiling and loving and laughing and just basically looking exactly like we stepped out of a Lacoste or Sperry’s ad. There may even be horses.

I’ve felt this way now for around a week or two, but never really said anything to Hope. I wasn’t going to let anyone know how betrayed I felt until she spoke up, first. Just out of the blue, she starts a sentence. “Do you ever feel like people…..” She could have been saying anything, like “shouldn’t smoke” or “are genuinely awesome” or “smell like Sweet Tarts.” Really, she could have been taking that anywhere, but I jumped on it with the quickness with “straight lied to our faces about how easy 3 kids would be.” As soon as it came out my mouth, I knew then that the conversation was going to go one of two ways. It was either going to be a hilariously awesome list of everything that is wrong, or one of those really difficult and awkward conversations where I try to explain away something that I never should have said in the first place. Luckily, we made a list. Whew. I was sweating there for a second. Remember back in school, when you had a crush on that one really pretty girl who always smelled like strawberries? Remember when you practiced asking her out a million times? Then remember when you finally got the nerve up to ask her out? That feeling as soon as you finished asking her and you were waiting for her to answer? Yeah, I felt a little like that.

A little over 4 weeks ago we welcomed J into the world. He was such a tiny baby, and is absolutely adorable. Gav and Marley adore him, and up until just a week or so ago, was a really good baby. He only cried when he was hungry, slept for 5 or 6 hours straight every night, and has yet to pee on me. All pluses in my book. So, we thought it was going to be easy, just like everyone said.

Then the new wore off, or something like that. Reality has set in, and I feel like everyone needs to know what it’s really like now.

1. We now live on a steady diet of pizza, chicken fingers, orange soda, Red Bull, and either Hello Kitty or Marvel Superhero gummy snacks. We used to cook great dinners nearly every night. Sometimes we even planned it out ahead of time! I’m sorry, but macaroni and cheese takes two arms to make, and all I can spare is one right now. Cheese puffs are basically the same thing.

2. Meals are eaten when you can, where you can. Once upon a time, we ate our meals at roughly the same time every day, on a special piece of furniture made just for this sort of thing, in a special room built just for this sort of thing. Now, the table is where we keep our mail and the dining room is just extra storage space for the stroller.

3. Shaving is a luxury sport, much like Bocci Ball or golf. It isn’t required to feed the kids, take them to or pick them up from school, or to do the laundry, so it goes on the back burner. Oh that’s just for my face, by the way. I can’t speak for Hope’s legs. She did say something the other day about needing to buy a lot more pants, though, so I’m guessing she feels the same way.

4. Bathing is only slightly higher on the list than shaving.

5. Diapers, diapers, diapers, diapers, diapers. I found one in the entertainment center the other day.

6. The bed is for changing diapers, the couch is for sleeping. It permanently smells like a turd in our bedroom, anyway.

7. That nursery that we worked so hard on is the cleanest room in the house, because no one ever goes in there. I’ve changed his diaper in there a few times, just for principle.

8. The kids have turned into awesome scavengers. If the Apocalypse happens tomorrow, and we have to adopt a new way of life that doesn’t involve refrigeration or microwaves or packaged foods, my family is going to be just fine. I don’t want to know what Marley has eaten from under the couch cushions over the past few weeks. It’s good for their immune systems.

9. Feeding J involves holding the bottle with my mouth to free up one hand to find an episode of Spongebob, open a yogurt cup, and pour a juice cup.

10. That ‘sweet little baby smell’ that I remember from years ago now just resembles stale sweat, clabbered formula, spit up, and what I think is green beans.

11. Ever had a baby watch you use the bathroom? Nature doesn’t stop calling just because you’re home alone with him. He doesn’t like it any more than I do.

12. Putting clean laundry up is the hardest thing to do in the world, and now requires two people. Washing and drying ain’t nothin, but folding and hanging is just going to have to wait until someone is here to help me.

Some friends of ours came in the restaurant tonight and asked how we were adjusting to 3 kids. They have 3, as well. After I ranted for a minute, they let me in on a little secret. It involved some sugar packets as visual aids, but basically came down to this: when there are more kids than adults in the house, you just do what you can. You plan zone defense. You’re never going to be able to go back to man on man, and you’re never going to shut the whole team down. Basically, you just want to contain them as much as possible. At the end of the day, if everyone is alive, fed, mostly clean, and has all of the hair, fingers, and toes that they started the day with, you put that one in the “W” column.

I love my family, and am very fortunate and blessed. I thank God for them daily, and look forward to all of the craziness that two more feet will bring to our lives. But, man, let me tell you, it’s nothing like what they told you!