One of the daily battles in our house is finding a way for our two other rambunctious boys to coexist with their baby brother who naps several times a day. This is not an easy task. When they wake up, they yell to each other. They run down the hall and knock against the walls. They slide and bounce down the stairs. They bound over to the couch and shake the entire house like they were an entire football team sometimes. All of which is normal and fun and good for boys their age to do, but it complicates life with a baby.

For the past nine months, despite our constant reminders to be quiet, the boys still run through the halls and scream outside the nursery door. A lot. All of which can be quite maddening, particularly to Mommy who’s tasked with the unenviable job of keeping watch over them each day. It’s been pointed out lately by someone who will go unnamed here (OK, it was Mommy), that when temporarily handed the reins to be responsible for the children, Daddy often gets just as agitated by the noise as Mommy does. I vigorously protested this suggestion in an attempt to maintain our ongoing foolish struggle to passively prove that each of our daily duties are harder than the others. But I’ll admit that she may have a point. (Just don’t tell her I said that.)

I’ve definitely found that when you’re the one who worked hard to get the baby fed, changed, into his crib and asleep, it is much more infuriating to have that accomplishment upturned than when you’re just a casual observer. If I knew anything about math (which I don’t), I’d argue that one’s annoyance factor is directly multiplied by the number of hours that you’ve had to watch the children by yourself plus the number of times you had to get up with them in the middle of the night.

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My wife snuck out to the store this afternoon while I was upstairs working in my office. The baby was napping, Matthew was at kindergarten and Josh was happily playing down in the basement.

“Stay down here and DO NOT bother Daddy,” I instructed Josh. “I’m working and will be on the phone. Only if you have an emergency and are bleeding can you come up here.”

“OOORRRR,” he announced in the exaggerated way that he’s begun to emphatically start out his sentences, “I-FFFF my finger is like all the way off, then I’ll tell you too.”

“Yes, that will be fine too.” Seriously sometimes it is hard to keep a stern tone with them. Sometimes.

Of course, as fate often has it, not moments after the door closed behind Mommy and her car pulled out of the driveway, I hear the baby start fussing from his room next to my office. I nearly banged my head into my laptop keyboard. But then the phone rang, and when I hung up, everything was quiet. Sometimes even Daddy gets lucky.

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