"Aw, hell," I said and excused myself to the kitchen to make a bowl of olives and a couple of martinis to go with them. This one was going to be ugly.
It was Thursday afternoon and Thursday afternoons mean two things in the Looky, Daddy! household: babies and martinis. It all started just under a year ago when I attended a night out for moms of multiples. It was me and about 15 moms of twins or triplets, drinking and eating, sharing stories to make blood run cold, and cursing our spouses. Each of the four types of moms was in attendance: Power moms, Working moms, Yoga moms, and Mom moms. And me, of course, The Dad.
One of the Yoga moms, whom we will call Jennifer because that's her name, was in awe of me. Absolute awe. She was sitting there, right next to me, and these big 'ol waves of awe were radiating out from her and toward me. Frankly, I wasn't surprised--I am, after all, The Dad. Okay, so it wasn't me per se that she was aweing over, it was my ability to get out of the house, twice a day, on time, in the dead of winter, with a 5-year-old and not-yet-one twins. She confessed that she and her 5-month-old twins never left the house, and on the few times she had tried, it had taken her hours to get everything together and each time she had eventually just given up, turned on Teletubbies, and wept bitter tears as she brewed herself a new pot of coffee, her third or fourth of the day.
An intervention was clearly required.
The problem, I told her, was not that she couldn't get out of the house, it was that she didn't have enough of an incentive to get out of the house. The only reason I had my crew out the door and into the car by 7:45 AM, I explained, was that doing so meant I earned myself one less child for the next 7 hours. So even if I had to drive to school in my flannel pajamas and houseshoes (which I did on countless occasions), I was getting out that door.
"What you need, Jennifer," I summed up, "is the right incentive to leave the house."
Thus the 3-Martini Playdate was founded. It has been going strong ever since.
I returned to the table with the bowl of olives and the fresh martinis. "Oprah? You TiVoed Oprah?"
Jennifer looked sheepish. "She had Julia Roberts on."
I gasped audibly. Julia Roberts was a name that hadn't been mentioned in my house since the twins were born. Hearing it then, even when The Mom was safely far away in her office on Madison Avenue, sounded wrong, like a betrayal. For those of you who do not know, Julia Roberts has twins. In fact, she had twins at just about the same time that my wife, The Mom, had twins. And this is why her name is not mentioned in our house:
Julia Roberts is a living, breathing assault to the self-esteem of twin-moms everywhere. The Mom mutters a curse and spits on the ground whenever she passes a photo of this hell-woman.
"Oh, that is so not good."
Jennifer begins the litany. "Did you know that six weeks after having her twins, Julia was already starting a new film?"
Six weeks after my twins were born, my wife still hadn't seen daylight. I remember one time when, in between the round-the-clock nursings, I opened the curtains of our bedroom only to have her bleat at me like a startled and blind veal-calf. I shut the curtains quickly. It was scary.
Those were dark, dark days.
"Please don't compare yourself to Julia Roberts. She's got nannies, housekeepers, handlers, personal trainers, and loads and loads of money," I pleaded.
"She claims her twins love each other," she countered.
We both stopped and look at our two sets of twins. Jennifer's were fighting over one of two identical toys. Mine were pulling each other's hair.
"She's probably not around them long enough to see this kind of stuff," I hypothesized. "Plus, her nannies probably keep each one in a separate wing of the house. Those kids probably don't even know they are twins."
"She said she likes her kids as much as she likes her friends," Jennifer continued.
"Sucky friends," I countered and raised my martini glass.
"She claims having twins has made her marriage stronger."
"This from a woman who married Lyle Lovett?"
"She even said the B word."
I cringe again. "Blessed?"
"Then she's dead to us. And to your TiVo."
"You're right. She's dead to us."
And we muttered a curse, spit on the floor, and clinked our martini glasses together.
Then, while Jennifer got up to rescue one child who was being sat upon by the other three, I got up to make another bowl of olives. And two more martinis to go with them.