Tech Support With Triplets

// March 22nd, 2005 // archive

My sister has 3 triplets a year old and a 2 year old. Recently, while my brother-in-law was out of town, they stayed at my parent’s house. My parents’ house is transformed. In essence, the ones who haven’t yet become grandparents have become surrogate or additional grandparents. My aunts have additional carseats in their cars because of their own grandchildren or ones on the way. There’s one adult warming up the minivan and an adult carrying each baby from the house to the car. Other adults open and close doors to keep in the warmth. I wonder if getting astronauts to and from a spacewalk would be less chaotic.

Inside, there are three or more of everything, as well. Three high chairs, three rolling walkers and three huge containers of baby wipes. I swear my mother and I led a three minute search for an open baby wipe container based on the location of the unopened one on the table. “You don’t see a container of baby wipes there? Look on the counter. No, look where I’m pointing.” Neither of us thought to open the one in front of us. I finally grabbed a bin of “Wagon Wheels”, handed one to each baby, and opened the wipes on the table. The only real way to cope is to amuse the baby you’re holding with how amusing the antics are. “It’s not there, is it? No no no! Silly Uncle Dan looking for it there.” It doesn’t pay to cry. If one cries, they all cry and you’re included!

Each and every thing is at full volume. It’s not only that some of us are hard of hearing (myself included), but also that there are so many noises competing for everyone’s attention. Baby Einstein plays on what used to display my father’s favorite sports games. The TV is as loud as it can go and my father has an array of buttons a select few can operate. The phone and doorbell are set for maximum volume to compensate. Plus every time one goes off or a show plays a sound like it, one of the dogs barks. Sometimes this makes a baby cry.

Though my parents have a nice redesigned family room with a spacious couch, the best seating is now in a high chair or a rolling walker. The couches make great areas to change a baby, too or for an adult to sit and hold a baby while they feed.

Into this mix, I have been commanded to install my father’s new wireless network. He does work for a company that could (and has) sent people over to fix things. Items that they have configured and purchased. But they don’t have the time to come over and fix it. But I do and as a bonus, I’m freelancing at the moment. So I go over to fix things.

I do need to call tech support when I can finally get to the phone. I grab at least three other phones in the process, One is a toy phone. One is a cordless phone which is either out of power, not hooked up or has been broken by a child or a dog.

Now in the midst of Baby Einstein or Barney, I have tech support, a patient man named David, on the line. I have to explain to him the previous two attempts to call, my reasons for calling, the fact that I don’t live in this house. But that’s OK, because I’m freelancing and job hunting. I’ve got the time. In about two minutes, I’ve explained just about everything to the support person and we are well on our way to tackling the problem.

The doorbell rings. A few dogs bark. A baby cries. I have David on the line asking me if I’m still there. I’m laughing about it because it couldn’t get much funnier or more unlike the corporate world I’ve left. Babies sleep more at a time than executives do. As Barney starts singing about Following the Leader, I tell David the tech support person that I’m still here.

My sister is playing with Joseph, who is 2. She’s making train noises holding Thomas the Tank engine. This makes one of the dogs start to howl. It’s a yippy, funny howl and some of the babies start laughing at it. As long as no one is crying, we’re happy, so I try to go back to my call.

Several minutes later, Joseph is amusing himself by running around the living room wearing a paper shopping bag. I can hear him giggling over the crinkling of the bag. David and I have just about figured out the problem when Joseph runs into me with the bag over his head. The noise must have sounded to David as if we’d lost the connection, because he starts asking again if I’m still there. This is a common question by David and other tech support people. They ask it after putting me on hold with bad music. So I’ve got Barry Manilow in one ear playing “Look’s Like We Made It!” and Barney in the other. I’m asked “Sir are you still there?” by tech support people so often that my total inner clarity must equal the Dalai Lama’s. It becomes like an inner mantra, like “Yes, I’m still here. I’m always here.” It’s actually pretty grounding.

It’s at this point that I get the problem fixed and the babies and toddlers are finally down for their nap. The TV gets turned off and there’s something magical in the house. It’s quiet, simple quiet, broken only by the sound of a doorbell or a dog or maybe the unwinding spring of a musical baby toy going to sleep. It makes me want to sit down and take a breather. But instead, I decided to pick up and put away a few baby toys. Quietly. Very quietly.

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