I think I'm going to punish our oldest child indefinitely

"Remember when we were all 'oh, we're so in love, let's have some babies'?" I said to my husband tonight. "That was a big mistake, wasn't it?" "Oh, yeah."

At dinner tonight, two of our children were on verbal lockdown (no speaking for 30 minutes). All afternoon it's been instigate, tattle, instigate, tattle. It's exhausting. Obviously the youngest enjoys telling on people, but it's really the middle one driving this engine, mostly because he's just bad. If you don't believe me, it's because you've never met him. He has a black heart, that one (which I frankly admire).

About the eldest, we have no complaints. He has always been a delightful and loving child, contemplative, careful, full of empathy. His contribution tonight was to ask if it would be okay if he could just tell his brothers a few jokes. "They're still allowed to laugh, right?"

Honestly, this whole mess is his fault. If he'd just been a little more difficult, we might have stopped at one. But no, he looked like a Kewpie doll and he was just about as easy. "We are amazing at this," I remember telling David. "We are the best parents. We should have more."

That went well.