Off the Record

They say the scariest thing about having a third child is the parents are now outnumbered.

That’s really all I can think about after my third child, Grace, arrived on St. Patrick’s Day.

I thought I had enjoyed a pretty fulfilling day at the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade, taking photos and saying hello to friends and family, and then my wife, Brigitte, went into labor.

Grace arrived at 10:45 p.m.—about five hours after a neighbor asked me if there were a baby yet as I left my parents’ house in Beverly and headed home.

Grace arrived 10 days early but is doing well. Her parents’ status is still up in the air as they also tend to Mary, 3, and Will, 1.

In any case, let’s not talk about the scary parts. Three kids are fun—loud, smelly and nerve-wracking, but fun, too. Let’s talk about all the fun things I’d like to see happen in the next few weeks or years to accommodate my three children—and maybe their father, too.

1. Re-ignition of Mike Hogan’s 3-on-3 driveway basketball league.

I always wanted to play in that as a kid, and then the league dissipated about a decade ago. Let’s bring it back as a co-ed siblings/cousins league.

Grace is the fourth of five Garmes cousins born, or set to be born, between January 2018 and this May, so we can make two teams if need be. I’ll watch from a nearby deck and, in my South Side dad voice, say how we need more programs like this that get kids off their damn iPhones—when really, I’m just happy it allows me to get out of the house and enjoy some cocktails with other parents.

2. More minivans.

Two sisters already have one—and we’re next. And that’s OK!

It’s all about practicality at this point. At least minivans look cooler than they did 20 years ago. All I hope is they still have those luxurious console-like pockets on the sides of the seats in the way, way back, so we can let candy fester in there for years at a time like we did in the ’90s. How much Windex did you need to get that Jolly Rancher out?

3. More Queen of Hearts contests.

With more cards offering tuition breaks. If I’m going to spend half an hour asking people what numbers they want, then going to the bar and filling out their tickets, I want real hope that I can win something.

A few of these bars have nice pots building up. If my ticket is drawn, and it doesn’t reveal the Queen of Hearts, at least give me a semester’s worth of tuition. That’ll make my night of filling out tickets more than just another excuse to get out of the house and enjoy some cocktails with other parents.

4. More books and newspapers.

I’m not necessarily trying to raise super well-read kids—it’s just that books and newspapers take up less room than toys.

We don’t need any more toys in our comfortable but seemingly shrinking condo. Toys make weird sounds at night. Books are good. And you can recycle newspapers and get them out of the house. No more movies. “Moana” defined my 2017, and “Beauty and the Beast” and “Frozen” dominated 2018. With all my sports teams but the Bears unwatchable, I might just throw out my TV.

During one episode of “Seinfeld,” as he enjoyed a flight in first class, Jerry Seinfeld belted out, “More everything!”—a line used often by the Garmes Family. But, I have to stop at toys.

I suppose I can make a few more requests—like a little more sleep, a little more money, a little more room—but I’ll spare you all one thing.

I won’t make any more cocktail jokes.