I Sleep at Red Lights: A True Story of Life After Triplets

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Overview

Bruce Stockler captures the chaos, joy and challenges of becoming the father of triplets in this hilarious, fast-paced, and refreshingly honest memoir.

From the moment Stockler and his wife ,Roni, learn they have hit the fertility jackpot, their lives are turned upside down. The day the babies are born—in an operating room bustling with 30 doctors, nurses and technicians—is the first jolt in a physical and emotional roller-coaster ride. And every day following continues to ...

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I Sleep at Red Lights: A True Story of Life After Triplets

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Overview

Bruce Stockler captures the chaos, joy and challenges of becoming the father of triplets in this hilarious, fast-paced, and refreshingly honest memoir.

From the moment Stockler and his wife ,Roni, learn they have hit the fertility jackpot, their lives are turned upside down. The day the babies are born—in an operating room bustling with 30 doctors, nurses and technicians—is the first jolt in a physical and emotional roller-coaster ride. And every day following continues to reveal one unpredictable twist after another. Just going to the supermarket and keeping the kids—and the store—safe from disaster is like an episode from an adventure story. When the triplets start to walk, and explode in three directions at once, they quickly learn to exploit their newfound freedom at every possible turn.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Bruce Stockler is a very funny guy. He's our Mr. Mom for the new millennium."

- Jay Leno

“Bruce Stockler may not have time to sleep, but he did have time to write a hilarious, smart and touching book. I hope his wife gives birth to quadruplets so there will be a sequel soon.”

- A.J. Jacobs, Esquire magazine

Publishers Weekly
The stay-at-home dad isn't such an anomaly these days-newspapers run popular-trend features about him, and he himself might write a book about the job (e.g. David Eddie's Housebroken) but the world may have never encountered such a superfather as Stockler seems to be in this parenting memoir. Already an experienced dad-though not an official stay-at-homer, he's the primary caretaker of his two-year-old son Asher (his wife, Roni, is a high-powered New York lawyer)-Stockler nevertheless faces a new and daunting level of responsibility when Roni becomes pregnant with triplets. With keen wit (Stockler has worked as a jokewriter for Jay Leno and writes a humor column for Esquire), he chronicles the difficult pregnancy, offers a dramatic and moving description of the babies' birth, and describes escapade after sleepless escapade with three growing newborns and a toddler. Parents will laugh out loud during the "Lost in the Supermarket" chapter, in which Stockler must strategically position his wagonful of children so that it's far from the bagel display without being close to the muffins-"I made that mistake once and muffins flew through the air like antiaircraft fire"-as well as try to keep one triplet from licking raw chicken juice, another from launching herself from the wagon, and another from freaking out over breakfast cereal. (Asher, four by this time, charms throughout.) They will also appreciate the sometimes startling honesty with which he describes family relationships and the challenges of parenting. Nevertheless, some will wish the book had a wider scope-it gains depth when it considers larger contexts, like the prejudice Roni faces as a working mother when the family moves to the suburbs, but it does this only rarely and briefly. Also, it suffers from some poor editing-the structure is somewhat loose and repetitions abound. But these flaws ultimately don't detract from this book's overall appeal, which should extend even to those fathers who have just one newborn to contend with. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Stockler, a columnist for Esquire, offers frank and funny scenes from his life with triplets from before birth to around age four. Compounding the insanity is a two-year-old son and a wife who works more than 80 hours a week. After losing his job, he becomes a stay-at-home dad and describes life with his kids as "a miniature Cirque du Soleil" and "a breakaway republic." The story's sole wistful aspect comes when Stockler's beloved mother dies. Engaging and observant, this will charm readers, though the author's main revelation-that he is madly in love with his family ("I hope they look back and remember all the fun")-is perhaps too often lost in the laughs. Still, this is a pleasure to read and offers a real-life perspective to instructional material like Elizabeth M. Bryan's Twins, Triplets, and More. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The joys and horrors of staying home to raise triplets and their older sibling. Like a veteran war correspondent, Esquire columnist Stockler takes pride in the sheer fact of still being alive. And while raising children, even triplets, should not be comparable to waging war, the times conspire to make the enterprise as demanding as any military incursion. Stockler begins with wife Roni’s conception via in-vitro fertilization. The couple live in a small New York apartment and already have one son, two-year-old Asher. When they learn that Roni is carrying triplets, Stockler, editor of a film trade magazine, alternately exults and worries about money, accommodations, and spending time with Asher. Roni spends the last weeks of her pregnancy in bed, but is back at work three weeks after she delivers Jared, Barak, and Hannah. (She is the major earner and has just made partner at her law firm.) The family moves to a house in the suburbs, and the exhausted Stockler commutes into the city each day, snatching moments of sleep on the train and at work. They have some help, but as Roni works longer hours, getting home well after 10 p.m. most nights, he feeds, diapers, and comforts the triplets through the night. He becomes a local fixture, running errands while pushing a three-seat stroller, and recipient of many friendly greetings. When Roni talks wistfully of changing her job and moving to a small town, Stockler is conscious of the sacrifices she is making, especially when he loses his job and does not find another. But despite the worries and the physical and financial cost, he feels privileged to have been so present in his children’s lives. Funny—but undercurrents of angst make this a vividstatus report on modern parenting.
Jay Leno

"Bruce Stockler is a very funny guy. He's our Mr. Mom for the new millennium."
Esquire magazine - A.J. Jacobs

"Bruce Stockler may not have time to sleep, but he did have time to write a hilarious, smart and touching book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312315290
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/2/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 984,960
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Stockler's humor pieces have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Christian Science Monitor. A regular contributor to Esquire, he has also been a joke writer for Jay Leno. He and his family live in the suburbs of New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

From I Sleep at Red Lights:

It is past 10 p.m. now and they show no sign of exhaustion, maniacally trampolining from bed to floor to furniture. I took chemistry in high school and cannot comprehend how their intake of calories supports 12 straight hours of mayhem. Is anyone at the oil companies studying children? The acrobatics are interrupted when Jared notices Hannah using one of his blankets as a parachute. A nasty, screaming, scratching fight breaks out. Each bed has a unique combination of linens. If any blanket or sheet or pillow is mixed up, bedlam ensues. The First Rule of Triplets: Everything must be different. While invisible to the casual observer, to three competitive toddlers such minute differences are crucial.

I calm them all down and Barak begs for water. More screaming and wailing erupt as Hannah demands her share. "It's just water!" I say. "Don't fight over water!"

Of course they fight over water. They are 3-1/2 years old. They fight over Styrofoam packing peanuts. Jared asks for seltzer, which sets off another series of frantic negotiations. Volumes of water and seltzer must be analyzed and adjusted. They attack my competence to perform measurements and criticize my methodologies. The Second Rule of Triplets: Everything must be equal. These two directives must balance seamlessly, without canceling one another out.

Copyright 2003 by Bruce Stockler

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Table of Contents

1. Seven Weeks 1
2. The Big Family 13
3. Bribing the Gynecologist 30
4. A, B, and C 47
5. The Wife We Never Had 71
6. I Sleep at Red Lights 89
7. The Worry-Go-Round 110
8. My Fifteen Minutes 121
9. Nature vs. Ferber 138
10. The Movable House, the Lemon Cookies, and Being Crushed: My Wife 152
11. Chaos Theory 168
12. The Special Box 187
13. Lost in the Supermarket 204
14. Something in the System 221
15. No Means No (and Other Lies) 234
16. In the Ladies' Room 251
17. Transition Time 265
18. The Value of Baseball Cards 277
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    Amuzing

    I came across this book by accident & am glad I did. Bruce's stories about raising triplet's as well as an.older son were not only funny but heartwarming. I am oldest & only girl. My brothers followed behind me by 6yrs & 13yrs. We weren't close in age but I reconised each of our personalities. Each of us.could have been one of.the triplets. My dad told me once that he &mom had raised us each differently. Learning what did & didn't work as they went along. Sad to say both of my parents are gone now. My dad's told us all constently before he passed to please be there for each other. We were all we had. Sadly after almost yrs his wish has not come to.pass. I believe Bruce & Roni have no worries in that department. All four of.their children will always close.ranks together. Just as they did.to torment "lovingly" their dad Great job dad! For the book & for nurturing each child as an indevidule.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2004

    Amazing Journey

    A girlfriend gave me this book for my birthday, and I read it in one night in big, giant gulps. I don't normally read parenting memoirs, but I was really thrilled by the brutal and hilarious honesty which the author uses to describe his wife, his life and the challenges they faced in adjusting to triplets. Arguing over who is more tired, dealing with an angry boss, trying to make ends meet, trying to survive on an hour of sleep--nothing earth-shattering, but written with such wit, heart and insight that the final pages really pack a wallop. I'd love to see the TV movie and find out what happens next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2004

    Fun, quick read

    I thought this was a book about parenting, but it really deals with a lot of issues in a humorous way - kids, marriage, living in affluent suburbs, stay-at-home dads... It's an honest look at a lot of some of the amusing, and some of the not so very attractive, issues couples deal with every day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2003

    Top of My Christmas List 2003!

    I love this book! It's the most unusual, honest, funny, refreshing and well-written look at marriage, kids, career and balancing your life I've read in years. I'm giving it to all my girlfriends and many of the guys I work with--they'll love it too, unless they're complete lunkheads. It's a perfect Xmas gift for anyone with a family, and it has a happy ending to boot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2003

    Christmas List 2003

    I am giving this book to my husband, his brother several of my girlfriends and my mother. It's one of the funniest, most honest, warmest and insightful memoirs I've read. The author looks at his whole life, from the smallest, mundane events, such as changing diapers, to issues of life and death with incredible precision and passion. A unique, one-of-a-kind book that's impossible to pigeonhole. Also on my list: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; The Namesake: A Novel; A Short History of Nearly Everything.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2003

    From a Stay-at-Home-Dad

    This book, while funny at times, is a true story of what it's like to be a stay-at-home Dad. I have lived MANY of the incidents that Mr. Stockler relays in his book...especially the catty Moms who give us Stay-at-Home Dads grief. One point I'd like to make is that Mr. Stockler DID have help with the kids (i.e. sitters/nannies), a luxury that most Dads don't have, and he DID have a full-time job while taking care of the kids. So, while he is a stay-at-home Dad, and he does have triplets plus 1, he doesn't REALLY know what it's like (or doesn't reveal it in the book)to be at home for hours on end (and sometimes days while my wife travels on business)with maniacal children. Calgon take me away! Buy this book. It's good reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2003

    what a delightful fun book for any parent!

    Any parent - mom or dad - no matter how many kids you have - separately - or all at once - can enjoy this insightful, wise trip through early parenthood. I saw myself in some of the author's shoes. I envied him sometimes, I shuddered with him sometimes, I laughed or smiled with him most of the time. The trips+1 are lucky to have these parents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2003

    Surprising, New Kind of Memoir

    Esquire magazine recommended this book, so I bought a copy, even though I don't have kids--very happily single, thank you--and I thought it was a great adventure story. There's crazy babysitters and wacky neighbors and the author loses his job and fights with his wife over who's more tired--it's funny and a kind of domestic roller-coaster ride. Despite the cover, which makes it look like a baby book, it's a very adult story about how you get swept away by the changes life throws at you, and if you ride the wave you land in a better place. The kids are all interesting and complicated characters, too--that was probably the most surprising and enjoyable thing, since all the kids I know seem to be whiny and spoiled.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2003

    Funniest book of the year!

    My wife read this book and gave it to me. I don't read parenting or kids books, but I gave it a try. I laughed out loud! This is a guy's book--although my wife was laughing out loud too. It's not just the funny lines and astute observations, it's the way the author captures the life of his family, his kids, work--his whole life. In one segment, his kids are misbehaving, and he puts them in time out, and they get in more trouble. He writes that he can't put them in time out inside time out because that would 'violate the time-space continuum.' Really sharp writing and thinking. It's also a great adventure story. In one chapter, IN THE LADIES ROOM, he takes over a Ladies' room because the mens' room is so filthy. The way the scene unfolds is like a movie--it gets funnier and more complicated as it goes. This is one of the only books my wife and I ever agreed was well-written and funny. You can buy one for yourself and give one to your wife--she'll appreciate the man's point of view on raising kids. Very funny guy. Hope he writes a book about marriage or working. There just aren't many books out there that are relevant to real life--the life of people who get up and go to work. This is a rare treat.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2003

    Beautifully-Written Memoir for Adults

    They say don't judge a book by its cover. The cover for this book makes it look like a funny baby book--my sister gave it to me, and she usually has bad taste in books--but I was amazed to read one of the most beautifully written memoirs I've read in years, maybe since Angela's Ashes. Stockler writes passionately about his life, his marriage, and especially his chilren, but he uses humor to put his life in a larger context, so a trip to the ladies room with four kids becomes a meditation on gender, patience, competition between kids and even how the holidays make you sad for those in your life who have been lost. I'm so SICK of all those memoirs about drug addicts and incest and depression--they're all self-involved books about people I don't care about. This book is about real people living in the real world that I live in, and that, to me, is an accomplishment, because the humor and drama comes from someplace that is real, and it is just as exciting as the made-up drama in most other books. Put this on your shelf in between Bill Cosby and Dave Eggers--it's more literary than Cosby and funnier than Eggers, and more real than both.

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