Chicago dad: Why raising three boys is like living in a sorority

If there was one bit of random knowledge that got permanently lodged in my craw during college, it was this: When a number of women live together, after a while, they end up on the same menstrual cycle. I don’t know why I still remember it, years later. Maybe because at the time, women were a complete and utter mystery to me. This theory didn’t decode their mystery. It just added to it. One more thing for me to not understand.

Turns out, the theory is called the McClintock Effect, named after the woman who discovered it. It’s fallen a bit out of favor, according to the three minutes of research I did on menstrual synchrony. Why, you might logically ask, is a father of three young boys doing any research for any number of minutes about menstrual synchrony?

Because I have, through field studies, uncovered the MacMurray Effect. Named after Fred MacMurray, venerable, pipe-smoking sitcom father of three sons, the effect is this: If three or more boys live in one place together for an extended period of time their moods and tantrums will inevitably synchronize.

The MacMurray Effect is the only rational explanation I have for this March. Like I said, I have three boys. The oldest just turned 5. I call it living in the eye of a tornado of happy chaos.I’ve little to no right to expect calm or quiet.Lately, the three of them have been more than happy to dash my limited expectations to the ground.

The 5-year old has suddenly become hair-trigger sensitive. If his questions are not answered immediately, there could be a break down on the horizon. Feelings are hurt easily. My middle is about 2 1/2 and pretty go-with-the-flow, finding humor where he should be too young to find it. But suddenly, things aren’t that funny. Take picking out pajamas. You’d think this would be a fairly easy, mindless task. But he’s demanding more outfit changes than Taylor Swift. And my youngest? He’s six months old; we’d been calling him the miracle baby.I think he was sleeping through the night about three weeks in. But now he’s waking up every three hours, crying for food. I may ditch bottles entirely, fit him for a pair of dentures and transition him to steaks.

The MacMurray Effect has had little immediate application, save for being a salve on my own jangled nerves. But I could see use for it for everything from home design — corralled living spaces, each running off an individual ventilation system to ensure no mood contamination — to pajama design, where fabric reacts to the wearer’s mood to create an entirely new sleeping outfit every night.

I await my truck full of money, internet. Just be quiet when you back it up to my house. That beep beep beep just might be enough to set off World War III.

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