It's often said that everything can change in a heartbeat. For Indicator Indicator frontman Sandy Taronno and his wife Gillian, everything changed because of three heartbeats.

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This article was published 20/10/2016 (1866 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It's often said that everything can change in a heartbeat. For Indicator Indicator frontman Sandy Taronno and his wife Gillian, everything changed because of three heartbeats.

It was a routine ultrasound in July 2015. They were nonchalant about it; after all, this was Gillian's second pregnancy. They were excited to find out whether their two-year-old son Oswald would be welcoming a brother or a sister, and that was about it.

The news they ended up receiving was life-altering. The Taronnos were having a girl. And a girl. And a girl. They beat million-to-one odds and were about to become the parents of identical triplets. Their family was about to double in size. They would need a new car — oh, and a new house, too. And Sandy was still looking at the three little heads on the ultrasound screen when he made another realization: His life as a touring musician with Indicator Indicator was over. As he put it, this extraordinary event was about to force him to live a bit more ordinarily. 

Sadie, Martha and Eleanor were born on Oct. 19, 2015, Election Day (mom and dad voted before the scheduled C-section). And two days after the girls' first birthday, Indicator Indicator will release its final album, Edie\Abel.

After that? "I fully intend on stopping hard," says Taronno. "There's simply not enough psychological energy to have this family and a passion project that you want to do with your whole heart as well. It was a hard sacrifice, but an easy decision."

At 33, Taronno is already a veteran of the Winnipeg music scene. His former band, Quinzy, released a series of acclaimed recordings and mounted a beloved annual holiday show called Quinzmas for years. He began Indicator Indicator as a solo bedroom recording project in 2012, but it wasn't long before it was a full, anthemic synth-pop band with some momentum behind it. 

The band meant too much to Taronno to simply call it quits right there in the ultrasound room, so he and his bandmates — Matthew Harder, Kevin Kornelsen and brother James Taronno — decided to wrap things up right and track what would be Edie\Abel the month before the babies were due.

The experience was not unlike those first few weeks of multiple parenthood: blurry.

While it was recorded in the throes of a destabilizing time in the singer-songwriter's family life, Edie\Abel is not a record about fatherhood. "The songs were in the cupboard; none of the material reflects what was going on in my life," Sandy says.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Sandy Taronno has his hands full with identical 11-month-old triplets.</p>


Sandy Taronno has his hands full with identical 11-month-old triplets.

But he has been sharing his experience as a new dad to multiples via a new — and unexpected — creative outlet: blogging. Hilltop Procession: One Father's Hazy Rememberings From a Year of Triplets is a collection of the journal entries and notes Taronno made during Gillian's pregnancy and the first year of their daughters' lives.

Initially, these musings weren't intended for public consumption. "I really did want to try to grab this experience with both hands, and I know how hard that can be," Taronno says. "Keeping notes and journals was the best way to do it. That’s literally the only reason I was doing it." 

That was until he noticed a dearth of blogs by dads on the Internet — and, in particular, blogs written by the fathers of multiples. Unlike Mommyblogging, which has become a key component of the Internet content-industrial complex, Daddyblogging isn't quite as prolific.

That's changing, though. The New York Times recently changed the name of its parenting section from 'Motherlode' to 'Well Family,' and it's becoming more common to see aggregation sites pick up blogs by dads. It's not hard to understand the demand: all parents can benefit from others' insights and perspectives during what can be an overwhelming and isolating time.

"That’s such a beautiful thing about the Internet," Taronno says. "Before, you’d be lucky to know another multiple parent. I don’t think I saw any (blogs) from the dad’s point of view. I would have liked to have had something like that."

Hilltop Procession dives deep into the anxieties that come with arrival of children, yes, but also with shifting priorities and identities — eminently relatable themes whether you're a parent or not. The posts, which come out on Thursdays, are incredibly revealing. "I’ve written 100 songs probably, but I never felt so vulnerable as this," Taronno says.

One thing he's been surprised by is the adaptability of human beings. "We are not special by any means, but we’re living one of those things that when people hear about it, they say, ‘Oh, I couldn’t do that,'" he says. "But that's lack of imagination, really. When you’re in it, you’re in it. Things become normal really fast. Like preparing nine bottles for three feeds."

Ozzy, too, has adapted to having three noisy, always-moving baby sisters. "They came at a really good age for him," Taronno says. "Sometimes he gets frustrated because there’s just so many of them. But he calls them his babies, and he makes them laugh. It's really beautiful to watch."

And it makes letting go of the band — and the ambitions he had for it — a little bit easier. Everyone is under so much pressure to Have It All that we forget what we have right now. 

"In our distraction culture, we’re learning that multitasking doesn’t exist," Taronno says. "I don’t even want to try to keep all those balls in the air. Something extraordinary has happened to us. I want to be totally there for it."

Twitter: @JenZoratti

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Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist and co-host of the paper's local culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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