I feel like the past few months (and blogs) have contained less than my normally optimistic self…when it comes to far less sleep than I’d like, picky eaters that throw most of their food on the floor, biting and hair pulling, ear infections and head colds, busy work days and a more monotonous, routined life with less relaxing or fun than I’d sometimes like to have. I fear we are branching into the “terrible twos” and have definitely had a number of days with grumpy and confrontational toddlers. All. Day. Long (well if we are being realistic that involves night too).
And while this age is hard in a different way than infancy, it also has some really great parts that are worth dwelling on more than the difficult parts. So what are some of the things that I love about this age of the #tripletlife? At this busy age of mobile #toddlerhood?! At this age of the girls figuring out how to better interact and react to new situations?
I’ve come up with a few things that I try to appreciate each day, even when I really just want to put my feet up, watch a Hallmark movie (or any movie really) and take a break in silence (or a nap?). At some point in the future that will once again be realistic, so for now let’s enjoy the sweeter side of toddler time…to name a few:
One of my favorite things about this age is something that could be seen as insignificant, but I really enjoy experiencing it. Getting down on the same level as the girls (i.e. sitting on the floor instead of a chair or the couch) during playtime allows additional interaction that generally involves a rotation of lap babies. They will bring toys, books, blankets and binkies over to you, turn around and plop their tiny butt right in your lap for a short cuddle session or to share their toy. This rotation lasts until they see other sister doing something more interesting or decide it’s time for more marathon running across the room- once they get up, the next one sees opportunity and immediately plops down. It is an endless cycle that is very sweet; I know this won’t last forever.
If I sit on the floor with a blanket over my lap, Emerie is always the first to show up with a toy and sit down to play with it. She likes to sit in the blanket or have it around her shoulders and will occupy herself for a good amount of time if uninterrupted. Harper and Reagan will venture over at some point, if I sit there long enough, but Emerie certainly favors playing with her toys and sitting with you. Reagan often brings a book over to read, but won’t sit for more than a page or two before she’s up and running again. This cycle will repeat several times; I’m hoping at some point the length of book patience will improve page by page. Harper, on the other hand, always full force runs at you, huge smile and all, and will hang out for a bit with whatever toy or book she’s found. She often likes to snuggle up in a blanket for this, while Reagan always has to have her feet out!
It sounds silly, but I love that they all do this and will miss when they are bigger and don’t anymore. It is a sweet gesture of love and trust that they show for the people in their lives they love. So for now, I try to appreciate such little gestures of love they display throughout the day.
This can be gross at times, but the adorable part easily overrides that. We are working on improving the slobber level and everyone does the “muah” sound. All three are still sloppy, slobbery kissers but starting to understand what “give me a kiss” means. In fact, in addition to sharing those sloppy kisses with Mom and Dad, Grandma or Grandpa, they are starting to share them with each other. It doesn’t always go very smoothly, ending with a head bonk and sometimes tears. But when they successfully plant one on each other, it usually involves some type of giggle; only for a brief moment and you’ll miss it if you aren’t paying attention!
Kisses are starting to fly across the house now…by that I mean the girls are starting to blow kisses at you and saying buh-bye. It results in a handful of “thrown” kisses and big smiles.
Every once in a while I will turn around to a mini, baby hug session. They are all starting to see if someone is upset, they can help remedy the situation by giving a hug or patting their head (petting really). This seems to apply even if they are the one that initiated the crying (biting, collision, stealing of a toy, to name a few). The moments are very brief before they switch gears to something else, but they exist nonetheless!
This one is a real “kicker.” As we all know, toddler temperament is like drawing an emotion out of a hat, every five seconds, and immediately reacting at 100% full force to whatever emotion is chosen. It can change in a split second- like holding a screaming rager one second to holding a giggling baby the next…just from flipping them upside down and dangling them by their ankles. I assume this is going to continue to worsen before it improves, so I try to find the humor in some of their reactions, because- to be honest- they can be pretty entertaining to watch. The triple temper tantrum hasn’t fully occurred yet; I am waiting in anticipation to film this and share it with all of you when it happens.
I did capture a short video of Harper throwing a ten second fit the other day. She throws her hands up and…well…see for yourself. Emerie is starting to mimic her sister, now similarly starting throw her hands up when upset too.
Another triplet parent told me it’ll be rare to have the tri-fecta (tri…get it!) of all three in full out rage tantrum. Why? Because they see the long term game plan…which means one kid throws the tantrum at a time and then continues to trade off. After a few years, that’ll certainly wear those pesky parents down, day by day…I feel like this shared knowledge will be far truer than I’m prepared to handle.
Another piece of advice, that I will really try to remind myself for the next several years…kids often save up all that pent up emotion for the whole day, so by the time the parents get home, the emotional rage is real. Why? Because Mom and Dad are their confidants, their safe place; so releasing all those feelings means they feel safest around you. The probably is, young children don’t always know how to express what they are feeling, good, bad and in-between, and that is the true form of the tantrum centralizes from. While I realize I am still a relatively new parent; this advice hits pretty close to home and is something I need to remind myself as they continue to grow.
This can be daunting at times when your arms are outnumbered by one, but if you really think about it, it wreaks of sweetness. The girls have complete and utter faith and trust in their parents, knowing they can dive off a slide or piece of furniture and there is no doubt in their minds you will move heaven and earth to catch them. Is that realistic? Well no, not when they are ten feet away and you are holding a sibling and have to superhero dive (in slow motion and over a plethora of toys and obstacles) across the room to reach that tiny diver before they hit the ground. Can’t you just picture that? I will tell you…it’s definitely not that graceful. There might be a bit too much trust when I’m trying to catch more than one at once, but the thought behind it is something to smile about: they have complete faith and love for you!
They have complete faith in you!
So until they fully understand that gravity really exists and can when challenged, it can lead to injuries (an idea not yet achieved but hopefully soon). I will remind myself that they trust us fully and count that we will be there, a sentiment I hope to keep throughout their lives.
This is a hard one, because I love actual sleep but it is but a vague memory at this point in my life! It’s probably better to block out that memory for another year or two; although Craig and I had a brief glimpse of it a few weeks ago when everyone slept the whole night without a peep. That was the first occurrence of seven straight hours of sleep for the parents in almost five months. So while a reminder everyone once in a while of how great sleep can be, getting up at night to comfort and calm a baby isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, why wouldn’t I want to get lots of snuggle time in while they still want to?
What I find utterly ridiculous is, on the rare occasions that everyone stays settled in their room, I actually miss them. Not enough to pick one up out of their bed, of course, but certainly to peek on the baby camera at their cute sleeping positions. So while not all bedtime cuddles actually involve them sleeping right away, I definitely enjoy the individual time…even when it means less sleep for me. But don’t you dare tell them any of that…they need to sleep in their beds sometime!!
This past month is full of lots of overnight snuggling. The girls all had a head cold and cough, making them restless at night. Coughing fits will wake up someone at some point during the night, and involve a repetitive calming each time another one presents. Emerie even had a couple nice snuggle naps with me or Craig after her coughing prevented her from settling down. Luckily we didn’t experience coughing babies until they were twenty months old! I definitely would not have enjoyed this same type of cold when they were much smaller and am glad our prior colds last winter only involved the buckets and buckets of snot. I can say that colds are not quite as brutal now that they are a little bit older, but I have to say that while wearing my rose colored “life glasses.”
Everyone is steadily learning new words at an exponential pace; but what amazes me more than that is their comprehension of other words and phrases. While they won’t necessarily answer you verbally on things, they definitely understand what you are saying on much more than they can express themselves.
For example, if you say “let’s go get your shoes on,” someone will run over to the shoe bin in the living room and try to pull them out. Sometimes they will even grab a shoe, sit down and attempt to put it on (not successfully yet but they try!). Other phrases that they fully understand now:
- If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! (and they clap…the patty cake song works well for this too)
- Let’s brush our teeth! (they point and say teeth!)
- It’s bath time! Go see Dad! (and they will run upstairs to the bathroom and usually arrive in the correct location)
- Where is the kitty?! (they will turn around and search until they see him and shriek in excitement)
- Go throw away your diaper (which results in a run across the living room to the trash in the kitchen)
- Not nice…more normally spoken NOT NICE (commonly used now and they know it means they were being unkind or are in trouble)
- Say bye-bye (this results in a bye bye and wave when they are feeling like it…)
- Multiple body parts…nose, belly, ears, teeth, mouth, eyes…
- Each other’s names
- Do you want more?
- And the exciting, are you poopy!? (We are working on this one and sometimes they understand!)
One other cute comprehension- the past week or so everyone has started pointing out to you if they get an “owie.” They don’t use the word yet, but will run over to you (usually crying or upset), finger pointed straight out, and expect you to fix whatever is wrong. What I recently noticed about the finger pointing…it’s not that finger that is hurt like we initially thought. It is a variety of body parts, but they all stick their pointer finger out straightforward as the indication. So not 100% figured out yet, but progress.
I haven’t heard any phrasing from them yet, but do enjoy watching their word and phrasing comprehension continue to grow. I also anxiously await their conversations to one another; so far it’s pretty limited but I know it’s around the corner and I’m excited! Much of their communication so far results in giggles and inaudible sounds.
New Experiences and Skills
Kids are all about learning new things right? That’s part of growing up. This is something we take for granted as adults. For example, Craig found a cool new adventuring toy called a Pickler. This ladder like toy is meant to improve coordination in young children. I was shocked how quickly the girls could climb it like professionals; and enjoyed that sentiment along with the mild heart attack of them climbing high up.
I’m still enjoying their daily advancement of physical and mental life skills, such as climbing a ladder, going up and down the stairs like pros, figuring out how to build their block tower taller without any assistance, pretend stirring one of their teacups, things like that. Switching out old toys and for ones that spent some time in “toy jail” also allows their creative juices to flow.
They continue to learn new life skills as well. For example, I purchased a clip/clasp pillow a month or so ago that is quite the hit with all three. It lets them practice clipping different, colorful styles of clasps together and is in constant use. No, we are not teaching them how to unclip anything; just how to put them together. I am not ready for them to escape out of their strapped chairs quite yet!
The girls are also learning about shoes and socks. They now try to put their matching slippers on and almost have it down! They try to put socks on as well; every once in a while they succeed but more commonly they plop down in front of you and demand assistance. Emerie was the first to put on adult shoes and slippers and now all three can do it and slowly try to walk around. Such grown up girls!
In addition to new experiences, they’re learning how to interact with new things. Like after an ouch, they sometimes bring sister a toy or a binkie to be nice. Each morning they give the dog a cute greeting, and she’s learned that if she leans into the crib they will pet her (nicely).
So What Else?!
I’m sure there are more things I could appreciate in the day-to-day that I just don’t pay attention to. Looking back I’m sure I will see a few, especially as they get older! I know lots of you have kiddos similar in age, and I’m betting my eyes still aren’t seeing all of the great things that are happening before me…it’s all a matter of perspective. Some days I’m great at looking at things with my happy glasses- other days? Not so much.
So what other treasures am I missing?