Open space is no bueno

Is it me, or does becoming a parent make you see the world around you in a completely different light? It follows the same principles as someone who say, breaks their leg, and then experiences the world in a new way while they are hobbling around on crutches. Going from an easier way to get around, without thinking much about how the world is set up, to having to find the ramp to enter a building, or try to open a door with crutches…things you don’t see until life changes. The same goes for kids!

I’ve always been one to use the stairs when possible, not because I dislike elevators, but because stairs are generally easy to access to get you where you’d like to go without waiting. Throw kids into that mix, especially three with a big, triple stroller, and that luxury goes straight out the window.

This past weekend we went on a couple outings to break up the cabin fever that comes from a January in Alaska. With the coldest week we’ve seen in Anchorage in three years, outdoor playtime is canceled until it warms into the double digits again (double digits above zero!). The girls do not approve of instant red noses and having to wear so many layers; and who can blame them, we don’t like it either!

Our first stop was the museum downtown. The best part about this outing proved to be the drive from inside my garage to inside the underground, heated garage parking underneath the museum. Mission leave the house without going outside at all – check!

The last time I visited the museum, I was a freshman in high school headed to homecoming- skinny with braces and in a fancy dress and heels. So much has changed since then but the interior of the space looked much the same. We ventured over to the educational wing; the area filled with a ton of kid activities as well as the playroom for the younger visitors.

This wasn’t the most pleasant of outings and I’m glad we tried it out before deciding to buy an annual visitors pass. I expected the usual kids outnumbering the parents to bring the normal level of difficulty when visiting places, but the layout of the kids area really assisted in making it harder. While I know open, flowing spaces are encouraged throughout public space design, it is not prudent when there are three tiny, but quick toddlers wanting to explore and take in all the excitement.

They did not appreciate these at all.

They did fine in the play area, pending someone remained near the wide entrance to stop any wanderers, but the rest of the space housing all the activities was way too open. Most “rooms” had at least three, big access points. Design-wise the whole area is fine; parents versus triplets wise? Not so much. I see the bigger issue as a more basic principle: it’s a kid area…WHY aren’t there doors, or at least some creative gates, that hinder kids from running off? There wasn’t a single buffer in the entire area, not one.

This issue isn’t exclusive to the museum, but rather noticeable across many public and supposedly kid friendly places. The library has a great toddler and preschool aged area, but yet again, they don’t have anything blocking in the play area. This could easily be remedied and would allow someone with multiple littles to go solo and survive. I’ve found that the recreational centers across the city seem to tackle this issue the best and provide doors and walls, something much appreciated when I want to get out of the house on my solo kid days.

While the museum was a little more chaotic than preferable, it did get us a TWO hour nap at home, something uncommon in the Douglas household anymore (or ever really).

The girls are continuing to improve their climbing skills, a little too well if you ask me. Reagan has now copied her sister and climbed into Emerie’s crib with her for the anti-nap time the other day. Emerie is now the holdout for that skill, but that is likely because she’s a tad shorter than her sisters.

We have not resolved this issue yet…because…well life…but this weekend will tackle how to lower the crib mattresses farther than their original design…or something. We are not ready to convert to toddler beds and hoping we’d make it past two before that. The interim fix was to rearrange the cribs so they no longer touch.

Just enough space for wall to wall to rearrange…for the moment.

Unfortunately that fix was not enough. With the nursery cam not operational for the nanny for one afternoon, angry, anti-napper Reagan finally had enough with her required nap time and dared to climb over her crib and down the side to the floor. The poor nanny found her standing in the living room. Luckily she didn’t entirely destroy our upstairs before she was spotted! Looking back at the footage for it, she lowered herself down waaaaaay too confidently and used that arm muscle like a pro.

Now we are keeping a close eye on things when in the crib. So far no one else has attempted a jailbreak. With the grumpiness of red eyes and goopy ears this week, we are stalling on fixing the issue.

On another fun note, pinkeye entered our house this week…pretty good that we made it 21 months without catching it! We believe Emerie contracted it from someone contagious at the museum; she had goopy eyes after nap time and the next morning that I didn’t realize was out of the ordinary until Monday. Emerie kindly shared that with Harper after another day, and Reagan later in the week. Craig and I are now frantically trying to keep our hands clean, not touch our eyes, and not let them jam those contagious fingers into ours!

Since we have pink eyed babies, why not go for green faced babies, or orange armed babies, or a variety of other colors on the rainbow spectrum. So after dinner the other night we stripped everyone down to diapers, broke out the old, not-recently-used painting drop cloths from the garage, and pulled out the kid paint for a little fun. Sadly their little pink eyes totally match the paint colors! Emerie immediately went in for a taste test, while Reagan remained clean a few more minutes, just barely touching it to the paper. In true Douglas style, Harper painted her first drawing of the night solely with her middle finger. I guess we haven’t quite broken that habit yet.

The rest of the weekend you will find me at home, hanging out with my pink eyed and contagious babies, breaking out every toy in the house to entertain the younguns until this cold weather/sick snap has passed. This includes our cool caterpillar tunnel, the pickler, indoor slide, and probably some more (edible) baby paint. We opened up more of the living room so the girls can climb up and down the main stairway and that seems to be quite the hit to burn off some of the cabin fever. Well that, and everyone trying to eat the Christmas lights when I’m not looking…which is apparently sooo hilarious (and not). We are working on that.

Enjoying some sister time (and cookies)

And lastly, our silly thing for the week. I amazingly completed a whole batch of chocolate chip cookies on my solo day off. While the girls refused to even taste them in the morning (when fresh and delicious-more for me!), they definitely enjoyed some morsels after a successful nap time (thank goodness!). So much, in fact, that Emerie stole the entire container off the counter, quietly carried it over into the entryway, managed to open it, and hand several cookies out to each of her sisters before I noticed. Their little chocolate covered faces gave them away.

Emerie prompting her own snack time

Big plans for this weekend? Yep, survival. And maybe swimming since the water won’t share the germs. And not going outside until it warms up? Yeah that too.

An accurate depiction of triplet life

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