Hunker Down: Week 1

Last week was my first week teleworking, at least since I was six months pregnant with the girls. My prior at-home working experience consisted of a quiet house, comfy armchair, minimal movement and my laptop and was a great two months, minus the lack of comfort of carrying three babies.

My work goal was to stay out of sight of the kiddos while the nanny kept them entertained and alive. All in all, that part went pretty great and was a nice break for me, since I could focus on work from the comfort of my own house!

With a few days warming up over forty degrees, we handled the cabin fever with afternoon walks and a couple stops at one of the hidden gem parks in our neighborhood. It was great to get out of the house and enjoy the sun while letting the girls burn some energy climbing the equipment and digging out the rocks that weren’t frozen. Even with the nice weather, the park was mostly empty of kids, which was great!

I was hopeful the warmth would continue for the weekend, but nope! The girls last about ten minutes outside on Saturday, having insisted they wanted to go by donning their boots and hats and trying unassisted to put on their coats before screaming in frustration. The cold wind won quickly, but not before this ADORABLE video of what I assume will be how Harper drives at age 16. I mean, after all, she is the sprinter of the house.

Other random things from our first week of solitude included toddler crafting, exploring new parts of the house and outside, and continuing to learn new life skills. Everyone is enthusiastically learning to put socks and pants on without help, but until the skill is mastered the frustrated rage continues. The girls saw their first house fly- a big one- and that meant several minutes watching it buzz against the window, with everyone trying to climb the armchair and catch it. Impressively enough, Harper eventually managed to catch grasp it in her hand!

With the living room no longer under toddler blockade, the front windows are now accessible and a whole new world of “ouwsi” (outside) is available to view. This includes the random moose visits, flocks of birds in the trees, people watching and hollering about any and all dog walking. It also apparently includes watching dinosaurs walk by- someone was pushing their kid and fully decked out as a t-Rex. The girls didn’t know how to feel about that one, but encouraged the dogs to whine and bark as it “danced” by.

Tricycles from Papa Cliff!

More outdoor toys warmed up in the house, such as the dormant tricycles from the garage and the play castle from the back porch. With the rug pulled up and the furniture out of the way, the main level gives a decent amount of space for movement. The pedal concept isn’t there quite yet (Emerie is close), but the scooting around and ringing the bells is providing much entertainment. For a while Reagan would only ride them backwards.

The play castle provides hours of entertainment; it has become an enclosed fort, a climbing tool and tower, an area to hide with stuffed animals, and of course contributed to the cycle “run, climb, slide, run, climb, slide.” Queen of the slide is quite the game, with some not-so-nice kicking if one is indeed at the top and defending their territory and kingdom. We are working on courtesy and nicely opening the castle door and letting a sister come in. This still results in the occasional door slamming on fingers and faces, creating total meltdowns; but in the kind moments one will knock on the door, another will open it and they both say “hellloooo!?” with a big smile. It’s ridiculously adorable.

Builder Emerie

In addition to creative play activities, we continue to rotate the common toys, bringing out unused items for a day or two, or even hour or two, and putting them out of sight. Building blocks sustain interest for a while and then become yet another toy you don’t want to step on in the midst of the mess. The girls took a turns building block towers over the weekend; Emerie putting in some solid effort unassisted, Harper and Reagan took turns sitting in my lap and designing. I can already tell as they grow, Emerie will be building the masterpieces and Harper and Reagan will try to steal them or knock them down.

The doll strollers and baby dolls are brought out for a bit and then re-hidden. There is great enthusiasm in pushing each other around in them, but are starting to get too big for it! In addition, the pushing becomes a way to go as fast as possible and slam straight into a table, or cabinet, or each other. Luckily it is mostly in good fun, and the rider doesn’t seem to mind the bruised knees. Sometimes it’s too girly to simply push the stuffed, singing animals around in the strollers (they are appropriately named Bear, Puppy, and Monkey, according to the girls). Harper started it and Emerie and Reagan followed suite- to push their soccer balls, strapped in mind you (safety first), around the main floor. I’m happy to see the love of soccer starting, even if it’s balls strapped into strollers.

Car racing is another new event. The girls are starting to understand some activities can be done with each other and not necessarily with parents. The wind-up cars provide this type of entertainment and they are starting to sit across from each other, legs spread out, and shoot the cars back and forth at one another. It’s very cute and creates a few minutes of giggles. A couple of times the cars are pointed toward the toddler trying to fling it away, resulting in it constantly returning to them. This is hilarious to watch; they think it’s hilarious.

Working from home results in minimal daily movement so walking in the afternoon is vital to ensuring some exercise. This pushes dinner behind the typical 5 PM the girls are accustomed to. Eating later and unassisted, with spoons/forks (as opposed to hands), seems to greatly improve moods and results in less food thrown on the floor. This week’s obsession is sautéed mushrooms, mac and cheese shapes (colored pasta was a hit!), and heaps of broccoli (it would be blueberries too if the stores had any!). The girls exclaim “all-da” (all done) when they are finished. If the unfinished plate isn’t immediately removed, it usually flies to the floor for the dogs; but sometimes they will nicely hand it to you. Emerie seems to think saying the phrase means she should be allowed to get down and play without delay, and will impatiently yell it at you.

Other random craft activities throughout the week included coloring and trying out play dough again. I’m hoping to get more creative on some crafts over the next week, but am waiting until I have a full list for the store before picking up a few miscellaneous things needed. This time they didn’t spend the whole time eating the play dough (other than a few exploratory licks) and were equally awed that it could transform from a heap of nothing into a ball to play with. We colored with markers in the bath tub, played with water cups in the shower, sat at the kitchen table with crayons and chalked up the driveway (they still suck on the chalk though…yuck). Reagan tried to make Craig’s car more beautiful in that moment, while Harper went for the garage door and Emerie the actual driveway! Harper also enjoyed some wind sprints, up and down the driveway, running at full force.

Everyone wanted to help Dad replace his spark plugs, including shouting at him out the window and running around the garage. That lasted a whopping five minutes before shattered glass ended the fun and herded everyone back inside.

A few cute moments have occurred throughout the week as well- Emerie accidentally smacked me right in the face with a book, stopped, and with a concerned look, gave me a kiss right where she hit me. So sweet! Harper has given a melting-down Reagan several hugs this week, and Emerie kisses the top of her sisters’ heads. In the nice moments they share toys and will bring an extra toy or snack to an upset sibling. Progress.

For the first time ever in the Douglas household, we had a nap time REQUEST. Miss Harper asked the nanny for early nap time with a “nigh night” and pointing upstairs. Crazy thing is, she and Emerie immediate went to sleep after going down a few minutes early. Now that is a first and it only happened once.

Helping make lunch

The color coding comprehension continues to expand. Harper brought the correct color boots to Reagan and Emerie several times this week while Emerie brought everyone their coats. Last summer’s plastic Adirondack chairs were intensely fought over because Harper took the teal one from Reagan, and then Reagan took the purple one from Emerie. So it seems the color battles are beginning…that should be interesting.

We even had a day with happy, post-nap babies. Typically, as in 100% of the time, all wake up in full rage from their nap and it takes several minutes snuggling to calm the masses. We had one day happy and chill, after TWO hours (for all three at once that’s highly uncommon), giving me time to prep dinner and get it in the oven before they awoke. Pretty amazing and productive! Productive for Craig too…who accidentally took a nice, long nap with Reagan.

I can barely do this anymore

We ended the week with a broken kitchen faucet. Craig ran to Lowe’s to grab a new one (it’s essential in this house!) and in the 20 minutes he was gone, all three babies were screaming, trying to strip their poopy diapers, AND I managed to get the faucet stuck turned on, creating a steady stream of water underneath the sink and across the countertop. Well, we survived. And now have a new faucet thanks to our plumber buddy down the street!

I will sum up this week of toddlerhood adventure and quarantine with Craig asking Emerie what color she learned over the weekend. Her response? “Taco!” Okay, so that is a great answer as an adult too…but she was actually trying to say “yellow.”

It feels like a lot happened in the past seven days, when really staying home is pretty normal in this household. We tried to avoid the flu and colds most of the winter, only going out strategically and hoping for the best. Hopefully we can cruise through another week in the same style…which would mean decent naps, busy busy days, lots of fighting and loving… also many requests for “Tay Tay” (Taylor Swift), dance parties, food fights, face-time calls with the grandparents, and everything in between.

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