December and January of the past two years consisted of cold after cold, with runny noses, short tempers, a bout of pink eye, and a lot less sleep, especially when the girls were tiny. We hoped this year would be a little improved, if only because most places to pick up a cold or virus are closed and socializing (for the most part) is a pre-COVID perk.
Well, we made it to about day four or five of December before the first cold caught up with us- not a great start but pretty fantastic if one considers no one has had a runny nose since last January. It started with Reagan and a runny nose, went to Harper with one as well, and then Emerie struck an almost 104 degree fever with no other symptoms. The tele-doctor call strongly suggested we get a COVID test for Emerie, since her random fever aligns with those symptoms, so we took all three girls over to the pediatrician’s drive up testing site on Monday morning.
Knowing the girls were not going to enjoy a swab up their nose, we explained to them before leaving that the doctor was going to “look at their nose” and “clean it out.” As expected, all three certainly shed some tears at the experience, with Reagan first and the other two crying just watching her. We broke our no binkie rule and gave them binkies to calm them in the car seats and a lollipop treat.
The doctor noted that they aren’t doing rapid tests, which I’m not thrilled about, so whether we come back positive or negative, we pretty much lost out on daycare for the entire week. That, in turn, means another week on double duty, working and taking care of (sick) kiddos.
Clearly the girls weren’t feeling great, since we took our longest nap on Monday, maybe ever. Although it took Reagan almost an hour of wiggling and chatting in her crib to fall asleep, even she ended up sleeping almost three hours. Harper and Emerie were out pretty quickly and we let them go longer than the usual wake up time, hoping that would help fight off the runny noses and fevers.
Day two: as we continued to wait for test results, the day started off with a very grumpy and fevery Emerie. Everyone ended up sleeping in our beds early on in the night as the snot continued to cause coughing (they didn’t cough at all otherwise!). We played out in the backyard while the snow dumped and spent a good hour with play dough at the kitchen table. I also started feeling the effects of a sinus cold and started cramming down tea and Advil cold and sinus, hoping for a mild one while we can’t go anywhere or get any kiddo relief. I always find it entertaining that I seem to catch EVERY cold that girls get but Craig manages to skip most of them.
By Wednesday we still had no word on testing results. Emerie’s fever continued on and off and she awoke with a 101, which is better than the past few days. Harper and Reagan’s only symptoms were runny noses now and they have mastered the skill of blowing their noses into a tissue. It was very cute at first since they didn’t quite comprehend how to do it, but learned quite quickly! It probably helps that they shared this cold (as usual) with me so my nose blowing is their continued demonstration.
Craig and I continued to juggle working our hours while watching the girls. We’ve found it really helps to hide toys for a short period of time and then get them back out. It doesn’t take much for something to be “new” and exciting again for a toddler. I pulled the foot-push cars out from the shed and let them thaw in the living room and moved the random toys and furniture off to the side as much as possible. The girls played for a while with them, alternating who sat in which one, Craig strung some LED Christmas lights on two of them, they drove with blankets on top for “peek a boo” and carried baby dolls and monkeys around with a loud goodbye, mommy! Of course fighting occurred over who could use what (since two are red and one is teal), when someone wouldn’t move for someone else, or if a foot was accidentally run over, God forbid! While the activity passed the hour for us adults, we still opted to go to nap a few minutes earlier than normal and they went down pretty quickly.
By day four of still no test indications, grumpy, cooped-up kids and a full fledged cold for me, I finally dropped the optimistic and happy life attitude that most of my blogs represent and became more of the realist of- this. just. plain. sucks. Emerie was in a mood the entire day and no matter what activity was done, toy was out, show was on, everyone just fought.
Parenting is hard. Parenting more than one kid of any age is hard. Parenting three toddlers at the same time is hard. Staying home for multiple days, waiting on test results, is hard. I am SO over this month, this year, this phase of kiddos? While my current struggles this week could be blamed on COVID, I can’t really blame the lack of socializing or visiting family entire on it and just have to continue to struggle through. I hoped Friday would be another day, hopefully with cheerier kiddos and test results, but who are we kidding? It’s was just going to be a repeat of this day (and thanks to the stuffy nose- I can’t even enjoy a glass of wine or bowl of eat ice cream to help). In fact, we were very close to opening the not-yet- wrapped Christmas presents just to pass the time, or do an Easter egg hunt (if I could find the plastic eggs). I’m not sure which is worse, that everyone is snotty and grumpy every second or the fact that I know it’s not going to get any better anytime soon.
Friday came and went about the same as the rest of the weekdays. We loaded up in the car and got hot chocolates for the girls and fancy drinks for the adults, came home and enjoyed them and ventured out on the fourwheeler for a quick jog around the neighborhood. That proved to be very cold, even in broad daylight, and by the end, the girls just wanted to come inside and snuggle in their hooded blankets. We caved and brought out the first Christmas presents of the year that afternoon, the fancy doll strollers from Grandma Anne. After the little ones they’ve had since about twelve months old, these things are fancy! Not only do they have a baby carrier and stroller, but they even have some bells and whistles like real strollers. I am sure next spring will consist of walks down the street, with all three walking their dolls (or monkeys) each evening in delight.
I am happy to report that we eventually received the all clear, negative, test results we were hoping for. By the time they came, the fevers were gone and only runny noses remained. It’s been a long week; while we are SO ready to send them back to school, we are also happy that we didn’t catch anything other than the usual, mundane December sniffles.
I learned this week that toddlers can be even grosser as they get bigger. We always joke about the snot and slobbery times when they were babies, assuming at least some bodily fluid was on every shirt or pair of pants at all times (pretty accurately assuming). Well, I witnessed an exhausted Reagan, completely asleep, wipe her nose with her hand and then lick the same hand. While she was ASLEEP!! Let’s pray that we don’t all do that when we are sick and sleeping…so gross and subconsciously! The next day I also watched Harper blow her runny nose into the front window screen and then try to rub it off with her hand. Yep, that happened too. I’m going to go wash my hands…
Since most of this blog was mildly discouraging and full of snot, quarantining, and stress, I will mention a few cute things over the past week. For example, like at Halloween, Craig switched out the random pillowcases around the house from spooky to Christmas themed, and again Reagan noticed and kept pointing it out. That led to her discovery that the cases are removable from the pillow and usable for a variety of things, such as hauling toys around, wearing on her head as a hat, or climbing in and using as a sleeping/potato sack of sorts. By the end of that evening, all three were playing with a pillow case and fully entertained for an hour.
The princess phase of toddlerhood is in full swing. Now remember that they enjoyed the you-tube videos of Disney songs while in their jumpers, with those medleys on replay for several months. Harper fully embraces this attitude- she likes to dress up, wear her color (pink), and adamantly DEMANDS to have some form of princess on all pajamas and often on her clothing and underwear. It is to the point it can be difficult, because she will NOT wear any old pair of underwear laying nearby when it needs a change from an accident and will NOT cooperate unless you specifically show her how there is a princess on that article of clothing (she doesn’t believe castles apply). I’m pretty certain I’ve ordered every princess pajama I can find in their size (which isn’t that many actually) so the three pairs we have don’t require washing everyday. Recently Reagan was in an owl phase, then a purple phase and now she is in support of the princess-wear, but won’t argue as much about other pattern options. Emerie is the easiest to convince to wear any pajama or outfit; this week she is asking for butterflies.
Several new Llama Llama books came in the mail last week and the girls are thoroughly enjoying the new topics. I missed reading the Thanksgiving theme one for the actual holiday (I couldn’t find it!), so we are reading it at nighttime now followed by the Christmas Llama Llama book and the usual “Potty Book” (actually titled Llama Llama Nighty Night), but renamed by the girls because it has a potty page. After a week we are still reading these three each night and the girls now recite the nighty night book with me if asked. For a while Harper was calling out the words before I turned the page, clearly a sign of how much it is enjoyed. It’s quite adorable too.
A new household rule exists that Mom is not allowed to sing but Dad is. Since Cocomelon is streaming a lot more these days while we are all at home, I’m informed by the tiny humans that I am not allowed to participate in singing along under any circumstance, but that Craig should clearly sing with them. Not sure how I should take that…but they are very boisterous about it while we are in the car. I am, however, allowed to dance at the musical dance parties- and let’s be clear…I can sing MUCH better than I can dance. Hopefully the girls have their dance genes from the Douglas side of the family. Harper is constantly requesting the Itsy Bitsy Spider song and likes to do the motions when it plays. Emerie is on a Jesus Loves Me and This Little Light of Mine kick, and Reagan asks for Lola the Cow and Baby Shark. Harper refuses to let Lola reach her ears, even after loving it a few months ago, which cracks me up.
The girls conversations continue to expand. They like to goof off and play together (when they aren’t fighting, which is every once in a while) and if you peek and watch them, the conversation usually goes Harper, again! with a response of Emi, my turn, my turn, again! or me, Reagan, me! and then the action is repeated. For that one moment of no toddler rage, it’s pretty cute. The girls are starting to play cook more now as well. Harper brought me a cup a “tea” and poured it the other day, Emerie will deliver a plate full of random (fake) food that always contains interesting combinations to “eat”, and Reagan will go answer the phone on the play kitchen, stop and look out and have a conversation on it while she walks around the room.
Another hot topic in the household is the neighborhood moose. It ran down the street the other day and they were SO excited, but disappointed it didn’t stop and hang out in our front yard. A few days prior that same moose was across the street eating a frozen pumpkin at the neighbors, in perfect view from their bedroom window. They’ve decided that anything resembling a horse is now a moose and argue with you if you disagree.
As you can see, there is a lot going on this winter, even without the socializing and normal holiday activities. While there is much more we’d like to participate in and hopefully will in future years, for now we will try to dwell on the good and not sit on the hardships, like waiting for test results, babies that wake up early and are grumpy, or winter colds!
We hope everyone is hanging in there this holiday season and please reach out if you want a Christmas card ❤