For this year’s birthday blog I want to compare and contrast the differences and similarities to my three little minions, who are no longer toddlers and full on preschoolers (that’s for you Sara!). I have to continually resist the urge to keep calling them toddlers, probably because my brain still can’t agree so much time has passed into parenthood.
And while I can’t recall half of the major events and milestones we accomplished this past year, there are certainly a few that are easy to remember.
Age Three Changes
Bye bye binkies
I can’t decide if this or the toddler bed transition was the most significant change in age three. It was definitely a major stresser last spring when we cornered ourselves into taking them away under a deadline. Reagan needed her front tooth pulled and that meant cutting them off for all three, especially considering Reagan was our #1 binkie fan. If you’ll remember, we did an elaborate “binkie fairy” scheme over the span of a week and slowly required the girls to give them away to other babies in need. Looking back this went better than expected and after a month or so they stopped asking for them. The first week or two was a bit rough but we made it through!
Big girl beds
We pulled off this change last August and decimated our wonderful nap time in the process. The girls were very excited to have big girl beds, even trying to help Dad build them out in the garage, but once reality set in, they only slept uninterrupted (all three) maybe two nights since then.
We miss you naps!
The girls were (mostly) fantastic throughout age two at giving us a nap from 1:30 to 3:30 time frame, sometimes stretched to 4:00 but no later than that or bedtime was rough. I believe we earned those longer naps, since they barely gave us any stretch in the earlier days. Age two nap success only occurred when one parent sat in the nursery arm chair, which was okay because it gained two hours of greatly appreciated silence and a strong mental reset for the adults each day.
I remember wondering how we would survive the loss of the afternoon nap and now that it’s happened, it just means grumpier girls in the late afternoon and early evening and longer days, but not the end of the world.
The girls still nap at school, although not as long. We decided pushing it at home wasn’t worth the stress when they wouldn’t settle down and that was a good call, And we still get the occasional afternoon car nap on a busy day- which is amazing- but most afternoon quiet time looks more like this (picture).
As you all know, we were not drama free on childcare for the girls. We rolled into age three without one altogether, with Craig and I both working full time from home at the same time and Grandma Sue popping in and out from Juneau to keep us all alive and sane. We transitioned to a new place in early July and it has been truly wonderful. The girls adore their teacher and teacher aides and school setting, they feel comfortable and excel at their activities and in the atmosphere, and Craig and I can rest assured that they are treated well and loved while we are at work.
I was so excited to do a couple weekend trips last summer and finally felt they might be survivable and (while stressful) fun for the whole family. I undoubtedly looked like a complete basket case (or lunatic) preparing for the multi-day trips (and packing for them), but I am very glad we went and made the memories. The first trip meant set net fishing down in Kasilof for one weekend, with lots of playtime on the beach, fresh air and kiddo avoidance of the questionable “icky” fish. The second went into backcountry Alaska by four wheeler, adventuring to an off-the-beaten-path cabin sans electricity. Everyone made it back in one piece and we will definitely attempt more trips this summer!
Car seat buckling
The girls all buckle themselves into their car seats now. It doesn’t sound like a major life skill, but it’s such a timesaver when loading three kids into the car constantly. This life skill can be contributed to lollipop “encouragement” at daycare pickup every afternoon, but nonetheless is a win in my book! We have come a HUGE way on getting to the car without any random parking lot running and minimal meltdowns in the past year and it’s amazing! Those lollipops also greatly helped in learning our colors…
Surgeries, Patching & a Tooth Pull
As noted above, Reagan had her front tooth pulled back in May and was a rock star throughout the whole procedure, even proclaiming her love for the pediatric dentist who freed her broken tooth. The donut she demanded afterwards indicated her pain tolerance is pretty great for a kid!
Emerie had two Botox eye procedures over the past year, one in June and another last month. As usual she was a total trooper and came out of anesthesia like such a big girl; it’s really nice it’s easier as she gets older! She also continues to proclaim her love for Dr. Winkle and Harper and Reagan both jealously demand to attend her visits. Morning patching continues to be a bit of a fight but overall she cooperates greatly and is such a strong girl.
Covid & Quarantine
It might be fair to say those two weeks were the toughest for the whole year (until I remember working full time with no daycare for five months), although the intense sicknesses around Christmas might be a close second. Timing worked out nicely for our brush with the pandemic, meaning it was deep into fall but not winter and we could play out in the yard while stuck at home. Craig and my symptoms also managed to be a few days apart and that helped tremendously with keeping kiddos entertained (and survival). And, of course, it’s no surprise to say we were thrilled the girls had mild symptoms and felt okay.
More Cousin Visits
The last thing to note is the more frequent visits from the cousins, now that Tyler and Jaren are in easier proximity to Anchorage. The girls adore their cousins and while they can’t seem to ever call them the right names, they constantly request them to come play, pretend call them and talk, draw pictures for their fridges, and carry their photos around the house (and fight over them).
And in case you need me to decipher who is who….Tyler is Tyler, Jaren is Tyler, and Chatum is Jaren. Someday they might get it right….
Tell me about the girls!
Keep in mind that while they are all the same age and mentality, they are all very different. Their likes and dislikes, while constantly changing at this age, greatly vary between the three. It highlights that they are individuals while also sharing many other things together. Here’s are some individual details for each kiddo!
Harper is an easy going girl that loves to be on the go, speeding on her bike or adventuring around town. She appoints herself the boss a lot and can be stubborn when she thinks she is right on something. She excels at sleeping in her bed, always wants to wear shorts and dresses, and has a love for her ballet flats.
Height/Weight: 42.25″, 37.6 pounds
Favorite Activities: riding balance bikes (speeding around on them really), dance class, anything relating to princesses, and playing dress up. She loves to spend her day in dresses, fancy shoes and a crown and making silly faces for pictures.
Dislikes: anything that moves slowly, the fact she has to wear pants ever, and being woken up abruptly when in her bed. She hilariously dragssssss herself out of bed, limbs not working and mouth sassing.
Favorite movies/shows/music: Fancy Nancy, Rapunzel’s Adventures, and pretty much any princess movie. Her favorite song is “Northwind” from Frozen II, that the mom sings to Anna and Elsa at the beginning of the movie.
Favorite Princess: Aurora and Belle
Favorite Color: black, then pink
Favorite Food: black olives, steak and french fries (pretty sure this is close to my favorites too)
Favorite Animal: When asked, her favorite animals are animals with stripes. In reality, she adores her Little Seal and Big Seal (because we somehow bought the same stuffed animal in two sizes!). She also loves petting her kitties, who have warmed up to her presence after four years.
When asked what she wants to be, she responded instantly, a ballerina!
Emerie is our go getter that constantly sings let it goooo or demands we don’t talk about Bruno! She can be introverted and enjoys independent play, being at home and spending her days in Elsa dresses. She adopted the guest bedroom and gets up in the middle of every night to relocate to it, promptly going back to sleep.
Height/Weight: 41.75″, 34.2 pounds
Favorite Activities: Independent play in general, collecting and carrying tiny things around, any water activities (and drowning our bathrooms constantly), building magnatiles, dress up, and watching/coloring anything relating to Elsa and Anna from Frozen. She is a homebody and enjoys staying home and playing, often requesting to go home to play when we are out and about.
Dislikes: wearing her glasses all the time and eye patching in the mornings, wearing socks with her shoes, sleeping in her toddler bed, being outside in the cold, hair bows (usually), and black olives and pizza.
Favorite movies/shows/music: She also loves Frozen I and II and pretty much all princess movies; if she had to choose a favorite to watch, Cinderella and Snow White are towards the top. Hands down her favorite song is Let It Go, which she calls the castle song! PJ Masks is also an up and coming favorite, as well as Encanto and Cinderella II.
Favorite Princess: Elsa and Aurora
Favorite Color: purple, duh! She also has a purple unicorn dress she wants to wear everyday.
Favorite Food: Cheese quesadillas with sour cream. She would eat them every day if allowed.
Favorite Animal: When asked she claimed caterpillars and raccoons (surprisingly), but I would also claim her beloved “Monk” monkey and her stuffed owl are on that list.
When asked what she wants to be, she responded a purple Elsa! Who am I to deny that creativity?!
Reagan is our shyest of the three and more emotional than her sisters. She adores all crafting, painting, coloring and cooking and excels at staying in the lines on her creations. She also loves Daddy’s four wheeler and bringing her stuffed pandas everywhere.
Height/Weight: 42.25″, 37.4 pounds
Favorite Activities: Coloring daily, painting, dancing to music (she’s a booty shaker, what can I say!), creating with play dough, cooking with Grandma Sue and taste testing the flour, playing dress up and playing pretend with her stuffed animals. Now that it’s light outside after preschool, she really enjoys playing by herself on the back deck.
Dislikes: sleeping in her bed overnight or being left alone, getting her hair brushed, and her socks not fitting right!
Favorite movies/shows/music: While Reagan likes princess movies, her absolutely favorite is the movie Abominable, about her beloved Everest, the yeti. Sleeping Beauty is likely her favorite princess movie if she had to choose, and she’s also a fan of PJ Masks. Her favorite song is Pink’s Cover Me in Sunshine, which is renamed Grandma’s Song.
Favorite Princess: Elsa and Aurora
Favorite Color: blue, then green, then white!
Favorite Food: Her favorite food right now is hash browns, which she wants each day for breakfast; otherwise cheeseburgers and apples top the list.
Favorite Animal: Without question, this girlie is panda everything. She sleeps with two stuffed pandas every night. When asked her favorite, she responded pandas and bunnies.
When asked what she wants to be, she immediately answered a painter! Given her creativity and artistic ability we already see at age three, this could be pretty realistic.
And some other fun questions to ask, just for memories’ sake!
What are some similarities all three share? What are the biggest differences? Of the three, Harper is the most outgoing by far, Emerie is the most stubborn (if I had to choose one!) and Reagan is the most in touch with her feelings. Harper adamantly wants to go fast ALL the time while Emerie wants the opposite, and Reagan goes back and forth depending on the day. Reagan extensively enjoys coloring in the lines while Harper and Emerie continue their “eclectic toddler style” creations. All three enjoy cooking and baking, but when it comes to decorating things, Emerie is speedy and done in five minutes, Harper goes back and forth depending on her mood, and Reagan will insist you leave her alone until the masterpiece is completed, which may be a while.
What is the biggest personality difference? Emerie is a homebody and loves to stay home. The other two are more up for adventuring. Harper seems best at going with the flow while the other two often whine about things.
Who is the best sleeper? Worst? Harper maintains her status as the best sleeper of the group, which is nothing new for the last few years. She loves sleeping in her bed and being cozy, unlike Reagan and Emerie, who want parents nearby or prefer to wander into the guestroom to finish their night of sleep.
Who is Team Mom and Team Dad? Harper seems to still be on the mom train, while Reagan shifted alliances over the past year from Dad back to me. Emerie, on the other hand, is a complete daddy’s girl now. Everyone continues to be completely enthralled by Papa Lon and adore their Grandma Sue and Papa Cliff. Grandma Anne visited twice last year and the girls still ask about more tea parties. And of course you can’t forget about Auntie Megan weekends, Auntie Janelle visits, and all the new friends that were made this year.
If you ask them who is the boss…who is it?! 100% of the time the answer is Grandma (Sue) is the boss! followed by Mom and Dad and Miss Tawni. We’ve got this down!
Who is the cutest? Um, silly question there, it’s ALL OF THEM.
And I’ll end our fourth birthday post on that fun note. I still can’t believe they are so cute. And four. FOUR! What?!