Winter, Dance and Those Wild Children

So far 2023 started off without anything too significant or exciting happening. Lots of winter, snow, working hours and wild children. The kittens continue to grow and change each day, and it’s prompting a lot of old memories for this mom on life “back in the day” with three rambunctious babies. That day was only a few years ago, but it feels like a whole lifetime with how much things have changed!

For example, the girls’ unique personalities became evident even before they were speaking, and each had a slightly different attitude on things throughout development, and it’s still true today. Harper refused to roll over, adamantly indicating that was a skill not worthy of her time, and yet she was the first of the three to walk, with Reagan right behind her. The similarities are pretty funny in the kittens, because one kitten slowly started walking forward, with the second observing closely, and the third less interested at first. Within an hour, the first was walking, the second was mimicking the first at a slower pace, and the following day number three gained the skill and joined the club. In our case, Harper was the first to take her steps forward unassisted, with Reagan carefully watching and learning immediately after, and then Emerie not long after that.

When it comes to containment, you might remember the full “cage” that spanned our entire living room for quite a long time, from crawling to climbing to walking and until escaping. And the baby gates, which blocked off each level of the house and the loft. One kitten (named Wallace) was the first to figure out how to escape out of totes and boxes if he used a sibling as a step stool. The girls did this exact thing, figuring out how to boost one another out of their fenced in play area and into freedom, before mom and dad fully baby proofed the rest of the house and blocked off the stairs. Persistence is key!

Back in the day – caged off

Personalities are also similar. One kitten is the “wild child” of the three, has a need for speed, was the first to take steps, and always instigates the troublemaking with the siblings. Doesn’t that sound like one Miss Harper? Another kitten (named Wesley although it might be Winston now?) is far more timid than his brother, but will pay close attention to the activities at hand, holding out the longest before participating. He’s a sweet soul. Does that sound like Miss Reagan, especially when she was smaller and more shy? The smallest kitten (Winnifred, i.e. Winnie Rose- because the girls insisted she had to have a middle name!), is also shy, needs one of her eyes scrubbed off occasionally so it’s not shut with goobers (i.e. eye issues), her siblings gang up on her a bit because they are bigger than her, and she loves to cuddle and be rescued from the chaos. Sounds like Miss Emerie to me!

It is also funny to watch Molly and her obvious annoyance and frustration at her three littles running in three directions. I greatly understand her sentiments and still live in that today, although nothing like it was two years ago. She will take naps up high on her climber, where she can keep an eye on the crowd, knowing they can’t reach her!

For the most part the girls are pretty aware of the kittens wandering the house, and if not there is my constant “don’t step on the kitten!” reminders. I’ve only caught them a couple times with compromised kittens. The first time all three were downstairs in the bathroom, with a paper shoebox full of water in the sink, trying to give Winnie a bath. As you would guess, she was not impressed; and luckily I caught them before she was fully submerged. The second time all the kids were jumping on Grandma Sue’s bed (I.e. the guest room bed) with two very terrified kittens trying not to die. No kittens were harmed in either incident!

On the non-kitten front- you may all be shocked to learn the love for the song Shake It Off has finally depleted. In fact, I now get demands to NOT play it, after several years of constant replaying more than any one person wants to hear it. We definitely had some really cute memories (and videos) of the littles shaking their bald heads and tiny butts to it. Uncle William is now educating everyone on other songs by the songstress and pushing us into a new era of music. Different music videos are also quite the hit; of course they don’t follow the intricate meanings behind the scripts and scenes, but they all excitedly love her outfits, shoes, and sparkling wonders. Some of the most exciting parts are the funniest things, such as her dress changing from white into red and her fancy shoe choices!

A new session of dance started last weekend. Since age three’s dance class was so very miserable for us parents, with the tantrums, not listening, and times dragging all three out kicking and screaming in front of throngs of disbelieving singleton parents, we held off for a full year before trying again, and this time with a new tactic: dividing them up. This is the first time we’ve tried this method for any activity, although we talked about it when transitioning into the four year old daycare class, and ended up keeping them together, which has worked out so far. In efforts to maintain some parental sanity, Emerie and Reagan are in gymnastics at 11:15 on Saturdays while Harper starts dance class at 11:30, with the younger group until she turns five in March. The parent area is in between the two rooms, so we can see both sides easily and provide stern looks through the window when they act out.

Last year Harper did the best by far, in terms of listening and behavior and actual participation,while Emerie and Reagan fed off each other and missed half the classes due to needed intervention to minimize disruptions. All three strongly desired to climb all the mats and swing on the equipment when everyone else was listening and out on the dance floor. It was a disaster and the most money I’ve probably ever spent to be so miserable!

The first week of round two went much better. There was discussion on who was in gymnastics and who was in dance, and of course major disagreement with our plan, but once class started, it went well! Emerie is definitely meant to tumble and climb on things, and it greatly impresses me when she runs across the balance beam, knowing she has a a bifocal and weaker eye sight than her peers. Reagan also seemed to enjoy the class, only having one moment of the pure pouty face, which I did not help with by taking photos and saying I sent them to Grandma Sue. Harper, across the hall, had a wonderful first class and didn’t need any intervention. She wore her princess heels as her tap shoes, and seemed to really enjoy herself. The roughest part of the whole activity was when Reagan and Emerie were done and waiting for Harper’s class to wrap up. Reagan threw down to go into the room to “watch” her sister, and managed to throw a fit in front of everyone when she didn’t get her way.

Every day in between the two classes the girls asked what day it was and what day dance and gymnastics falls on. What’s funny is how they define the days of the week at this point in their lives:

  • Sunday – means no school and some fun activity with cousins or the boys
  • Monday – ugh school. I’m tiiiiiired!
  • Tuesday – no one ever asks about this day
  • Wednesday – this is school pizza day
  • Thursday – no one ever asks about this day or “is it the weekend yet?”
  • Friday – chocolate milk and show-and-tell day at school!
  • Saturday – the weekend and now dance day

Week two went well also, and I’m hoping the trend will continue. The gymnastics teacher told me after class that she split Reagan and Emerie into separate groups for their breakout activities after she heard one encouraging the other not listen. Emerie started the class out a bit feisty and not wanting to be there, but pretty quickly started having fun. She’s great at tumbling and always pops up with a big smile. Reagan constantly comes over to ensure our eyes are glued to her body as she participates. She proudly flipped over one of the bars (assisted) and after a few tries could almost do it by herself. Harper happily tapped around in her new tap shoes and black sheer sleeved leotard. It cracked me up she was in black from head to toe- black leotard, black tights, black ballet slippers, and a black sheer skirt. Oh and don’t forget the black scrunchie, accessories!

Speaking of accessories, the last week or so Harper is constantly wearing her Mirabel glasses. They have no glass so they don’t get smudged and dirty; she seems to think she looks like Emerie in them. The funniest part is that I constantly call her Emerie when looking out the of the corner of my eye, even tho she doesn’t have green glasses!

I swear the last few days must have a full moon, because the crazy cabin fever from the kids is ROUGH. They’ve impressively trashed the house several times, drowned the downstairs bathroom with toilet water (and who knows what else), worn a dozen outfits a day, gone through clothing drawers and closets they’ve never opened before and dumping things out, and been wildly crazy with the back talking, fighting and not listening. Guys- we are so tired. I’m not sure if this shift can be attributed to the dead of winter, an impending development shift or sickness, my working longer hours than normal at work, or something else, but they are wild. New name calling popped up as well; Reagan’s insult of choice is now you spit-head. That, and you-toilet-water-poop-spit. I’m pretty sure she’s not going for “shit head”, since I have no idea where she would have heard that from (yeah yeah but really we don’t say that), so I believe she really means spit. And reminds us spit is gross, so she thinks it’s quite the insult. Such fun.

This month’s theme songs are from the live action Aladdin film, where Disney added a new song by Jasmine that the girls adore called Speechless. It’s girl empowerment and she takes down her enemies in song and the girls think it’s just amazing. It’s a pretty song in my opinion too! Every drive includes it and all three love singing along. Harper has her own lyrics to the melody and it’s hilarious, with SPEECHLEEEEESS three times louder at the end of each relevant line. They also like the songs by the genie guy and when Aladdin and Jasmine are running (first seen). It’s really nice to be able to watch another live action movie besides Maleficent, which is much darker! And little do they know one of their birthday presents is fancy Jasmine dresses that I bought during after Christmas sales. You ain’t never had a friend like meeee!

I can’t believe we are almost a month into the new year, but here we are. Kittens are growing everyday and so are my little ladies. While I look forward to spring just around the corner (quite optimistically I might add), I’m also excited for them to celebrate my birthday this year and Valentine’s Day. After that they’ll be turning half a decade, which I am NOT ready for.

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