Growing and Thriving

As the girls continue to grow we are starting to see more kid (versus toddler) behavior show. Things like morning greetings either fully excited and ready to release from the. Rib in a blast of excitement (toddler) or rolling over and pulling the pillow over their heads at the sight of light (kid). Harper now likes to roll over and put the pillow over her head when she doesn’t want to get up and not move until you make demands that you’ll leave her there while her sisters are up and rolling. Reagan usually stands up and wants to snuggle immediately while Emerie will pull her blanket up over her and snuggle in more to her bed for a few more minutes, asking me to close the blinds because it’s too bright.

Favorite colors are continuing to emerge and it’s notable that at age three the girls are already venturing from their preordained NICU colors of pink, purple, teal. We assigned them at random so it’s not highly surprising. Emerie is on a blue kick and constantly asks for blue nail polish. Her new glasses have blue frames instead of last year’s purple and yellow tipped ones. Reagan is still a fan of purple and trends toward that color on many things; of course this doesn’t change her belief that all things green and blue should be hers. And Harper, my sweet Harper…is still on her black kick! She recently enthusiastically chose a new black swimsuit and was so excited to wear it. She maintains her love of the black marker and black hat, but definitely not the black jelly beans (licorice flavor). And for some reason all three girls dislike the color yellow (referred to as lullo still to my joy!).

My favorite toddler pronunciations include randoms words like marshmallow (sounds like “farshfallow”), four wheeler (“four-lala”), ballerina (“balla-leena)”) and a few others I haven’t remembered to write down. We are also into the toddler story-telling times. Reagan told me a whole story the other day about planting a seed in her water bucket, watching it grow into a tree, and that it became soooo beautiful! There are plenty of moments where all three will elaborate on a story at the same time and that is a LOT of information to process at once! Emerie enjoys telling everyone her first, middle and last name and it’s adorable. If asked she will tell people her sisters names as well; Reagan also repeats the names of people she knows at random- it goes from immediate family to naming off cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends. Reagan also calls the missing, light up peacock in the neighbor’s yard (it was a snow decoration) a moo-cock. Harper is now repeating some of the “less desirable” words that come out of our mouths as we struggle to raise triplets in the day to day. I will leave that to your imagination, since we are trying to break her of it…

The past few months I’ve paid attention to the girls new phrases and cute words. They get a few common phrases backwards and while they say them correctly in a sentence, they opposite intention is intended. For example, slamming a gate in front of someone, when they are on the other side, always comes with a I lock you in! This same sentiment is used when slamming the front or back door and yelling they locked you in, versus out. In the car when someone is sitting in the very back row, they will comment grandma is sitting in front of me or when Craig is driving a I don’t want to sit in front of daddy instead of behind. Music requests are also backwards, with turn it up meaning it’s too loud and turn it down demands to increase that volume. For now these cute things are endearing!

Speaking of music, we have a return of Patty Cake as a favorite. They will all sing it together in the back seat and it’s so cute my heart might burst listening to it! Other new requests consist of the Hairbrush Song from Veggie Tales and Five Little Monkeys, with the occasional Shake It Off demand. We also seem to listen to a lot of Mulan and Tangled soundtracks.

Current movie request in the day-to-day have more variety than this time last year, when the only thing watchable (according to those two year olds) was Tangled, Moana or Wreck-It Ralph. Now that we’ve branched out to other exciting things, requests vary from Abominable (Snowman/Yeti), which the girls refer to as the “sad snowman who has an owie,” Curious George, Blippi (most often the vehicles episode), Leap (a major favorite), and Lilo and Stitch. It usually takes a couple nights to finish one and at this point I’m not sure which is whose favorite.

Now that the ground has warmed up and leaves sprouted, our yard work consists of the children demanding we find new earthworms for them to play with and running around with all kinds of buckets and toys. Harper and Reagan will run around with the worms while Emerie is a little less inclined to touch the slime and immediately tosses them away. All other bugs are referred to as spiders, regardless of the accuracy, so many excited spider, look! shrieks occur day-to-day.

The weather in early June increased into the high 60s (finally!) and even pushing 70, so the tiny pool and water table made their summer debuts. Yes, I poured buckets of hot water from the sink into the pool; it’s definitely not hot enough for hose water yet and they did NOT like that frigid water last year. Throw in the monster wind at our house and the warm water keeps them happy longer. Added vocabulary means they now express their dislike for the water temperament. The first day the girls played a solid two hours without much intervention, simply by playing with buckets and scooping water all over the place. The second day was closer to three hours, after a solid nap with a promise of push-pops if they slept. The sprinkler and tiny, sand buckets allowed the girls to play without fighting for a long time. Throw a few more tea cups and pots into the mix for even more water fun. Who knew how exciting scooping water across the backyard and pouring it into cups could be! And it is extremely thrilling when we have moments of everyone getting along, doing their own thing, and NOT FIGHTING. They aren’t super common (yet) but at least we get them every now and then and hope to see an increase in that time this season.

A 99 cent bag of decorative glass beads resulted in grand entertainment as well. I threw all these decorative beads away last summer with the fear the girls might find them and choke; this year is a whole new ballgame and they LOVE to collect them, carry them around in backpacks and containers and boxes, and randomly holler at you when they can’t find one, which is all. the. time. Other than those grumpy moments, the girls really enjoy collecting and toting around.

Craig removed yet another baby gate, the one allowing blockading our main level from downstairs, leaving only two more in the house (one to my office and one to upstairs). We’ve talked about doing this for a while but some evenings it was needed to keep everyone contained downstairs regardless of their desire to be there. Removing it went smoothly and so far no issues destroying the half bathroom when out of sight! The best part is, since it spent more than two years in that location, we are so used to stepping over the bottom bar that we are practically tripping down the half-flight of stairs because it’s no longer there. That muscle memory is strong!

It feels great to open the house up more and get back to a semi prior-to-kids setting. Warm weather allows bigger toys to go outside on the back deck, meaning no play kitchen or Home Depot tool bench resides in the living room for the moment. It feels strange to have both recliners, the couch and our coffee table in the room; that hasn’t happened since before the baby jumpers stage! Cabinet locks are removed from the pantry area and some of the kitchen and either the girls haven’t noticed or don’t see anything interesting to get into.

House projects are back in full swing- Craig is busy busy getting things around the house caught up. This includes small projects, paint touch ups and gardening as well as removal of the unused hot tub. The yard feels so much larger without that monstrosity blocking the view from the kitchen window; it also gave more space to add a minor deck addition to better use the space. He removed the custom deck gate that we used so much the past two years to keep kiddos contained and pulled out a railing- not something we could have done in the past two years without it messing with the toddler containment and survival mode.

Warmer weather also means we have entered the “band-aid season” like a hurricane! What is this? Well, if you’d really like to know, it’s that time during the summer when the kids legs look like red, spotted polka dots against tan skin. This isn’t just because you can see said injuries while in shorts, but it’s the time when the toddlers are so busy running amuck, away from you, across playgrounds and into new adventures and wilderness; backwards, upside down, and all over the place that they have tumbles, falls, collisions and general moments of disaster that result in crying, bleeding and demands for more band-aids. Wow, that was a mouthful!

It’s that time of year when toddlers are so busy running amuck, away from you, across playgrounds and to adventure, backwards and upside down that that they have tumbles, falls, collisions and general disaster resulting in crying, bleeding meltdowns.

said every mom ever

Counting those injuries is good practice for the kids, with Harper currently winning with SIXTEEN scrapes/bruises/scratches on her hands and legs! She takes the cake on this because of one main injury over the weekend, falling on a metal grated ramp and producing a good set of bloody scratches on her leg and hands. She now asks Grandma to count her owies. Reagan managed to step backwards and fall over a rock at the conservatory, producing a little ouchie, and Emerie tumbled forward into the gravel and her glasses scratched her nose up to match Harper’s legs! A lot of band-aids and “lotion” seem to fix this for the most part.

Grandma Sue and I visited the wildlife conservatory this week on a sunny, daytime adventure. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like we had a GOOD day with the girls, with things going smoothly and attitudes obedient and happy, but this was definitely one. They did great on both drives, with the way back a decent nap for all three once they settled down. I might also mention we made it through construction (rock blasting) both directions without having to stop at the flagger, which is very rare and much appreciated.

The wind was gusting at least fifty the entire visit and while the animals didn’t seem to mind too much, the girls didn’t appreciate it but remained good sports. We redressed in hoodies, coats and sunglasses to stay warm and keep the kicked up dust out of our eyes and adventured on foot. Emerie’s new glasses have attachable magnetic sunglasses so I finally pulled out the hidden sunglasses for the other two and everyone was excited. The favorite animal of the day was definitely the first one visited, the three-legged porcupine named Kit-Kat. Shock, awe and immediate discussion was held at the sight of him peeing in his water bowl. TMI? Maybe but the girls observed it and out rightly wanted to know why he did it! The only other notable comments from the trip were the exclamation that the fox has a fireplace!, which was more of a electrical box in his cage, and the bison play basketball! because an irrelevant purple ball was out in the field with them. Random observations are likely one of my favorite parts of outdoor excursions.

Everyone insisted on collecting massive sized rocks to lug around the place. We did not discourage this since the goal of sleepy toddlers is always on our mind; by the time we made it halfway across the exhibits the girls backpacks were filled up with a few nice-sized rocks in addition to their juice, snack and dandelions. Harper carried a bouquet of dandelions well over an hour, citing they were for daddy. It is so wonderful not carrying a “house-full” of supplies in a diaper bag or backpack now that everyone is more grown up. That, and they LOVE wearing those backpacks. The wings flopped in the wind the entire time like little angel wings.

Summer is off to a good start and now that they are a bit older, I feel like going new places is much more doable. It still contains a major level of stress for me, especially when more than an hour away from home, but is also much more doable than the past two summers and much overdue.

The Binkie Fairy

Rather than a visit from the tooth fairy this month, our household was visited by the elusive “binkie fairy!” This fairy came to pick up a single pacifier from each toddler over the course of a few nights.

Obviously this is our creative way to slowly wean off the bedtime binkie obsession the girls have had since birth, something that had to be done prior to Reagan’s tooth pull procedure.

The girls have loved their binkies since the green, newborn ones were provided in the NICU and covered half their faces. The first two years of life were spent with single binkies and animal “wubbanubs” littered across the house and often several within grasp. They were so helpful for soothing the littles throughout the first year, especially when three babies need attention and one only has two arms- and I don’t think we would have survived without them. I can’t remember when we pulled them from daily routine, confining them to only nap time and overnights; that adjustment was disliked by all three but especially Reagan.

Tiny binkie babies

Even after confined to their bedrooms, the girls still tried to sneak them out of the cribs and snuggle with them throughout the evening routine, not often successfully but not for lack of trying. Very few days succeeded and those were limited to very hard days, like the whole family throwing up from the stomach flu, after one of Emerie’s surgeries, or when going on a long drive and getting stuck on the wrong side of an avalanche! I’m pretty sure I could have used one to sooth myself.

The first night no one noticed a binkie vanishing, which goes to show how many backups remained in the beds. I kid you not, for months Reagan would sleep with one in her mouth and one in each hand. We introduced stuffed animals a while back, hoping to replace the hand backups with something to snuggle. This somewhat worked and they all have specific lovies that must join in bed every night. Harper loves her red octopus from our last SeaLife Center visit and usually a princess or Moana’s pig Pua, Reagan must have her Panda and green Lambie or she will ask you for them a million times until they appear, and Emerie still loves her purple monkey, now named Monk, her soft, purple hippo, and for the moment her SeaLife Center spotted turtle. Other friends randomly join on different days as well and for the most part they don’t fight over who has what.

Checking out their new necklaces!

The following night the girls gave another binkie up and it went into the baby bottle, accompanied by one “fairy” doll to oversee the transaction. As I flipped off the bedroom light I sneakily handed said doll and binkie bottle off to Grandma Sue, who whisked the objects off to babies in need. When the girls woke up the next morning they discovered that same baby bottle was filled with shiny, beaded necklaces in pink, purple and teal. The fairy was kind enough to even leave the tags on! Everyone wore their necklaces on and off throughout the day.

At nap time there was great discussion regarding the remaining (only) two binkies in their cribs. The girls clearly missed that third one but chatted with each other about them going to other babies. That and how much they only have two binkies!

That night two fairies showed up to take another one. The girls each chose one of their two remaining and placed them into the baby bottle. They checked out the two fairies and discussed losing their beloved possessions, getting a bit sidetracked wanting to go home with the fairies. They stopped asking once they understood fairies live in trees and have to go deliver binkies to crying babies who need them. At least that answer seemed to suffice for the night!

The next morning, right on cue, the baby bottle was filled with another goodie, light up squishy lady bugs! These were immediately taken from the plastic bottle and carried around for a bit throughout the morning.

As predicted, the final night giving up the last one was the hardest. It didn’t help that Harper didn’t nap that day and all three had a good amount of afternoon blush from the sun. Anticipating more difficulty we had a night-night nummy (melatonin) to help them become drowsy. Only minimal convincing was needed for each to add their final binkie to the bottle and take a look at all three visiting fairies, their shoes and pretty hair colors. While no one was thrilled at giving them up, everyone agreed the babies needed them. To our astonishment Reagan handled it the best and didn’t even shed a tear, just asked for her ballerina and hugged her panda. Harper, on the other hand, full on cried and didn’t want to lie down with her animals. Emerie did the same but settled after a few more furry friends joined her in the crib.

After lights out everyone flipped. Harper immediately fell asleep, very overtired from the day, and Emerie right behind her. Reagan, on the other hand, stood in her crib and chatted about the “sad snowman” (abominable snowman they watched earlier) and had a hard time settling down. Everyone eventually drifted off to sleep pretty normally and slept most of the night! I popped in and napped for about two hours on the nursery couch; first because Harper was adamant she didn’t want to sleep, I want my binkie! from the confines of her crib and then Emerie followed within the same hour. Otherwise, the night went off without a hitch and I can’t even believe it!

With Reagan’s tooth procedure at 8 AM, a little fairy game-planning occurred after bedtime. Much to my surprise, they all slept pretty well overnight. We woke everyone up before normal wake up time to ensure all three received their present and Reagan didn’t miss out on that excitement. Nap time went easier than expected too, with everyone snuggling with their animals and drifting off to sleep. Waking up early and the dental procedure probably had something to do with that, and coincidentally the fairies left a gift for everyone when they woke up from their first no-binkie nap!

They keep on growing up!

The next night we received a few questions at bedtime about where the binkies were, but overall discussion was pretty limited. The girls later laid in bed and discussed the vanishing act, with Emerie commenting that the little babies need them while Harper insisted the little babies are mean and took my binkies. It is fun to see their understanding of the event and helpful that they are old enough to comprehend giving something away to someone else. While we still have the normal overnight wake ups off and on, I’m happy we are able to settle them even without the use of a pacifier. The third night everyone slept through without a single peep, telling us that in the not too distant future binkies will be all but forgotten and we can continue to move onto the next stage of bedtime (shhh not yet!).

It’s somewhat sad to take away something that gives them comfort, even knowing they are old enough to understand the binkie fairy logic and are more than capable of sleeping without them. Not a single night in three years occurred without them! I keep reminding myself I felt the same way when we stopped using them during the daytime and in the car and we somehow managed those transitions. I felt the same nerves as we transitioned from tight swaddling to arms out to sleep sacks and I’m sure this isn’t the last bedtime change that will give us anxiety and stress! The next step will be big girl beds and I’m definitely not ready to even think about that yet.

After a couple days without them, the fairy dolls showed up one morning for the girls to keep and play with. We still get the occasional question asking where those darn binkies are and that they want them, but only from the comfort of their cribs. All in all, I believe this was a success and went smoother than we anticipated.

For now, if the girls tell you about their fairy visits, you all better praise them for nicely sharing those pacifiers so other babies can use them. Just saying… 🙂

Reagan Update

Our day started early, getting the girls up before normal rise and shine to bring Reagan in for her front tooth extraction. As I’ve stated before on here, she chipped her front tooth over a year ago and now it requires removal to not damage the root and future, adult tooth.

Reagan was excited to go see Dr. Winkle, who is not doing the tooth pull, but it’s good to know the whole household enjoys seeing him. Reagan put her lip gloss on prior to heading into the office. She did not like the blood pressure cuff but eventually we were able to get a good reading. When given the option to hold my hand or the hygienist, she chose the hygienist! She was also a good sport for the “stickers” on her chest for her health readings and was wiggly until the Versed kicked in and made her loopy.

Kiddos her age typical get Versed as well as laughing gas to calm them down for the procedure, which is very quick, and keep them from wiggling too much. Even quicker in our case since it’s an accessible front tooth. The biggest warning for us was to try and keep her from biting her numb lip or it will be sore later.

Reagan was excited to learn the doctor would give her presents after, such as stickers and a new toothbrush, and they were nice enough to give us three new brushes so sisters feel special as well.

That excitement clearly ended by the time the procedure occurred and we could hear her screaming down the hall from the waiting room. Poor baby!! So heartbreaking to hear as a parent and similar to how Emerie came out of anesthesia a couple of times. Afterwards the doctor said she was fine right up until they went to pull it and had to strap her hands down.

The whole thing was over in about 15 minutes, with Craig and I sitting in the waiting room. By the end of the appointment, when they wheeled her out in the wheelchair, she had a new blue bunny and was commenting that she wanted to stay with Dr. Barnes. I’d say that’s quite the success that she wanted to go again and the staff was laughing.

Overall we left with a number of new toothbrushes, stickers, and a blue squishy bunny. She did not leave with stitches so when she requested a donut in the car, we went in and let her pick one out at Dino’s, one that of course contained sprinkles. She chowed down on the way home and now we are sitting on the couch relaxing while her light sedation wears off and she becomes less wobbly. She was such a trooper today!

Two kiddo procedures in one month is a LOT. Glad it’s almost June and we can de-stress a bit!

Adjusting to Threenagers

About a year ago several people told me “just wait until they are three” and I scoffed at the thought, thinking it can’t possibly be harder or worse than the terrible twos.

Good thing they are cute

Well who are we kidding.

I usually don’t post a blog when I’m in a less than stellar mood, but you know what? Sometimes real life isn’t all rosy.

I’m clearly not handing the situation we are currently in as graceful as I’d like, but realistically no one is as downright happy and life enthusiastic as their social media profiles depict. Could I be more patient? Sure. Better at letting go of the little things? Yup. Less frustrated and immediately worked up when things go off canter? Absolutely. And yet, here we are.

It seems to be taboo to talk about the failed days, when you just want the kids to chill for five minutes or to go to bed, or stop fighting, or heaven forbid, eat their dinner!! But we all have them…probably more than we like to and definitely more than we share about.

So yeah. Solidarity to my other multiples mommas with toddlers. The threenager attitude is giving me a major run for my money and I’m not quite sure how to get MY attitude to overcome it. My frustrations often get the better of me, even when that inside voice knows I should just let it go, take a deep breath, and respond calmly. I know this is something I have to work on.

This age is maybe even harder than the newborn stage, in a completely different way, and I know I have to grow with it and just have to figure out HOW to do that as a parent. My brain knows this, but my emotions are still so hot from breaking up constant fights between strong-willed little girls, to trying to keep to the daily routine, to failing at naps some days and just trying to survive until a few moments of silence return. Having three at once- and on a never ending daily loop- makes it extremely difficult to appreciate and enjoy the little things each day. And that, my friends, is a feeling that makes me feel even crappier about it all. I know I’m not the only one here.

So pray for your fellow toddler mommas. Bless those mommas and remind them some days they are doing things right; trust me, they might really need to hear it because not every day is a good day. Hell most days aren’t good days, but you gotta keep going on. If you feel like this, you are not alone, even if it feels that way!

Rant over and I will go back to my peppy life posting another night. That is all.

#reallife #momlife

Botox Baby

The doctor had an opening to get Emerie in this week for her eye procedure. Earlier is sort of a blessing since it takes away the stress of waiting to schedule and get it over with, but also gives Emerie more time with a more straightened eye.

Surgery was bright and early at the new Surgery Center, with Grandma Anne staying home with the other two for the morning. Emerie was a good sport for everything, including her rapid COVID test accurately called “the lady wants to clean out your boogers.”

COVID rules meant that only one of us could go back into pre and post op and we let her choose…today she was Team Mom. The whole walk back she asked where’s Doctor Winkle and smiled when he arrived.

Now that she is a little older she followed more normal pre surgery things like wearing a hospital gown top, getting clean socks and getting to lay in a blanket on her own hospital bed. One of the pre-op nurses put her hairnet on her monkey and that was exciting! Emerie also sucked down her calming medicine, Versed, without any convincing. She also told her name and both sisters names to the doctors when asked. Middle names included, of course!

The anesthesiologist recommended putting her in a diaper so that no one had to clean up any accidents and that was definitely a good call. Pretty quickly she was back in the OR for her procedure and we hung out in the front waiting room.

After about 45 minutes Dr. Winkle came out and let us know everything went great and he didn’t have to do any cutting on the eye muscles. The Botox allows the muscle to shift how the eye is straightened in an attempt for her brain to catch on and stay that way. He said it is typical for some droopy eyelids and wandering eyeballs to occur over the next month so other than having to keep myself in check at that weirdness, we should be back to normal pretty quick. Hopefully this will improve her eye!

She came out of anesthesia better than her last two surgeries and other than immediately demanding a snuggle under a warm blanket, she was good! After a fifteen minute snooze I opted to take her home and let the rest of it melt off from the comfort of her house.

Thanks everyone for all the prayers. Our brave girl is currently snoring on my lap in her room.