Let there be climbing

Settling back into our previous routine after traveling is both easy and difficult! The girls took a great nap after we arrived home from the airport on Sunday, about two hours earlier than they normally go down. Unfortunately those zzzz’s only made up for the missed sleep from going to the airport at six AM, so we had a couple of hot tempered grumps for the afternoon. While my Mom and Craig ran errands, we had a mini dance party with the girls down in the family room (coolest room in the house right now) and thankfully Aunt Kerstin came over later and played with everyone!

Sleepy babies headed to the airport

In the past week the girls are picking up new traits (again!). Everyone is morphing farther into the biting stage; biting Mom, and Dad, Grandma, even the nanny! Thankfully there isn’t much biting of each other, unless fingers go into someone’s mouth intentionally. Emerie believes she can pull herself up on anything better if her front teeth are involved. It doesn’t matter if it is the couch, a chair, or your leg! I have a tiny tooth marked bruise to prove it!

Everyone’s first molar is through their gums. The weird thing is that all three are getting the back, top left molar at the same time. So far on the teeth adventure they are holding to their identical triplet status quite nicely, with everyone having the front top and bottom four teeth and now the same molar on the way. It will be interesting to see how this saga continues to play out!

Harper showing off those teeth

This video is a great example of the newfound trait of climbing on everything. Learning to walk wasn’t as stressful as I expected it to be with three. Learning to climb? Definitely stressful and back to having to keep an eye out every second to ensure they aren’t getting hurt. They improve this skill daily and we now let them try to see how many things they can actually pull up to. I brilliantly discovered we can keep them off the couch for another week or two (optimistically) by moving the couch pillows to the edge of the cushions- so far that is deterring climbing in the family room.

Because our heating system is baseboard, the girls figured out standing on top of the baseboards and pulling themselves into the window frames or on the end tables, with the only way to stop them to move the furniture or block it off entirely. They are so very proud when they get up there, until they can’t figure out how to get back down.

In an effort to not completely embarrass my children when they someday read these blogs, I believe Reagan may be figuring out how to unclasp her diaper. This is still a hunch, but so far we’ve had two incidences in two days, with her specifically, and diapers halfway on her or falling off. Trust me, you don’t want to know the full details of this, just that bath time definitely occurred with the first one. This could also simply be because they are wearing dresses more frequently and not pants or onesies that mostly cover the diaper. We shall see what today brings on that front!

Miss Reagan testing her limits

Emerie’s eye is improving by the day. The dilation drop, that we did twice a day for a week post surgery, was definitely the least favorite and she is very glad it is over. We have a couple more weeks of the other two drops a number of times per day. Craig is definitely tired of giving them to her, probably about as tired as she is receiving them. Eyelid swelling continues to go down and with each passing day her eye is a bit less droopy. She isn’t rubbing it anymore either, meaning it’s less irritated!

With everything that occurred last week, we really slacked on the goal of two hours of good eye patching per day. This was partially since we were out of our element in a different city and in a bit of chaos from that, but also, even when attempted she immediately pried it off the moment you take your eyes off of her…literally in seconds. She is fast!

Nanny Chris reached expert level this week on a way to solve this. Emerie knows she can get the patch off herself as soon the opportunity hits; so, she creatively put band-aids around it. Since band-aids adhere better than the patches do, she is unable to pry it off, much to her dismay. This genius plan is going to improve her eyesight greatly! Hopefully it won’t peel off her eyebrows though (hehe).

Having survived our first air travel experience with the girls, I’ve been mentally reminding myself of the things I’d do differently as I have time to plan for the next trip (a long time from now). Since I won’t remember these things for very long, I’d better write them all down:

  1. Follow up with the airline prior to travel day: we didn’t anticipate that Alaska Air would mess up our reservations so royally. They are generally really great to travel with. We now know reservations must be verified ahead of time to ensure our tickets are accurate in the system. I am not a toddler! 🙂
  2. Bring a portable playpen: this one is a biggie and would have made our week a lot easier. We would have used it where we stayed as well as for outings around town and the park! It is much easier to corral babies at the park when you have a safe spot to set one down and pick up the next one, especially when babies outnumber adults.
  3. Bring three portable highchairs: I really wish I had brought two more of them. We have one small, fold up version that fits in a suitcase and can secure to a normal dining chair. Having two more of them would have been helpful for meals as well as eating out with friends. The other option would be the portable chairs with trays (like the ones for camping), since they are portable and easy to use. In fact, we just purchased a set this week from another local triplet mom! Having a place that contains the girls and helps them focus on food, even for a few minutes, is really helpful.
  4. Scope out parks ahead of time: toddler friendly parks are few and far between, since most park design is aimed at children better established in their mobility than a 15-month old. We managed to find a few fenced ones, but knowing locations ahead of time would have been helpful. Bringing an amazing sister in law is also recommended for such adventures!
  1. Check out the weather report: Alaska is unusually warm this month, and I can’t remember the last time we had any rain. Because it is WAY hotter than typical (record breaking!) and no one up here has air conditioning, looking at the projected temperatures in Juneau when packing would have told me to bring more shorts and tanks for the girls than I did. The girls didn’t wear a single long sleeve outfit the entire trip other than during the airplane ride. We compensated for this by doing lots of laundry!
Summer 4th of July rompers and see that hair??

A few essentials that we would not have survived the trip without (that I must remember for next time!) are:

  1. Baby monitor camera
  2. White noise machine
  3. Three pack and plays (luckily we didn’t have to bring our own)/pea pods will work in the future once everyone is a bit bigger. They are far more portable!
  4. A few familiar toys for the girls to play with
  5. The triple stroller
  6. SNACKS

I am still wrapping my head around the past couple of weeks, but happy getting back to the normal routine and (almost) sleep schedule.

Summer playtime with Grandma Anne and Aunt Janelle and Paris

Triplet Time Airplane Style

We decided to do an impromptu airplane trip for the whole family, including the girls. As many of you know, Craig’s older brother Chris unexpectedly passed away last week. He is very dear to our hearts and adored by the girls. Bringing them down to Juneau for some family cuddles, playing, and general baby loving will hopefully bring a little cheer to the family during a very tough time.

The trip down was a little more chaotic than I was hoping for, so here are the logistics of traveling with three very mobile, fifteen month olds.

First, it is highly stressful. With it brought a lot of planning and anxiety, but somehow we managed and made it through!

First off, I bought some new toys and made three small play snd snack bags for the plane ride, figuring on the return flight we can simply swap who had what bag. These contain a variety of toddler friendly things: toys, finger snacks, teethers, rattles, etcetera. They worked pretty well for the duration of the flight and we even shared with a fellow toddler in the seat across from Craig, who was less than happy to be confined with her Dad to an airplane seat.

Logistically speaking, we had a one to one ratio of kid versus adult for our hour and a half flight to Juneau, with Grandma Anne providing extra hands on her first trip to Alaskan’s capital city. At the airport we checked three big suitcases and three car seat/bases, carried on a suitcase with supplies in case we needed it, and had the toy and snack bags for each kiddo. We also brought the Zoe triple stroller through the terminal and checked it at the gate right after the last round of diaper changes and splitting up the breastmilk into easily accessible bottles for takeoff.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big supporter of Alaska Airlines, having flown on it most of my life. I can say for this particular trip, they severely let us down and I was more than disappointed (and stressed). With a reservation error in their system saying Craig and I were children carrying lap children, it took over an hour for the agent to figure out how to process our seats so the boarding passes would even print. After fixing that error, then it said I had no seat at all! Luckily they were able to fix that eventually and the ticketing agent was doing her best to get us on that flight. Needless to say, we almost missed the flight entirely and boy was I fuming for a few minutes!

The tiny minions insisted on running around while reservations were fixed

Once reservations were fixed, we headed to the TSA line, knowing this was another necessary hurdle to board. We cut in front of quite a long line of people, and after a couple people the TSA agent let us through for the security check. One lady let us in front of her and her husband, obvious that she’d traveled with kids at some point in her life, and it was very nice of her.

Security took longer than it needed to. We had to unload each baby and carry them through while they wanded the stroller, went through our carry ons, and scanned every bottle of milk and article of snack food ONE BY ONE. I about passed out in a fit of rage at that one…but somehow made it through…

After all of that, and about four hours total getting ready, to the airport, checking in, and passing through security; we made it on the plane about 8 minutes before we backed out of the gate and were the last to board on a nearly full flight. My mom was about eight rows in front of me on the left side aisle while Craig was to my left and up one row with an empty middle seat! They gave me a middle seat (because why not, the day was going so well so far…); fortunately the young man sitting in the aisle voluntarily scooted over. I’m pretty sure I would have bursted into tears right there if he hadn’t done that and he could tell.

The flight was relatively uneventful. Thank goodness it was smooth; my anxiety could not have handled the usual Juneau bumps and I was so glad for minimal wind and mostly clear skies.

Harper fidgeted on my lap the entire flight but didn’t cry with any pressure changes and drank her bottles. She tore up a bunch of napkins and that provided quite the entertainment (sorry cleanup crew). Everything she held ended up on the floor or thrown at the passenger next to me while I attempted to protect his face from the baby snack slingshots. Being in a newer 737 meant she could play with the tray table, phone shelf, and airplane handouts. I finally got smart and clipped a teething necklace to the shelf where she could play but not throw it.

Yes the goose egg on her forehead came from a Harper versus the kitchen table event the day before

Did I wipe everything down beforehand like I insisted needed to be done? No. I really thought I would care enough to do that when I sat down (because airplane are full of soooo many germs) but to no avail. But we did make it on the plane, all babies and parents. Success.

Reagan made friends with the lady sitting in Craig’s row and I could see Emerie farther up with my mom, sitting with the lady in the window seat, completely happy.

What did I learn from this trip? That showing up early to the airport did not make the trip any smoother, and that we probably need to check in the day before (in person) so the airline can accommodate the three infants at once. I also learned traveling is possible, though not fun, with three mobile toddlers. Not sure if I’m willing to attempt Hawaii until they are a little bigger, but this was certainly educational.

Sitting on that airplane, breathing a sigh of relief that we made it on…in that moment I fully questioned if it was really worth all the effort to come down here. Disrupting our everyday routine, figuring out logistics and trying to keep babies happy, especially only six days post surgery for Emerie. As I sit here writing this, in a quiet house with sleeping babies and husband for hopefully a few more minutes, I can say that it was definitely worth the trouble and I’m glad we came down. Is this week hard and full of tough emotions? Yes, but it’s worth it and our little ones are proving to be very resilient, maybe even more than their parents.

Prayers for the family and that our return trip this weekend is a bit smoother!

Surgery Day

As I start writing this blog, Miss Emerie is in surgery at Alaska Surgery Center with Dr. Winkle, for her left eye lensectomy with placement of intraocular lens.

We were given a pager just like one you receive while waiting for an open dinner table at a restaurant. Sisters are home with the nanny and Grandma.

We had to be at the center by 6 AM and followed instructions of no food or water after midnight, but a bottle of breast milk was allowable before 3:30 AM (four hours prior to surgery). I think it’s really cool that breastmilk doesn’t count as a liquid the same as water does. Typically kids are a little less accommodating when they are hungry; they don’t really care if they are having surgery.

Emerie was a pro this morning and drank a bottle with Craig at about 3:15. Harper and Reagan slept through the whole night without a peep, getting a quick bottle right before we headed out. We loaded up about 5:50 with a wide awake but happy Emerie.

In the waiting room, playing with daddy

After checking in and finishing all the paperwork, Emerie was given Versed to make her calm and drowsy. It worked like a charm! She snuggled and played with her wubbanub and stuffed unicorn. We also broke out her purple moose blanket! She giggled a bit in her “high”, but overall was semi blob like, very different than our normal Emerie!

Happy, high baby

In true triplet style, Dr. Winkle used a purple pen to mark the correct eye! I don’t know if that was intentional or random, but he does have the girls’ colors on their charts.

Total surgery time lasted about 90 minutes. Dr. Winkle came out and told us she did great and everything in her eye was exactly what he had anticipated. He also said this issue was present at birth but the leak that caused the cataract blurriness just occurred later.

It took another almost forty minutes before we went back to post op, which started making me nervous! Of course, the nurse said Emerie was raising hell about the protective eye patch and absolutely refused to leave it on. Sounds about right. We have to continually patch for about a week to protect the eye and incision from infection. Luckily the doctor did the stitches inside the eyelid, which is standard in little kids that want to scratch and rub it.

Post surgery

She was very loopy and tugging at her eye when we got back to post op. She was on a ventilator during surgery so her little cry is completely hoarse and so very sad sounding. After some snuggles and major baby rage, we figured being home would help her relax and loaded up.

We made it home and successfully put on one of her daily patches. I am writing this in the dark in the nursery as she fidgety sleeps on me. Hopefully she’ll be feeling a bit better after a nap. It helps that the house is quiet. Harper and Reagan are headed to some playtime with Daddy and Kerstin picked up the dogs out to burn off some energy.

Thank you everyone for the thoughts, prayers and kind words this week and especially today. It’s going to be a long day but will all be worth it when our tiny girl’s vision improves.

Busy Summer Days

This past weekend was full of so many toddler adventures and amazing weather that I feel it should be documented. Some weekends we stay home and play, play, play…other weekends (like this one), we see how many fun filled activities we can cram into two days of Alaskan sunlight.

Sesame Street themed birthday

Craig took the girls to dad’s group on Saturday morning, and for the first time the girls decided to give in to stranger danger, with Harper and Reagan clinging on for dear life. Eventually they toned down the rage a bit and played. We were really hoping we made it past that development stage and overall I believe we have.

After Saturday’s nap time we loaded the girls up and headed to the park for another twin birthday party. With the sun hidden behind the impending clouds, the weather turned out to be perfectly warm and not too bright. It was ideal for baby adventures.

The girls did pretty well, giggling on the swings and exploring the park and the huge sandbox. William and Craig took turns taking them down the slides, which was not met with giggles, smiles, or rage- just no reaction at all! Everyone played in the sandbox and surprisingly, didn’t eat the sand! We had one baby bonk with Emerie getting a mouthful of sand, but other than that it went fine.

The 8 panel Regalo playpen greatly helped corral the children so we could eat a few bites. Overall the girls had a fun afternoon and play date!

The gorgeous weekend continued through Sunday. We are starting to get a bit daring on the outside adventures, so we broke out the swimsuits, water table AND the mini swimming pool. While the girls are definitely water babies and love bath time, we opted to fill the pool with warm water from the bathroom faucet instead of the freezing hose water. With the sun shining it stayed quite warm and pleasant and no one shivered at all. Give it another year and these Alaskan triplets will love the freezing cold hose water.

The girls thoroughly enjoyed climbing in and out of the water. It was a rare moment when all three were actually splashing in their together. Typically someone was off running across the yard while another was splashing at the water table and the third in the pool.

After backyard fun we let the girls cool off a bit and play inside before the next adventure…the Potter Marsh boardwalk and bird observatory. I’ve been meaning to take everyone down here all summer. What better place to take mobile children than a boardwalk they can’t escape from, and on such a beautiful day!

Everyone walked all over and I think we tired them out. The sun is still high at five PM since June equals 20+ hours of daylight here. Next time I need to remember the sun hats, but otherwise think it went well. Overall a very busy, but fun weekend, with mild grumpiness from shots but nothing compared to their pre age one grumpiness.

A fun filled weekend.

15 Month Shenanigans

Summer solstice means we are hitting the 15 month mark in the Douglet household! It also means the girls’ youngest cousin turned one this week! An update for everyone on the current day-to-day chaos that is triplet toddlers…

Health: While we continue to grow, grow, grow, surprisingly the girls remain on the smaller end of the weight scale. Emerie weighed in at 19 pounds, 3 ounces (29%), Harper at 21 pounds, 2 ounces (49%), and Reagan at 21 pounds, 4 ounces (51%). This puts us solidly in the middle of the weight spectrum for their age (based on actual age, not adjusted). Their heights, on the other hand, show we have some tall ladies! Emerie is 31.25″ tall (74%) and Harper and Reagan are 31.5″ (81%).

Everyone has individual personalities that continue to emerge. I need to look back on an old blog noting who did what the most and see how different six months makes the answers! Everyone also knows their name as well as their sisters’! If you say “hey Reagan”, the other two will look at Reagan. It’s pretty cool.

Miss Emerie is often the instigator on climbing and getting into things and is a fearless daredevil. Eye surgery is scheduled for next week to remove the cataracts from her left eye. We are told she is handling the daily hour of eye-patching like a pro, and we should be very happy with her “good” attitude. And we thought she was grumpy…apparently we are very blessed in that arena and it could be far harder. That’s encouraging! She still goes by Em, Emerie, Emsy, or Peanut, depending on the moment she will even answer to all three, and can say Mom, Momma, Dad, Daddy, and Baby.Emerie likes both mom and dad right now, but not Uncle William. She gives him funny looks and will not take a bottle from him. If he throws her in the air, well that’s another story. Then she seems to be okay with him

Miss Harper is still the hardest one to get to giggle, but will definitely chuckle if you tickle her tummy! She still responds to Harper and Hay Hay and has such a big smile. She is our only eater that enjoys meat (for the most part) and is highly skilled at getting through the dog door and across the back deck as an adult frantically tries to reach her sneaky butt. She’s done this several times and now we block the door.

Right now she is a momma’s girl, and comes to me most of the time. She has a new game that if you call her over, she will come part way, giggle, turn around and run the other way. She’ll do this several times in a row, especially when she needs a diaper or clothing change and sometimes for snacks.

Miss Reagan, also known as Ray Ray, is still our smiler and giggler. You can find her hanging out in the family room playhouse giggling with either of her sisters or dancing to any type of music. She’s a great dancer! She is also winning the hair contest at the moment, and has one tiny curl behind her right ear.

Reagan is a daddy’s girl right now and is all about Craig. For a while every time he walked into the room she would squeal in excitement. She doesn’t have stranger danger yet but will pick Craig over anyone else every time! She’s also a bit shyer when it comes to adventurous things, like a slide or riding backwards in the wagon. Like me, she has to ease into the new activity and then she is good to go!

Food: The girls typically eat less when they are cold-ridden. This holds true for the past two weeks, but also shows us what foods they really like and will eat when stuffy. Now that we are back to healthy and happy, current favorites include bananas, fresh avocado (ate a whole one at dinner the other night) and blueberries, green beans (straight from the can!), breakfast sausage, and udon noodles. Favorite snack foods are veggie straws, cheese puffs, and stringed cheese. One of the girls is sitting in another highchair at some meals, as opposed to the triple table, because they tug on each other and irritate one another to the point they don’t eat as well.

Sippy cups are not the girls favorite, but we are starting to learn them. For now everyone is still drinking quite a lot at bedtime and a dream bottle at six am so they will sleep until about 8:30 AM, give or take. By 18 months our goal is full use of sippy cups and whole milk, so I can get some time (and SLEEP) back from pumping!

House Stations: Having a living room and family room play area greatly helps the girls stay busy and happy(ier) while at home. We are planning on redoing the living room setup in the next week or so- I am comfortable letting everyone roam the main floor, even when I’m solo, as long as the stairs and dog door are blocked. The girls love running around in the living room, outside of the baby prison, and looking out the windows, playing with shoes or cooking utensils, or chasing around the animals. They all seem to enjoy window licking also…

The next step is to convert the dining room to be more kid friendly and give us more space. A third “station”, the new, rebuilt back deck, is also quite the hit and allowing us to enjoy some of the beautiful Alaska sun! The baby lawn chairs are out and the walkers are used to climb on and run back and forth with. We still need a better gate to block the deck stairs, and will get that project started soon when Grandpa Cliff visits next week.

Sleep: Bedtime routine is still going fine. For the most part, other than a few outlier nights, everyone goes to sleep in about 10 minutes once they are down at 8:00 PM. By about midnight we almost always have someone with us for a couple hours; although putting them back in their cribs has gotten a bit easier and they don’t have to be fully asleep for us to set them back down. The consistent thing remains it’s nearly always a different baby. One night Harper will be the grumpy one, and the next night it will be Emerie, or Reagan, and then switch! They are consistently inconsistent about it. And I also find the better sleep we get, the crankier the day seems to be. Try to figure that one out…

Playtime: Playtime continues to become more rambunctious as the days pass. We now have three “pint sized explorers” that want to check out anything and everything around them.

This week the girls discovered how to climb onto the couches downstairs, with Emerie leading the charge and making it all the way onto the window sill after a few tries. They are so very proud when they walk across the cushions, clearly showing they have no fear and don’t realize they can fall off. We enjoyed a solid two months of brief relaxation at night where the girls would play on the floor in the family room and we could attempt to watch an episode of television (slowly marathoning Parks and Rec and some of The Office) while sitting on the couch. Those days are gone. Now the girls all want to climb up and explore their newfound skills.

Emerie figured out how to climb up to the window sill…great…

Everyone LOVES peek-a-boo and patty cake. We are working on a few new songs now too like “head, shoulders, knees, and toes.” The girls instigate peek-a-boo to us and each other, often using a blanket or random pair of pants or shirt that is on the floor. This creates a lot of giggles from everyone.

I am anxiously awaiting the “triplet talk” to begin. Everyone interacts a lot more since their birthday, but we don’t yet hear the baby chatter. There is a lot of giggling between them, but no gibberish yet. Here’s a video from last night with quite the commotion in the kitchen. Silly babies.

Dancing: Everyone enjoys a little hip and butt shaking now. While almost all music triggers at least one kiddo to dance at a time, other specific songs have great affect on everyone. Current favorites include Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, Patty Cake, a few Ariana Grande songs Craig keeps playing, and of course some Baby Shark melodies.

Much more to come as the mobility continues. I can say month 12-13 we probably the easier months for far in this triplet journey and we are edging back into a bit harder. Why? Those two months everyone started walking, but not climbing. So they were mobile enough to move decently and play and learn new things, but not so good at it that they could climb on the couch or take off full sprint in three different directions like they do now!

I spy with my little eye(s)…

Since Emerie’s cataract diagnosis, it’s been greatly on our minds if Harper and Reagan would share this issue and require the same procedure. Because they are identicals, we know there’s high probability that all three will share lots of things, good and bad. The doctor told us it could go either way since there is no way to know exactly when her cataracts developed.

We spent our Friday afternoon at the eye doctor, hanging out with both girls in an office less than equipped for 70+ degree weather (that’s hot for here ok!). Emerie had a fun one-on-one afternoon with Miss Chris while we took the other two in.

Unlike their sister, both girls were quite cooperative for the doctor, with Harper only making one peep from the eye drops. Reagan didn’t fuss at all and actually cooperated with great eye contact with Dr. Winkle. She was a pro!

While we waited for the girls’ eyes to dilate and the doctor tended to another patient, we entertained the girls with Baby Shark and Patty-cake. They explored the exam room and tried to climb up the exam chairs. They also enjoyed us sliding and spinning around on the doctor’s chair and some brief toddler dancing. I mean how cute is this…

Both eye exams proved what we were hoping for. Neither Harper or Reagan have any visible cataracts and both present with good vision right now. What a load of stress off our shoulders!

Harper was a little less excited at the checkup, and after further analyzing she has enough of a astigmatism that she is right on the edge of needing glasses. As the doctor explained it to us, her eyes are shaped more like a football than the roundness of a soccer ball. It’s something to monitor as she grows, but she doesn’t need any correction yet. With some luck she might not need it at all! Kids often outgrow it so fingers crossed.

Reagan also has a minor astigmatism, although less significant than Harper’s. All in all, it looks like Emerie will be the kiddo in glasses as a toddler and we’ll recheck the other two on their next birthday.

Emerie continues to wear a patch an hour per day. We’ve mildly slacked on that time the last two days with her cold making her unbearably upset during patch time. When she doesn’t have the cold, distractions keep her from full baby rage and time passes quickly. Post surgery patch time moods should also improve, as she will be able to see out of the corrected eye better.

A few other fun things with the Douglets this week. Emerie started choking on a cracker (not fun) but when Craig tried to get it out of her mouth, she chomped down really hard on his finger. Would you ever believe this adorable face would do such a thing?! Silly baby.

Big Emerie smiles

Outside playtime is a new daily joy, especially with the gorgeously sunny week we are having! The girls have taken to it quite well and some wonderful coworkers gave us several new toys, like a playhouse! Everyone still likes to eat rocks, grass, dirt, and anything else available outside, but they also like to open and close the playhouse windows and climb on the little tike slide. Emerie has even figured out how to climb it with her shoes on and then go down on her butt, unassisted. When did they get so grown up?!

Playtime with friends

They also run three different directions at all times, so outside time can be stressful! Everyone is getting used to shoe wearing since we are outside now. At first they walked around like dogs in new booties or just stood still looking at us; now they are pros and run around in their little summer jellies.

Saturday morning the three discovered escape from the parents is possible through the tiny dog door in the dining room. I didn’t think they would figure that one out so quick…thanks a lot animals…Harper made it through in no time and was running across the deck by the time I made it outside!

It appears teamwork is starting to occur, like this video proves! They are started to briefly work together on things (when they aren’t smacking each other with toys), so I know we aren’t too far from the trying to knock the playpen down in a triple escape effort.

Post Lenticonus Cataract

When you hear the word cataract, do you think of fading eye sight affecting someone like a grandparent, or generally someone your parents age or older? I definitely did, until now.

I never considered the idea that one of my children, at a year of age no less, could be presenting with pediatric cataract eye sight issues.

Emerie has had a bit of a lazy, wandering left eye the past few months. We forgot to ask about it at her year appointment, but had a follow up a couple weeks later for her ears. The pediatrician immediately referred us to a pediatric ophthalmologist to determine the underlying cause. After two appointments, the doctors confirm she indeed has a cataract on the lens of her left eye, known as a Post Lenticonus Cataract. As explained to us, the vision in her left is clouded around the center from the cataract, sort of like wearing a dirty contact that doesn’t come out and blurs vision.

Cataracts can actually occur at any age and develop over time or be present at birth. We estimate Em started showing eye symptoms just shy of her first birthday and don’t believe she was born with them or that they were caused by being a preemie. Harper and Reagan do not present with anything, but because they are identicals, everyone gets a checkups earlier than the typical 18 month eye exam. We have appointments scheduled for them in several weeks.

One constant reminder for myself, as we go through this new journey, is to stay optimistic. It’s a good thing we discovered it early, and all about perspective! We could dwell that it’s so terrible and scary, that she’s so young with this issue; or we can look at it as early detection gives us better odds at fixing her eyesight for her life, even if there will be a bit of a struggle to get where we need to be.

The first few years of life are incredibly important for eyesight. In fact, up to about age eight eyes continue to develop before leveling out for adulthood. In addition to the cataract, Emerie’s brain is teaching itself to rely on her good eye because it’s fully functional (and perfect according to the doc!). This can be even more detrimental if the problem is not fixed, and actually make her bad eye’s vision worse. Patching the good eye for a short time each day aims to slowly retrain her brain to use the other eye too; something Miss Emerie is not going to like.

The tiny patches arrived this week. In about a month we will go in for day surgery, where her clouded lens will be replaced with a new, clear one. Typically kids this young don’t receive a new lens and have to wear a contact until they are older and a new one can be inserted. In our case, the surgeon believes she is big enough and says it is better to replace hers now and we will reassess as she matures. She will also need glasses once her eye heals up. It should be quite the adventure to see how her sisters respond to something on her face. I’m told once she gets used to glasses; she won’t even tug at them, but who knows what Reagan and Harper will do!

The first day of patching went better than anticipated. In fact, Emerie did about 40 minutes with minimal fussing. I had angry, screaming Em pictured in my mind for this, so it was nice to see that with a little distraction she would forget about it for a few moments at a time. We purchased some fun, blinking light type toys that she can see better through the blurriness and that helped entertain her a bit. The key is to only bring them out during patch time so they stay exciting. The real hit was giving her a snack in each hand. Can’t pull off the eye patch when you are double fisting some vege-straws!

The second day was a bit grumpier, but we made it to the targeted hour of patch time. Once it’s on for a few minutes, distractions definitely make her more cooperative. It also helps when we put it on her correctly…and let her run around with her sisters in the living room.

Surprisingly neither Harper or Reagan seemed to notice the patch and went about their exploration/play time in the living room right along with their sister. Every few minutes Emerie would tug at the patch in irritation, but not scream about it and we made a point to shift her focus onto another toy or snack before she became mad. Hopefully we will get this new activity in our daily routine down with minimal issues.

We would appreciate prayers- most of you that know me, know I am a little weird when it comes to eye issues of any kind. This is not one of those times I can just avoid it because it makes me queasy to think about. We are hoping for the best!