Charmed I’m Sure

Today’s daycare pickup was one for the books; and for once it wasn’t for misbehavior or some terribly stressful mom moment…more so something funny and memorable!

The girls spotted me opening the main school door before I even entered the building and all proceeded to run up, yelling their own version of the same event that happened a few minutes prior, completely intelligible to me.

It turns out everyone went potty a few minutes earlier and while their friend was taking her turn, Harper dropped her beloved Princess Ariel charm across her friend and into the toilet. It was then peed on, and not by Harper mind you. That is apparently an important element to the story. Now I kid you not, this event must have been the most significant thing to happen to the toddler class ALL day, and signifies that girls all go to the bathroom together from a young age- and that you just never know what will happen in there.

Now back to the story, with everyone yelling incoherently, I am dragged into the main school bathroom. Everyone crowds into the first stall immediately, shouting at me to look and there it is. That poor, poor Ariel charm sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Is it fitting that the charm is Ariel, and was about to head off to her watery afterlife? I think so.

Anyway, I repeated that my arm was not about to go into the toilet’s pee water and extract it, which was met with frustrations and then insistence that I had to extract it, especially from Harper. We had this discussion at home a week or two ago when a beloved bead was dropped into #2, and that met its afterlife without intervention. I repeated my no stance and she begrudgingly flushed it…and the charm didn’t move! That didn’t help my case one bit…at least cleaner water entered the scenario though. What do you think happened next?

Dramatic music.

Being a parent is so glamorous. I mean, this is the stuff of legends. OF COURSE, I rolled up my sleeve and had the pleasure of dunking my arm into the no (wo)man’s zone and retrieved that little smiling, patronizing princess face. This delighted the tiny humans surrounding me and after a thorough soap washing of my forearm and the treasured jewel, it was returned to an appreciative Harper. Reagan and Emerie supported my use of soap and then zoomed out of the restroom behind their sister, to go tell a classmate that all was well in the world and Mom had solved the problem!

So yes, that happened. Can’t say I’m proud of that experience, but at least the girls were excited to scream at Craig when we pulled in the garage that Mom put her arm in the toilet! Way to only share part of the story, kiddos. Good times.

Never a dull moment. At least this long and stressful week ended on a hilarious (and disgusting) note. And in case you wanted to know, the charm (which I called a bead and was corrected) made it all the way home. Now who knows where it is!

Veins of Glitter

The past month passed in a breeze! Not sure if that credit goes to a busy work load or the increased sunlight. It was a nice break to have no major illnesses like during the holidays and a visit from Grandma Sue brought excitement for the girls and a welcomed break for us tired-out parents.

Fancy Grandma

Everyone is on a major dress up kick, begging to wear princess dresses after school, showing up to school with bejeweled crowns and tutus, fancying up their outfits with lots of necklaces, beaded bracelets and sparkly rings, and don’t forget Grandma’s fancy princess heels! Tutus are not easily found these days and I’ve likely purchased every single one I could find locally, encouraging the girls to choose their color preferences and wear them whenever they’d like. Sometimes a princess dress just isn’t enough and they require an additional tutu to complete the full look. Lugging around backpacks and purses, like mom does, also helps accessorize the styles and occasionally I’ll find them adding hats and mittens for a more winter friendly feel. The worst part about this dress up stage? Getting your foot stomped on by one of those damn heels- it hurts!!

In addition to getting so beautiful (their words), they inflicted the “beauty is pain” mantra back on their grandmother during an extended hair and jewelry session one afternoon. Luckily for them, Grandma Sue boasts a great head of long hair to play with, resulting in many hair clips, bows, fake colorful hair and adorning necklaces to complete her upgraded look. It is safe to say it also included some ouches and possibly loss of hair or skin cells; but hey, beauty is pain…right?

The girls continuing to play together more and show creativity in their free play. For example, Harper will get all dressed up and accessorized, find a purse, shopping cart and animal or baby companion, and let me know she is going to the shopping store! This usually entails getting foods to “cook” for dinner and when questioned on what type of store, she always responds a shopping store. When they were smaller she always responded with Lowes or Target. Reagan often goes down to the family room and plays solo with her toys; seemingly enjoying her own space and playing islands, a game Nolan and Josiah created a couple weeks ago on a play date, or with her princesses. If you sneak up on her, you can witness her singing to herself! Now that daylight exists after school pickup, Emerie wants to play out on the deck or spiral in circles on the swings in the backyard. This is a great step from her adamant disdain for outdoor cold and gets her some space when her sisters are doing other things.

Life is a party, so why not dress like it?!

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The expanded independence on free play also shows Harper and Reagan becoming thick as thieves and teaming up against or excluding Emerie more often than I’d like to see. They will lock themselves in the bathroom (you know, to make a huge mess) and purposely won’t let Emerie, who really wants to, join; even when they are being naughty. They seem to come up with other little games and not readily let her in on them; a cycle I plan to break quickly and discourage as they get older. Having two kids, any two, generally results in good play; adding in a third is a constant issue that I’m not sure will ever really go away.

Reagan and Harper playing outside together

The tattle tailing saga continues, and while annoying, it can also be so hilarious. For example, two were downstairs playing nicely the other night until I could heard some sort of disagreement and Emerie hollered something indistinctly. Reagan, the CEO of the tattler department in our house, comes running into the kitchen to inform the adults that Emerie said Daddy’s word! She said daddy’s word! Now all of you that know my explicit and creatively worded husband know that, well…that could mean anything right? We tell Reagan to stop tattling and Emerie to calm it with the explicits; but in true Douglas style, Harper, who witnessed all this from the kitchen table, looks at me with a smile and responds in a serious whisper, Mom, Daddy’s word is f&$k. I about died laughing at her very dead-serious face. At least they know they aren’t supposed to say it!

Moving on from the lovely life expletives, Grandma Sue’s visit was full of all kinds of baking fun. The girls cooked in all kinds of attire including aprons, tutus, full princess decor and even sunglasses throughout the almost two week stay. Each kiddo requested something specific from the moment she set foot off the airplane, including breaded Olaf’s, cookies (Reagan claims Craig and I don’t make them for her which is funny!) and lots and lots of homemade donuts. All participated in different steps for each goodie and you better believe all wanted to eat them! Sue even placated their color demands and made black, green AND purple donuts, as requested by those irresistibly adorable faces. If you were wondering, the colors looked like a Halloween party was about to happen. The M&M cookie bars were also quite the hit, with everyone starting super slow, placing one M&M at a time into the batter. After a few minutes watching each kiddos’ separate pattern, Emerie decided the start “the Emerie method,” meaning throw everything in at once with super speed and vanish to do something else.

The girls attended their second theater movie but first time with Craig and I. Right after they started at the new daycare last summer, the whole class attended a real movie and they claim to remember going to it. Only one other family was in the whole room as we watched Trolls World Tour and munched on mounds of popcorn. By the end everyone visited the bathroom at least once and switched seats to snuggle with a different adult. All three are already asking to go again- we might have to make that happen since they did so well sitting and being quiet throughout.

The big fourth birthday is right around the corner, which means the work stress I’ve felt from the last month is converting into party planning stress. It also means we are almost out of winter and spring is (almost) on it’s way. I cannot tell you how excited I am for this next season; we’ve waited a long time to be able to go out and about and have fun without worrying they will run off or not be able to handle new routine!

All three are aware that the next birthday is theirs (even though all claim to be turning five!) and explain after them is Tyler and then Kaden’s. My mind still resists the idea that my fourth year of parenting is about to begin and then other times I forget they are still so young, since vocabularies are as expansive as their thoughts and opinions!

Winter Sweethearts

Same dresses as last year!

February always seems like such a long month, even when in reality it is the shortest one of all (maybe it’s lucky it’s in the winter and not the summer!)! It drags on for a number of reasons you’ll all agree with me on- it’s the end swing of the eternal Alaska winter, still pretty dark outside (but improving on light), and by now parents have exhausted all the creative, indoor play ideas and are so tired of putting snow gear on and off just in time to hear mom, I have to poop. Yep. Pretty glamorous.

Nothing too crazy is happening at the Douglas household as we try to maintain sanity for the remainder of the winter season. I latched onto the Valentine train this year and tracked down some cute crafts, outfits and recipes to try while we maintained our indoor status due to colds, the darkness, and the general sopping wet snow that’s crummy to sled on.

Valentine weekend was chocked full of cookie decorating, some sledding after a fresh snowfall and four wheel riding, the jump park and very wild, grumpy and overtired girls. Craig mixed the sugar cookie dough on Saturday and the girls assisted shaping it into hearts, flowers and butterflies on Sunday morning. We tried out a new princess icing that “shined” and glossed over each cookie in a fancy pink color and the girls decorated a bunch of cookies to gift to their teachers the following day. In the midst of all this sugar, Craig also made an epic batch of from-scratch cinnamon rolls.

The girls flip flopped on their enthusiasm for decorating, with Harper on board the most and Reagan picking up the slack. Emerie was a bit more enthusiastic than her usual two cookies and out and everyone was thrilled to eat ONE heart shaped selection at the end of the chaos.

This year the girls created custom valentine boxes using crayons, a million stickers of numerous variety (puffy, glittery, sparkly and crazy shapes) and a lot of discussion on placement. Reagan colored the entire box with crayons before sticker commencement, while Emerie and I argued that stickers should go on the outside of the box, which she found entirely unreasonable.

Megan and I filled out the princess valentine cards that night and everyone brought a chunk to school for their party the following day. I did not anticipate the level of goodies requiring collection and shoved everything into my one bag at pickup. The girls then managed to push all the candy and tiny toys into their fancy boxes and demand to taste more candies. The slinkies and light up balls were definitely the favorites from the day, in addition to the sugar.

Craig and I managed to sneak away for the night and do a craft class together while Auntie Megan graciously came over sans the boys and made mini pizzas and fought the girls off the newly acquired candy. Overall it was a good holiday and we greatly appreciate Megan taking on our tribe for a few hours.

While not too much craziness has occurred since my last blog a couple weeks ago, I’m happy to share a few of the “pre-schoolisms” (toddlerisms sounds so much better!) that fly out of the mouths of my children at random. Things they will likely deny as they get older, of course, but are oh so fun to record for my enjoyment in my older age. And these are the only the ones I’ve remembered to write down…

  • Reagan, sitting on the toilet (which makes it so much better): Mom, pee-pees and penises are gross right? Even though everyone has one?
  • Reagan (in the bathroom again): I dropped my coin in my poop. Get it out! GET IT OUT! For the record, I did NOT get it out and sent it to fishie heaven with everything else.
  • Emerie: Grandma, Elsa is afraid and she is running away from her sister really fast and builds a castle and quickly said so many more story words I couldn’t write them down fast enough!
  • Harper, any time she strongly disagrees with me on something, more often when she’s not listening to save her life: You’re not my mom anymore. You’re NOT MY MOM! This one is just so fun and I’ve yet to hear it thrown into a dad-ism, just directed at me. It’s especially fun when screamed at you in the middle of the grocery store.
  • Reagan, running over to tattle about something a sister did the prior day, when we tell her to stop tattling, she responds with: I’m not tattling; I’m just talking to you. Such a smart ass.
  • Emerie, completely asleep and yet yelling my direction: Harper took my toy! That’s my toy! and a shriek and then rolls over, still asleep.

The girls are now more aware of the meaning of time. While the yesterdays and tomorrows don’t always come out right, they understand if you say number of sleeps or refer to a school day versus the weekend. Everyone keeps asking when Grandma Sue will visit next and we started counting the number of sleeps after the questions become on constant repeat. Reagan especially asks several times a day, while Harper and Emerie keep demanding her presence solely for the donuts and breaded Olafs they get when she visits.

We successfully attended our most recent triplet dentist appointment with three stacking appointments in mid-afternoon. Luckily waking up early from daycare nap time and whisking them to the appointment went better than we could have hoped. Last fall we kept two in the car with a show and sent one in at a time (with Craig) and swapped out each time; this visit we brought everyone inside at once and it went decently. Reagan immediately went back with Craig while Harper, Emerie and I chilled in the waiting room and watched “New Pan” (Rapunzel TV show). I believe it’s success was attributed to being allowed to hold Mom’s prized iPad.

Surprisingly our toughest client for the visit was Emerie, who didn’t quite want to follow directions when asked and was more interested in goofing off with the toothpaste for her teeth cleaning (which was strawberry, by the way). Emerie is incredibly behaved at her eye doctor appointments but doesn’t seem to enjoy other body part visits at all. Not all doctors can be as loved as Dr. Winkle is in our house. Reagan and Harper loved the dental attention and chilled with their cool glasses on. Craig recorded a funny video clip of Reagan playing with the water sucker and living the dream; quite the cool kid.

A couple weeks back we rearranged the girls’ toddler beds a bit in hopes of better overnight sleep. Did it make a difference? Of course not. But hopefully it’ll keep Emerie from overheating next to the heater all night. Well, I should say for the few hours she actually sleeps in her bed each night.

Dress up ladies

We continue encouraging the effort of actual bed sleeping by beginning a new form of bribery. If anyone sleeps in their bed, all night long for five whole nights, they get ice cream. Harper just hit her first five nights, although she’s great at sleeping in her bed all night and has been for months, just not recorded on paper. She was very pleased to receive the ice cream sandwich reward while Reagan super pouted that she needed one more sticker to get hers. Reagan is close to five nights, which seems like a crazy miracle given the last few months of adamant demands to sleep in our bed around midnight every night. Emerie is still at a solid zero nights in her own bed; but in her defense she gets up, collects her blanket, all her animals and sometimes even her pillow, and treks to the guest bedroom where she will sleep for the rest of the night. Sometimes I’ll hear her call us, but more often than not she now does it all by herself. We haven’t had any epiphanies how to fix this one yet, but really it’s not the worst thing in the world.

And lastly, Emerie’s surgery was a couple weeks ago and she’s doing well. She managed to lose a glasses lens at school earlier this week and then Craig had to repair the backup glasses Thank goodness we have three different pairs! Her eyelid droop is similar to last summer; it just took a couple days to take effect and will wear off in two to three months. Eye patching each morning doesn’t seem to be any worse than before, which is great, and we ordered some new patch patterns she enjoys selecting each morning.

Back to the Botox

In the latest saga of Emerie’s eye surgeries, here we are again today, up for another minor Botox procedure at the surgery center with Doctor Winkle. When we last did this procedure last summer, it helped realign her eye from trending inward and avoided a more invasive (i.e. cutting) surgery that builds scar tissue each time we have to do it. The hope today is that the botox injection will encourage her brain to straighten the eye on its own.

Now that she is a bit older and more understanding of things around her, Emerie recognizes when sisters go to school and she goes to the doctor and is not upset about seeing the beloved Doctor Winkle. Emerie talked Craig into bringing him a fresh donut at her last pre-op appointment and is always happy to go. In fact, Harper and Reagan are often disappointed they don’t get to visit him and ask when they can go.

COVID rules continue to limit how many adults can go back per kid (one) so I took Em this morning while Craig took the other two to preschool. As we drove past the building with Dr. Winkle’s office, she questioned if we were actually going to see him or not. After a little Frozen movie screening while I filled out the loads of paperwork, we were back in pre-op where she changed into the hospital gown, reluctantly put on the bright yellow hospital socks, and dressed her stuffed animals in the hair net that under no circumstance was going willingly on her head. After the Versed kicked in I enjoyed watching my daughter try to grab the colors out of the Hungry Caterpillar book and decided I would choose a better topic for the next visit. I mean, depriving a kiddo of food and drink prior to surgery means I shouldn’t bring a book alll about food, right?!

The whole procedure took only 30 minutes or so. By the time I sat down, pulled out my iPad and drank some coffee in the waiting room, the doctor was done and giving me an update. Everything went great, and unlike last time, he opted for gassed anesthesia to keep her under- meaning she didn’t have to ventilate or get poked with an IV like all the previous surgeries. This meant less time and a less grumpy kiddo waking up. Since needling the muscle is minimally invasive and only takes a couple minutes, it was much appreciated.

She was snuggled up and still asleep when I made it back to post-op- one minute she was still out and the next sitting up and asking the nurse for a popsicle. After said popsicle was devoured and two apple juices consumed, I convinced her getting dressed was a good idea and we were on our way home.

All in all, everything went smoothly and I’m glad to have made it through another of these without any hiccups! She is already back to her normal self, amid a red and mildly droopy eye, and running around the house wearing a Tangled costume and ballet slippers.

Thanks for all the prayers! ❤

No Worse for (Winter) Wear

All in all early January was pretty subdued and without too much excitement (good or bad!). The high point of winter means dark days, various illnesses, busy work hours, and a lot of entertaining the littles indoors since the cold air seems to make them cough more.

Craig and I took all three to the doctor this week just to ensure we aren’t missing something on the prolonged coughing fits. It’s been a bit since a triple pediatrician visit and it started out super strong, with all three hanging out and “reading” their mini princess books and cooperating with each other; by the end of the visit they were climbing the walls of the waiting area and ready to go. They all did unusually well at obeying the doctor, who checked lungs, ears, nose and mouth with great cooperation. The pediatrician confirmed everyone just has a viral cough, not croup, not COVID, not RSV, not pneumonia from me (thank goodness), just a mild, fever-less cough. Good news I guess!

A few fun outings have happened in the past two weeks. I ventured out to the valley with Megan and the boys, getting a solid driving nap on our way out, and spent a full afternoon and evening at the play center in Wasilla. It was our first visit and the girls loved the climbing area, spending a lot of time going up and down and chasing each other. At some point Reagan went down the big slide at the top so Emerie followed her, which resulted in a tearful discussion of I went down the REALLY big slide and it was scary. It hurt me! Needless to say, she only went down it once.

We devoured snacks, rode the tiny train and spinner rides multiple times, and played a few games. The girls all enjoyed the basketball one and even made some hoops; watching all three play at once is definitely a good source of entertainment. In several cases the ball hit the rim and immediately ricochet straight into someone’s face- causing quite the moment of laughter. Calm down, the balls were much softer than real basketballs….which aren’t so fun when colliding with your nose. The girls enjoyed any game that involved whacking things and tested out their fruit ninja skills with Oaki. Toward the end of the night we watched a few friends race around the track on the other side of the center, with five very excited littles watching. I did not plan to be out until after 8 on a school night (who are we kidding, any night), but the visit went so well the time passed quickly.

It was wonderful to feel more like what I assume “normal” parents feel like during outings. I wasn’t chasing the kids around the whole time to not lose them, wasn’t stressed out and hoping for time to be over so we could go home; I was actually enjoying an afternoon with my girls and not feeling impending stress. Everyone was clearly tired as we loaded up about the time we’d normally be settling down for bedtime, and managed to keep them awake and entertained (annoyed) the entire hour drive with all the favorite Disney tunes…Frozen, Encanto, Home, and so on. And of course, more snacks.

Outings over the past month or two continue to be stroller-less, which is quite the change over the past three years. I should say, stroller-less AND survivable, for the most part. The snow plays a small factor is containment as we walk into a store or the jump park, but overall we are just getting better at it. Excluding the few horrible times that are sprinkled throughout the good trips, it is wonderful to be able to walk from the car to the destination and not haul a thousand things. Not all times are smooth or wonderful, like the other day when I picked up the girls at preschool. They proceeded to run from the gym across the whole school lobby and to the front door with their dresses pulled down to their waists, shoes littering the floor and bare chests on display, and would not listen or come back to me. Those are the beautiful memories to hold onto when they are older…right? The jump park is another spot that one parent can easily take all three and keep the damage to a minimum and it’s really nice.

The girls are currently all on a dress up kick, and while you’d assume Harper would be leading that charge with her love of all things pink, black and princessery, Emerie is currently the one obsessed with her Snow White two piece outfit from Uncle William at Christmas. The past few weeks she’s worn it to school over her clothes a number of times and every night the battle of convincing her it isn’t pajamas occurs. Harper is more into the tutus, dress up heels and crown headbands while Reagan occasionally accepts an article of clothing, especially when delivered by her sisters; overall her favorite “dress-up” article of clothing is the plain green hat from June and January, which she constantly wears and carts around. The other evening Reagan was wearing a pink princess cloak and Harper called her out, claiming she can’t wear pink, you’re Reagan and you wear blue! It’s funny to say, but we definitely hit the nail on the head on who correlates to what color, since we didn’t make the call based on personality at birth. Harper loves girly and pink things, Emerie likes purple (also blue but not the point) and Reagan appears to be the tomboy and prefers teal and blue when given the option.

Snoozing on the way to the valley’s play center.

And then, when you take away the color from a picture, it’s VERY hard to tell who is who, even more so with eyes shut and sans glasses! Don’t you think?!

We have returned to the question phase about my name, with the constant why do we call you mom but Kaden calls you Becca? Can we call you Becca? Daddy’s name is Craig; my mom’s name is Becca, but we don’t call her Becca. So many complicated thoughts to work out.

Many other kiddo musings are fun to interpret and not often understand unless one is paying attention. These types of things must contribute to mom brain, since the lack of understanding their intent often results in rage and meltdowns…so one must store these jewels in their mind until the kid moves onto the next one. I enjoy writing them down, since it shows their quirks and what things they enjoy and latch onto!

Last year the main example of this related to listening to or watching Pan, more commonly known as Tangled or Rapunzel to everyone else on earthy, and they still call her that to this day, but others are definitely popping up into every day conversation. Like when Emerie asks me to play the castle song or the horse song in the car, can you guess those ones from Frozen? She’s referring to Let It Go, the song where Elsa builds the castle while she sings and the song in Frozen II when she wrangles the horse. Reagan is now a huge Rihanna fan, insisting each night that I play the shadow song, which refers to one of Rihanna’s songs from the movie Home, where she sings about the sun and a shadow. Reagan constantly sings that chorus or hums it to herself. Everyone requests the bubble song from the same movie, referring to the main opening scene when all the Boov people come to earth in their bubbles. As mentioned in a previous blog, my favorite interpretation to anything are the requests for the crack house movie (Encanto).

Who knows what requests will be next, but I can’t wait to see. We are gaining five minutes of daylight a day, everyone is starting to get healthier from their coughs, and I can sit and write this on my long-awaited, new living room couch; things are already starting to look up!