The last two weeks, I keep thinking that I survived a triplet pregnancy, the infant stage times three, age two challenges, potty training, our three-nagers’ attitudes, eye surgeries and ear infections, all to be taken down by a seemingly never ending bout of croup.
We are kicking off week three with this crud and it doesn’t seem to be improving. The lack of sleep feels like when the girls were tiny, although to their credit, they are trying so hard to sleep and exist during the coughing fits, which are often. We are back to the dreaded everyone-wakes-up-at-night-and-wants-cuddles stage and breathe a huge sigh of relief if anyone sleeps through the coughing.
While the croup is nothing new to our household, it’s never lasted this long and certainly not for all three. Every remedy imagined was tried: spoonfuls of honey at bedtime, inhalers, nebulizers, steroids from the pediatrician, Tylenol, steamy showers, humidifiers at night, pillow propping; and yet, it holds on!! The only small relief seems to be the chewable Tylenol right at lights out, which soothes their throats enough for a few hours of sleep. I’m starting to think the dusty air is encouraging it to hang out longer; maybe more allergy testing is in our future since the latter part of last summer proved rough, maybe I’m just convincing myself it’s something more than it is.
Since this crud continues its grip, more time is spent at home and we try to avoid too many enclosed, indoor places, especially since the average public judges one cough, let alone multiple, like the plague is going to hop out of our pores and leap into their bloodstream…at any moment.
One of the main advances during this unpleasant illness is coloring and drawing. All three are now excited to make their own creations, not just color pictures, and I’m greatly enjoying what comes out of the hours at the table. In the past few weeks we’ve witnessed an increase in ideas and effort. For example, Harper knows H stands for Harper and how to draw an “h”. This often results in full pages of the letter in different colors and a preschooler very excited to show it off. Reagan and Emerie both mimicked it; Reagan decided the “R” is too difficult to try and Emerie managed to draw some basic “E’s” on her paperwork.
In addition to basic lettering, the drawings are improving leaps and bounds. I always pictured my kiddos with great imaginations for drawing, even though I have minimal skill on paper myself (at least AutoCAD remains my jam!). Harper colored very fancy rainbow clouds the other day and is now on a full rainbow trend, drawing it completely unassisted. Emerie is a bit more interested in joining in on the fun but still the least enthusiastic of the three. Some evenings she is all about it, kneeling at the living room table; other nights she’s happy to do her own thing while Harper and Reagan do it. And then there’s Reagan, who can sit at the table forever and color, draw or paint. She now insists her creations of dots and lines are members of the family, and will list them off in order of importance (usually starts with Grandparents Lon, Sue, Cliff and Anne and then (of course) Tyler and Mom and Dad (apparently Tyler qualifies on the same level as parents) and after that? Savaya, THEN Jaren and Chatum. It’s pretty cute to see how her mind works.
Reagan spent several days the past month at home with us during work days. She effortlessly mimics her parents and works on “her iPad” (princess laptop) and her glittery (not real) cell phone, sits and colors at herdesk in her office, and will shush you and hold up a hand, saying she’s on the phone or in a meeting. Is that really how Craig and I sound? All in all, it’s great that coloring can entertain her while we get much needed work done, and she does great playing, or “working,” at home without her sisters.
Emerie now finishes every “mom” and “dad” with a lift in her voice, as if to ask a question. Uh, dad?Uh, mom? It is very endearing and Craig now answers her back, with an “uh, Emerie?” The daily eye patching continues to be more of a battle each week and her teacher tells us some days she refuses to wear it for the morning. As a mom, it sucks knowing how much she dislikes doing it everyday; but also as a mom…it’s ensuring that her non-dominant eye feeds her brain visuals and gets used and grows her vision. It’s tough and yet extremely necessary- in addition to her disagreement on wearing it, she also takes her glasses off and leaves them places constantly. I’ll pick her up from school with glasses no where to be found (and found eventually). That medical tape may be making a comeback soon!
Harper, who is most familiar with the croup, is definitely not a fan of it this time around. When swept into our bed for a few hours because she unsettles from the cough during the night; at some point she demands you return her to her own spot or there is hell to pay! And reminders the next morning that Mommy wouldn’t let me sleep in my bed! If only this could rub off on both sisters. She continues to be a biking superstar and balances on her balance bike as she cruises down the street.
Everything else in our house currently relates to beads, ballet flats, water play, or bike riding…with some movies in between when the cough worsens. I always forget how we survive all winter, once it’s nice enough to be outdoors again for the summer and the kids can come and go with outdoor self entertainment. Questions about getting the pool out are already underway; I’ve promised by the time the leaves are completely out and green, it’ll be time for some back yard swimming.
I’ll end this update with a random revelation the other day at pickup. A random mom that I do not know stopped me in the hallway to explain her kiddos came home the prior day and informed her that “if you have three babies, they get chopped out of you.” With a laugh I responded that the girls do not know what a c-section is, although it is how they entered the world. Good to know triplet topics are still cruising through their school after almost a year! Now if the croup would just stop….
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.
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.
This holiday season the girls are no longer fearful of the jolly red man and acted like such big girls meeting him earlier this month. We overdressed everyone in their fancy Christmas dresses and loaded up in negative six degree temperatures for a quick visit.
So very Alaskan of us, the passenger door of the car wouldn’t latch due to the cold, so we drove there manually holding it shut so we wouldn’t miss our reserved time slot.
The girls all approached cautiously but without cowering, which is much more impressive than last year, which even had a anti-covid glass divider at the time. They talked to him and quietly answered his inquiries and questions. When asked for their names, Harper and Reagan were more silent while Emerie responded for all three. The funniest response was all three telling Santa that they don’t ever fight! Insert major eye roll here, since we ALL know that definitely isn’t the truth!
This holiday season was full of colds, ear infections and pneumonia! Not exactly a great combination for a fun filled holiday experience, but we managed to enjoy it as much as possible, went to the gingerbread town downtown, decorated cookies a few times, colored a million ornaments, and spent a great deal of time at home.
Even with all the illness, the girls made it to almost every school day, with most symptoms seeming to appear over weekends or allowing ear infections to improve before school starts back up for the week. Each morning at breakfast the girls have a rotating request for one animals friend to attend work with us for the day and check on them after school. It’s pretty cute and so thoughtful they want us to have a friend, even if my office is only upstairs in the loft!
The girls vocabulary and explanations continue to improve and with that comes better stories about their school days. I try to ask what their favorite daily experience was at least a few days each week; sometimes they copy each other’s answers but overall everyone is getting better at individual responses. For example, they now explain games created at school. One afternoon’s favorites were Emerie playing hula hoops, Harper playing basketball with Elijah (one of the teachers aides) and Reagan’s response? Playing cows and chipmunks. After asking for clarification, she reiterated she played moooos and chipmunks with the boys that day. Another drive home prompted the response that Harper and Reagan played fall on me with Arlo and Gavin, and that this resulted in a smashed nose and tears but that the game was “so fun.” It’s intriguing to see my little pre-kindergartners start to grow and innovate their own playtimes at school, even if they sound painful!
You also get additional life advice from our big preschoolers, such as Harper’s leave your boobies out, take a shower, put your clothes on and go. Such demands and great wisdom!
After spending more time at home, especially the past few weekends, the girls get more creative during free playtime and interact more than simply fighting. Christmas Eve everyone made a subconscious decision to behave so I could relax on the couch and spent the day playing hide and seek, with their Christmas Eve present we opened that morning (mini backpacks), and finding other ways to play with each other. It was wonderful (and didn’t last lol).
Weather warmed up and cooperated enough for the first sledding adventure of the winter. Last year at this time it was more like our tenth sledding trip; this year has been so cold and full of sickness! Tyler trekked into town and participated in the fun and the girls were so thrilled. After a few minutes Emerie was entirely over the cold air and coughing, so Craig took her back home while Harper and Reagan continued going up and down the hill. Last year Harper was all about speeding down solo; this year Reagan seems to enjoy it more.
Not many other Christmas adventures happened this season, with pneumonia really laying me up and taking all my energy just to try to help Craig a little with the girls while I try to feel better. Luckily presents were wrapped earlier in the week and ready to roll under the tree, or I’m not sure we would have opened them. I gave up trying to find the Christmas stockings and ended up throwing all the planned nick knacks into their trick or treat buckets to go through, prompting some questions on if we were going trick or treating!
Christmas morning wasn’t anything too crazy, pretty relaxed in fact, with the girls patiently waiting to open anything until we gave the green light. It’s quite impressive that not a single curious child opened a present unsupervised this whole month! The method to my madness, last year and probably for many years to come, is to use the same wrapping paper for three gifts at a time, so everyone opens something the same or similar at the same time. Then a few other sets of presents were specifically chosen for the likes of each kiddo, which they all opened at once but were different things. Lastly a couple things were gifts for all to share, like a princess dollhouse Craig quickly built that morning that lets the Barbie doll princesses dance to music!
It took three days to open everything and we opted out of making a fancy Christmas dinner until the house is feeling better. It wasn’t a ton of gifts, but took so much energy and the girls wanted to play with their new treasures after opening each thing. Reagan had a few panda related things and a bazaar yeti I found, since she loves Abominable. Emerie opened a box of mini magnatiles, since she loves tiny things, a new, special holder for her glasses. Harper received several new outfits for her doll and pretty hair clips. Everyone opened a mini princess house with figurines inside (Pan’s tower, Aurora’s wooded house and Belle’s home) and traded around with each other. Aunt Jenny and Uncle Keegan sent a cool fairy house, horse stable and underwater mermaid “castle” that are providing some good entertainment and everyone likes the plastic, Frozen themed container from Papa Cliff. My mom made custom doll dresses for each kiddo during her visit that turned out really adorable! I’m unsure what the favorite presents are this year, since I never quite guess right, but I’d say the dress up clothes, Elsa braid pony tails and Grandma Sue’s princess heels top the list.
This Christmas didn’t quite turn out as planned, but I am very thankful I didn’t have this dreadful illness last year when the girls didn’t independently play very much yet. Also thankful for kiddos who now enjoy movies while parents can relax a bit, with many requests for Merida (Brave), Abominable, Frozen and our latest favorite, Disney’s new Encanto, which the children have conveniently renamed the crack movie. I can’t make that up folks, and really it’s an accurate description, the whole movie is about cracks in the house!
For all those wondering, we deferred Emerie’s eye surgery until January, since everyone needs to be healthier to have it! Reagan’s ENT follow up for tubes consideration will also be next month.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. Wishing and praying for a great 2022 when these girls will turn FOUR! Also praying everyone feels better and my energy returns.
It’s been a busy November, with lots of play dates, family visits, activities and all on top of pretty cold temperatures for these south-central Alaskans. I always appreciate family visits and love that I married into a much bigger family network than I have. Craig has a big family for the girls to enjoy and grown up around during visits and through thousands of FaceTime calls. We especially love holiday visits, since it is much easier for us adults to enjoy everything with a few extra sets of hands; it’s also great knowing they are making memories and getting to know many members in the family, especially since mine is so small and much farther away! With so many things to write about, in lieu of writing a ton on our mundane, day-to-day festivities; here are the main highlights as we push from early winter to turkey time, to Christmas!
From the moment Grandma Sue and Papa Lon stepped off the airplane from Juneau, many demands occurred from the three tiny blondes to cook homemade donuts with Grandma. Keep in mind when we tried this activity in February (for Valentine’s Day) the girls refused to eat the final product but really enjoyed the uncooked dough, spreading flour and making the biggest mess possible. This time they continued to make a big, floury mess but finally ate the donuts (holes) and came back for seconds!
Reagan picked out a sprinkle covered donut Christmas ornament for Grandma to take home with her and put up on the tree. Clearly the homemade donuts are making quite the impact as they grow older; you’d agree if you tried them!!
Grandma and I volunteered at the preschool Thanksgiving luncheon on Wednesday. The three-year-old class was first up in the nicely decorated gym. Once assembled at their designated tables, everyone paired with an older kid buddy, who held their plate and assisted on food selection. The girls refused to buddy up since we were there and insisted on waiting in line with us. When questioned on food choices, all three wanted corn, a roll, carrots and pickles. No one wanted mashed potatoes (not surprising), turkey or stuffing. With a bit of parent coaxing everyone downed a turkey chunk and Harper and Reagan devoured a handful of olives. After the main course was pumpkin pie, with Harper eating only the whip cream, Emerie inhaling all the filling and not touching the crust, and Reagan eating it all!
Our goofballs continue to randomly make surrounding adults chuckle. For example, Reagan turned around one night to a lip like this and convinced us it was blood, with a story about falling and hurting her lip. Care to guess what it really was? Nail polish!
Early riser Emerie was hanging out with Grandma at the crack of dawn the other morning, repeating three times she wanted to watch Merida. Finally told Grandma to go away, since she wasn’t “listening.” Everyone now uses the word “never” and will respond I’m never doing that! or I’m never talking to you AGAIN! We don’t use that terminology very often; I’m guessing another preschool kid taught them the fun new word.
Olaf Bread for the Win
Another fun, edible craft idea from the family cook meant customized, breaded Olaf’s for Thanksgiving lunch, with each kiddo donning a cooking hat and apron and decorating their own version of the snowman. This activity was quite the hit in the morning, with specific colored sprinkles, dyed orange noses, craisins for buttons and don’t forget the eyeballs! Even more surprising, the girls consumed these beauties with lunch, eating every sweet treat off before biting into the fresh dough and bread stick arms.
Cookie decorating skills were put to the test several times over the holiday break. The girls decorated turkey cookies with mini paintbrushes and fall themed edible paint. As usually, Reagan took her time to cover ever white edge on the whole thing while Harper and Emerie more so enjoyed spreading the paint with their brushes and begging to eat them. Later in the weekend the first batch of gingerbread for the season was decorated- or more realistically I should say the girls ate sprinkles and continually asked to eat more cookies.
Putting Up the Tree
With the darkness and frigid cold weather, the Christmas tree up early is a must. This year the girls were a bit more helpful, but overall they did the same fight-over-the-tree-bag crying as last year. Everyone helped hand a few branches to Craig or I, but otherwise weren’t thrilled until the ornaments came out. Emerie decided stretching out all the wrapping ribbon looked really fun until we stopped her! Everyone enjoyed hanging their ornaments on the lower half of the tree. This year’s ornament is Frozen themed; last year was Tangled. Maybe next year it’ll be something other than a princess! And don’t let that adorable hugging photo convince you, that occurred after full cookie related bribery, a failed nap and a lot of fighting. And after putting a couple wrapped presents under the tree, they are now asking if it’s Christmas yet…a month out!
Thanksgiving dinner was quite the feast of deliciousness: turkey, stuffing, sweet and mashed potatoes, pecan and pumpkin pie. Mmm, mmm, mmmmm… If my sense of smell was back, I’m sure it smelled amazing! We discovered through the afternoon snacking that one can of olives was insufficient for Harper and Reagan, that Harper now likes celery, and everyone really likes mini cucumbers and cranberry sauce.
Outdoor Photo Shoot
Megan scheduled a 20 minute photo session outside and the kiddos rocked it! Is it hard to get 5 toddlers to look and smile at once!? Yes. Is it impossible to get?! No! Does it help when they are super cold? Yes actually. And even in the cold they did fantastic and enjoyed a cookie and candy cane on the drive back home. I can’t wait to see the results.
Auntie ‘Manda came up for the weekend to surprise everyone and the girls were so excited. Amanda is now Reagan’s new best friend and was glued to her side the entire weekend, which was really cute. The jump park became much more fun play at her with in tow and they greatly enjoyed snuggling with her on the couch and warming up with some movies. We are already receiving requests for her to visit and play again!!
At bedtime after a busy Thanksgiving, I asked each kiddo what they were thankful for and as anticipated, received varied answers. Harper was thankful for dip (all kinds apparently) and the color black. Reagan was thankful for presents, which are sitting under the Christmas tree, and Emerie was thankful for dinner.
Harper’s favorite holiday thing was eating, specifically the cookie she decorated and celery. Emerie’s favorite things was eating chicken (turkey) and watching a movie. Reagan says nothing is my favorite today. After a bit of pushing, she claimed watching Merida (Brave) in the living room earlier in the day was her favorite. Oh well!
Overall, what a fun week it was! Each holiday season will be a bit more fun and I’m really looking forward to Christmas.
Well folks, after twenty months living in a global pandemic, it finally caught up to our household through the girls’ preschool class.
Reagan and Emerie had low grade fevers as an indicator early on, something we’ve dealt with more often than not over the last three months; fevers that seem to indicate ear infections or allergies. Unfortunately for this one, it turns out both girls tested positive on their rapid Covid-19 tests at the pediatrician’s office. Harper’s test came back negative, which aligns to the usual order of kiddos getting any type of sickness.
This is the second time a positive case was announced in the girls’ classroom since school started in August, without any specifics times or details, as to keep the other kids anonymous (silly if you ask me!). We assume this is where it was transmitted and we had a very short window to get in the right headspace of spending ten days stuck at home with three rambunctious toddlers, who may be sick but clearly felt fine overall. Over the next few days, they definitely felt better than their parents as the infection slowly crept into our sinuses. Catching all sicknesses is part of being a parent…right? Or is it just part of being a mom? I can’t remember.
While it is fantastic news that the girls aren’t feeling all the effects of this bug, it also means it’s really hard to keep them busy and entertained throughout the day and keep the fighting and whining to a minimum. The first day out of the gate was consumed with all the things, coloring, magnet boards, stickers, some Frozen, Cocomelon and Abominable movie viewing, tons of snacks, magna-tile construction, and layering the house with the inch of snow outside on the deck. Did I also mention eight thousand outfit changes? From pajamas to Frozen princess dresses to shorts to hoodies to regular dresses to dance leotards. So. Many. Outfit. Changes.
And here’s how the quarantine period really went by, since it is not all sunshine and smooth sailing and one of my greatest fears of impending doom over the past thirty months…in case you were curious if you can survive house arrest with your children.
Quarantine Day One
Feeling strong. Feeling ambitious! We can do this! We have lots of things to entertain the tiny minions, a full fridge of food, great internet… I prepped and cooked a nice dinner; the girls played all day.
Twelve hours later…OMG, we can’t do this. I need some Netflix and SILENCE.
Online Target and toy store orders begin, with entertainment going okay so far…other than the one hand slammed in the door, blood, waterworks, you know…the usual. Craig picked up a fun new ball rolling set and everyone played (mostly) nicely for a little while on it. A friend dropped off dinner and a couple kid activities on our doorstep; much appreciate as we started down a long path of being home.
The toddler cabin fever sets in. Is that a real thing, you ask?! YES, IT IS. It’s like starting a week of full moon attitudes and you can’t escape it. The kids become crazy hyper from being cooped up at home when they aren’t really used to it, at least not at this level. By the end of the day, I found Emerie and Reagan emptying all the toilet paper rolls downstairs and Emerie standing on the back of the toilet. Later that night after bath time, I caught Emerie sucking down the kid toothpaste, straight out of the tube, resulting in a death match to pry it out from her extremely strong, but tiny, fingers. Help us.
I will note a nice thirty minutes decorating craft pumpkins and taping them up on the new living room wall happened. Reagan thrived at this activity while Harper and Emerie browsed by and helped in between other distractions.
Creative entertainment means breaking out the top shelf doll strollers that cause instantaneous energy. I began feeling really crummy by now (as opposed to just slightly) with a fever and sore throat; but am feeling very lucky not to have the fatigue other people report having- Craig might be over the hump of his sickness or he’s toughing it out well, at least we hope so! And the girls did not get the memo they are actually sick, you would never know without the mild fevers and positive tests. By the end of the day, I completed a Target pickup order of Dayquil and Robitussin with no bra on…whose feeling empowered now…?!
I will not admit how much Frozen I and Frozen II has played in this house in the last few days…let it goooo…
Craig felt inspired to make homemade cinnamon rolls with the girls, so clearly he’s feeling at least a bit better. The girls helped spread the dough, melted butter, and sugar and of course lather themselves in some of it too. Eating the finished product was a bit too much for them, so Craig and I enjoyed cinnamon rolls for breakfast for a couple of days. Everyone napped in the car that afternoon after seeming lethargic and tired all day (just enough to be noticeable), much like their parents! After a shower and hair brushing, Harper told me she liked my hair…clearly we need to get out more…
Reagan begins her major coloring kick. Whoever created mess-free coloring markers; you deserve a medal. Harper and Emerie both have marker stained faces from running out of sight with the Crayola marker set and you can tell! Reagan loves her sparkly, Frozen themed mess-free coloring and sits for a few minutes each hour and colors another one, mostly in the lines, to proudly display on the fridge.
Today we are back to work (at home). We were very lucky to have a state holiday (Alaska Day) and a four day weekend (for me) while we are quarantined. We managed six months of juggling kids and work earlier this year, but it’s a different dynamic when your littles are grumpy from fevers, you are confined to your house and the parents have what feels like a bad cold. Fortunately we were both able to get a few work hours in here and there over the weekend to stay caught up.
By day six bike riding is allowed in the house, movie times involve blankets and laundry baskets, the garage is a new play room, railroad track cities span the entire living room- desperate times call for desperate measures! Reagan threw a toy and hit Emerie square in the nose, horizontally slicing from nostril to nostril and drawing a lot of blood and tears from her sister. After that fiasco we opted for a mandatory driving nap…which no one actually slept on. This was the worst day of quarantine so far!
By the end of day six, there are two options: either our fevers are going to break or our sanity is!!
Two of the three slept in until 8:45 today; clearly quite the record. Emerie awoke about 7:15 and laid on the floor by my desk with her owl and blanket while I had a nice hour of hot coffee, emails and silence. We finally managed to take a walk around the neighborhood and get some fresh air, which was much overdue!
Harper found a twirly pen at some point that morning and colored the entirety of both legs before we noticed. She is also quoting full phrases from Frozen at random. For example, I turned around to her standing on the coffee table, with a tutu and crown headband on and arms out, yelling “if you don’t want me to run into fire, then don’t run into fire!”
The girls were wildly hyper in the evening, which we believe stems from the protein drinks at dinner, since they don’t seem to want to eat actual food this week. At least today was a little better than the dreadful day six.
Another good sleep-in morning, with Emerie going for 12 hours of sleep and Harper and Reagan waking up after eight in the morning, a definite win for us.
Overall uneventful day, thank goodness! Emerie isn’t feeling better yet but Reagan is clearly on the mend and exploding with energy. She and Harper continue to run circles around each other while Emerie cuddled on the couch and avoided. An hour driving nap rewarded the parents with a little quiet and the post lunch walk a nice outing in the sun, although Emerie wasn’t really feeling it. Two more days!!
After the car nap Emerie and Reagan cuddled and played nicely together for nearly an hour while Harper “helped” me fold a couple loads of laundry at the kitchen table, I sucked down a bunch of hot tea for my cough, and Craig made dinner that neither of us could taste. It was a nice hour reprieve before the wildness repeated for the day, with no one wanting dinner and Harper and Reagan wildly wrestling and running around the house until bedtime.
It appears we rounded a bit of a corner in play time- when one kiddo finds self entertainment for a few minutes (kinetic sand, coloring, playing in the toy kitchen, etc.), the other two, no matter which two, actually play together for a bit. It is nice to see what ideas they create, whether it’s a blanket fort, playing nap time with their animals (and turning off ALL my lights and closing shades), or chasing each other up and down the stairs a hundred times. As the picture highlights, I also caught them red handed a few times making massive water messes in the downstairs bathroom…but having fantastic fun until they were caught!
Everyone wanted “Elsa braids” that morning and luckily don’t yet recognize the difference between a normal braid and Elsa’s. I will have to learn that skill in the near future though, since it’s unlikely Elsa, Anna, Sven and Kristof are going anywhere, any time soon (sorry Craig).
Miraculously, we made it to day ten and the girls are completely fever free! We took it upon ourselves to really leave the house; not out in public mind you, and ventured out to the valley for some good ‘ole outside fun. The girls rode with their cousins on the dirt bike, four wheelers and kid size John Deer tractor. You could easily tell they were thrilled to get out of the house, enjoy a smoothie on the ride out and run around a new spot. Even their driving (steering) skills are improving! It was a beautiful fall day and unusually warm for this time of October; Jaren, Emerie and I also picked a bunch of wild, high bush (I think) cranberries and Emerie collected about half a ziploc bag, all by herself! All in all, a nice afternoon now that everyone is feeling better and getting closer to back to normal.
Over the past year and a half we focused on not sharing the current world crisis with the girls, especially since they are so young, but can comprehend a lot more than one might think. They turned two the same day our city shut down for the first time and since then are used to seeing people wearing masks and social distancing. We made it through the first six months of pandemic without changing any of our daily routines (other than me working at home instead of the office), since the girls already spent workdays with the nanny at home and hand washing after going anywhere public is something you always do when caring for premature babies. We didn’t fully feel the impact until we started out-of-home unexpectedly daycare last fall, where we weren’t allowed to enter the facility and felt very cut off from the girls during the day. You all know that story already.
The good news is the social aspect of COVID-19 hasn’t affected the girls, to their knowledge at least, as we continue having play dates with a number of folks in our little bubble. Spending a lot of time outside as they’ve grown bigger helps ease the cutoff-from-the-rest-of-society feeling, including small hikes, trail walks, playgrounds and walks around the neighborhood. It pains me to see friends with elementary aged kids that understand the world has changed and not for the better. I don’t want my kids to grow up in fear of people breathing around them, not being masked, having an occasional cough or cold and especially the sociological damage that results from it. Kid shouldn’t have to take on a lot of this responsibility and grow up fearful- they should be having fun, learning new things and maturing in a safe environment- and I intend to hold my family to that as best I can. It makes me so thankful all this is happening prior to school age, where we are the main influence on their lives and they aren’t stressing over missing school, seeing their friends or being stuck at home.
I live in a madhouse run by a tiny army I made myself.
Throughout our quarantine the girls never questioned missing school and accepted the simple explanation of a cough and not feeling well. We received the occasional question about going or missing a teacher, but nothing more than that. Even better, they weren’t overly curious why we stayed home all day and weren’t out and about as much or going to the park, and only taking a car ride here and there. They especially disliked going to Target meant order pickup and not venturing inside; that’s about the biggest complaint so far. In another year I feel this would be a lot different! Throughout the week Harper kept telling me she has the coughs and yawns, which is more true for her sisters than her, but wouldn’t you say it is a fitting description for being sick? I definitely have that!
This week the girls started “calling” Grandma Sue on a play phone to tattle that a mean sister. The FaceTime calls with family and friends helped them stay connected and calmed the questions about seeing Oaki and Kaden, Papa and Grandma, or Tyler when they come up, but the fake calls are pretty humorous too. The cell phone tattling remains pretty random and doesn’t seem to follow a pattern when it’s “grandma worthy”, but it’s definitely hilarious to listen to such expressive thoughts!
A few friends have checked in over the course of the week, dropped off goodies and asked how we are feeling and how the virus presented to us. I find it really interesting that Craig and I had very different symptoms, with his cough showing up from day one and then improving, and my cough showing up about day five, gaining some momentum, and then improving. I presented with a fever and major sore throat, which progressed into a stuffy nose and sinus headache without the sore throat, and then stuffy nose with a cough. Emerie and Reagan are mildly stuffy off and on, maintained a 100 degree temperature prior to medicine for a handful of days, and coughed mostly at nighttime and a little throughout the day. Harper maintained no fever, stuffy nose or cough throughout the entire event!
So what has ten days in quarantine taught me about myself? Well first of all, it definitely reminded me that I can step up even more, even when it feels like you already do everyday with three kiddos, to get through a challenging time. It also reminded me to take things one day at a time, one hour at a time if needed. On a bad day (like day six!), getting through an hour at a time is less of a mind stress than constantly thinking how many more days you have to get through and all the stressful questions that come with those thoughts. Getting through one napless afternoon without focusing on the impending lack of nap in future days…really helps. It keeps the overwhelming anxiety a little more at bay, at least for a little while.
I fully admit if ten quarantine days occurred a year ago, I’m not sure how we would have survived it. The fact that the girls now play independently at least a little bit (in between the whining and fighting) is a major game changer in 24/7 house confinement. Reagan is fantastic at coloring and sitting for periods of time and focusing on it, Harper enjoys playing dress up and creating fancy outfits and riding her bike around, Emerie will construct a railroad track and play by herself for a little while. Everyone enjoyed trashing my house with kinetic sand a couple times and fort building and balance bike riding in the garage to burn energy. Television, while not the ideal answer but who are we kidding, is now watched and commented on with a longer attention span than last year. Current household favorites are Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Abominable, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Curious George. And lastly, a year ago we couldn’t easily go on a walk around the neighborhood without both parents; now they are “better” at staying close, stopping at the stop signs (with reminders) and completing a loop back home by foot or on wheels.
All in all, guys, we made it through!! The girls went back to preschool yesterday and everyone seems back to normal other than myself, with a mild, lingering cough and tastelessness holding on for a little longer.