The girls continue to live in an “attitude funk” the past week or two and it is incredibly exhausting for mom and dad. It feels like the parenting full moon cycle is stuck and never ending (you all know what I mean by that!), with tired, grumpy girls every night that constantly bicker, refuse to listen, continue to name call and sass you, and have a hard time settling down. While boundary pushing is nothing new in any house with kiddos and has occurred for a while now, the attitude shift and blatant disobedience is very wearing and frustrating.
The girls’ funk is occurring at home and at school, with evenings a special treat and you can’t anticipate if everyone will be pleasant or over-tired rage monsters. This week Emerie missed out on the entire bike day activity at preschool. Her teacher noted that not only did she express her inner vampire and take a chunk out of Reagan, but she refused to listen or obey any instructions given, so missing out on the fun and spending time in the office was her repercussion. After reading the daily report about it and forcibly extricating everyone from the playground and into the car that night (not fun for me!); everyone had quite the screaming meltdown, most of all Emerie. Needless to say, my blood pressure skyrocketed before I even made it home for the night.
Once the screaming and crying decreased, we had quite a group discussion on the drive home about what happens when you are naughty and when you are nice, when you listen and when you don’t. Emerie owned up to her office visit and Reagan and Harper were happy to point out that she was in trouble and they were still able to ride their bikes. They also pitched in some opinions, noting that the office isn’t any fun and you just have to sit there. Emerie did point out she was well behaved and did indeed sit there; just not in time to participate in the activity.
I am personally glad she missed out on the activity and seemed to learn that her bad behavior was the main contributor. I can’t say this revelation improved her attitude the following nights or at pickup other days this week- at one point I had to chase her across the parking lot and manually load her into the car seat, kicking, screaming, and trying to bite me. This was after I wrangled the other two in, with a semi-cooperative Harper and somewhat resistant Reagan. It’s a lovely thought at the spectacle we become on nights like this and I try to block that thought out or it induces more mom stress. These moments also remind me that in so many ways the girls being older is a thousand times easier, and in other ways it’s just the same as the age-two-and-run-three-directions stage.
For the most part we skipped the Tiny Vampire Club when the girls were younger, with some occasional biting during toddler disagreements, but nothing that we “couldn’t nip in the bud” (pun intended!). It seems that we haven’t escaped it altogether in the preschool age and are currently smack in the middle of the attitude, with Emerie as club leader and entrepreneur. To give her some credit, it can’t be easy to bite your flailing four-year-old sister on the rib cage, through her t-shirt, and leave a full outline (top and bottom teeth!), without some real effort, dedication and gusto! Reagan certainly did not appreciate this at all and is still sporting quite the bruise from it, several days later.
So yes, the Tiny Vampires Club is brought to you by #realmomtalk. Who knows what next week’s club will be?!
The preschool Christmas show this week was nestled between my two very grumpy, “potato sack” (flailing toddler) hauling events. I cringed at the thought the Christmas concert might be a total disaster after the previous night’s fits and downright disobedience from all three but was pleasantly surprised with how it went. They didn’t run off stage or totally melt down during their performance of two Christmas songs.
Everyone cooperated with their Christmas dresses, bows, tights and fancy black boots and while rushing out the door, still managed to get a few princess twirls in and declare they were beautiful! I always question why so many sleeveless Christmas dresses exist (since Christmas = winter in my brain), and while these Costco beauties came with soft black shawls, I still added another long sleeve layer to accommodate for the cold.
Of course, we Douglas’ know how to make an entrance, and it must be in their DNA (is that me or Craig?! Great question!). Of course we had the typical like-their-mother-trip-over-the-camera-on-the-walk-to-the-stage moment, as Emerie turned to look at us and toppled right over. No meltdown though; she just popped right back up!
The Ladybugs class, of which 30% is us, was first up and did two songs. More than anything there was nervous rocking, shout outs to parents and grandparents and a few hand motions here and there- of course all very cute. I’m sure their morning rehearsal had more participation, since they weren’t in front of a gym full of people for it! Reagan ended up making faces at the audience and her classmates and hopping in and out on the rehearsed hand motions. After one part that all three felt inspired to participate on, Harper turned to Emerie and covered her mouth with a laugh. The audience seemed to chuckle at that one.
Each class took turns performing their two songs, with a curtain and superstar switch out in between each. Everyone then gathered on stage for the finale of Joy to the World. Overall, it was one of the first nights that I really felt like a normal parent, sitting kid-less in a row of chairs, able to relax and talk to other parents without kid interruptions, chasing someone or the constant tripleting (which I now believe is very much a real verb!). It felt almost normal, being able to watch my offspring participate with everyone else, so very grown up in their three years, and laugh and take photos like everyone else without the constant chaos. These moment are few and far between since we became parents, some due to less socializing during the pandemic, some because the girls are still pretty young, and some because it seems like every time we try to plan or do something nice, it ends up being a total triplet shit show, and it’s frustrating.
But I’m not complaining (ish). While this has not been a great week, it was a nice and appreciated 45 minutes of actual life enjoyment, and I’ll take what I can get.
Now please pray the girls get out of the funk that picked right back up Saturday morning and that we are able to enjoy some of planned events and activities this month. Because I’ll tell you, my brain is fried from a disastrous preschool pick up followed by another mess of a dance class, and I don’t have enough wine or sanity for this. I will say the general mom public that witnesses the meltdowns and my attempts to haul three rage monsters in the car without completely losing my head (or my mouth) has been pretty supportive, with a few nice strangers sharing encouragement in the heat of the moment and it is much appreciated. Now if only we could stop having these fun events…
Please enjoy this short clip of the mini beasts at their Christmas show, goofing off to the crowd and each other, in true Douglas (Sykes!) style.
In the past year we’ve unexpectedly lost our daycare situation TWICE and had six months working from home whilst watching three toddlers.
How did we do it? I feel that I’ve been asked that question about 20 times in the past week and yet I’m not entirely sure of the answer.
We have…because we had to. This same answer applies to a lot of things you HAVE to do to raise triplets and really, just to raise any number of kids in general. My mom visited once for a few weeks to help and Craig’s mom gave us two long trips to keep us sane, allow me to get through spring grant season and Craig to get in meetings.
Without the escape of going to work and having kid free time for a full day, which is what I’ve considered my relaxation time for the past three years, it’s been really hard. I’m thankful the girls are much better about going places now and whenever routine gets off a bit, it’s not the end of the world like it was when they were smaller. They’ve learned many new skills this spring and are in the midst of an age where learning and excelling are an every day thing.
So I am very happy to report we just claimed three spots in one of the daycares we were waitlisted on for a handful of months. The three-year-old classroom is called the Ladybugs and one of the teacher helpers worked at the prior daycare- something that definitely helps the transition.
First day drop off produced no tears (from kids or parents) and at half day pickup the teacher noted they did great and were very well behaved. Now that COVID restrictions are more relaxed, no masks are required for walking in and parents can once again accompany their children into their classrooms. We didn’t get this option at all at the last place and I’m thrilled we won’t have to stand outside in the cold and wait. It is also wonderful to have more of a normal experience, since we never had a taste of it with the girls cared for at home prior to the pandemic.
Another big win of the first day is something easily overlooked. All three put their coats on and walked back to the car with me- no running away, no chase routine across the parking lot, no scolding- they climbed straight into the car. After this NEVER happening at the last place, six months of maturing and going out more really helps. It sounds small but man! It’s such a difference on my sanity. A second detail worth noting…we’ve had a handful of nights with complete overnight sleeping, without any fussing or intervening! We broke the current record of nights in a row, which I didn’t actually count but am aware happened… and I seem to wake up stiff in the morning from sleeping so much harder than the past three years. It’s glorious I tell you. A third big win of the first week- Emerie’s eye patching. We’ve done a decent job at it over the past six months but recognize that she does even better with it at daycare. We are reaching to six hours a day instead of the two or three hours throughout this spring and it’s fantastic! Her eyelid is slowly becoming less droopy (as expected) and her complaints more-or-less are fewer and far between. This is yet another daily routine win for us.
Drop off the next few days proved more as expected. Craig noted the second day all three were in full, crying tears when he left and Emerie chased him out to the car one morning. Toward the end of the week this was much improved, but I’m guessing we will have a few more tearful days until they get used to the new routine. Reagan, more so than the other two, states she doesn’t want to go to school and wants to stay home with you. In fact, she’s continuing to repeat this sentiment every day and not just as we get ready in the morning. It’s very sweet but hopefully her teachers and the fun activities will eventually win her over. As we start week two, she already shares the tears before even leaving the driveway while the other two remain in good spirits.
The first, full day proved a good one. I’m concerned how well the napping/quiet time in the afternoon will go after a lot of issues at the prior place, both attributed to kids’ attitudes AND facility accommodation, and day one went off without a hitch. Reagan and Emerie eventually settled down and fell asleep; no shut-eye for Harper but she was well behaved and quiet throughout, which we take as a win. And after all, we are now on the tail end of napping anyway- where the girls still benefit from it but are more resistant to cooperate for it. The loss of the binkies greatly impacted this success.
Eccentric smiles and happy hollers are accompanied with every afternoon pickup; they are excited to see me, go home and see Daddy and of course have a little lollipop on the car ride home for a good day. On Friday everyone had a scoop of ice cream from Coldstone as a reward for a good first week. It was the first time in half their lives that they were able to go in and choose preferred colors (flavors); Harper chose a marble one and Emerie and Reagan both wanted the blue cotton candy. Uncle Will joined us and everyone happily sucked down the afternoon treat.
Now that we are in the three-year-old class, and mostly post pandemic rules, that means occasional field trips! The girls’ first trip out to Campbell Creek trail was a success. The teacher noted to me that afternoon that no one attempted to run off and they were very behaved, staying in line and listening to instruction. What a relief!! Let’s hope this trend continues.
Looking back at the past six months, while it was busy, difficult and very mentally and physically tiring for both Craig and I, it went pretty well overall. We incorporated new activities into our routine, with lots of park visits, playground playing, jump park bouncing, public outings and play dates to get out and about; I’m unsure we could have juggled all that two years back and been successful, especially with past sleep deprivation. We were also around to see the girls age and learn new things, something we would have missed working from the office all day.
All in all, glad to report things are going well!
Fourth of July Fun
After a full week of new daycare success, we were off for a long, holiday weekend playing with friends and spending time outside. It also meant our first Fourth of July parade with the kiddos. The weather cooperated and with the sun out, everyone stayed warm in their cute red, white and blue dresses and fancy hair clips. While most of the holiday activities weren’t slated toward toddler age, the girls did win a small, stuffed narwhal, were given flags to wave and enjoyed seeing all the trucks driving in the parade. After a lunch with friends and a good, solid afternoon nap, everyone spent the remainder of the day playing on the Little Tikes double water slide in the backyard.
I’ll have you know my little Alaska babies are not yet cooperative on water temperature. My age group grew up playing in the freezing cold hose water and glacial creeks and lakes for years; these girls? Not a chance. The warm water spicket installed on the back of the house this spring is now greatly appreciated by three little girls- three little girls who won’t use the water slide unless the water is warm and comfortable. As soon as the hot water tank is depleted, everyone immediately retreats to towels and complaining that the water is so cold.
Another successful weekend, albeit a very LONG one, with some adventure and fun play dates. I’ve already forgotten how we survive weekends in the winter and continue to enjoy spending as much time outside as possible with the three littles.
Well guys, this month is one for the books. We can always predict major stress is around the corner when we have a water leak in the house, which apparently happens a lot when I look at the past five years! So what did this past week bring?
over the past month, managing the day to day uncertainty of your daycare being unaccommodating and disagreeable and continually asking yourself if current choices are really the best thing for your kiddos.
the not knowing where your kids will go on short notice and being told “you can find somewhere else that let’s them do whatever they want,” which is obviously not the case and not doable under current conditions with THREE.
just knowing the impending tasks to complete at your day job and not knowing how much or how long you’ll be able to juggling everything at once (again!) and still keep everything afloat.
The past month was a roller coaster of emotion for Craig and I as we struggled through and tried to overcome challenges continually thrown in our direction from the girls’ daycare. It was a month of uncertainty and stress and nothing to do with COVID! In general I believe we are both decent at handling difficult situations and keeping our heads up; I mean clearly we are still hanging in there each and every day with triplet toddlers.
For those of you that haven’t put a kid in daycare during our lovely pandemic, some of the everyday rules make the experience very difficult for parents. For example, parents cannot step foot into the facility and must do drop off and pick up at the front door. Kiddos get temperature checks every morning and have to be under 100 to go through the door; anytime someone has a fever they have to go home and stay home until it’s clear for 24 hours or they have a negative COVID test. Teachers in different classes keep their interactions to a minimum or have to extensively wash hands, rooms, and anything they are in contact with. Kids in different classrooms must stay separated and age three and up have to wear masks all day. The world has changed a lot in the last ten months. It is hard to not be able to look into your children’s classroom and see their interactions while they don’t see you watching, or pick them up with a smile to the helper that day (yay masks…). No daily reports unless it’s bad or an an injury means you don’t often hear what fun happened each day. We all know it happens but two-year-olds aren’t great at explaining that yet!
As you may have guessed, the daycare issues I alluded to in my last blog are a reality I’m now ready to share with you all, with the director deciding to give our family the boot long before we actually sat down and spoke with her the other day. Apparently our girls are “so smart but they refuse to take direction or correction” and that this behavior continues to escalate without them able to handle it. Extensive conversations muttered at us the past month about parenting style, how kids are supposed to behave and how having three shouldn’t factor into how we raise them, as if that is even remotely reasonable.
Going into our meeting last Friday, we assumed the worst and easily met that expectation. After more than 90 minutes of discussion on our concerns and suggestions to improve all their complaints about our kids behavior, we finally received an answer that we are not welcome to continue at their school going forward after flat out asking it twice. Why, you ask? Well…that’s where this gets a lot more interesting.
I am the first person to admit our kids are not perfect angels; we aren’t under any qualms that they always obey the first time they are told to do something, or that they sit quietly and eat their food every meal or take a nap each day. We understand challenges are a part of raising children, especially young toddlers, and with that comes learning how to overcome those obstacles and nurture and grow. We recognize good days should be celebrated and bad days muddled through with thick skin. According to the daycare, almost every day since Christmas was more bad than good. We started dreading hearing the complaints each afternoon at pickup, setting an unwelcomed mood each day for us. Dreading to the point that the stress builds so much throughout the day until you are so exhausted from it by the evening and you just want to do anything but think about it.
Our second to last day one of the teachers made us stand outside (Covid rules) at the entrance and wait for almost 30 minutes before they brought OUR kids to us, and wouldn’t let us leave until she read the latest behavior report word for word while the girls ran for the car. That should have been the indication how this would all play out the following day.
So what other things do you mean by “bad behavior,” you ask? Our opinion on this is vastly different than daycare leadership, but pretty similar to every parent I’ve spoken to about it the past few weeks. I see a bad day as a no-nap day (usually worse for the adult than the kid haha), or a multiple tantrums afternoon with kids super wound up and requiring constant time-outs and discipline. The daycare? Well the reports we’ve received the past several weeks, which started with Harper, shifted to her and Reagan, and every once in a while Emerie, are on things like throwing their boots in the snow and refusing to put them back on, eating the snow and smiling deviously when told to stop while continuing to do it, standing on their chair at lunch time or irritating a sister while eating, and running around and being disruptive at nap time. All challenges? Sure. Typical toddler behavior?! Yes. Worthy of losing daycare over? Not a chance.
While the average person might think this is pretty normal at their age, the daycare’s set of two-year-old standards appears off the chart, entirely lacking the fact young children are learning to handle their emotion in a tough world environment, with adults required to mask up all day and not being able to interact like normal. Throw in the fact that it is still the dark, dead of winter a wha-la…you have grumpy kids. But God forbid, you know, my kid would throw their shoes off in the snow.
We received five behavior reports on what turned out to be our final day…one of which noted another kid biting Reagan and her running around sticking her finger in other kiddos mouths and encouraging it. She didn’t bite anyone and yet SHE received the behavior, not injury, report. We were told later this was just for our awareness, but the page clearly noted behavior and indicated an issue, not an injury. Red flag right?
The other four write ups stemmed from right after lunch time through nap time, about three hours total. During this time the girls refused to settle for nap, with Harper getting Reagan all riled up and then trying to get Emerie to join in. According to the report, multiple teachers were called to help and loud noises could be heard down the hall; they also refused to stop after direction on multiple occasions. So sure, I agree this event falls into the bad day category, but why wouldn’t you call the parents?! Four incident reports, which are clearly ALL from the same extended time, means this could have easily been avoided if we were called to 1) try to talk to Harper and Reagan about obedience, or 2) pick one or both up for the day and remove them from the bad situation for everyone else’s sake, or 3) have a helper remove said disrupter from the room to calm down and reset the attitude. We were told during the meeting that there is no separate space for a kid to go to settle down because of COVID; another thing I think is BS because many kids need a safe space, even if it’s ten feet away from classmates, to settle down! Some just need space to process and overcome their emotions and that is okay! Of course none of these things occurred; clearly they were trying to add another reason to send us away for good.
I have other examples of these types of things…after other days of (what I call) normal toddler grumpiness, one teacher REFUSED to have any of my girls in her classroom under any circumstances, even after several suggestions that splitting them up would be very beneficial. A couple days here and there is not enough time to see benefits from routine and I believe the refusal to try it longer meant that teacher wouldn’t agree to try it. A lot of this stems from that decision, of a teacher not doing what is literally her job!
While little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join in their chaos.
L. R. Knost
Many of you know our kids, or see the blogs that I post about silly things, bad behaviors that we will eventually look back on and chuckle at but might not in the moment, those types of things. They aren’t perfect. We aren’t perfect either. Kids get grumpy and act out, they whine and complain, they throw fits. Parents too. We all have good days and bad days, just like all toddlers do. This is part of growing up and part of living!!!
I fully admit during our meeting I had one of my first times preferring wearing a mask while out in public, because it covered my shock, rage and disdain at the ridiculousness we were forced to discuss. We approached the sit down with a planned set of questions and concerns, things intended to improve the issues and talk through them, not finding out until farther into the conversation that the decision was clearly already made and everything discussed a major waste of our time. Our December meeting was completely useless, with no actual plan formed, something they of course brought up as our fault (and untrue). They asked if we even read the disciplinary notes, alluding to the fact we did nothing to improve attitudes and respect for adults, which I personally find quite offending and quite off the mark. Clearly the expectation was to read reports, standing out in the cold and dark, with the kids running around EVERY night. Unbelievable.
Several times over the past few weeks there was disagreement with our parenting methods, suggesting in the evening we should more explicitly discipline them for transgressions throughout the day, something very inappropriate for their age. Instead, we talked to each one about listening to their teachers and obeying when asked, those types of things. The school continued to tell us they are fine with whatever parenting style we have, but then don’t follow through with the claim and it was very frustrating. It is also interesting to see that the girls often play pretend timeout, with their conversations clearly from time spent during the day, and are constantly putting dolls into timeout for not listening or other minute things.
Craig brought up a few of the books we’ve read, such as the Whole-Brain Child by Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, two child psychologists with great ideas. This was essentially completely dismissed because it is not religion based. The Whole-Brain Child teaches very basic ideas, things that I think are especially useful when you have more than one at an age, with silly slogans to help you remember, such as “connect and reconnect” or “engage, don’t enrage.” Any Montessori methods are clearly too new age to be considered. I will explain more of this on another blog at some point, as it has been very useful guidance for us and worth sharing.
We voiced concerns about their identical status and individuality is extremely important. This suggestion was clearly met with disagreement that they weren’t perfectly working with each one separately every time an incident occurred. We know for a fact at least one teacher couldn’t tell them apart and that majorly concerns me when they saw them every day. I have a lot more to say on this that I will just leave alone for now.
There are minor silver linings to our daycare experience, if you overlook very recent events, that are worth noting as we transition forward. The girls vocabulary exploded in the past few months; they piece together amazing sentences and continue to wow us each day when they say something new or original. I always enjoy hearing the new songs they sing at random times! I credit so much of the potty training experience to the helpers that spent a lot of time in the bathroom this fall and winter! We have come out of that experience amazing and the girls are doing great. Emerie was patched daily and kept a great attitude throughout; this greatly improves her at-home patch time now and it’s visibly better that prior to going. They learned random new skills like putting on their coats without help, gearing up to play outside, and how to hold a marker or crayon correctly. We met new friends along the way that the girls enjoy talking about and playing with outside the facility.
I also want to note that I do not believe the majority of staff fall into the opinions that leadership has. Several of the teachers were wonderful, especially the one who helped us transition into the new daycare setting from being at home, and many of the helpers are wonderful people that give you a smile each day and tell you something good that happened, instead of just the bad. Throughout it all the girls always speak highly of them and were excited to see everyone each Monday. This next transition may not be a walk in the park, but it’s definitely a step in a better direction for our family.
There is so much more to say, but the more I write the more agitated I feel at the whole thing and I’ve already reworded half of this more than once. In addition to the anger I feel at some of this, a small part of me also feels relief, even though we don’t yet have a future plan in place. The relief comes from knowing my kids aren’t stuck in a place that clearly disagrees with our parenting style and knowing that I still have the control over their day to day and can encourage them to behave properly and expand their horizons to new things. The majority of complaints don’t occur at home and that helps us tremendously.
At the end of the day, I refuse to accept the unsaid accusation that we are not good parents. I refuse to let my self worth waver or doubt creep in and believe this is happening because of my kids. They are welcome to judge us as much as they’d like; we won’t be around to stress about it. I plan to move forward from this whole ordeal as just a tiny blip on the radar and not look back.
Week one of the rest of our lives? It’s going to be a wild month, so please check in on our sanity. But also know, we are moving forward and will overcome this obstacle, maybe just with a little more wine and a little less sleep than initially planned.
I haven’t posted the contents of this blog for the past few weeks because I didn’t want to end 2020 on a sour note; or shall I say any more sour than the rest of the year brought for everyone…with a worldwide pandemic, quarantines and minimal social encounters, and of course the overall standard stress of being a parent and full time worker. The girls wrapped up the year with a new attitude at daycare, and not one that we are happy to discover.
I feel minimally prepared for the toddler stage we’ve entered. It’s as though a switch flips on a daily basis, one that changes from happy, curious, well-rounded toddler attitude into a argumentative, frustrated, acting out maniac. The girls refer to this as not listening! We are seeing attitude changes as the girls try to sort through newfound feelings and emotions and don’t quite know how to cope. Daycare seems to be having quite a tough time handling the change (or phase) and continues to hand us behavioral notes, almost every day. It definitely doesn’t help that they feed off each other (and I’m sure other toddlers at school) and escalate the situation more and more. Then, just as quickly, the switch goes off and flips them back to the nice, pleasant children we like to see.
Daycare is providing us reports for misbehavior, with the past few weeks more than the entire time we’ve gone there. It started with Harper saying no and not wanting to listen and has since branched out to Reagan being loud at nap time and throwing shoes at the teacher or when she is outside. I think Emerie has had one report so far but is otherwise maintaining her happy demeanor, even while patched. As for the other two, we talk at night about listening to the teachers and the girls constantly say they miss them on the weekends, but then we still get reports of fighting with the teachers and not obeying the first time they are told to do something without any wiggle room to learn from mistakes. Many of the things they do we don’t have an issue with at home, making it even harder to solve. I’m highly frustrated about all of this and think things could be handled a little differently during school days and that would help a lot, but we aren’t having success with our recommendations. I pray that it’s just a phase.
Harper is definitely the most strong-willed of the three and continues to present more of my attitudes as a kid; in fact, it feels as though she is a little Becca during all kinds of activities and adventures. For example, I had a toddler fascination with the color black, wanting to douse all drawings and pictures with it according to my mother. This phase eventually turned into loving pastel colors and a million necklaces. Harper, in kind, enjoys her black play dough, black markers and crayons. It doesn’t quite align with her love of all things princesses, so hopefully that one will win in the end. Reagan is clearly the most emotional one in the group (this hasn’t changed in a while) and blatantly rejects the idea of scolding and being told no. She’s improved some on this front, but not quite where I’d like to be yet. She very much responds to scolding more than spanking. Emerie still has her moments of rage and toddler angst, but overall is calmer than her womb mates until she reaches a certain tired status, then all bets are off. I believe the patching has helped us on this, because she dislikes it but has learned to understand she has to do it anyway, and complies with less fighting than when she was younger.
Schedule are timed plans while routine relates to commit habits. We survive through routine!
We are trying to navigate these new waters with perspective and grace, exercising discipline when needed, none of which seems to help improve daycare’s behavior notes. The outside eye would probably see our attempts to keep the theoretical boat floating and above water, and some (a lot) of days it feels that way. It does, however, seem to help at home. After school discussions each day consist of the girls explaining they are not listening, so clearly there is a level of understanding of disobedience and the need to correct, regardless of them actually doing it. Timeouts and losing privileges, as appropriate for their age, also occur. We attribute part of the attitude shift to just being toddlers, because they constantly go through phases and one never knows when the flipping switch will go on. Kids are going to push boundaries and talk back- sometimes they have to learn from those mistakes and that is part of growing up! The other part is to being strong willed little girls that keep getting routine disruptions and changes, something we’ve successfully maintained since birth. In fact, routine is likely the number one reason we have survived thus far as triplet parents. Doing the same things each day seems monotonous, but who has time to worry about that when there are screaming kids in the background and a mound of tasks to get done every moment of the day? It took us about two months for the girls to really settle into the new daycare routine, with a lot of very grumpy and clingy evenings after pickup; then with COVID-19 closures, the holidays and a head cold that put us at home for a week, waiting on negative test results, that routine keeps getting disrupted. Maybe the new routine is becoming routine disruption? I don’t know.
What I do know is that daycare believes routine and schedule are the same thing and that what we think is a major disruption isn’t. I disagree, because routine amounts to the daily milestones and habitual activity, if you will, that are done at the same time, in the same order everyday, to maintain sanity and keep things moving forward. Routine happens without planning because it’s so commonly done on a regular basis. For us that used to consist of a morning bottle feed, putting the girls back to bed, getting them back up at the same time, rotating through diaper changes and breakfast, tummy time and activities, naps, and repeat; running through the same process all day, up until the bedtime feed and into their cribs. This same routine lasted more than a year in our house; every. single. day. No days to sleep in, no days to stall and wash bottles later or settle down and watch TV because we needed a break from the business, because that was the daily path to survive. It continues to this day, although it has shifted some as the girls have grown and picked up new skills.
Schedule is what is followed at daycare, which more so relates to a timed plan, and that makes sense! I believe the issue we are having is where the two clash, and then you throw three maturing toddlers into the mix, long weekends extended period at home, and the switching back and forth of daycare classrooms and you find yourself in a lovely, stressful situation like we are burrowed in. We had one of the worst bedtimes we’ve face in a few months the other night- the best part is I have no idea why!
I don’t have an answer to how this will all play out so suggestions and tips are welcome. What I can tell you is it makes me stressed out and uncertain of the future, but I think that comes with the territory of parenting and is just something you have to take in stride and try to fix when you can.
In addition to the emotional, attitude switch, a second one presented itself over the past weekend; this one more encouraging for sure! We’ve worked for months (years, almost!) on sharing and playing together with toys. While we need to make a point to stop buying as many things in triplicate (which is amazing when stuck at home for periods of time to minimize fighting) and push the girls to share and trade off more with each other, it is another sign of growing up and getting more independent. This past weekend the metaphorical light bulb switched on for pretend play with each other. I’m not entirely sure what prompted the change, but it was a noticeable one! The girls all of a sudden spend periods of time playing together without just fighting and it’s simply amazing to watch.
Everyone had a doll, monkey or princess and sat down at the family room kid table for “breakfast.” All three found play food and plates and proceeded to share with one another, having conversations about what said stuffed animal wanted to eat. Once that became less exciting, they moved up into the living room and pulled out a few blankets, TAKING TURNS wrapping each other up and noting it was “nap time.” They even, completely on their own, took turns as the toddlers in the scenario or the parents putting the blanks and pillows out. This is very exciting after so long playing referee every single second, with minimal time to accomplish anything without screaming in the background. I made it through all the laundry while they played…at least before the fighting re-emerged.
A few other cutesy things that I might as well finish the blog on…my little terrors thought it was the greatest thing to remove the bolts that hold the downstairs bathroom toilet to the floor. This was also accomplished while chewing on the lid that goes over the bolt (gross!). I will admit this took so focus and dedication to achieve. And that was only after moments of no supervision. The other day Harper found a small tack somewhere in the house and I found her trying to shove it into one of the few, open outlets in the living room. Boy did she throw a fit when I stopped that little activity. Side note but raising said outlets so plugged in things are out of reach is sooooo helpful when you have multiples to keep an eye on. Anyway, Reagan now repeats Craig’s lovely dad words and phrases and one afternoon when we spotted a moose off the side of the road, Harper commented moosie needs to take a nap, Emerie noted he probably wanted a carrot, and the lovely Reagan answered with no, moosie needs to take a shit. Yep, Craig gets credit on that one. The girls now mention things in future tense, using tomorrow, although I’m not sure they quite understand all that entails yet. Harper will tell me that things happened last morning and is more than happy to repeat your answers to her questions to her sisters. She’s definitely the wordsmith. Emerie’s toddler perspective continues to make us laugh. For example, she went to the bathroom once in Target (since store visits are pretty rare these days) and now she thinks every store bathroom is the equivalent of going potty at Target. I went potty at Target, Momma.
As we head into our next three day weekend, I am optimistic that outside play will keep us going and hopefully Craig and I can keep our level of stress about all these things down. The metaphorical boat is certainly trying to weather yet another storm, this is the first and won’t be the last. Some turn the switch back off!!