Let the Crib Wars Begin

Well, it has definitely been a trying week or so. Pink eye re-emerged, triple head colds that the girls were kind enough to share with their mother, nighttime coughing interrupting sleep, AND our mini masterminds are now putting a good foot forward in escaping their cribs.

I knew this day would come, but did it absolutely have to be before 22 months?! I was optimistically and unrealistically hoping for this to happen closer to age three!

In addition to problem solving the crib situation, it looks like we are starting the anxiety portion of development that we skipped over six plus months ago. Not only is Reagan having a hard time self soothing at night, but now she is back to hating nap time and her crib and it’s starting to rub off on her sisters. We went through this last summer for a bit but were somehow able to overcome the issue. This time around, it doesn’t appear to be that easy.

Looks a little silly yes

Last week Reagan proved her skills in climbing from one crib to the other, like Harper achieved a few days earlier, so we separated the cribs to not touch one another. Luckily the room is just big enough to scoot the dresser over and turn Harper’s crib against the side wall, providing enough space to put Reagan’s centered on the back wall.

This worked for a couple of days, until Reagan decided she really didn’t want to take a nap and lifted her leg up, barrel rolled over hte side, and used her arms to lightly decline to the floor, almost effortlessly. After a day or two with this issue, we opted to trim the legs of her crib so that her mattress can sit on the floor but not slide out from the confines of the crib.

Want to guess how well that worked?

Not even FIVE minutes. We put her down for bed on Wednesday night with the usual routine, turned off the light and walked out of the room, and immediately she climbed right up the now higher crib railings and right out into the hallway. Trying to put her back in the crib was almost worse, because her escape caused grave anxiety for Emerie and Harper, with full on screaming tantrums coming from both their cribs. Harper cried so hard as we attempted to put Reagan back that she puked up a good portion of her dinner. Nothing improves your evening like seeing regurgitated breast milk and half processed mushrooms on the floor. This, of course, resulted in the light back on, new sheets and sleep sack, and a quick scrub of the floor/rug…all while everyone screamed.

Discovering anything we haven’t baby locked yet

We tried putting the blanket sleep sack on Reagan, the one that confines her feet enough she (in theory) can’t hoist one leg over the side. How did that work, you ask? Well everyone hollered in rage when we left the room and turned off the light, so much so that Emerie decided to puke up her dinner all over everything, bringing us back in to clean up like with Harper the previous night. Good news was in that five minutes Reagan didn’t even try to escape. Bad news? I literally watched her take the blanket sleep sack off by herself, like it was no big thing. So that’s not going to work either and we put her back in the open footed one she prefers.

In efforts to delay the inevitable shift to toddler beds, we tried one last ditch effort, mildly edited our typical, nightly routine. It’s been a bit since we’ve had to chance anything up for that process, and the girls are so busy growing and changing now, so I guess it’s time. One of us will now sit in their room until everyone dozes off, much like we did when they were a lot smaller (until we wised up and let them fuss a bit to fall asleep). So far Craig has done a couple nights of this so I could shower and scrub the lovely pink eye goop out of my eyes. I can hear him calmly tell them to lay back down, to settle, to sssshhhhhhhh. So far Reagan has not attempted to climb out while he’s in the room and eventually drifts off to sleep.

While this is a band-aid measure for sure, it hasn’t kept them from waking up an hour or two later and losing their minds throughout the night. I’m pretty sure this is getting worse, not better, as they get older. I’m attributing this to the cold/cough/pinkeye more than the anxiety; in either case they don’t stay in their cribs long enough!

We tried putting everyone down for nap the regular way yesterday and Reagan didn’t try to climb out. Craig reinforced “lay down” from outside their bedroom, while watching on the baby camera, and that seemed to work for now. The other theory is that she can’t climb out without the crib meshing; but I’m not sure that is really it.


About the only good thing from this past week pertains to Emerie’s eye follow up. I took her to Dr. Winkle last Monday, expecting to be told another surgery would be needed to loosen up the eye muscles that were tightened in October.

While being less than cooperative (in trend with the week we are having), after his first look he said she was progressing along nicely and that no surgery was needed yet. So we will reassess in three months after her birthday! We also have to take the other two in to ensure no issues have occurred since Emerie was originally diagnosed.

On an interesting note, Dr. Winkle did mention that he’s seen a couple other sets of identicals (twins) this winter. We were concerned last year that everyone would have the same issue and need the cataract surgery, since they are genetically the same, and were incredibly pleased that this was not the case. Apparently the identicals he’s seen recently are all presenting the same issues (don’t worry, he was very vague for HIPPA) and he said that the Douglets were the only recent outlier for this. So glad something is working out in our favor. It also goes to show that Emerie’s cataract is not a genetic issue but something environmental, likely occurring from pressure in the womb that differed from where Harper and Reagan were positioned.

Interesting stuff indeed!


Last Friday Nanny Chris and I loaded everyone up for an eyes, chest and ears check, especially since the doctor’s office refused to prescribe more pinkeye drops without an in-person visit from the girls. Better to be safe than sorry as we enter into a long weekend off work.

It turns out that both Reagan and Harper have double ear infections AND eye infections (pinkeye unconfirmed) and Emerie has the eye infection and would have an ear one if the tubes weren’t draining a bunch. So yay…no wonder no one believes in napping this week or sleeping at night!

Babies starting to feel better, minus the snot

To top all of this, I managed to get all of the girls’ illnesses, including a bacterial eye infection. So no contacts for me this week and it’s oddly strange, like in the first months after having the girls, when we didn’t sleep more than 90 minutes at a time so contacts weren’t worth putting in.

If someone could please remind 2020 that this year should be good…that would be great? The first two weeks haven’t started out very strong and this better not be an indication of what age two will be like.

Harper and Reagan

Open space is no bueno

Is it me, or does becoming a parent make you see the world around you in a completely different light? It follows the same principles as someone who say, breaks their leg, and then experiences the world in a new way while they are hobbling around on crutches. Going from an easier way to get around, without thinking much about how the world is set up, to having to find the ramp to enter a building, or try to open a door with crutches…things you don’t see until life changes. The same goes for kids!

I’ve always been one to use the stairs when possible, not because I dislike elevators, but because stairs are generally easy to access to get you where you’d like to go without waiting. Throw kids into that mix, especially three with a big, triple stroller, and that luxury goes straight out the window.

This past weekend we went on a couple outings to break up the cabin fever that comes from a January in Alaska. With the coldest week we’ve seen in Anchorage in three years, outdoor playtime is canceled until it warms into the double digits again (double digits above zero!). The girls do not approve of instant red noses and having to wear so many layers; and who can blame them, we don’t like it either!

Our first stop was the museum downtown. The best part about this outing proved to be the drive from inside my garage to inside the underground, heated garage parking underneath the museum. Mission leave the house without going outside at all – check!

The last time I visited the museum, I was a freshman in high school headed to homecoming- skinny with braces and in a fancy dress and heels. So much has changed since then but the interior of the space looked much the same. We ventured over to the educational wing; the area filled with a ton of kid activities as well as the playroom for the younger visitors.

This wasn’t the most pleasant of outings and I’m glad we tried it out before deciding to buy an annual visitors pass. I expected the usual kids outnumbering the parents to bring the normal level of difficulty when visiting places, but the layout of the kids area really assisted in making it harder. While I know open, flowing spaces are encouraged throughout public space design, it is not prudent when there are three tiny, but quick toddlers wanting to explore and take in all the excitement.

They did not appreciate these at all.

They did fine in the play area, pending someone remained near the wide entrance to stop any wanderers, but the rest of the space housing all the activities was way too open. Most “rooms” had at least three, big access points. Design-wise the whole area is fine; parents versus triplets wise? Not so much. I see the bigger issue as a more basic principle: it’s a kid area…WHY aren’t there doors, or at least some creative gates, that hinder kids from running off? There wasn’t a single buffer in the entire area, not one.

This issue isn’t exclusive to the museum, but rather noticeable across many public and supposedly kid friendly places. The library has a great toddler and preschool aged area, but yet again, they don’t have anything blocking in the play area. This could easily be remedied and would allow someone with multiple littles to go solo and survive. I’ve found that the recreational centers across the city seem to tackle this issue the best and provide doors and walls, something much appreciated when I want to get out of the house on my solo kid days.

While the museum was a little more chaotic than preferable, it did get us a TWO hour nap at home, something uncommon in the Douglas household anymore (or ever really).

The girls are continuing to improve their climbing skills, a little too well if you ask me. Reagan has now copied her sister and climbed into Emerie’s crib with her for the anti-nap time the other day. Emerie is now the holdout for that skill, but that is likely because she’s a tad shorter than her sisters.

We have not resolved this issue yet…because…well life…but this weekend will tackle how to lower the crib mattresses farther than their original design…or something. We are not ready to convert to toddler beds and hoping we’d make it past two before that. The interim fix was to rearrange the cribs so they no longer touch.

Just enough space for wall to wall to rearrange…for the moment.

Unfortunately that fix was not enough. With the nursery cam not operational for the nanny for one afternoon, angry, anti-napper Reagan finally had enough with her required nap time and dared to climb over her crib and down the side to the floor. The poor nanny found her standing in the living room. Luckily she didn’t entirely destroy our upstairs before she was spotted! Looking back at the footage for it, she lowered herself down waaaaaay too confidently and used that arm muscle like a pro.

Now we are keeping a close eye on things when in the crib. So far no one else has attempted a jailbreak. With the grumpiness of red eyes and goopy ears this week, we are stalling on fixing the issue.

On another fun note, pinkeye entered our house this week…pretty good that we made it 21 months without catching it! We believe Emerie contracted it from someone contagious at the museum; she had goopy eyes after nap time and the next morning that I didn’t realize was out of the ordinary until Monday. Emerie kindly shared that with Harper after another day, and Reagan later in the week. Craig and I are now frantically trying to keep our hands clean, not touch our eyes, and not let them jam those contagious fingers into ours!

Since we have pink eyed babies, why not go for green faced babies, or orange armed babies, or a variety of other colors on the rainbow spectrum. So after dinner the other night we stripped everyone down to diapers, broke out the old, not-recently-used painting drop cloths from the garage, and pulled out the kid paint for a little fun. Sadly their little pink eyes totally match the paint colors! Emerie immediately went in for a taste test, while Reagan remained clean a few more minutes, just barely touching it to the paper. In true Douglas style, Harper painted her first drawing of the night solely with her middle finger. I guess we haven’t quite broken that habit yet.

The rest of the weekend you will find me at home, hanging out with my pink eyed and contagious babies, breaking out every toy in the house to entertain the younguns until this cold weather/sick snap has passed. This includes our cool caterpillar tunnel, the pickler, indoor slide, and probably some more (edible) baby paint. We opened up more of the living room so the girls can climb up and down the main stairway and that seems to be quite the hit to burn off some of the cabin fever. Well that, and everyone trying to eat the Christmas lights when I’m not looking…which is apparently sooo hilarious (and not). We are working on that.

Enjoying some sister time (and cookies)

And lastly, our silly thing for the week. I amazingly completed a whole batch of chocolate chip cookies on my solo day off. While the girls refused to even taste them in the morning (when fresh and delicious-more for me!), they definitely enjoyed some morsels after a successful nap time (thank goodness!). So much, in fact, that Emerie stole the entire container off the counter, quietly carried it over into the entryway, managed to open it, and hand several cookies out to each of her sisters before I noticed. Their little chocolate covered faces gave them away.

Emerie prompting her own snack time

Big plans for this weekend? Yep, survival. And maybe swimming since the water won’t share the germs. And not going outside until it warms up? Yeah that too.

An accurate depiction of triplet life

EAR-itable Baby Fix

After surviving our first triple, winter cold as toddlers, Emerie had another ear infection. Our pediatrician recommended that she go see an ENT (ear-nose-throat) specialist to determine if her re-occurring ear infections could be stopped with the installation of tubes. The past year full of infections and sick babies, in combination with multiple different medicines to treat said illnesses, is enough of a reason to take more action and find some relief for our tiny, but resilient, tot.

Emerie enjoying the fancy tree in the waiting room

Last week Craig took her to his favorite ENT spot; I say that lightly because he spent several months competing with me on doctors appointments – triplet pregnancy and TTTS scare versus his ear drums bursting and bleeding. Do you think he received a lot of sympathy from me for those needed visits? (the answer is unfortunately no -sorry- and I still would have traded symptoms with him!). Either way, he ended up really liking the whole staff over there and has threatened to bring the girls in to see them a couple of times.

The ENT recommended she get tubes in both ears, a standard surgery done for young kids with repetitive ear infections. The surgery, called a bilateral myringotomy, makes a tiny incision in each ear drum and places a small, plastic tube to drain fluid. Instead of waiting a month for a surgical appointment during the high of cold season, I received a call yesterday that the doctor had an opening for the following day. So here we are!

This surgery took a whole seven minutes to complete, anesthesia and all. It took longer to sign the paperwork and talk to the medical team than it did to complete the actual procedure. Emerie was a happy patient as we waited for her to go back for it; she didn’t spit out the Versed this time so she was loopier this time than in pre-op for October’s surgery.

Everything went well and we were back in post op before we finished drinking our coffee! We expected a mildly grumpy baby; but less than last time since this procedure was less invasive than the cataract ones. That was not the case; her wailing could be heard down the hall and she was still screaming thirty minutes later when we decided to just take her home. Not even a binkie helped! She cried most of the drive home and, of course, fell asleep two minutes away from the house.

After more coaxing, she is restlessly asleep on me in the nursery armchair. Hopefully the grumpiness will subside when she wakes up; if not, please send Christmas goodies our way (kidding not kidding!). Dr. K. said her ears might be irritated for the day but she shouldn’t have any lasting issues that Tylenol won’t fix. So pending everyone naps this afternoon (since we haven’t had a good nap in five days!), things should be relatively smooth today.

Prayers are appreciated! ❤

Rose Colored Glasses

I feel like the past few months (and blogs) have contained less than my normally optimistic self…when it comes to far less sleep than I’d like, picky eaters that throw most of their food on the floor, biting and hair pulling, ear infections and head colds, busy work days and a more monotonous, routined life with less relaxing or fun than I’d sometimes like to have. I fear we are branching into the “terrible twos” and have definitely had a number of days with grumpy and confrontational toddlers. All. Day. Long (well if we are being realistic that involves night too).

Triplet threat: matching doll strollers that moonlight as chairs.

And while this age is hard in a different way than infancy, it also has some really great parts that are worth dwelling on more than the difficult parts. So what are some of the things that I love about this age of the #tripletlife? At this busy age of mobile #toddlerhood?! At this age of the girls figuring out how to better interact and react to new situations?

I’ve come up with a few things that I try to appreciate each day, even when I really just want to put my feet up, watch a Hallmark movie (or any movie really) and take a break in silence (or a nap?). At some point in the future that will once again be realistic, so for now let’s enjoy the sweeter side of toddler time…to name a few:

Lap Cuddles

One of my favorite things about this age is something that could be seen as insignificant, but I really enjoy experiencing it. Getting down on the same level as the girls (i.e. sitting on the floor instead of a chair or the couch) during playtime allows additional interaction that generally involves a rotation of lap babies. They will bring toys, books, blankets and binkies over to you, turn around and plop their tiny butt right in your lap for a short cuddle session or to share their toy. This rotation lasts until they see other sister doing something more interesting or decide it’s time for more marathon running across the room- once they get up, the next one sees opportunity and immediately plops down. It is an endless cycle that is very sweet; I know this won’t last forever.

If I sit on the floor with a blanket over my lap, Emerie is always the first to show up with a toy and sit down to play with it. She likes to sit in the blanket or have it around her shoulders and will occupy herself for a good amount of time if uninterrupted. Harper and Reagan will venture over at some point, if I sit there long enough, but Emerie certainly favors playing with her toys and sitting with you. Reagan often brings a book over to read, but won’t sit for more than a page or two before she’s up and running again. This cycle will repeat several times; I’m hoping at some point the length of book patience will improve page by page. Harper, on the other hand, always full force runs at you, huge smile and all, and will hang out for a bit with whatever toy or book she’s found. She often likes to snuggle up in a blanket for this, while Reagan always has to have her feet out!

It sounds silly, but I love that they all do this and will miss when they are bigger and don’t anymore. It is a sweet gesture of love and trust that they show for the people in their lives they love. So for now, I try to appreciate such little gestures of love they display throughout the day.

Sloppy Kisses

A momentary hug session in the kitchen between Reagan and Harper.

This can be gross at times, but the adorable part easily overrides that. We are working on improving the slobber level and everyone does the “muah” sound. All three are still sloppy, slobbery kissers but starting to understand what “give me a kiss” means. In fact, in addition to sharing those sloppy kisses with Mom and Dad, Grandma or Grandpa, they are starting to share them with each other. It doesn’t always go very smoothly, ending with a head bonk and sometimes tears. But when they successfully plant one on each other, it usually involves some type of giggle; only for a brief moment and you’ll miss it if you aren’t paying attention!

Kisses are starting to fly across the house now…by that I mean the girls are starting to blow kisses at you and saying buh-bye. It results in a handful of “thrown” kisses and big smiles.

Every once in a while I will turn around to a mini, baby hug session. They are all starting to see if someone is upset, they can help remedy the situation by giving a hug or patting their head (petting really). This seems to apply even if they are the one that initiated the crying (biting, collision, stealing of a toy, to name a few). The moments are very brief before they switch gears to something else, but they exist nonetheless!

Temperament Changes

Team huddle in the kitchen

This one is a real “kicker.” As we all know, toddler temperament is like drawing an emotion out of a hat, every five seconds, and immediately reacting at 100% full force to whatever emotion is chosen. It can change in a split second- like holding a screaming rager one second to holding a giggling baby the next…just from flipping them upside down and dangling them by their ankles. I assume this is going to continue to worsen before it improves, so I try to find the humor in some of their reactions, because- to be honest- they can be pretty entertaining to watch. The triple temper tantrum hasn’t fully occurred yet; I am waiting in anticipation to film this and share it with all of you when it happens.

I did capture a short video of Harper throwing a ten second fit the other day. She throws her hands up and…well…see for yourself. Emerie is starting to mimic her sister, now similarly starting throw her hands up when upset too.

Another triplet parent told me it’ll be rare to have the tri-fecta (tri…get it!) of all three in full out rage tantrum. Why? Because they see the long term game plan…which means one kid throws the tantrum at a time and then continues to trade off. After a few years, that’ll certainly wear those pesky parents down, day by day…I feel like this shared knowledge will be far truer than I’m prepared to handle.

Another piece of advice, that I will really try to remind myself for the next several years…kids often save up all that pent up emotion for the whole day, so by the time the parents get home, the emotional rage is real. Why? Because Mom and Dad are their confidants, their safe place; so releasing all those feelings means they feel safest around you. The probably is, young children don’t always know how to express what they are feeling, good, bad and in-between, and that is the true form of the tantrum centralizes from. While I realize I am still a relatively new parent; this advice hits pretty close to home and is something I need to remind myself as they continue to grow.

Complete Trust

This can be daunting at times when your arms are outnumbered by one, but if you really think about it, it wreaks of sweetness. The girls have complete and utter faith and trust in their parents, knowing they can dive off a slide or piece of furniture and there is no doubt in their minds you will move heaven and earth to catch them. Is that realistic? Well no, not when they are ten feet away and you are holding a sibling and have to superhero dive (in slow motion and over a plethora of toys and obstacles) across the room to reach that tiny diver before they hit the ground. Can’t you just picture that? I will tell you…it’s definitely not that graceful. There might be a bit too much trust when I’m trying to catch more than one at once, but the thought behind it is something to smile about: they have complete faith and love for you!

They have complete faith in you!

So until they fully understand that gravity really exists and can when challenged, it can lead to injuries (an idea not yet achieved but hopefully soon). I will remind myself that they trust us fully and count that we will be there, a sentiment I hope to keep throughout their lives.

Overnight Snuggles

A sleepy Reagan in the guestroom after a grumpy night.

This is a hard one, because I love actual sleep but it is but a vague memory at this point in my life! It’s probably better to block out that memory for another year or two; although Craig and I had a brief glimpse of it a few weeks ago when everyone slept the whole night without a peep. That was the first occurrence of seven straight hours of sleep for the parents in almost five months. So while a reminder everyone once in a while of how great sleep can be, getting up at night to comfort and calm a baby isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, why wouldn’t I want to get lots of snuggle time in while they still want to?

What I find utterly ridiculous is, on the rare occasions that everyone stays settled in their room, I actually miss them. Not enough to pick one up out of their bed, of course, but certainly to peek on the baby camera at their cute sleeping positions. So while not all bedtime cuddles actually involve them sleeping right away, I definitely enjoy the individual time…even when it means less sleep for me. But don’t you dare tell them any of that…they need to sleep in their beds sometime!!

This past month is full of lots of overnight snuggling. The girls all had a head cold and cough, making them restless at night. Coughing fits will wake up someone at some point during the night, and involve a repetitive calming each time another one presents. Emerie even had a couple nice snuggle naps with me or Craig after her coughing prevented her from settling down. Luckily we didn’t experience coughing babies until they were twenty months old! I definitely would not have enjoyed this same type of cold when they were much smaller and am glad our prior colds last winter only involved the buckets and buckets of snot. I can say that colds are not quite as brutal now that they are a little bit older, but I have to say that while wearing my rose colored “life glasses.”

Comprehension

Everyone is steadily learning new words at an exponential pace; but what amazes me more than that is their comprehension of other words and phrases. While they won’t necessarily answer you verbally on things, they definitely understand what you are saying on much more than they can express themselves.

For example, if you say “let’s go get your shoes on,” someone will run over to the shoe bin in the living room and try to pull them out. Sometimes they will even grab a shoe, sit down and attempt to put it on (not successfully yet but they try!). Other phrases that they fully understand now:

  • If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! (and they clap…the patty cake song works well for this too)
  • Let’s brush our teeth! (they point and say teeth!)
  • It’s bath time! Go see Dad! (and they will run upstairs to the bathroom and usually arrive in the correct location)
  • Where is the kitty?! (they will turn around and search until they see him and shriek in excitement)
  • Go throw away your diaper (which results in a run across the living room to the trash in the kitchen)
  • Not nice…more normally spoken NOT NICE (commonly used now and they know it means they were being unkind or are in trouble)
  • Say bye-bye (this results in a bye bye and wave when they are feeling like it…)
  • Multiple body parts…nose, belly, ears, teeth, mouth, eyes…
  • Each other’s names
  • Do you want more?
  • And the exciting, are you poopy!? (We are working on this one and sometimes they understand!)

One other cute comprehension- the past week or so everyone has started pointing out to you if they get an “owie.” They don’t use the word yet, but will run over to you (usually crying or upset), finger pointed straight out, and expect you to fix whatever is wrong. What I recently noticed about the finger pointing…it’s not that finger that is hurt like we initially thought. It is a variety of body parts, but they all stick their pointer finger out straightforward as the indication. So not 100% figured out yet, but progress.

I haven’t heard any phrasing from them yet, but do enjoy watching their word and phrasing comprehension continue to grow. I also anxiously await their conversations to one another; so far it’s pretty limited but I know it’s around the corner and I’m excited! Much of their communication so far results in giggles and inaudible sounds.

New Experiences and Skills

Kids are all about learning new things right? That’s part of growing up. This is something we take for granted as adults. For example, Craig found a cool new adventuring toy called a Pickler. This ladder like toy is meant to improve coordination in young children. I was shocked how quickly the girls could climb it like professionals; and enjoyed that sentiment along with the mild heart attack of them climbing high up.

Harper and Reagan goofing off on the pickler

I’m still enjoying their daily advancement of physical and mental life skills, such as climbing a ladder, going up and down the stairs like pros, figuring out how to build their block tower taller without any assistance, pretend stirring one of their teacups, things like that. Switching out old toys and for ones that spent some time in “toy jail” also allows their creative juices to flow.

They continue to learn new life skills as well. For example, I purchased a clip/clasp pillow a month or so ago that is quite the hit with all three. It lets them practice clipping different, colorful styles of clasps together and is in constant use. No, we are not teaching them how to unclip anything; just how to put them together. I am not ready for them to escape out of their strapped chairs quite yet!

The girls are also learning about shoes and socks. They now try to put their matching slippers on and almost have it down! They try to put socks on as well; every once in a while they succeed but more commonly they plop down in front of you and demand assistance. Emerie was the first to put on adult shoes and slippers and now all three can do it and slowly try to walk around. Such grown up girls!

SOCKS!!

Emerie

In addition to new experiences, they’re learning how to interact with new things. Like after an ouch, they sometimes bring sister a toy or a binkie to be nice. Each morning they give the dog a cute greeting, and she’s learned that if she leans into the crib they will pet her (nicely).

Kalli greetings in the morning

So What Else?!

I’m sure there are more things I could appreciate in the day-to-day that I just don’t pay attention to. Looking back I’m sure I will see a few, especially as they get older! I know lots of you have kiddos similar in age, and I’m betting my eyes still aren’t seeing all of the great things that are happening before me…it’s all a matter of perspective. Some days I’m great at looking at things with my happy glasses- other days? Not so much.

So what other treasures am I missing?

The Pre-Terrible Twos & Em Eye Update

We are in a new stage where the girls don’t want to do many of the things they’ve been doing for months. For example, they don’t want to eat unless you feed them, they don’t want diaper changes and flail around like angry alligators when you change them, and they don’t want to wear their clothes but also don’t want them off. They certainly can’t seem to decide what they want!

This is making the day-to-day a lot more interesting, in a not-so-great way. These new habits change daily (even hourly!). At dinner time they will eat a couple pieces of the food set out before them (type varies each day) and then throw everything else on the floor, no matter if they love it or not or are starving or not. In fact, they refuse to eat any more unless someone sits there and feeds it to them, bite by bite. Looks like we are back in the baby stage on this one, at least for the moment. Let’s hope this doesn’t last too long because it’s mildly irritating and takes so much longer.

The good news on this feeding strike- everyone still enjoys a variety of healthy foods (when we feed it to them), including:

For the love of sour cream
  • Broccoli: the current obsession with steamed broccoli is REAL.
  • Green beans/blueberries: they’ll eat a few themselves before starting the dodge ball match with you. Two of our main foods.
  • Mushrooms: this recent discover is a surprise, they are all thrilled to eat this off our forks and will eat ALL our mushrooms. Even a large container!
  • Corn: canned corn is a hit…sometimes they’ll eat it themselves for a handful of two.
  • Apples/grapes: we rediscovered these fruits last week and they chomp down both at snack time.
  • Blue corn chips: okay, not super healthy but they LOVE them.
  • Avocado: this is hit or miss right now, this has been a favorite food for six months now but lately it’s been floor decoration.
  • Sour cream: not really that healthy, but weirdly enough they will take a bite of anything smothered in it. And they will yell at you until more is shoveled into their mouth.
  • Fruit and veggie pouches: this is the go-to if we can’t convince anyone to eat their meal. Luckily they still like these and will chow down.
  • Yogurt: the funny thing is, they love yogurt and they love blueberries, but they do not love blueberry IN their yogurt. Sometimes I can sneak them in for Harper, but Reagan and Emerie will swallow the yogurt and deliberately spit out the berry with an offended glare at whoever is feeding them.

Reading that list doesn’t sound so bad…if they’d go back to feeding themselves. It doesn’t appear that teething is the issue and no one is sick, so that makes us believe that it is a mental game that they are testing us on. I was just getting used to handing them food and them eating it, even with the typical mess! And while the dogs very much enjoy this new trend…I would prefer to go back to them actually eating. Time will tell.

Most 1-year-olds dislike diaper changes and ours are no exception. Even with our “distraction” method, they still holler and try to get away from you. Since potty training (hopefully) is right around the corner, we are compensating for this rage by rewarding them. Once dressed they get the honor of throwing away the dirty diaper all by themselves…running into the kitchen and waiting for us to open the trash compactor so they can toss it away. Then they “help” close it and get a high five. This small task brings about a lot of toddler enthusiasm; although they are now fighting over them because everyone wants to participate, even when it isn’t their dirty diaper.

At meal time Emerie and Reagan always try to get their shirts off; Harper will join in when she sees her sisters do it. Thankfully they aren’t always coordinated enough to succeed; but, of course, this brings forth rage. And don’t even get me started on bibs…that ship has sailed.

Reagan hanging out in Emerie’s shoes

Emerie is the anti-socks and shoes baby; she is the first to pull them off and will not wear socks in the house. Occasionally we can keep her indoor booties on. Craig thinks this has something to do with a dislike of socks that have the little grippies on the bottom. She is also mastering removing her shoes in the car.

Another comical thing- since Emerie dislikes socks so much, it means I am not “allowed” to wear them inside either. If I’m sitting on the floor and wearing socks (this is Alaska so I usually am), then she is at my feet trying to pull them off. She’s converted Harper to this idea and they team up; the two of them will insist on removing everything from my feet each night and either try to wear them or throw them down toward the laundry area.

Harper doesn’t mind her shoes, but won’t leave on any zippered coats or hoodies unless fully occupied with other things. She knows how to unzip her coat and will do so by the time the other two are suited up and ready to go. Now grandma just needs to teach her to re-zip it!

Reagan doesn’t seem to have an issue wearing her shoes or coats, but dislikes hats and really dislikes gloves, even on cold walks!

Oh hey there, free sugar!

The girls are learning how to break a few more boundaries, such as reaching things on the counter they couldn’t touch before, climbing on higher surfaces while staring you down as you tell them not to, and opening the higher kitchen cabinet drawers that were never noticed (or locked) in the past. Reagan is convinced she should be allowed behind the baby gate in the living room when we are in open play mode- that area is blocked off by floor tiles and mini kid chairs. She keeps figuring out how to get back there and then gets stuck and mad about it. I believe we are right around the corner from another living room rearrange. We have an electrician coming out next week to raise several outlets so we can be a little safer and still plug things in.

So about five minutes after the nanny left yesterday, before Craig returned home from work, I turned around to this. In t-minus five split seconds someone (I’m guessing Reagan?) pulled this bag off the counter and sprinkled them everywhere. Then everyone, you know, who won’t eat for us…sat on the floor and enjoyed a marshmallow and dog hair snack together. We will now be pushing everything farther back against the backsplash. The good news is that everyone was completely willing to help me pick up the rest of them and set them into a bowl. I only stepped on the handful we missed for the next hour or so…good times. Here’s a fun reaction to me seeing the mess!


Emerie Eye Update

I took Emerie to her four week post-op checkup on Monday. The doctor wants to see us back in two months, after the holidays, to reassess if a third surgery will be necessary. While her eye isn’t trailing now, it hasn’t eased out as much as we hoped and she still looks a little cross-eyed at times. We knew this was a possibility and he intentionally over corrected during surgery in hopes it would center out on it own. There is now about a 50/50 chance we will require another one to loosen up one more eye muscle a bit more. There is also a possibility she will need another correction later; it could be five years, it could be thirty, only time will tell.

So for now, we keep doing what we are doing. Two hours of patching per day, more if she’s taking it well and forgets it’s on. Some days it might be a little less, because she’s either super grumpy or taken it off several times already. We continue taping each side of her glasses with medical tape, because she (or her sisters) won’t leave them alone otherwise! Minor progress, because we don’t have to put tape over the eye patch and the glasses now; the glasses help hold it on enough that she usually leaves it alone, at least for a while. And after patch time, she gets to hold her prize because she handled it like such a big girl!

Going for a run at Potter’s Marsh this weekend

DST=Adventure

Excluding the fact that Daylight Savings Time brought on the worst night of sleep our family has had in a while, the overall weekend was filled with fun activities and mostly happy babies who actually took good naps.

Sleeeeeeep

When I say a bad night of sleep, it usually involves a rotation of all three babies angry at some point during the night, but not usually all at the same time. While I don’t think DST is the reason for the grumpy night, keeping them up an extra half an hour probably didn’t do us any favors- we definitely had triple baby rage for almost two hours, sometime in the middle of the night (I don’t actually remember when). So the night went like this: my mom brain immediately awakes to the sound of a shrieking baby, can’t tell who until looking at the nursery cam, but by that point all three were unhappily awake. On a typical night when someone shrieks, they usually can’t find a binkie or bumped their head into the crib rails- most of the time they will settle themselves after a few seconds and their sisters will sleep right through it. On a night like this weekend, that one cry just grew louder and instantaneously awoke the other two, who were NOT impressed with being woken up. We let them cry for a while, hoping they’d settle and go back to sleep. On a bad night like this one, after over an hour of crying, Craig ended up with two unsettled babies in bed with him and I had one in the guest room and we slept a couple hours like that until I got up at five. Sounds superrr fun right?

On nights when they don’t settle, I fly into the nursery as quickly and quietly as possible and whisk that baby out. This usually works (and is usually Emerie although we do trade around) and that baby gets some one-on-one parent time with us for the next few hours until the early morning feed. Some nights they immediately go back to sleep between us, other nights they want to cuddle or drink a bottle before dozing off, and some nights it becomes a several hour battle to get them to go back to sleep, even with us.

Here’s the catch- you have one baby in your room, finally settled, and the next one cries out a little while later. I dive out of bed again, quickly checking the nursery cam to see who it is. If they both wake up at this point, we give them a few minutes and see if they settle without intervention. If only one is awake, I know I have seconds to grab that baby (usually Reagan at this point) before she wakes the third one. I then lay down in the guest bedroom with baby #2 while Craig stays in our room with baby #1. The biggest issue from this point on is if baby #3 wakes up and starts wailing…thankfully those nights don’t happen too often, and since it’s usually Harper (gotta give her credit as my best sleeper!), we can give her a bottle and briefly snuggle in the nursery. She’ll usually go back to sleep in her crib while the other two are asleep in the other bedrooms for a few more hours. Having one or two babies out of their beds for a couple hours each night seems to be our norm since our trip to Juneau. Having no one in their crib at all is pretty abnormal, so by the time my alarm clock goes off in the morning, I am very ready for tho types of nights to be over with. Thankfully the early morning feed (that we will have to give up someday but not yet!) gets everyone back in their own beds for a couple more hours of sleep while we get up for work or take a catnap ourselves.

Did reading that tire you out? It did for me!


Weekend Activities

Excluding the minimal night of sleep, the weekend wasn’t sooo bad. We left the house a few times for different types of activities: ate out at one of our favorite local restaurants (french fries and milkshakes!), swam with friends at the pool, played at dad’s group, “helped” Grandma Sue make cookies and played with Papa Cliff, and wreaked havoc on the library. This is one of the first weekends in a while that we didn’t hit up the park, but the weather was wet and windy and the girls weren’t thrilled to play out in the backyard, let alone go somewhere outside.

I like to take the girls to the library on my off day- they are usually pretty good about running around the play area and not immediately trying to escape. But after about 10 minutes there this week, they were already off and trying to escape to explore the whole kid area. We ended up letting them check out the book aisles (that burns energy!) and try out the games on the kid computer and the chalk table. Unfortunately they still want to just eat the chalk, not so much color with it. They definitely enjoyed the computer keyboard and mouse, not so much what was playing on the screen.

The girls did great out to lunch at one of our favorite local, family-owned restaurants- Arctic Roadrunner. I discovered their great love for delicious pickles and brought a pile home with us for snacking on later. They will suck all the juice off the pickle before attempting to eat it, so I think it passes the toddler flavor test. At the end of the meal, Emerie and Reagan were playing peekaboo under the table with each other, initiated completely by them! And as I handed the last baby to Grandpa to take to car, the table next to us sweetly commented that they have twins and thought the girls behaved great throughout our lunch.

After an unusually successful nap time at home, we bundled up and played on the back porch for a bit while Grandma continued cooking. No one was too thrilled at the wet and windy surroundings, but they all played a bit on the castle (with all the new pieces installed!). It only took moments for everyone to figure out how to climb into the tower and open the fancy trap door. Emerie really liked hanging out in the tower and going up and down, and Harper and Reagan checked it out and then went back to their play cars and the slide.

After a few minutes, we came back inside, took off coats, hats, boots and fleece pants and all three had a turn helping helping Grandma Sue roll the cookie dough in powdered sugar and onto cookie sheets…although it might have looked like an explosion of sugar in the kitchen afterwards. I imagine we will have a number of years with such “explosions” when cooking, especially with how much Craig and I like to bake (when we have time).

Harper was not a happy camper to wait her turn and Emerie and Reagan didn’t want to stop “helping”. Emerie was the self-proclaimed and certified taste tester and Reagan was such a helper and happy to plop the dough onto the cookie sheet. Don’t worry, the cookies turned out fine!


Toddler Swimming

The girls haven’t gone swimming, other than the occasional back yard baby pool adventure during the summer, since we visited Juneau back in early July. The rec center there was much warmer and set up for small children than the high school pool we went to on Sunday. The girls started out pretty chilled, with teeth chattering a bit, but eventually accepted their fate of water time and cooperated. We brought two floaties with us and rotated who sat in them and who held what kiddo. Janelle and Megan, with kids in tow, joined us for extra hands! For an event that had more kids than adults and involved water, I think we did pretty great.

Also, I mean really, how cute are they in those tiny swimsuits? And they are 2T and fit (a little big on Em still)! My babies are getting so grown up.

One key piece of advice that was shared to me sometime last winter. Do NOT dress the girls in matching swimsuits. At first I really questioned that, but if you think about it. Having all three looking the same can confuse the lifeguards, they may see a kiddo struggling for a moment, look away for a second and look back to see the kiddo playing fine in the water, while the first one could actually still be struggling and in danger. The lifeguard wouldn’t know that they are two or three different kids when dressed alike and a short distance away. It is very smart to remember this when you have similar sized (and looking) babies in an environment that needs lots of parental supervision and a great piece of advice that I’m taking going forward.

Emerie tickling Harper’s toes

We may be getting to the point that swim lessons will be fun. Craig was definitely a water baby and I think the girls take after him on it. Anyone who wants to join us to be the third set of adult hands; you just let us know! Of all the kiddos that participated, the girls were the only ones that didn’t somehow meltdown in the locker room afterwards. I call that a win…even though it just means they were happily running around the locker room while I chased and tried to dress them…a fun, diaper issue also occurred, but I won’t go into more explanation or detail than that (use your imagination and you’re probably right…).

One other cute memory from this past weekend- the girls are really interacting together so much more; not so much full on talking or words, but noises and basic interactions. It improves every day as they discover new things to try. This photo, from right after dinner the other night, shows Emerie going and tickling Harper’s toes, completely unprompted. She started with Reagan, who was giggling at her from the table as I cleaned off her hands from dinner, and then moved over to Harper to see if she would react in the same manner. It was so cute! Occasionally they will try to belly tickle each other as well- probably from seeing us do it to them, but it is less effective than going for those feet! Harper is definitely the most ticklish of the three, but it’s also not too difficult to tickle torture Reagan and Emerie to get a laugh.

All in all, it was a fun weekend. Now back to the work week grind!

Halloween 2019

Best effort at hand/foot baby decorating

While this Halloween was pretty relaxed, it is still one for the girls’ “digital memory” book. Now that they are a little more tolerable out and about (even well behaved!), we chose the simple route and walked around the neighborhood for a short trick-or-treat.

Craig’s dad flew in from Juneau in the afternoon to enjoy the holiday weekend with the kiddos. He brought foam swords that were quite the hit with all three, producing a lot of giggles from kids and adults. Everyone was happy to see Grandpa!

Sword fighting Papa Cliff

Emerie dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Harper as a pink, sparkly fairy with yellow wings and Reagan as Ana from Frozen. The dresses fit a bit better than they did during Trick or Treat in the heat six weeks ago- I guess the girls will keep growing!

With the unusually warm temperatures in Alaska this year and the past month, outside trick or treating activities were actually feasible. If it was the typical high 30s and 40s, we probably wouldn’t have ventured out, but this week’s 50 degree weather allowed the girls to stay warm enough to have some fun, even with a little rainfall.

Craig put everyone’s coats and boots on under their princess dresses, with hoods up, and loaded them into the wagon with a Halloween themed blanket.

We made it to about ten houses. It was early enough that not a lot of other kiddos were out yet, but the sky still had some light. After a few houses we let the girls climb up the neighbors’ steps for the candy and they were pretty shy about grabbing candy out of the bowl. At the first house Harper grabbed a piece and threw it back in the bowl! After a house or two they didn’t want to sit back in the wagon so everyone walked a bit.

All in all, nothing too exciting, but everyone was a good sport. I’m sure we will be wearing Halloween outfits over the next week or two as new daily apparel.

We ended the night playing downstairs and snacking on some popcorn and ice cream. And, who remembers this spinning toy from waaay back in the day!? I found it at the consignment sale and the girls think it is quite hilarious. They don’t understand how to turn themselves on it…but definitely insist we push it for them.

And with that…let the holidays begin!