Since we are home this year for our first valentine’s day that the girls can really participate in, I made some effort to figure out daily crafts to do for friends and family.
We started off the week of love with heart window clings, which finally don’t immediately submerge into their mouths with a well warranted “yucky” response. All three enjoyed sticking them on the windows and taking them away from each other; Emerie kept balling them up in her hands and running off while Reagan’s handful went on the floor, under her foot, while she added them one-by-one and tried to keep them away from Harper. Eventually they all ended up all over the house and were collected for the trash can. Maybe someday they will stay on the actual windows.
Our first craft went better than most of the ideas I come up with! I printed basic trees (solid trunk and branches) on pink paper and instructed everyone to buckle in at the table. Crafts go sooo much better when I’m not scolding the entire time with a get OFF the table! as they crowd around you and participate. The bag of puffy, heart shaped stickers was quite the hit and everyone decorated their trees without much assistance. In fact, they were peeling off the backs of the stickers without help after about five minutes. I have to say, stickers are a majorly awesome entertainer at this age. This craft is wall worthy and currently planned to hang up in admiration over the next week. What do you think!?
We ended up creating several versions of this upon request. Everyone kept asking for the heart stickers and then concentrated on their decorating.
I really enjoy noting the differences between each kiddo’s artwork. Janelle pointed out to me that their creations resemble each season, with Reagan’s showing all the leaves up in the tree (and nicely organized I might add- all done by herself!), Emerie’s with leaves beginning to fall and Harper’s covering full on fall all over the page. They aren’t to the point of comparing what the other is constructing so it’s great to see their free spirits roam and create. It will be interesting to see how their styles change as they grow and learn and then compare them to each other.
It took several nights tracing and cutting out hearts to do the next craft, heart shaped valentines in several different shapes. We typical color with crayons at least once a day but the girls weren’t really interested in drawing in more than a couple hearts before they wanted normal coloring sheets. I’ll be saving this idea for next year when attention spans are longer; for now we made enough to add to a few cards to send out.
We ventured into the messy paint a couple of times, using stencils and later decorating wooden hearts by hand. So much effort but the girls really love smearing the paint everywhere and it all ends up looking very brown (probably why Harper likes it haha!).
Aunt Janelle and Paris came over to help us celebrate Valentine’s Day and enjoy some homemade treats. The girls all boasted matching dresses AND polka dot tights and a rockin’ fancy hairstyle by Grandma. Much of the morning was spent making out favorite brownies and the girls help package them up for friends. I managed to sneak out and deliver a few throughout the day, even bring the girls with me for some and bribing good behavior with heart suckers.
The girls’ highlightable activity of the morning consisted of helping Grandma Sue make fresh, pink, heart shaped donuts. Needless to say, the room was quite a mess of flour and dough by the end of it, but it was hilarious to watch them mimic their instructor and try to knead the dough into shapes.
I can’t help but note some of the grossness that accompanied such an event. Harper went straight to eating it (just like she’s more into eating play dough than the other two) , laughing at our reactions as it dribbled out of her mouth. Reagan was all about getting flour everywhere and occasionally snacking on it; Emerie was happy to knead it and smear the flour on the paper. Paris did an awesome job with the little rolling pin and smoothing hers out, once the sticky factor was resolved with more flour.
After the initial dough work, Grandma got to work frying the deliciousness on the stove. One by one she and Craig had one little helper with the icing and, of course, you can’t forget about the sprinkles. Each kiddo had their turn putting the final touches on (some of) the treats and ensuring the flavor was up to par. We made enough for a small army so I hope everyone who had a plate enjoyed them! The girls sure did!
Today’s festivities needed some ground rules to abide by when cooking with Grandma, such as:
The messier the floor, the better the food.
Painting smocks are excellent at keeping flour off toddlers.
Donut dough is for snacking on, not for cooking with.
Flour should be licked directly off the table.
Play dough tools work perfectly for dough rolling.
“Heart” shapes made by little hands look more like bruised hearts that happy ones but taste the same.
Sprinkles are like glitter; you find them everywhere and on everything but you still have to have them.
All of the sugar ensured that Reagan and Emerie refused to actually nap, with Harper out pretty quick and sleeping through most of the bedroom shenanigans until we finally gave up and got them back up. My sleepless two were dismayed that they couldn’t have a donut as a post-nap snack; Harper happily munched on hers during our usual wake up snuggle on the couch.
I can’t say today was altogether easy, that we didn’t have fighting and tantrums and toddler rage; but in between those moments were some enjoyable ones. Examples like watching the girls enthusiastically try to work the donut dough, play tea party with each other (and fight over all the little plates), request you to read a book, snuggle with Auntie, examine the flowers on the kitchen table from Daddy, sucking on the big lip suckers, enjoying some lumpia and ponset courtesy of the neighbors, or running around in their cooking aprons and hats. Valentine’s Day should be fun each year to come, when we can do more crafts and cooking under a little less toddler duress; for now it’s still pretty manageable and the girls seemed to have fun.
Week one juggling full time work and full time kiddos went off better than expected. I’m not sure why I feel my attitude is better than our two week daycare closure in November, but I’m feeling optimistic and strong that we can manage this daycare gap and come out alive and thriving on the other end.
Don’t quote me on that…it could simply be the coffee and wine speaking as I’m well aware it is the dead of winter and being contained inside is hard. But! One week down and we are looking onward to the next one. Much of this is credited to the help of some wonderful friends, one that came over for an evening so I could have an art night with the bestie, two that came over one night so Craig and I could have our first date night in I don’t know how long, one that brought us coffee and donuts bright and early, one that opened her house up for a play date, and of course the bestie who visited several times so we could make work calls and survive playing inside. Each and every one of you…we thank you!!
The Amazon and Target shopping is a bit out of control since we pulled the kids from school, with my mind on what activities I need to encourage each week to keep them learning and thriving. Anyone with ideas on easy, manageable times three crafts while one versus three, I’m all ears!! So far we’ve come up with a few ideas, including:
Triple coloring sheets arrived yesterday so everyone gets to color the same sheet each day. First day was the #1 and today we all colored Little Baby Bum animals that my biased self thinks are soooo cute. Harper spent a lot of time perfecting her animals and everyone thought was amazing when the same monkey getting colored was on the tv!
Play dough: stencils, cut outs and of course new colors. Now if I could get them to stop eating and licking it (Harper and Emerie!!)
Mini button game: haven’t tried yet but it’s little buttons that shape into animals.
All things puzzles! You can never have too many puzzles…errr…until you are cleaning a million pieces off the floor and always missing a few…
DIY paper plate face art, animals edition
Jewelry sets with string
Stamps and sticker time: this is a new and now favored activity. We decorate paper plates with stickers, deck out little plastic boxes and the wooden food toys. So far they aren’t all over the house yet so that is a win!
Reusable sticker scenes still cover the backdoor windows and now the actual sticker books
Watercolors (and I fear for my life lol)
Valentine’s Day crafts for next week…I might have gone a bit overboard but WHY NOT?!
Magnet blocks: I finally caved and purchased a set after watching another toddler friend construct awesome things out of hers!
Fused bead kits: we haven’t tried yet and might be a wild idea but I’m excited! I always loved them as a kid.
Spray bottles: I am excited to try a fellow twin mom’s toddler entertainment hack…”washing” the car in the garage with mini spray bottles.
Much time is spent each day playing with Little People and their sets, play pretend with princesses and dolls, block building (tower time according to them) and dollhouse time, along with coloring, some cooking and dance parties. Don’t get me wrong, the level of disagreeing, tantrums and impatience is often off the charts, but let’s not dwell on that! It also extremely helps that Craig and I bounce back and forth between the kids and work, because, well we all know that the break of those two options is work! Breakfast time is the calmest part of the day and allows us to not only make breakfast, but answer the phone and respond on more emails while they quietly play and watch some nursery songs with their monkeys and princesses. This may become my favorite part of the day, second to right after nap time when everyone wants to snuggle.
And that leads me into why we are still surviving; so far nap is going wonderfully. It’s almost relaxing to get a few quiet hours of laptop work done while everyone snoozes away across the room and the other parent conducts work meetings!
One morning we broke out tattoos. The girls thoroughly enjoyed Auntie Janelle getting everyone a princess and a heart or butterfly, with Paris doing a matching one at home! The girls demanded we call Papa Cliff and Grandma Sue and show them.
In addition to our artwork, letters and numbers, we are working on learning names. The girls have each others’ names memorized, including middle names, and will also tell you both mine and Craig’s. What’s cute is they never say “Craig;” it is always “daddy’s name is Craig.” Whereas mine is just Becca…not to be confused with the teacher Rebecca, so I differentiate that a lot. They also ask us to remind them Grandma Sue and Anne and Papa Cliff and Lon’s names and they are getting increasingly good at them. They randomly asked for Koda’s name too…which is pretty funny since it’s, well, Koda.
The phrase of the week is I asked for it. This often relates to answering what movie or drink they want at a particular moment, someone will respond with Moana, I asked for italready or Reagan asked for it already, momma (usually Harper). Not sure where they picked it up but Harper started the trend and now Emerie and Reagan say it too.
We are in full parent mode on breaking a few bad habits- this is likely due to minimal socializing outside the house and daycare all winter and something that just has to be learned through practice. We continue to harp on everyone to improve listening and obeying while we are out and about, with Emerie complying the best and Harper and Reagan taking turns on actually doing it. Emerie prefers to hold your hand and has no desire to run off, while the other two seem to embrace their adventurous nature. The few excursions we’ve attended lately resulted in several major tantrums on the ride home, when we give them all the chance to obey and walk to the car and climb in and they choose to run into the parking lot or the opposite direction. This is apparently a hurdle to overcome for Harper and Reagan, Emerie complies every time and has received rewards for it while the other two scream they “want to listen!” but don’t actual listen. Obedience is a bit better getting out of the car than loading up and they will stand by us and wait until everyone is out. I attribute this to being in a new place so they don’t want to venture off; not so much to obeying us. Hopefully our disciplinary measures will be enough by the time the snow melts or we are in for some interesting (and grumpy) toddler adventures next season.
And just like that, we are into week two and the start of February! That means spring is right around the corner….right?!
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!!
I haven’t posted a man update for a while on Emerie’s eye, so here goes. We appreciate all the prayers and people that ask how she is doing!
We had a doctor appointment earlier last week, with Craig and I finally allowed to both go (thanks covid). We assumed news of a needed next surgery was coming and happy to both be able to discuss with the doctor in person.
Emerie uncommonly walked in like a big girl, something we don’t often do when we go places with all three. She’s grown up (literally!) so much since the first time we visited and she struggled to climb into the patient room’s chair.
She followed and looked where Dr. Winkle asked her to, telling him the colors of the stickers and other details while he analyzed her eye.
He then surprised us with good news, noting that her eye is tracking better than it was on her last visit. Much of this can be attributed to daycare, where she is patching five to six hours a day; walking in the door at the daycare at 7:30 and wearing it until lunch, with another two hours or so after nap and on the way home.
She does not like it and will repeatedly ask to take it off. Not like patch and mommycan I take my patch off are muttered constantly, more some days than others- it’s good to know that the struggle is helping! She handles patch time better at daycare than at home, probably because there is more activity and distractions occurring with multiple other kiddos around. Prior to the shift to daycare, we were concerned with how well it would go and are so relieved!
She is a bit more clumsy when wearing the patch, but clearly she can see with her good eye covered. We try to encourage good behavior about it, such as letting her choose which color patch she would like for the morning or rewarding with a jelly bean when it’s easily put on. Some days she begs to take it off and sometimes we let her, simply because she asks and is so distressed over it- we try to be as good about it as possible and we’ve come so far from the days that Nanny Chris had to tape it onto her face! Emerie always insists on taking it off herself and will push her glasses to her forehead, peel it off, and carry it around as a prize for a few minutes. I’ve also found used patches stuck to book pages, forever stuck on blankets already through the wash, and in many random places around the house. She’s pretty cute about it and has become a good sport about it each day. That helps us parents so much, since it’s hard to force your kiddo to do something that you KNOW is good for them and helping in the long run, but causes so much angst and grumpiness at this age and they don’t understand why it’s necessary. This process is certainly easier than the previous year!
While we are very encouraged at a delayed surgery, we also recognize come summer there will likely be another one to fully straighten her eye out. I am thankful to not do that in the high of winter season and while covid is still raging through our community. And who knows? Maybe the patching will solve the issue by then…one can dream!