Easter weekend lasted forever and also passed quickly at the same time; eerily similar to the feeling of the baby and toddler ages. The preschool had a Friday and Monday closure, meaning an automatic four day weekend for us and it’s been a while since we’ve had one.
With Friday as my rotation day off, I took the kiddos for the day while Craig went into the office. Morning went by pretty uneventfully and so I decided optimistically to take the girls to Cabellas to see the Easter bunny, by myself.
Knowing how easily events in public can turn from just fine to disastrous with public embarrassment, I opted to confine all three into the shopping cart. Thank goodness for this planning, since my time slot reservation was shared with a handful of other folks (and dogs) that managed to get in before us. The girls did surprisingly well for the twenty-minute wait, watching a screaming baby get handed to the bunny and a couple dressed up dogs and kiddos smile for theirs.
Everyone was far more intrigued with the pink and white “creepy” bunny than horrified of it, which is more than I can say for a few other kids waiting with us. Once our names were called, the girls ran right up to this creepy smiling creature and sat down on the bench full of questions. Unlike previous years, the glass partition didn’t ruin the fun and Harper even snuggled up next to it. The first camera click was the photo we kept- one and done! Afterwards everyone received an Easter egg with small goodies from the basket and a hug from the bunny. All things considered, it went pretty well and everyone was excited to see the picture and devour their treats.
We ventured to the new indoor playground after our bunny visit and met up with Megan and the boys. I now know with full certainty that none of them are afraid of heights and did not inherit that trait from me! Harper continues to have no fear and scaled everything possible, only asking for help once with concerns for falling as she put her hanging skills to the test. Reagan and Emerie were a bit more laid back, but still willing to climb the ropes to the top. I would have loved this playground when the girls were too small to climb much; last year it would have terrified me that they’d fall.
The girls were blessed with two Easter egg hunts over the weekend, once with the boys and one the morning of. Prior planning on plastic egg selection meant each of the five kiddos had to find only their own color and not hoard anything seen; overall they did quite well on the concept. Last year it would not have happened nearly as well.
It was very cute to witness them pointing out to their siblings and friends when a color that wasn’t theirs was spotted. Emerie seemed especially adept to this and went as far as delivering those colors to the right person and excitedly tracking them down; Reagan mostly ignored her non colors and Harper tried to sneak some (a lot) into her own basket.
To avoid major sugar highs I filled eggs with a fruit snack, gummy bear or those melty toddler snacks the girls used to eat back in the day! Who knew those would be quite the hit but also prize worthy. I’m pretty sure they would have been just as excited if I filled them with berries and cucumbers, that that seemed overly messy. Easter baskets arrived on their beds later in the day and included tie dye llamas, a chocolate bunny, magnifying glasses and a couple chocolate bites.
Sunday’s egg hunt was another success although a bit more difficult to pull off unnoticed. The girls knew the Easter bunny was somewhere “in the neighborhood” and on the lookout for eggs. I managed to fill the front yard with pink/purple/teal eggs while everyone ate breakfast with the curtains closed. The backyard was more difficult. Craig went upstairs to quickly shower for the day while the girls finished up food and got dressed. I managed to toss a couple eggs out by the climber without any witnesses and after a few minutes, Emerie shrieked in excitement and brought her sisters out to look. In that moment I tossed a couple on the back deck. This cycle was repeated a couple times, each time sending them off on a new distraction while I raced to grab three eggs from the counter and toss them out where “the bunny just was!” This is likely the last year that ploy will be successful without them figuring me out, and it was really fun. At some point Emerie noticed the front yard eggs and all three made it down the front stairs before I noticed. Needless to say, the egg hunt was quite successful and everyone had fun, with the only disappointment relating to the lack of seeing the bunny poop all over our yard.
So for now the “bunny poop” is cleaned up in the yard and at some point they will get to eat their chocolate bunnies.
For this year’s birthday blog I want to compare and contrast the differences and similarities to my three little minions, who are no longer toddlers and full on preschoolers (that’s for you Sara!). I have to continually resist the urge to keep calling them toddlers, probably because my brain still can’t agree so much time has passed into parenthood.
And while I can’t recall half of the major events and milestones we accomplished this past year, there are certainly a few that are easy to remember.
Age Three Changes
Bye bye binkies
I can’t decide if this or the toddler bed transition was the most significant change in age three. It was definitely a major stresser last spring when we cornered ourselves into taking them away under a deadline. Reagan needed her front tooth pulled and that meant cutting them off for all three, especially considering Reagan was our #1 binkie fan. If you’ll remember, we did an elaborate “binkie fairy” scheme over the span of a week and slowly required the girls to give them away to other babies in need. Looking back this went better than expected and after a month or so they stopped asking for them. The first week or two was a bit rough but we made it through!
Big girl beds
We pulled off this change last August and decimated our wonderful nap time in the process. The girls were very excited to have big girl beds, even trying to help Dad build them out in the garage, but once reality set in, they only slept uninterrupted (all three) maybe two nights since then.
We miss you naps!
The girls were (mostly) fantastic throughout age two at giving us a nap from 1:30 to 3:30 time frame, sometimes stretched to 4:00 but no later than that or bedtime was rough. I believe we earned those longer naps, since they barely gave us any stretch in the earlier days. Age two nap success only occurred when one parent sat in the nursery arm chair, which was okay because it gained two hours of greatly appreciated silence and a strong mental reset for the adults each day.
I remember wondering how we would survive the loss of the afternoon nap and now that it’s happened, it just means grumpier girls in the late afternoon and early evening and longer days, but not the end of the world.
The girls still nap at school, although not as long. We decided pushing it at home wasn’t worth the stress when they wouldn’t settle down and that was a good call, And we still get the occasional afternoon car nap on a busy day- which is amazing- but most afternoon quiet time looks more like this (picture).
As you all know, we were not drama free on childcare for the girls. We rolled into age three without one altogether, with Craig and I both working full time from home at the same time and Grandma Sue popping in and out from Juneau to keep us all alive and sane. We transitioned to a new place in early July and it has been truly wonderful. The girls adore their teacher and teacher aides and school setting, they feel comfortable and excel at their activities and in the atmosphere, and Craig and I can rest assured that they are treated well and loved while we are at work.
I was so excited to do a couple weekend trips last summer and finally felt they might be survivable and (while stressful) fun for the whole family. I undoubtedly looked like a complete basket case (or lunatic) preparing for the multi-day trips (and packing for them), but I am very glad we went and made the memories. The first trip meant set net fishing down in Kasilof for one weekend, with lots of playtime on the beach, fresh air and kiddo avoidance of the questionable “icky” fish. The second went into backcountry Alaska by four wheeler, adventuring to an off-the-beaten-path cabin sans electricity. Everyone made it back in one piece and we will definitely attempt more trips this summer!
Car seat buckling
The girls all buckle themselves into their car seats now. It doesn’t sound like a major life skill, but it’s such a timesaver when loading three kids into the car constantly. This life skill can be contributed to lollipop “encouragement” at daycare pickup every afternoon, but nonetheless is a win in my book! We have come a HUGE way on getting to the car without any random parking lot running and minimal meltdowns in the past year and it’s amazing! Those lollipops also greatly helped in learning our colors…
Surgeries, Patching & a Tooth Pull
As noted above, Reagan had her front tooth pulled back in May and was a rock star throughout the whole procedure, even proclaiming her love for the pediatric dentist who freed her broken tooth. The donut she demanded afterwards indicated her pain tolerance is pretty great for a kid!
Emerie had two Botox eye procedures over the past year, one in June and another last month. As usual she was a total trooper and came out of anesthesia like such a big girl; it’s really nice it’s easier as she gets older! She also continues to proclaim her love for Dr. Winkle and Harper and Reagan both jealously demand to attend her visits. Morning patching continues to be a bit of a fight but overall she cooperates greatly and is such a strong girl.
Covid & Quarantine
It might be fair to say those two weeks were the toughest for the whole year (until I remember working full time with no daycare for five months), although the intense sicknesses around Christmas might be a close second. Timing worked out nicely for our brush with the pandemic, meaning it was deep into fall but not winter and we could play out in the yard while stuck at home. Craig and my symptoms also managed to be a few days apart and that helped tremendously with keeping kiddos entertained (and survival). And, of course, it’s no surprise to say we were thrilled the girls had mild symptoms and felt okay.
More Cousin Visits
The last thing to note is the more frequent visits from the cousins, now that Tyler and Jaren are in easier proximity to Anchorage. The girls adore their cousins and while they can’t seem to ever call them the right names, they constantly request them to come play, pretend call them and talk, draw pictures for their fridges, and carry their photos around the house (and fight over them).
And in case you need me to decipher who is who….Tyler is Tyler, Jaren is Tyler, and Chatum is Jaren. Someday they might get it right….
Tell me about the girls!
Keep in mind that while they are all the same age and mentality, they are all very different. Their likes and dislikes, while constantly changing at this age, greatly vary between the three. It highlights that they are individuals while also sharing many other things together. Here’s are some individual details for each kiddo!
Harper is an easy going girl that loves to be on the go, speeding on her bike or adventuring around town. She appoints herself the boss a lot and can be stubborn when she thinks she is right on something. She excels at sleeping in her bed, always wants to wear shorts and dresses, and has a love for her ballet flats.
Height/Weight: 42.25″, 37.6 pounds
Favorite Activities: riding balance bikes (speeding around on them really), dance class, anything relating to princesses, and playing dress up. She loves to spend her day in dresses, fancy shoes and a crown and making silly faces for pictures.
Dislikes: anything that moves slowly, the fact she has to wear pants ever, and being woken up abruptly when in her bed. She hilariously dragssssss herself out of bed, limbs not working and mouth sassing.
Favorite movies/shows/music: Fancy Nancy, Rapunzel’s Adventures, and pretty much any princess movie. Her favorite song is “Northwind” from Frozen II, that the mom sings to Anna and Elsa at the beginning of the movie.
Favorite Princess: Aurora and Belle
Favorite Color: black, then pink
Favorite Food: black olives, steak and french fries (pretty sure this is close to my favorites too)
Favorite Animal: When asked, her favorite animals are animals with stripes. In reality, she adores her Little Seal and Big Seal (because we somehow bought the same stuffed animal in two sizes!). She also loves petting her kitties, who have warmed up to her presence after four years.
When asked what she wants to be, she responded instantly, a ballerina!
Emerie is our go getter that constantly sings let it goooo or demands we don’t talk about Bruno! She can be introverted and enjoys independent play, being at home and spending her days in Elsa dresses. She adopted the guest bedroom and gets up in the middle of every night to relocate to it, promptly going back to sleep.
Height/Weight: 41.75″, 34.2 pounds
Favorite Activities: Independent play in general, collecting and carrying tiny things around, any water activities (and drowning our bathrooms constantly), building magnatiles, dress up, and watching/coloring anything relating to Elsa and Anna from Frozen. She is a homebody and enjoys staying home and playing, often requesting to go home to play when we are out and about.
Dislikes: wearing her glasses all the time and eye patching in the mornings, wearing socks with her shoes, sleeping in her toddler bed, being outside in the cold, hair bows (usually), and black olives and pizza.
Favorite movies/shows/music: She also loves Frozen I and II and pretty much all princess movies; if she had to choose a favorite to watch, Cinderella and Snow White are towards the top. Hands down her favorite song is Let It Go, which she calls the castle song! PJ Masks is also an up and coming favorite, as well as Encanto and Cinderella II.
Favorite Princess: Elsa and Aurora
Favorite Color: purple, duh! She also has a purple unicorn dress she wants to wear everyday.
Favorite Food: Cheese quesadillas with sour cream. She would eat them every day if allowed.
Favorite Animal: When asked she claimed caterpillars and raccoons (surprisingly), but I would also claim her beloved “Monk” monkey and her stuffed owl are on that list.
When asked what she wants to be, she responded a purple Elsa! Who am I to deny that creativity?!
Reagan is our shyest of the three and more emotional than her sisters. She adores all crafting, painting, coloring and cooking and excels at staying in the lines on her creations. She also loves Daddy’s four wheeler and bringing her stuffed pandas everywhere.
Height/Weight: 42.25″, 37.4 pounds
Favorite Activities: Coloring daily, painting, dancing to music (she’s a booty shaker, what can I say!), creating with play dough, cooking with Grandma Sue and taste testing the flour, playing dress up and playing pretend with her stuffed animals. Now that it’s light outside after preschool, she really enjoys playing by herself on the back deck.
Dislikes: sleeping in her bed overnight or being left alone, getting her hair brushed, and her socks not fitting right!
Favorite movies/shows/music: While Reagan likes princess movies, her absolutely favorite is the movie Abominable, about her beloved Everest, the yeti. Sleeping Beauty is likely her favorite princess movie if she had to choose, and she’s also a fan of PJ Masks. Her favorite song is Pink’s Cover Me in Sunshine, which is renamed Grandma’s Song.
Favorite Princess: Elsa and Aurora
Favorite Color: blue, then green, then white!
Favorite Food: Her favorite food right now is hash browns, which she wants each day for breakfast; otherwise cheeseburgers and apples top the list.
Favorite Animal: Without question, this girlie is panda everything. She sleeps with two stuffed pandas every night. When asked her favorite, she responded pandas and bunnies.
When asked what she wants to be, she immediately answered a painter! Given her creativity and artistic ability we already see at age three, this could be pretty realistic.
And some other fun questions to ask, just for memories’ sake!
What are some similarities all three share? What are the biggest differences? Of the three, Harper is the most outgoing by far, Emerie is the most stubborn (if I had to choose one!) and Reagan is the most in touch with her feelings. Harper adamantly wants to go fast ALL the time while Emerie wants the opposite, and Reagan goes back and forth depending on the day. Reagan extensively enjoys coloring in the lines while Harper and Emerie continue their “eclectic toddler style” creations. All three enjoy cooking and baking, but when it comes to decorating things, Emerie is speedy and done in five minutes, Harper goes back and forth depending on her mood, and Reagan will insist you leave her alone until the masterpiece is completed, which may be a while.
What is the biggest personality difference? Emerie is a homebody and loves to stay home. The other two are more up for adventuring. Harper seems best at going with the flow while the other two often whine about things.
Who is the best sleeper? Worst? Harper maintains her status as the best sleeper of the group, which is nothing new for the last few years. She loves sleeping in her bed and being cozy, unlike Reagan and Emerie, who want parents nearby or prefer to wander into the guestroom to finish their night of sleep.
Who is Team Mom and Team Dad? Harper seems to still be on the mom train, while Reagan shifted alliances over the past year from Dad back to me. Emerie, on the other hand, is a complete daddy’s girl now. Everyone continues to be completely enthralled by Papa Lon and adore their Grandma Sue and Papa Cliff. Grandma Anne visited twice last year and the girls still ask about more tea parties. And of course you can’t forget about Auntie Megan weekends, Auntie Janelle visits, and all the new friends that were made this year.
If you ask them who is the boss…who is it?! 100% of the time the answer is Grandma (Sue) is the boss! followed by Mom and Dad and Miss Tawni. We’ve got this down!
Who is the cutest? Um, silly question there, it’s ALL OF THEM.
And I’ll end our fourth birthday post on that fun note. I still can’t believe they are so cute. And four. FOUR! What?!
The past month passed in a breeze! Not sure if that credit goes to a busy work load or the increased sunlight. It was a nice break to have no major illnesses like during the holidays and a visit from Grandma Sue brought excitement for the girls and a welcomed break for us tired-out parents.
Everyone is on a major dress up kick, begging to wear princess dresses after school, showing up to school with bejeweled crowns and tutus, fancying up their outfits with lots of necklaces, beaded bracelets and sparkly rings, and don’t forget Grandma’s fancy princess heels! Tutus are not easily found these days and I’ve likely purchased every single one I could find locally, encouraging the girls to choose their color preferences and wear them whenever they’d like. Sometimes a princess dress just isn’t enough and they require an additional tutu to complete the full look. Lugging around backpacks and purses, like mom does, also helps accessorize the styles and occasionally I’ll find them adding hats and mittens for a more winter friendly feel. The worst part about this dress up stage? Getting your foot stomped on by one of those damn heels- it hurts!!
In addition to getting so beautiful (their words), they inflicted the “beauty is pain” mantra back on their grandmother during an extended hair and jewelry session one afternoon. Luckily for them, Grandma Sue boasts a great head of long hair to play with, resulting in many hair clips, bows, fake colorful hair and adorning necklaces to complete her upgraded look. It is safe to say it also included some ouches and possibly loss of hair or skin cells; but hey, beauty is pain…right?
The girls continuing to play together more and show creativity in their free play. For example, Harper will get all dressed up and accessorized, find a purse, shopping cart and animal or baby companion, and let me know she is going to the shopping store! This usually entails getting foods to “cook” for dinner and when questioned on what type of store, she always responds a shopping store. When they were smaller she always responded with Lowes or Target. Reagan often goes down to the family room and plays solo with her toys; seemingly enjoying her own space and playing islands, a game Nolan and Josiah created a couple weeks ago on a play date, or with her princesses. If you sneak up on her, you can witness her singing to herself! Now that daylight exists after school pickup, Emerie wants to play out on the deck or spiral in circles on the swings in the backyard. This is a great step from her adamant disdain for outdoor cold and gets her some space when her sisters are doing other things.
Life is a party, so why not dress like it?!
The expanded independence on free play also shows Harper and Reagan becoming thick as thieves and teaming up against or excluding Emerie more often than I’d like to see. They will lock themselves in the bathroom (you know, to make a huge mess) and purposely won’t let Emerie, who really wants to, join; even when they are being naughty. They seem to come up with other little games and not readily let her in on them; a cycle I plan to break quickly and discourage as they get older. Having two kids, any two, generally results in good play; adding in a third is a constant issue that I’m not sure will ever really go away.
The tattle tailing saga continues, and while annoying, it can also be so hilarious. For example, two were downstairs playing nicely the other night until I could heard some sort of disagreement and Emerie hollered something indistinctly. Reagan, the CEO of the tattler department in our house, comes running into the kitchen to inform the adults that Emerie said Daddy’s word! She said daddy’s word! Now all of you that know my explicit and creatively worded husband know that, well…that could mean anything right? We tell Reagan to stop tattling and Emerie to calm it with the explicits; but in true Douglas style, Harper, who witnessed all this from the kitchen table, looks at me with a smile and responds in a serious whisper, Mom, Daddy’s word is f&$k. I about died laughing at her very dead-serious face. At least they know they aren’t supposed to say it!
Moving on from the lovely life expletives, Grandma Sue’s visit was full of all kinds of baking fun. The girls cooked in all kinds of attire including aprons, tutus, full princess decor and even sunglasses throughout the almost two week stay. Each kiddo requested something specific from the moment she set foot off the airplane, including breaded Olaf’s, cookies (Reagan claims Craig and I don’t make them for her which is funny!) and lots and lots of homemade donuts. All participated in different steps for each goodie and you better believe all wanted to eat them! Sue even placated their color demands and made black, green AND purple donuts, as requested by those irresistibly adorable faces. If you were wondering, the colors looked like a Halloween party was about to happen. The M&M cookie bars were also quite the hit, with everyone starting super slow, placing one M&M at a time into the batter. After a few minutes watching each kiddos’ separate pattern, Emerie decided the start “the Emerie method,” meaning throw everything in at once with super speed and vanish to do something else.
The girls attended their second theater movie but first time with Craig and I. Right after they started at the new daycare last summer, the whole class attended a real movie and they claim to remember going to it. Only one other family was in the whole room as we watched Trolls World Tour and munched on mounds of popcorn. By the end everyone visited the bathroom at least once and switched seats to snuggle with a different adult. All three are already asking to go again- we might have to make that happen since they did so well sitting and being quiet throughout.
The big fourth birthday is right around the corner, which means the work stress I’ve felt from the last month is converting into party planning stress. It also means we are almost out of winter and spring is (almost) on it’s way. I cannot tell you how excited I am for this next season; we’ve waited a long time to be able to go out and about and have fun without worrying they will run off or not be able to handle new routine!
All three are aware that the next birthday is theirs (even though all claim to be turning five!) and explain after them is Tyler and then Kaden’s. My mind still resists the idea that my fourth year of parenting is about to begin and then other times I forget they are still so young, since vocabularies are as expansive as their thoughts and opinions!
Well folks, after twenty months living in a global pandemic, it finally caught up to our household through the girls’ preschool class.
Reagan and Emerie had low grade fevers as an indicator early on, something we’ve dealt with more often than not over the last three months; fevers that seem to indicate ear infections or allergies. Unfortunately for this one, it turns out both girls tested positive on their rapid Covid-19 tests at the pediatrician’s office. Harper’s test came back negative, which aligns to the usual order of kiddos getting any type of sickness.
This is the second time a positive case was announced in the girls’ classroom since school started in August, without any specifics times or details, as to keep the other kids anonymous (silly if you ask me!). We assume this is where it was transmitted and we had a very short window to get in the right headspace of spending ten days stuck at home with three rambunctious toddlers, who may be sick but clearly felt fine overall. Over the next few days, they definitely felt better than their parents as the infection slowly crept into our sinuses. Catching all sicknesses is part of being a parent…right? Or is it just part of being a mom? I can’t remember.
While it is fantastic news that the girls aren’t feeling all the effects of this bug, it also means it’s really hard to keep them busy and entertained throughout the day and keep the fighting and whining to a minimum. The first day out of the gate was consumed with all the things, coloring, magnet boards, stickers, some Frozen, Cocomelon and Abominable movie viewing, tons of snacks, magna-tile construction, and layering the house with the inch of snow outside on the deck. Did I also mention eight thousand outfit changes? From pajamas to Frozen princess dresses to shorts to hoodies to regular dresses to dance leotards. So. Many. Outfit. Changes.
And here’s how the quarantine period really went by, since it is not all sunshine and smooth sailing and one of my greatest fears of impending doom over the past thirty months…in case you were curious if you can survive house arrest with your children.
Quarantine Day One
Feeling strong. Feeling ambitious! We can do this! We have lots of things to entertain the tiny minions, a full fridge of food, great internet… I prepped and cooked a nice dinner; the girls played all day.
Twelve hours later…OMG, we can’t do this. I need some Netflix and SILENCE.
Online Target and toy store orders begin, with entertainment going okay so far…other than the one hand slammed in the door, blood, waterworks, you know…the usual. Craig picked up a fun new ball rolling set and everyone played (mostly) nicely for a little while on it. A friend dropped off dinner and a couple kid activities on our doorstep; much appreciate as we started down a long path of being home.
The toddler cabin fever sets in. Is that a real thing, you ask?! YES, IT IS. It’s like starting a week of full moon attitudes and you can’t escape it. The kids become crazy hyper from being cooped up at home when they aren’t really used to it, at least not at this level. By the end of the day, I found Emerie and Reagan emptying all the toilet paper rolls downstairs and Emerie standing on the back of the toilet. Later that night after bath time, I caught Emerie sucking down the kid toothpaste, straight out of the tube, resulting in a death match to pry it out from her extremely strong, but tiny, fingers. Help us.
I will note a nice thirty minutes decorating craft pumpkins and taping them up on the new living room wall happened. Reagan thrived at this activity while Harper and Emerie browsed by and helped in between other distractions.
Creative entertainment means breaking out the top shelf doll strollers that cause instantaneous energy. I began feeling really crummy by now (as opposed to just slightly) with a fever and sore throat; but am feeling very lucky not to have the fatigue other people report having- Craig might be over the hump of his sickness or he’s toughing it out well, at least we hope so! And the girls did not get the memo they are actually sick, you would never know without the mild fevers and positive tests. By the end of the day, I completed a Target pickup order of Dayquil and Robitussin with no bra on…whose feeling empowered now…?!
I will not admit how much Frozen I and Frozen II has played in this house in the last few days…let it goooo…
Craig felt inspired to make homemade cinnamon rolls with the girls, so clearly he’s feeling at least a bit better. The girls helped spread the dough, melted butter, and sugar and of course lather themselves in some of it too. Eating the finished product was a bit too much for them, so Craig and I enjoyed cinnamon rolls for breakfast for a couple of days. Everyone napped in the car that afternoon after seeming lethargic and tired all day (just enough to be noticeable), much like their parents! After a shower and hair brushing, Harper told me she liked my hair…clearly we need to get out more…
Reagan begins her major coloring kick. Whoever created mess-free coloring markers; you deserve a medal. Harper and Emerie both have marker stained faces from running out of sight with the Crayola marker set and you can tell! Reagan loves her sparkly, Frozen themed mess-free coloring and sits for a few minutes each hour and colors another one, mostly in the lines, to proudly display on the fridge.
Today we are back to work (at home). We were very lucky to have a state holiday (Alaska Day) and a four day weekend (for me) while we are quarantined. We managed six months of juggling kids and work earlier this year, but it’s a different dynamic when your littles are grumpy from fevers, you are confined to your house and the parents have what feels like a bad cold. Fortunately we were both able to get a few work hours in here and there over the weekend to stay caught up.
By day six bike riding is allowed in the house, movie times involve blankets and laundry baskets, the garage is a new play room, railroad track cities span the entire living room- desperate times call for desperate measures! Reagan threw a toy and hit Emerie square in the nose, horizontally slicing from nostril to nostril and drawing a lot of blood and tears from her sister. After that fiasco we opted for a mandatory driving nap…which no one actually slept on. This was the worst day of quarantine so far!
By the end of day six, there are two options: either our fevers are going to break or our sanity is!!
Two of the three slept in until 8:45 today; clearly quite the record. Emerie awoke about 7:15 and laid on the floor by my desk with her owl and blanket while I had a nice hour of hot coffee, emails and silence. We finally managed to take a walk around the neighborhood and get some fresh air, which was much overdue!
Harper found a twirly pen at some point that morning and colored the entirety of both legs before we noticed. She is also quoting full phrases from Frozen at random. For example, I turned around to her standing on the coffee table, with a tutu and crown headband on and arms out, yelling “if you don’t want me to run into fire, then don’t run into fire!”
The girls were wildly hyper in the evening, which we believe stems from the protein drinks at dinner, since they don’t seem to want to eat actual food this week. At least today was a little better than the dreadful day six.
Another good sleep-in morning, with Emerie going for 12 hours of sleep and Harper and Reagan waking up after eight in the morning, a definite win for us.
Overall uneventful day, thank goodness! Emerie isn’t feeling better yet but Reagan is clearly on the mend and exploding with energy. She and Harper continue to run circles around each other while Emerie cuddled on the couch and avoided. An hour driving nap rewarded the parents with a little quiet and the post lunch walk a nice outing in the sun, although Emerie wasn’t really feeling it. Two more days!!
After the car nap Emerie and Reagan cuddled and played nicely together for nearly an hour while Harper “helped” me fold a couple loads of laundry at the kitchen table, I sucked down a bunch of hot tea for my cough, and Craig made dinner that neither of us could taste. It was a nice hour reprieve before the wildness repeated for the day, with no one wanting dinner and Harper and Reagan wildly wrestling and running around the house until bedtime.
It appears we rounded a bit of a corner in play time- when one kiddo finds self entertainment for a few minutes (kinetic sand, coloring, playing in the toy kitchen, etc.), the other two, no matter which two, actually play together for a bit. It is nice to see what ideas they create, whether it’s a blanket fort, playing nap time with their animals (and turning off ALL my lights and closing shades), or chasing each other up and down the stairs a hundred times. As the picture highlights, I also caught them red handed a few times making massive water messes in the downstairs bathroom…but having fantastic fun until they were caught!
Everyone wanted “Elsa braids” that morning and luckily don’t yet recognize the difference between a normal braid and Elsa’s. I will have to learn that skill in the near future though, since it’s unlikely Elsa, Anna, Sven and Kristof are going anywhere, any time soon (sorry Craig).
Miraculously, we made it to day ten and the girls are completely fever free! We took it upon ourselves to really leave the house; not out in public mind you, and ventured out to the valley for some good ‘ole outside fun. The girls rode with their cousins on the dirt bike, four wheelers and kid size John Deer tractor. You could easily tell they were thrilled to get out of the house, enjoy a smoothie on the ride out and run around a new spot. Even their driving (steering) skills are improving! It was a beautiful fall day and unusually warm for this time of October; Jaren, Emerie and I also picked a bunch of wild, high bush (I think) cranberries and Emerie collected about half a ziploc bag, all by herself! All in all, a nice afternoon now that everyone is feeling better and getting closer to back to normal.
Over the past year and a half we focused on not sharing the current world crisis with the girls, especially since they are so young, but can comprehend a lot more than one might think. They turned two the same day our city shut down for the first time and since then are used to seeing people wearing masks and social distancing. We made it through the first six months of pandemic without changing any of our daily routines (other than me working at home instead of the office), since the girls already spent workdays with the nanny at home and hand washing after going anywhere public is something you always do when caring for premature babies. We didn’t fully feel the impact until we started out-of-home unexpectedly daycare last fall, where we weren’t allowed to enter the facility and felt very cut off from the girls during the day. You all know that story already.
The good news is the social aspect of COVID-19 hasn’t affected the girls, to their knowledge at least, as we continue having play dates with a number of folks in our little bubble. Spending a lot of time outside as they’ve grown bigger helps ease the cutoff-from-the-rest-of-society feeling, including small hikes, trail walks, playgrounds and walks around the neighborhood. It pains me to see friends with elementary aged kids that understand the world has changed and not for the better. I don’t want my kids to grow up in fear of people breathing around them, not being masked, having an occasional cough or cold and especially the sociological damage that results from it. Kid shouldn’t have to take on a lot of this responsibility and grow up fearful- they should be having fun, learning new things and maturing in a safe environment- and I intend to hold my family to that as best I can. It makes me so thankful all this is happening prior to school age, where we are the main influence on their lives and they aren’t stressing over missing school, seeing their friends or being stuck at home.
I live in a madhouse run by a tiny army I made myself.
Throughout our quarantine the girls never questioned missing school and accepted the simple explanation of a cough and not feeling well. We received the occasional question about going or missing a teacher, but nothing more than that. Even better, they weren’t overly curious why we stayed home all day and weren’t out and about as much or going to the park, and only taking a car ride here and there. They especially disliked going to Target meant order pickup and not venturing inside; that’s about the biggest complaint so far. In another year I feel this would be a lot different! Throughout the week Harper kept telling me she has the coughs and yawns, which is more true for her sisters than her, but wouldn’t you say it is a fitting description for being sick? I definitely have that!
This week the girls started “calling” Grandma Sue on a play phone to tattle that a mean sister. The FaceTime calls with family and friends helped them stay connected and calmed the questions about seeing Oaki and Kaden, Papa and Grandma, or Tyler when they come up, but the fake calls are pretty humorous too. The cell phone tattling remains pretty random and doesn’t seem to follow a pattern when it’s “grandma worthy”, but it’s definitely hilarious to listen to such expressive thoughts!
A few friends have checked in over the course of the week, dropped off goodies and asked how we are feeling and how the virus presented to us. I find it really interesting that Craig and I had very different symptoms, with his cough showing up from day one and then improving, and my cough showing up about day five, gaining some momentum, and then improving. I presented with a fever and major sore throat, which progressed into a stuffy nose and sinus headache without the sore throat, and then stuffy nose with a cough. Emerie and Reagan are mildly stuffy off and on, maintained a 100 degree temperature prior to medicine for a handful of days, and coughed mostly at nighttime and a little throughout the day. Harper maintained no fever, stuffy nose or cough throughout the entire event!
So what has ten days in quarantine taught me about myself? Well first of all, it definitely reminded me that I can step up even more, even when it feels like you already do everyday with three kiddos, to get through a challenging time. It also reminded me to take things one day at a time, one hour at a time if needed. On a bad day (like day six!), getting through an hour at a time is less of a mind stress than constantly thinking how many more days you have to get through and all the stressful questions that come with those thoughts. Getting through one napless afternoon without focusing on the impending lack of nap in future days…really helps. It keeps the overwhelming anxiety a little more at bay, at least for a little while.
I fully admit if ten quarantine days occurred a year ago, I’m not sure how we would have survived it. The fact that the girls now play independently at least a little bit (in between the whining and fighting) is a major game changer in 24/7 house confinement. Reagan is fantastic at coloring and sitting for periods of time and focusing on it, Harper enjoys playing dress up and creating fancy outfits and riding her bike around, Emerie will construct a railroad track and play by herself for a little while. Everyone enjoyed trashing my house with kinetic sand a couple times and fort building and balance bike riding in the garage to burn energy. Television, while not the ideal answer but who are we kidding, is now watched and commented on with a longer attention span than last year. Current household favorites are Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Abominable, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Curious George. And lastly, a year ago we couldn’t easily go on a walk around the neighborhood without both parents; now they are “better” at staying close, stopping at the stop signs (with reminders) and completing a loop back home by foot or on wheels.
All in all, guys, we made it through!! The girls went back to preschool yesterday and everyone seems back to normal other than myself, with a mild, lingering cough and tastelessness holding on for a little longer.
The latest trend in the Douglas household is the use of “adult words” or inappropriately used potty phrases. Any of you that have the pleasure of knowing my other half are certainly not surprised by this thought or any other atypical phrasing that comes out of everyday conversations when you’d least expect it.
It turns out that what we both believed was a genius way to handle profanity with toddlers may actually be backfiring. In other words (pun intended!) the continued use of certain four letter words that are essential in everyday life when raising toddlers, while lessened from prior years, still fly out of our mouths more than they probably should. For a while I was monitoring such things a lot better (with much effort), but ultimately age three pummeled me with such force that such things re-emerged with a hurricane force (does that depict it well enough?!). With the girls hearing such explicits, we constantly reminded them the words are only for adults, hence the that’s an adult word, you can’t say that word conversations we’ve maintained the past few months, which much success and minimal toddler repeats.
Previous to this genius, albeit backfiring, plan, the girls would drop the “f bomb” occasionally at age two (mostly Harper) and we couldn’t help but hide our chuckles. The correct usage of it taught us not only were they listening and paying attention to their parents, but that they are picking up verbiage and sentence structure incredibly well. This clearly covers more than bad words! One can’t help but appreciate using it as an adjective and then later as a verb, correctly, from the mouth of an unknowing tot.
Yes, we nipped that as quickly as we could…but I can still chuckle at the thought of Harper yelling mom, open thef$&king door! at me a time or two. That one definitely came from the “slam-the-door/gate-on-everyone’s-face-as-much-as-you-can-to-drive-the-adults-INSANE” phase. Gives me a stress headache just thinking about it.
The girls threw an unapproved rule book change at me when they started retorting any bad words from my mouth with that’s a daddy word, not a mommy word. You can’t say that, only daddy. I’m not sure what super level sneakiness Craig did to pull that sh$t off, but it’s now a rule. Writing that I even hear in my mind…mom you can’t say that. Just taking away ALL my fun. Craig doesn’t seem to have an issue with this change.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the instructional “we can say it but you can’t” concept was going amazing until recently. I believe this change resulted from two things: 1) the implementation of constant tattling, and 2) the recognition that saying it provokes a response from either a parent or a sibling or both!
A 3-year-old is basically a walking, talking middle finger.
The cycle typically goes something like this:
Emerie: you’re a freakin’ poopoo. (to anyone in general or no one at all!)
Oh did I not mention the potty mouth words such as poopoo and peepee are apparently harder to break than the profanities? Yes, THAT, and any adult that remotely uses those out of the proper context in the ear range of my toddlers is going to hear more profanities heading their way from my mouth!! Anyway…
Harper: no, you’re a poopoo!!
And the argument goes back and forth until number three chimes in.
Reagan: Mom! Dad! Emerie said f$&king poopoo! MOM! Emerie said f$&king!! She said poopoo!! Moooom!
And repeat this about ten million times. Also include the times that Emerie did not, in fact, say those words, and yet here comes the tattletale, repeating them herself until you provide a response.
This wouldn’t be such an issue if ages were spanned out or we were just talking about one disruptive toddler. The girls have this magnetic super power that feeds off each other, in pretty much everything good or bad, and once it loads up, stopping it is practically impossible. One outlier from this occurred in the past few days, when Harper had a great attitude all weekend, listened at dance class and was most obedient on our last outdoor excursion, not feeding off the grumpy, push-mom-to-the-limits sisters’ attitudes. One can dream it will improve with age.
I sincerely hope the use of such wording is more centered at home then out at school, but I know the sister jabs and name calling of poo and pee reach far out into our activities and down times, with minimal success at shutting it down thus far. We’ve disciplined, given rewards for good behavior, flaunted rewards when one obeys and the others don’t, had continuous conversations about when it’s okay so talk about poop, and continue to stress the adult word concept, which is understood but not entirely accepted now.
And so, here I am, writing this fantastic blog on the woes of parenthood and my clan of three year olds and their potty mouths.