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.
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.
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!
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.
Christmas break and the close to 2019 are here. That means a week off from the full-time, “paying” job to spend time with the family at my full-time, “non-paying” job. Does that mean an actual vacation or relaxing? Not really. At the start of Christmas break, the only festive things accomplished already were visiting Santa and assembling the tree and Christmas village. Ornaments are still tucked away to be used another year. I managed to miss all three Christmas parties originally on my schedule, thanks to a variety of unforeseen things relating to life and children, and I didn’t successfully cooked any of my usual Christmas goodies. And no, the presents were not all wrapped until the eve of Christmas, but they were at least purchased thanks to Amazon and Black Friday deals and ready to go. This is typical for parents at the holidays right?
Night’s sleep: solid C / Morning: A+!
We started out the work week in usual style. The girls didn’t have a great night of sleep, as is the current trend right now, so I let them sleep in until nine and had a nice two hours of silence, hot coffee and Netflix! Sometimes it is worth it to stay up at the crack of dawn, as I often do on weekends, to have a little me time to sit and relax. The girls usually fidget and quietly hang out in their cribs for a little while before I get them up, but not today. Sleepy, sleepy babies. After a breakfast of yogurt, bacon, and some blueberries, everyone was dressed in holiday attire and ready for action.
It typically takes me about an hour to get everyone ready and out of the house in the morning- that is if I am moving fast! We got ready and loaded up for a twinsies play date a nearby friends’ house, one that was much overdue. The girls were well mannered and shared, behaved for the most part, and ate the best mannered meal I’ve seen in a long time, with their own silverware and everything! Mac and cheese, green beans and oranges for the win at a dining room table. Apparently the trick to getting behaved, little eaters is to go to someone else’s house. That, or they saw how well behaved the twins were, who are about two months older, and wanted to mimic that behavior. Little did I know that would be the highlight of the day, and it was about to go waaaaay down.
Unknown to me, the girls held a secret club meeting on this first day of Christmas break, deciding as a group to have a “no nap” day. I think we’ve had one, maybe two of them ever; and let’s just say, these are the days that make you question survival as a triplet parent.
Reagan would NOT go down for a nap and proceeded to throw everything out of her crib at her sisters on either side, waking them up just as they started to settle. Separating her after forty minutes of goofing off did not help; she would not calm down in our room either and maintained her wide wake (but tired) status. As soon as I pulled Reagan out of her crib, Emerie angrily hollered since I didn’t free her with her sister and after a few minutes, woke up Harper from her ten minute doze and then everyone screamed bloody murder for a while. Can someone please remind my children the holiday spirit is about being kind to other (and the parents!) AND that means taking naps!!
Night’s sleep: solid C / Morning: A
The girls slept in again until about 8:45 and gave me enough time to get dressed and start breakfast for the day. Grandma was able to sleep in too! After a good and cooperative meal we prepped for the day and headed over to Spenard Rec Center for their toddler time. I figured it would likely be pretty quiet, with most folks doing last minute preparations with the holiday right around the corner; and I was right. The play room was completely empty of any savages and boasted a ton of toys just waiting to be played with.
After a little while others trickled in; but overall it was a sparse turnout in comparison to other winter days. I prefer this alternative; there is less likelihood of other sick kiddos contaminating us and sharing is not as big of a deal. Plus the room has so much space to run around and tire the toddlers out!
The girls climbed on everything, scooted around on the cars, burrowed through the long play tunnels, and interacted with the other kiddos. They also tried to play with the only trash can in the room, they stole random shoes and put them on, I caught Reagan chewing on the doorstop and Harper finding all the not baby proofed outlets to poke. It was a great hour that had no meltdowns, injuries, or poopy diapers. We’ll call this a definite win.
As predicted, the afternoon went downhill after such a great morning. Nap time was unsuccessful (again). This is day two of Miss Reagan completely boycotting her nap. We didn’t even attempt to crib nap her, figuring two out of three sleeping is better than zero out of three. Craig was off work early so he tried laying down separately with Reagan. Eventually they went for a short car drive nap, which led to the doctor for an ear check, proving she has an ear infection, only her second one ever. Fingers crossed this is the reason for the past two nap fiascos and not something else.
Emerie and Harper woke up after forty minutes. Harper stayed up and “helped” me make a batch of gingerbread cookie dough for Christmas; Emerie snuggled with grandma and eventually slept a couple more minutes in her crib, much to her dismay.
But here is the kicker of the evening. The ten second video says it all; surprisingly this is Harper. And we aren’t even two yet!
I swore I set her in her own crib while I dressed the other two post bath time. This one can’t be chalked up to mom brain. The crib camera confirms one of my biggest anxieties of the future. Hopefully this was just a fluke and she’ll forget the capability for at least a few more months! Otherwise our life is about to get a lot more interesting…and I’m okay with how interesting it is already…
In past years we try to at least do something for Christmas Eve dinner. This year? I think not. We fancily ordered Taco King and ate at the kitchen table with Grandma Anne and Papa Cliff. Surprisingly, everyone at pretty well and enjoyed a tiny candy cane for dessert.
And the best part about this day?! Well, that would be fulfilling the wish of a white Christmas. The snow continued to fall throughout the afternoon and into the night, bringing about the white Christmas we love and expect to have, living in Alaska!
Day THREE: Christmas
Night’s sleep: C
The girls slept okay for the night, excluding the fact everyone was awake at 2AM. Reagan slept with us again; hopefully her ear medicine will get her back to her own bed soon. Harper did a couple hours with Grandma Anne and Emerie and I had a twenty minute snuggle session and bottle and she immediately went back to sleep in the nursery. A relatively calm night overall.
It was a slow start to the morning, but no one seemed to mind. Craig started a delicious breakfast of avocado, crepes, bacon, and sausage with lots of coffee! The girls were up by about 8:45 and ready to take on the day in their matching Christmas pajamas. We released the beasts into the entire living room, taking down the playpen so we could easily open gifts. The girls were so excited to explore places they haven’t accessed in a while and climb on the furniture. I forgot how small the blockade made the room look, so without it everything looked so open!
I expected additional chaos with everyone roaming freely; but really, it wasn’t that bad. Apparently the furniture is less exciting once you are allowed on it and they didn’t bother the tree at all; plus we had lots of grandparents to sit and monitor the shenanigans.
The opening of presents went about as expected. No one was all that interested in sitting in one space for more than a second, although they did grab things out of their stockings. For the first part of this adventure, everyone just ran around and fought over the mini play doh containers from those stockings. Little do they know what is inside them (yet)!
Once the play doh was removed from eyesight, some participation occurred. Reagan enjoyed tearing the wrapping off the boxes if you started it for her, Harper was happy to sit and snuggle while you unwrapped it, Emerie was still out and about checking out all the new stuff. Oh and trying on all the different sized shoes in the entryway. She was especially perplexed by Papa Lon’s Xtra Tuffs…which were as tall as her entire leg but did not stop her from trying.
The main hits of the morning, besides play doh containers? Matching toddler purses, which included accessories like glasses and a hairbrush and comb. The glasses were willingly worn by all three (even Em put them on over the ones she was wearing) and I even caught one combing Papa Lon’s beard for him. How considerate! The potato heads were opened and compiled, although I don’t think they are quite obsessed over them yet. The mini car keys were also adored, fought over and hidden in their new purses.
We wasted no time getting outside after destroying the living room. In fact, I think I was more excited to take them on a sled ride than to open presents! We wrangled everyone into snowsuits, boots and gloves and went outside for a quick ride.
For this venture, Reagan is in pink, Harper in purple and Emerie in blue. Yes…how confusing but the purple is still too big for Emerie and she cannot reach anything with the long arms and legs of the bigger suit!
Everyone giggled and chatted in excitement as Craig, Cliff and I walked down the snow covered, un-plowed roadway. Holidays are the best because the streets are mostly empty and become a playground, especially when covered in winter. The girls immediately had rosy cheeks and red noses from the cold, and while they didn’t all look impressed, we managed to pull some giggles and smiles out of them.
Get this- after a week of painfully short naps, the girls slept TWO hours, with only one freak out about twenty minutes in. Thankfully they all settled without intervention. I guess presents and sled riding is the way to sleeping babies. Craig, the grandpas and I relaxed a bit while the grandmas finished prepping dinner. The smell of prime rib filled the whole house. After nap-time, the new toys re-emerged. The girls rotated between grandparents, Harper would sit and play with a toy for a few minutes with one, same with Em and Reagan. Once someone got up, they would swap and show that same toy to the next person. This went on for a little while.
The Etch a Sketches were also a hit! They all wanted to click the little stamps in and out more than actual coloring, but that’s okay because they were highly entertained for a while. Eventually they figured out that using the pen would make colorful designs on the board part. I’m just glad to have a toy they can write with that can’t get on my walls and floor! After a little while they started running around and banging them on everything, so they went back out of reach and a different toy was grabbed.
Dinner was delicious and this time the girls participated. We learned from Thanksgiving that changing feeding time schedule for the holiday meant they would not eat anything, so we did dinner at the usual time. Everyone ate green bean casserole, jello salad, rolls, and a little bit of the prime rib. As predicted, Reagan and Emerie liked the lime jello salad, while Harper spit it all back out in her hands.
The rest of the night consisted of toys, running around (ummm the children…us adults were SO full and just wanted a nap!), and happy babies. By bedtime everyone was completely exhausted, including the parents and grandparents!
It was a good day overall, with happy and rested babies. It passed much quicker than a normal day at home and created lots of fun, new memories to look back at.
Night’s sleep: C / Morning: A
The girls were a little grumpy here and there, but overall absolutely enjoyed their time throughout the day. More snow meant we went outside again, this time in the backyard, and checked out all this white stuff. Emerie’s snow suit kept riding up and putting snow in her boots, so she was less enthused to explore for long. Reagan enjoyed a sled ride around the yard and then wanted back inside, and Harper and I wanted to stay outside a little longer at her request.
We decorated the homemade gingerbread cookies I baked the day before. I wasn’t sure how well the girls would do with the idea and they surprised me. All three mimicked us putting sprinkles from a plate onto a cookie. Emerie really picked it up quick (and I don’t mean the plate!). Eventually they discovered the icing was pure sugar and proceeded to lick it all off the cookies. By the afternoon they were eating small bits of the plain cookies as well. Can you tell which ones were done by them?!
The whole fifteen minutes of fun didn’t even require a bath time. With the exception of Em’s cookie toss into her hair at the end, they stayed relatively clean! And yes, if you are wondering, the cookie with no icing left…that would be Reagan’s.
Afternoon: solid B
I held my breath for naps today and somehow managed to get about an hour out of Reagan and almost 1.5 from Harper and Emerie. Not too shabby!
Reagan and I played together and munched on the remains of her decorated cookie while we waited for the other two to wake up. Grandma Anne worked on a sewing project for Craig. For some reason, everyone was really grumpy for the rest of the evening, didn’t want to share their toys, and fought over everything. We played dress up and tried on a few of their Disney themed Christmas dresses, which are so cute. Overall not a bad day.
Night’s sleep: C
Not our best night of sleep, Reagan with us and wide awake after a full eight ounce bottle at 4 AM. We did a quick triple feed after that, getting Harper back from Grandma’s room, and everyone went back to sleep in their beds until 8:30.
Now a week off from work wouldn’t be complete without at least one (two) doctors visit…right? Craig noticed Harper had a yellow spot on two of her front teeth and was concerned it might be the start of a cavity. I’m not sure how he even noticed them in the first place but I’m glad he did! After a full investigation and some toddler screaming as we tried to get a closer peek, it appears they might be chipped but have no idea how or when that happened.
Harper and I went to the dentist in the morning, in the below zero temperatures that she did not enjoy once out of the car, and the whole experience went mostly great. We immediately went back without waiting, the nurse sat us down in the chair and Harper checked out all the cool dental tools. She especially liked the air compressor machine that spit out air or a water stream. She stayed shy, calmly sitting on my lap, throughout most of the visit and while the nurse asked me a thousand questions about being a triplet mom; at least until the doctor came in. Things were fine until he was ready to actually look at her mouth. She looked over to see him with his medical mask and the light band on his head, and she LOST her mind. It was like he was Santa. Poor thing wouldn’t let the scary stranger near her even after he took them off. After a little coaxing he was at least able to peek at the teeth in question.
He confirmed she cracked both teeth and the visible yellow spots are not cavities or plaque but the inside of her tooth. There isn’t much to be done until she’s older and more cooperative; so for now, since it’s not bothering her (thankfully!), we just need to keep it well brushed and monitor it for any color changes that might signify more damage or tooth decay.
She blew kisses and waved bye to the staff out front as I scheduled appointments for Emerie and Reagan. Off we went home for lunch time and to see how the grandparents survived with the other two. In good fashion, I was informed when I returned home that both gifted the grandparents wonderful, poopy diapers while I was gone. Sweet!
The girls napped for about an hour and a half, giving my mom some time to do some more sewing, me to pump and work on the blog, and Papa Cliff to run a couple errands. By the time they were up, Craig was headed home from work and the day was halfway over.
We packed everyone up after a few chores were finished and went to our favorite local spot, Arctic Roadrunner, for burgers, fries, PICKLES, and milkshakes. This restaurant has become our spot to visit when Papa Cliff is in town.
The girls gorged on pickles as we waited for the meals. It took three or four pickle refills before they wanted to eat anything else. They scarfed them down and tinkered with the tiny, paper ketchup cups.
The rest of the evening consisted of the usual playtime, bottles and snuggles; and just like that, we somehow survived an entire workweek off. It started out a bit rough, but with some activities and a few extra hands, it was altogether survivable. Not relaxing, but that’s expected. Now I will need a bit of a break before another week off at home.
It was enjoyable to see everyone’s excitement throughout the holiday season. The new toys, new foods, new activities; all things that become more fun than the prior year as babies. I know I will miss this stage of holiday when the kids are older- right now everything is so amazing to them and it won’t always be that way.
I expected the girls to be far grumpier on or right after Christmas Day, simply because we had lots of people in the house and lots of activity and new presents (distractions). Surprisingly, this wasn’t an issue and they still went down for their nap and at bedtime (bedtime okay, overnight not so great).
Another highlight to the week is the latest word in the Douglas household, “shut.” Mind you, it really doesn’t sound like they are cussing, and everyone comprehends the word (that’s the best part) correctly. Emerie started this whole thing and I’m not sure why, but it likely relates to us commenting to close things to other areas when the babies are on the move, which is 100% of the time.
Now there are tiny “shut” demands for everything. The dog door: shut! The baby gate: shut! The cabinet in the kitchen: shut! I mean really, I left the cabinet open for maybe ten seconds and walked away from it and Emerie informed me several times, pointing from her high chair, to shut it. Craig went out the front door and left it cracked open for a moment; Emerie and Reagan reminded him to “shut” it several times. Harper and Reagan are picking up after their sister and starting to point out when things are open as well, so I guess our household will be one with all closed doors!
The girls mastered putting on their Bogg boots on without assistance this week. I often see them swapping who is wearing which one, usually ending up with different colors on each foot. Overall, they seem to understand putting these shoes on the correct feet- something they don’t do with their slippers or tennis shoes- and are more than happy to wear them around the house. Putting on the slippers is a bit trickier, but sometimes doable without hollering for a parent.
Another new discovery: light switches. Harper dragged over her rocking airplane, which has uneventfully been in the play room for months, and decided this was the week to stand on it and test out how the light switches work. She was so very excited when the light flipped on and off, and looked at us before she would flick it. Once Reagan and Emerie caught on to this new shenanigan, both came over to check it out. Emerie pulled up a chair to watch the show, in true awe of her sister’s newfound power. After a good light “workout,” we pulled her back off the toy.
They now like to remove their shirts whenever they feel like it. In the dead of winter, I would have been fine with the skill learned next spring! We’ve taken to rolling their sleeves up high on their arms so that they at least stay covered and warm; this or we put them in one-piece pajamas at night. They are harder to remove!
Being home for a full week demonstrated the massive increase in word comprehensive by all three. They now understand full sentences from an adult, more than even a month ago, and will follow some commands even though they can’t speak back to it. The “let’s get ready for a bath” prompts them to try to take off their shirts and shoes, “time to eat” brings them over to the table, the “that was not-nice, give sissy a kiss” generally results in an attempted kiss to the upset sibling. In a way it is easier, because they are a little more independent, but it’s also harder at the same time. Why? Because they actively know when they are disobeying, like hitting a sister, climbing up a chair to the table, or pulling something off the countertop. They know exactly what they are doing and do it anyway…the toddler thing to do!
As we round out 2019 and head into 2020, I wonder what crazy, new things will happen over the course of the next year. Our final hours of 2019 consisted of very grumpy, very tired babies that went to bed early.
2019 had some major ups and downs for our family and I hope life will be a bit smoother, as much as possible with three, almost two-year-olds in it. We are definitely taking great strides as parents as we learn and grow alongside the girls.
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.
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.