The past weekend was chocked full of toddler adventuring and getting out of the house. We find that getting the girls out and about drastically helps with the grumpiness side effect of daycare transition and keeps our sanity intact, so we made plans to do our first real road trip and drive down to the Seward Sealife Center.
As usual, I was super over packed for a half day trip. Part of this is to ensure we have everything needed for whatever comes up, the other part knows if an accident shuts down the highway on our way home (which frequently happens), then we need to have enough supplies to survive a night in a hotel. Thank goodness we didn’t end up testing how that would go, but you never know and preparation is key (I am a planner, after all…)! So in addition to the snacks, lunch food, drinks and extra clothes and coats, I had everyone’s cuddle blanket, stuffed animals, binkies hidden away, and the bedtime book. This clearly tells me we need to purchase a camper so we can adventure for whole weekends and not just half days. Then I won’t feel so over packed!
Everyone was up and ready to go by 7:45, with our fellow triplet road trippers meeting up for the drive down. We anticipated the girls would not sleep on the way down, so Craig sat in the third row and helped entertain them (ahem…keep them from fighting…), supplied a constant stream of snacks, and kept us from a two hour scream fest. I enjoyed my coffee and the beautiful scenery from the driver’s seat.
We arrived right on time for our sealife center reservations. The girls were released from the strollers pretty early on; eventually it was seven toddlers running amuck toward each exhibit, someone always trying to herd them in the right direction as they excitedly screamed about the animals. The sea lions were a hit, especially when they were up close and appeared soooo big. Everyone touched the starfish and managed to get their hoodies all wet. Everyone threw fits going back into the strollers. It was a very pleasant, albeit FAST, visit that we will have to do again soon.
The over energized toddlers released a vast amount of energy at the park down the path along the water. The weather was cool with bits of sun and wind, but overall very pleasant for a (almost) fall day in our great state. The park was amazing, with only two entrances, allowing the parents to breathe a little that they wouldn’t immediately run out to the water. Lunch went much smoother for our fellow triplet friends than for mine. We didn’t bring the food from the car so they were less than thrilled at the thought of sitting for a few more snacks instead of real food; they wanted to run around and go back to the playground.
All in all, it may have been a busy, stimulating day, but also a good one. It was really nice to get out of Anchorage for a few hours and I look forward to longer trips like this next summer. The girls napped the whole way home; Emerie was out before we left city limits and Harper and Reagan chatted a little and pretty much fell asleep mid-sentence.
To continue the weekend adventures, we went down to the Kincaid beach the following day. This includes walking down a massive paved trail until you break off toward the beach (and unfortunately walking back up it later), dragging strollers down a path not meant for them, and having to pull said gear back up that steep path at the end of the trek.
We succeeded at this with about twelves kiddos and only four strollers, lots of snacks and fun beach gear. The girls did GREAT. They didn’t explore more than 20′ away from us the whole time we were down there, they played with their shovels and buckets and walked around with the sand in their toes. Luckily the sun stayed out for most of it and it wasn’t too cold…Alaska beaches aren’t warm and we were ready for that.
The most exciting part of the morning was getting stuck on the beach side of the trail due to a mama and baby moose blocking our way. The girls kept pointing and yelling moose from the stroller. At least 20 people were held up by these creatures, who assumed we would patiently wait for them to have their lunch before we walked by. Other hikers went through the brush around them, something you cannot do with a double chariot and a ton of loud, little people. Eventually they moved far enough that we could walk quickly by and go up the huge hill that took us toward the car. It was another great morning, although it took a good hour into nap time for Emerie and Harper to drift off to sleep. This will definitely be a spot to do again; this time we will warn our friends to wear hiking shoes and bring better gear…which we did not do this time around (oops Megan!).
One of the most adventure packed weekends we’ve had in a while- in a good way- hopefully the rest of fall can proceed in a similar fashion.
The #toddlerlife is becoming increasingly interesting in the Douglas household. Everyday produces new words, groupings and phrases as well as explicit commands. New comprehended actions are instructed to you, to siblings, the pets, and immobile objects like the table and door. Mimicking of actions and words increases all the time and they are clearly keeping an eye on all activities throughout the day. And with all that, we are starting to see our little people grow up. SO. FAST.
I’ve been writing notes to myself of the funny and cute, random things that scream toddler. Here are a few of the silly mimics to look back on when they are older. For example:
Sibling spankings – the girls now try to discipline one another, Reagan most of all. She will provide her sister with a light pat on their butt if they continue to do something as Craig or I are telling them no and asking if they’d like a spanking. It’s almost become a game and they will chase one another around the room and yell “spank!” with a giggle.
Picture taking – In true modern fashion, they will pick up objects and pretend they are cell phones. This consists of small conversations held to their ears and as of this week, holding it sideways and yelling “cheese!” as they try to take your picture. They get frustrated when Koda does not smile based off their demands. It is ironic that they understand how to talk on the phone with your ear and mouth, since they rarely witness us do anything but text or FaceTime; AND that they don’t seem to understand the concept of an actual camera. If I hold the fancy camera up for a picture, they don’t look or smile or comprehend what it is most of the time, even more so when they were tinier.
Books – the other day Harper took it upon herself to read the night-night book to her half awake sisters, as we started the morning. She sat on the toy ottoman with the book in her lap and essentially sang twinkle twinkle little star (sounds like inkle inkle ittle star and is super cute) while holding up the bedtime star book.
The dreaded diaper – Butt smelling is the latest and greatest thing. Someone will say they are poopy and one of the adults will ask, are you sure, do you stink? And another clean-butted baby will go take a whiff of the butt in question. It’s pretty hilarious. They will also hold their butt up to you to check and try to assist on the changes. It’s very considerate.
Trashcan – We’ve progressed to the point that the girls now open the kitchen trash compactor using the foot pedal; something they’ve witnessed us do constantly, especially after diaper changes. Not going to lie, it is somewhat nice that they can hand delivery the stinky diapers to the trash for me, saving me a trip into the kitchen (sometimes three trips).
Verb comprehension is through the roof in the past month. We are now told bite it! or do it! or hold it! (that one is a Harper favorite) all the time. They want a bite of anything we are eating, even if it is the same thing on their untouched dinner plate; they want to buckle their own car seat (a process that takes ETERNITY when you have to comply with all three of them), and we are often instructed to hold something like leftover snacks or dolls. For the record, my masterminded mom-ness (is that a thing?) for the car seat buckling is to allow them to mess with the chest harness buckle while I quickly buckle the lower portion. For the moment, that suffices as they are “doing it” themselves. My downfall of the week is the lastest phrase of kill it! which I did not intend to teach them. In my defense, the MASSIVE polka dotted spider on my back porch had me toddler-demanding Craig to kill it. So that’s just great.
They also say shit! When they drop things…but I choose to blame that one mostly on Craig.
Harper’s latest word explosion consists of enunciating her words, saying things like “ride-IN” or “Ko-DAH” or my favorite, Rea-GAN. One day she just stopped saying Ray Ray and now refers to her sister by her full name. It’s so cute. Emerie continues to call her Ray Ray. They call each other’s names when something of interest requires immediate attention, meaning there are a lot of Harper!! Emmi!! Reagan!! exclamations during walks and outdoor adventures. It typically includes excited pointing and a lot of yelling.
The girls, especially Emerie, now recognize enough of the neighborhood through the car windows to ask if we are going home as we pull onto our street. When we leave the house, everyone says bye-byehouse! They recognize our friends and 17-houses-away neighbor’s house and comment anytime we pass it in the car. Other notable neighborhood objects consist of the wind fans in people’s front yards, the lawn mowers (called momos in this house) parked in yards and driveways, and the ever popular trash or garbage cans. The girls will ask about Koda as we head home from somewhere. If we eat out somewhere or have a picnic snack at the park, they look for the dog to give their scraps too. Yes, we are working on that one and they are working on getting her to smile when they tell her cheeeese! with their pretend camera phone.
The baby timeout chair, aka the high chair we used in addition to the triple table, is now retired to the garage for resale. We are continuing to implement time-outs and this is not so simply with three at once. Surprisingly, they will mostly stay in the corner you put them in for punishment, and half the time it is Harper. The next door neighbor asked us the other day which one is always in trouble, is it Harper? I find it hilarious they pick up on that from our day-to-day, because she is definitely the one in the hair pulling, biting stage. Emerie’s biting habits are letting up now and in general Reagan responds to verbal discipline far more than her siblings do. It is interesting to see how they all respond differently to punishment, as I predicted they would (just because that is harder!). They also asked us who is the one that seems more upset than the other two…which Craig and I both responded with Reagan! She is currently living her best two-year-old life, which means acting typical for her age according to the nanny, while the other two are on better behavior (I guess?).
We made it through our first real movie with the girls over a few evenings this week, watching (in short chunks) Tangled and then Moana. I think they all sat for five minutes or so and watched intently, then one or two got up to play while number three snuggled and talked about it. And switch and repeat. While encouraging screen watching isn’t exactly what I want to do as a parent, I am realistic enough to know having them enjoy some television time occasionally is not a bad thing and is really nice!! The funniest part of watching Tangled is the girls’ new obsession with pan!! and yes, I am referring to the frying pan that our princess uses to beat up her tower intruder and other bad guys along the way. Now we get requests for the pan! movie. Hopefully they don’t take it to heart tooo much.
Last week was my first week teleworking, at least since I was six months pregnant with the girls. My prior at-home working experience consisted of a quiet house, comfy armchair, minimal movement and my laptop and was a great two months, minus the lack of comfort of carrying three babies.
My work goal was to stay out of sight of the kiddos while the nanny kept them entertained and alive. All in all, that part went pretty great and was a nice break for me, since I could focus on work from the comfort of my own house!
With a few days warming up over forty degrees, we handled the cabin fever with afternoon walks and a couple stops at one of the hidden gem parks in our neighborhood. It was great to get out of the house and enjoy the sun while letting the girls burn some energy climbing the equipment and digging out the rocks that weren’t frozen. Even with the nice weather, the park was mostly empty of kids, which was great!
I was hopeful the warmth would continue for the weekend, but nope! The girls last about ten minutes outside on Saturday, having insisted they wanted to go by donning their boots and hats and trying unassisted to put on their coats before screaming in frustration. The cold wind won quickly, but not before this ADORABLE video of what I assume will be how Harper drives at age 16. I mean, after all, she is the sprinter of the house.
Other random things from our first week of solitude included toddler crafting, exploring new parts of the house and outside, and continuing to learn new life skills. Everyone is enthusiastically learning to put socks and pants on without help, but until the skill is mastered the frustrated rage continues. The girls saw their first house fly- a big one- and that meant several minutes watching it buzz against the window, with everyone trying to climb the armchair and catch it. Impressively enough, Harper eventually managed to catch grasp it in her hand!
With the living room no longer under toddler blockade, the front windows are now accessible and a whole new world of “ouwsi” (outside) is available to view. This includes the random moose visits, flocks of birds in the trees, people watching and hollering about any and all dog walking. It also apparently includes watching dinosaurs walk by- someone was pushing their kid and fully decked out as a t-Rex. The girls didn’t know how to feel about that one, but encouraged the dogs to whine and bark as it “danced” by.
More outdoor toys warmed up in the house, such as the dormant tricycles from the garage and the play castle from the back porch. With the rug pulled up and the furniture out of the way, the main level gives a decent amount of space for movement. The pedal concept isn’t there quite yet (Emerie is close), but the scooting around and ringing the bells is providing much entertainment. For a while Reagan would only ride them backwards.
The play castle provides hours of entertainment; it has become an enclosed fort, a climbing tool and tower, an area to hide with stuffed animals, and of course contributed to the cycle “run, climb, slide, run, climb, slide.” Queen of the slide is quite the game, with some not-so-nice kicking if one is indeed at the top and defending their territory and kingdom. We are working on courtesy and nicely opening the castle door and letting a sister come in. This still results in the occasional door slamming on fingers and faces, creating total meltdowns; but in the kind moments one will knock on the door, another will open it and they both say “hellloooo!?” with a big smile. It’s ridiculously adorable.
In addition to creative play activities, we continue to rotate the common toys, bringing out unused items for a day or two, or even hour or two, and putting them out of sight. Building blocks sustain interest for a while and then become yet another toy you don’t want to step on in the midst of the mess. The girls took a turns building block towers over the weekend; Emerie putting in some solid effort unassisted, Harper and Reagan took turns sitting in my lap and designing. I can already tell as they grow, Emerie will be building the masterpieces and Harper and Reagan will try to steal them or knock them down.
The doll strollers and baby dolls are brought out for a bit and then re-hidden. There is great enthusiasm in pushing each other around in them, but are starting to get too big for it! In addition, the pushing becomes a way to go as fast as possible and slam straight into a table, or cabinet, or each other. Luckily it is mostly in good fun, and the rider doesn’t seem to mind the bruised knees. Sometimes it’s too girly to simply push the stuffed, singing animals around in the strollers (they are appropriately named Bear, Puppy, and Monkey, according to the girls). Harper started it and Emerie and Reagan followed suite- to push their soccer balls, strapped in mind you (safety first), around the main floor. I’m happy to see the love of soccer starting, even if it’s balls strapped into strollers.
Car racing is another new event. The girls are starting to understand some activities can be done with each other and not necessarily with parents. The wind-up cars provide this type of entertainment and they are starting to sit across from each other, legs spread out, and shoot the cars back and forth at one another. It’s very cute and creates a few minutes of giggles. A couple of times the cars are pointed toward the toddler trying to fling it away, resulting in it constantly returning to them. This is hilarious to watch; they think it’s hilarious.
Working from home results in minimal daily movement so walking in the afternoon is vital to ensuring some exercise. This pushes dinner behind the typical 5 PM the girls are accustomed to. Eating later and unassisted, with spoons/forks (as opposed to hands), seems to greatly improve moods and results in less food thrown on the floor. This week’s obsession is sautéed mushrooms, mac and cheese shapes (colored pasta was a hit!), and heaps of broccoli (it would be blueberries too if the stores had any!). The girls exclaim “all-da” (all done) when they are finished. If the unfinished plate isn’t immediately removed, it usually flies to the floor for the dogs; but sometimes they will nicely hand it to you. Emerie seems to think saying the phrase means she should be allowed to get down and play without delay, and will impatiently yell it at you.
Other random craft activities throughout the week included coloring and trying out play dough again. I’m hoping to get more creative on some crafts over the next week, but am waiting until I have a full list for the store before picking up a few miscellaneous things needed. This time they didn’t spend the whole time eating the play dough (other than a few exploratory licks) and were equally awed that it could transform from a heap of nothing into a ball to play with. We colored with markers in the bath tub, played with water cups in the shower, sat at the kitchen table with crayons and chalked up the driveway (they still suck on the chalk though…yuck). Reagan tried to make Craig’s car more beautiful in that moment, while Harper went for the garage door and Emerie the actual driveway! Harper also enjoyed some wind sprints, up and down the driveway, running at full force.
Everyone wanted to help Dad replace his spark plugs, including shouting at him out the window and running around the garage. That lasted a whopping five minutes before shattered glass ended the fun and herded everyone back inside.
A few cute moments have occurred throughout the week as well- Emerie accidentally smacked me right in the face with a book, stopped, and with a concerned look, gave me a kiss right where she hit me. So sweet! Harper has given a melting-down Reagan several hugs this week, and Emerie kisses the top of her sisters’ heads. In the nice moments they share toys and will bring an extra toy or snack to an upset sibling. Progress.
For the first time ever in the Douglas household, we had a nap time REQUEST. Miss Harper asked the nanny for early nap time with a “nigh night” and pointing upstairs. Crazy thing is, she and Emerie immediate went to sleep after going down a few minutes early. Now that is a first and it only happened once.
The color coding comprehension continues to expand. Harper brought the correct color boots to Reagan and Emerie several times this week while Emerie brought everyone their coats. Last summer’s plastic Adirondack chairs were intensely fought over because Harper took the teal one from Reagan, and then Reagan took the purple one from Emerie. So it seems the color battles are beginning…that should be interesting.
We even had a day with happy, post-nap babies. Typically, as in 100% of the time, all wake up in full rage from their nap and it takes several minutes snuggling to calm the masses. We had one day happy and chill, after TWO hours (for all three at once that’s highly uncommon), giving me time to prep dinner and get it in the oven before they awoke. Pretty amazing and productive! Productive for Craig too…who accidentally took a nice, long nap with Reagan.
We ended the week with a broken kitchen faucet. Craig ran to Lowe’s to grab a new one (it’s essential in this house!) and in the 20 minutes he was gone, all three babies were screaming, trying to strip their poopy diapers, AND I managed to get the faucet stuck turned on, creating a steady stream of water underneath the sink and across the countertop. Well, we survived. And now have a new faucet thanks to our plumber buddy down the street!
I will sum up this week of toddlerhood adventure and quarantine with Craig asking Emerie what color she learned over the weekend. Her response? “Taco!” Okay, so that is a great answer as an adult too…but she was actually trying to say “yellow.”
It feels like a lot happened in the past seven days, when really staying home is pretty normal in this household. We tried to avoid the flu and colds most of the winter, only going out strategically and hoping for the best. Hopefully we can cruise through another week in the same style…which would mean decent naps, busy busy days, lots of fighting and loving… also many requests for “Tay Tay” (Taylor Swift), dance parties, food fights, face-time calls with the grandparents, and everything in between.
I started a blog on the girls’ “triplet talk” over a year ago. The thought of future sneaky conversations, ones that us parents can’t interpret, is something we’ve looked forward to since before the words started to flow.
Let’s back up a little, shall we?
NINE MONTHS: A few months prior to their first birthday, around Christmas time, no one was speaking more than the normal, nine-month old baby gibberish, with an occasional momma, dadda, or nom nom nom when eating some delicious food (mostly Reagan on that one). Everyone made sure that the parents were equally prioritized throughout the new words, with one saying momma first, one saying dadda, and one saying both! Very considerate to level the playing field for us. Even at this age everyone interacted non-verbally quite consistently, using their motions and eyes to tell each other things. Sometimes a simple look would draw a smile out of a sibling.
As you can see in the photo of my bald babies, the binkie stealing was an early interaction. This continues to this day but with a lot more emotion!
By the end of their first December, the very basic triplet talk began to emerge. Here’s a cute moment between Harper (left) and Reagan (right) and some baby food! The sit up chairs that we used before the triple table and highchairs definitely helped spur some conversations, especially because we shifted them around the room constantly and made them face each other sometimes too. They look so very tiny and immobile back then…
ELEVEN MONTHS: Fast forward about two months…here is another cute interaction, this time between Harper and Emerie. I’m sure discussion centered around why Harper was free of the baby prison and Emerie and Reagan remained in containment. In real time at 22 months, this discussion is WAY louder. If one is outside the play area (for whatever reason that isn’t usually escape), then the other two are certainly hollering and announcing how unfair it is that they aren’t free as well. This consists of a lot of yelling and uninterpreted sounds until someone gets a parents’ attention or the baby gate is shifted to allow free play in the room.
Conversations continued as we rounded out their first year of life. At this age enthusiastic noises sound like baby dolphins having a nice conversation. Plus, look how cute they were!!
ONE YEAR: At the end of March of 2018, around their first birthday, we noticed the first crib time baby giggles, usually between all three and often after bath time or right before bedtime. One example below, shows everyone pulling themselves up on the rails of the crib and interacting with one another. They look so short here, as they now stand much taller! There are also sooo many more teeth marks on those poor railings.
Another activity that helped draw out more interactions was the fabric playhouse. They enjoyed crawling through the side door and playing peekaboo with one another or anyone that would sit in the house and jump out at them. Sister time really started, as you can see here! While it consists mostly of giggles, laughs, and happy noises, the eye contact displayed who was “talking” to who. Words would show up later. After this picture Harper tried to chew on Reagan’s forehead, which ended the sweet encounter and the happy sounds.
Emerie and Reagan having a moment:
At this age peekaboo was the single, greatest game ever created. They endeavored to play it with each other independently as well as with mom and dad. While no one fully understood the concept of sharing yet, they definitely peeked at each other and giggled, sometimes with a blanket or a burp cloth, a pair of pants from the floor, or anything cloth related that they can get their hands on or steal from their sister.
FIFTEEN MONTHS: By summertime the girls were much more communicative. This is likely attributed to improved mobility as well as better social cues from one another. As soon as they were off and running (in addition to walking), they would play with each other and zoom across the house, across the deck, even the backyard; hollering and giggling with one another and the pets! This became an hourly occurrence.
No secretive toddler language had emerged at this point, but everyone was well aware of one another and each other’s cues. They also knew their sisters’ names at this point, and while they didn’t verbally say them, everyone knew who the parents were talking to with their usage. After not too long Harper would say her own name, “Harpa“, and eventually “Emi” and “Ray.” It was a number of months before everyone began using their names, although “sissa” wasn’t too far away.
EIGHTEEN MONTHS: By the midway mark to age two, word were minimal words between them with lots of mimicking and learning of new sounds individually. By the 18 month pediatric checkup, we were already at about ten words each, but not really ones they speak to each other. This is about the first time we heard “sissa” for sister, instead of using their names. It’s rarely said but sooo cute.
The doll strollers became quite the hit, once Emerie taught her sisters how to sit in them and attempt to buckle in (which they could do themselves after a while), they then chauffeured one other around the living room and kitchen, colliding with everything in their paths, including each other. The toddler cars brought out the same thing.
TWENTY MONTHS: At this point in their development, the girls harnessed onto specific things and then harped on them for days. This started with the dog door, as you know, and expanded out to the “shut” from Emerie to anything left open (gates, doors, cabinets, nightlights!). The girls began to collaborate on these types of issues, running synchronized to something that was left open and then all hollering for Mom or Dad to fix it…immediately. This prompted the first sets of teamwork, kids coordinating together versus everything! And yes, that is mildly terrifying because they aren’t too far away from figuring out their numbers are higher than their parents. Craig and I will have to step up our “zone defense” once that concept is established, because “man-to-man” doesn’t work when there are three!
TWENTY-TWO MONTHS: Zoom to present day- new conversational habits are emerging this month that are both cute and entertaining. Each kiddo seems to have a different one too:
Emerie: We all know about the shut instructions Emerie provides to everyone and taught her sisters (I should probably write SHUT in all caps-she’s very confident about it.) Another one Emerie does daily is “me me me“. This is specific to anytime Harper or Reagan takes something from her…a toy, a binkie, a wash cloth, all of it. The volume will increase with her rage on the stolen item. If her binkie is plucked from her mouth then it is said over and over again until one of two things happen: her sister brings it back and gives it to her (occasionally) or we convince her to go find something else and divert her attention.
Harper: Harper is the first to really comprehend help and stopping someone from helping her when she thinks she can do it unassisted. The other day she put her hand on mine and said “no, stop” when I attempted to buckle her in the highchair. She knew she could figure it out; it was the first time she confidently told me no, knowing she could do it herself. And she did. Such a big girl!
Reagan: my favorite word quirk from Reagan relates to sweets (figures, like father like daughter!). She will insistently repeat “ein, ein, ein” until she depletes your resistance and you share your treat (often ice cream or frozen yogurt, but sometimes even broccoli or green beans!). She’s very insistent and will get in your face to make sure you are paying attention.
Here is a cute display of everyone admitting their love for Tay Tay (Taylor Swift), and shaking their hips and butts when I ask if they want to listen to their favorite song. The best part is they responded in sync, after we were talking about what music to play on YouTube. They will all dance at the same time, but rarely dance together; hold hands, anything like that. I’m sure we have a few more months before that will emerge and I can’t wait!
Because the girls now get into everything, whether or not you think they can reach, we are trying to set up a few more verbal boundaries with better instruction. Earlier this month they learned “hot” and “cold”, relating this to a number of things. It’s cold when you get out of the bathtub, it’s cold outside; or some of their food is hot, the stove is HOT, things like that. They know the stove burners are hot, but this doesn’t always stop them from touching things they shouldn’t. When reminded, they usually point to the stove knobs and say hot. If someone touches one of the knobs, someone else will shriek “hot!” and tattle on them.
They tell each other commands: Emerie is the queen of the shut command. This reaches from her sisters to all people in the room. Surprisingly, right now Emerie repeats the most words back to you no matter how complicated or long; I thought it would be Harper! Harper more often spouts some gibberish to you about her day or some pain that her sister inflicted on her, which is very cute even though you have no clue what is coming out of her mouth. Reagan likes to tell you when she wants something and is pretty clear at expressing her thoughts. She’s also adamant about bottle time and will let you know if you need to move a little faster.
They also tattle on the parents. If you leave a glass out on the ledge in the family room, whoever sees it first will holler to everyone else that it is there. If the dog door is unlocked, they run over and grab the door and either try to close it themselves or insist you do it immediately! In a way this is actually helpful- when you forget to close a baby gate or block off the stairs, someone will point it out to you instead of running amuck.
While many days are filled with fighting, biting and crying from all parties, we are also seeing them share a little more. Binkie stealing is more common than prior months, but now I also see them give an extra binkie to someone who is upset, or because they ask for it in their own way. They will bring toys to each other sometimes; other times they take one and run. Typical siblings, I guess.
Lastly, verbally saying names is now more prominent. I’ve now heard everyone say each (Harpa, Emi, and Ray). Sometimes it is to each other and more often it’s a multiple repeat until that sister pays attention. We also asked them things like, “where is Harper?!” and they will turn and point to her, saying “Harpa“. They are also mastering the dogs names, “Kayi” and “Koa“, although they almost always defer to saying Kalli for both dogs. The cats remain nameless as “kitty.”
With two right around the corner, we are starting the “twin (triplet?) talk.” I know one of these days it will explode with a ton of new words. For now, it’s fun to see them express their feelings toward one another as well as the occasional kisses, head pats, and snuggles.
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.