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.
We took the girls to visit Santa twice this month, to see if a different venue would improve the toddler attitudes toward the jolly bearded man. First we went to Cabela’s, where we had a super cute triple photo last year with everyone sitting fine on a random, bearded stranger’s lap, at least enough for a picture. This year? Baby RAGE. Emerie was the only one of the three that tolerated it enough for a photo, without screaming her head off. Harper and Reagan took the whole scene very personally; Harper was screaming before I even handed her off to the guy. If I even leaned in while holding her, she screamed and wailed even more. Reagan wasn’t a fan either. They forgave us afterwards when we looked at the fish and let them run free a bit. Luckily four adults versus three toddlers is pretty manageable. By the end of the outing, everyone was back to the rage and ready for dinner. But overall, the photo turned out pretty great.
Needless to say, some of the best holiday photos are ones with less-than-cooperative children in them and mine are no exception. I wish the photographer had captured it about two seconds earlier; by the time the photo was snapped Harper already slid off the lap and was trying desperately to escape the jolly red man.
The second Santa try was on my Friday off at the Midtown Mall Santa. As soon as we entered the lobby doors and Santa came in to view, Harper was already unsettled and upset. Apparently she and Santa are not going to be friends for a good while. We watched our twin friends do their photos before us, having about as much success with their toddlers as I knew we would have. But their angry photo turned out amazing too! And as expected, Reagan cries because Harper was freaking out and Emerie just looked at the view whilst on Santa’s lap, calm, collected, without any emotion either way. And here’s what we captured for the memory box this year!
It will be fun to see how they react next year and if the screaming collection will be added to or not. So mean, I can’t help it…
We also had our first adventure to Get Air’s toddler area. The girls were a little shy at first but after a few preferred to play in the trampoline part than anywhere else. They tolerated the foam block but did not love it.
We jumped with them a little in the main area; that brought a good bout of giggles and no one had a total meltdown when we left. Overall success! We will have to go again and hit them by storm with some of our twin buddies. And they gave us a triplet discount, bless them!
And yes, this mom went a little crazy on the matchy matchy clothes for Christmas, much more than last year. It’s not my fault, there were some super cute clothes that warranted all three wearing together. So sorry, not sorry!
I feel like the past few months (and blogs) have contained less than my normally optimistic self…when it comes to far less sleep than I’d like, picky eaters that throw most of their food on the floor, biting and hair pulling, ear infections and head colds, busy work days and a more monotonous, routined life with less relaxing or fun than I’d sometimes like to have. I fear we are branching into the “terrible twos” and have definitely had a number of days with grumpy and confrontational toddlers. All. Day. Long (well if we are being realistic that involves night too).
And while this age is hard in a different way than infancy, it also has some really great parts that are worth dwelling on more than the difficult parts. So what are some of the things that I love about this age of the #tripletlife? At this busy age of mobile #toddlerhood?! At this age of the girls figuring out how to better interact and react to new situations?
I’ve come up with a few things that I try to appreciate each day, even when I really just want to put my feet up, watch a Hallmark movie (or any movie really) and take a break in silence (or a nap?). At some point in the future that will once again be realistic, so for now let’s enjoy the sweeter side of toddler time…to name a few:
One of my favorite things about this age is something that could be seen as insignificant, but I really enjoy experiencing it. Getting down on the same level as the girls (i.e. sitting on the floor instead of a chair or the couch) during playtime allows additional interaction that generally involves a rotation of lap babies. They will bring toys, books, blankets and binkies over to you, turn around and plop their tiny butt right in your lap for a short cuddle session or to share their toy. This rotation lasts until they see other sister doing something more interesting or decide it’s time for more marathon running across the room- once they get up, the next one sees opportunity and immediately plops down. It is an endless cycle that is very sweet; I know this won’t last forever.
If I sit on the floor with a blanket over my lap, Emerie is always the first to show up with a toy and sit down to play with it. She likes to sit in the blanket or have it around her shoulders and will occupy herself for a good amount of time if uninterrupted. Harper and Reagan will venture over at some point, if I sit there long enough, but Emerie certainly favors playing with her toys and sitting with you. Reagan often brings a book over to read, but won’t sit for more than a page or two before she’s up and running again. This cycle will repeat several times; I’m hoping at some point the length of book patience will improve page by page. Harper, on the other hand, always full force runs at you, huge smile and all, and will hang out for a bit with whatever toy or book she’s found. She often likes to snuggle up in a blanket for this, while Reagan always has to have her feet out!
It sounds silly, but I love that they all do this and will miss when they are bigger and don’t anymore. It is a sweet gesture of love and trust that they show for the people in their lives they love. So for now, I try to appreciate such little gestures of love they display throughout the day.
This can be gross at times, but the adorable part easily overrides that. We are working on improving the slobber level and everyone does the “muah” sound. All three are still sloppy, slobbery kissers but starting to understand what “give me a kiss” means. In fact, in addition to sharing those sloppy kisses with Mom and Dad, Grandma or Grandpa, they are starting to share them with each other. It doesn’t always go very smoothly, ending with a head bonk and sometimes tears. But when they successfully plant one on each other, it usually involves some type of giggle; only for a brief moment and you’ll miss it if you aren’t paying attention!
Kisses are starting to fly across the house now…by that I mean the girls are starting to blow kisses at you and saying buh-bye. It results in a handful of “thrown” kisses and big smiles.
Every once in a while I will turn around to a mini, baby hug session. They are all starting to see if someone is upset, they can help remedy the situation by giving a hug or patting their head (petting really). This seems to apply even if they are the one that initiated the crying (biting, collision, stealing of a toy, to name a few). The moments are very brief before they switch gears to something else, but they exist nonetheless!
This one is a real “kicker.” As we all know, toddler temperament is like drawing an emotion out of a hat, every five seconds, and immediately reacting at 100% full force to whatever emotion is chosen. It can change in a split second- like holding a screaming rager one second to holding a giggling baby the next…just from flipping them upside down and dangling them by their ankles. I assume this is going to continue to worsen before it improves, so I try to find the humor in some of their reactions, because- to be honest- they can be pretty entertaining to watch. The triple temper tantrum hasn’t fully occurred yet; I am waiting in anticipation to film this and share it with all of you when it happens.
I did capture a short video of Harper throwing a ten second fit the other day. She throws her hands up and…well…see for yourself. Emerie is starting to mimic her sister, now similarly starting throw her hands up when upset too.
Another triplet parent told me it’ll be rare to have the tri-fecta (tri…get it!) of all three in full out rage tantrum. Why? Because they see the long term game plan…which means one kid throws the tantrum at a time and then continues to trade off. After a few years, that’ll certainly wear those pesky parents down, day by day…I feel like this shared knowledge will be far truer than I’m prepared to handle.
Another piece of advice, that I will really try to remind myself for the next several years…kids often save up all that pent up emotion for the whole day, so by the time the parents get home, the emotional rage is real. Why? Because Mom and Dad are their confidants, their safe place; so releasing all those feelings means they feel safest around you. The probably is, young children don’t always know how to express what they are feeling, good, bad and in-between, and that is the true form of the tantrum centralizes from. While I realize I am still a relatively new parent; this advice hits pretty close to home and is something I need to remind myself as they continue to grow.
This can be daunting at times when your arms are outnumbered by one, but if you really think about it, it wreaks of sweetness. The girls have complete and utter faith and trust in their parents, knowing they can dive off a slide or piece of furniture and there is no doubt in their minds you will move heaven and earth to catch them. Is that realistic? Well no, not when they are ten feet away and you are holding a sibling and have to superhero dive (in slow motion and over a plethora of toys and obstacles) across the room to reach that tiny diver before they hit the ground. Can’t you just picture that? I will tell you…it’s definitely not that graceful. There might be a bit too much trust when I’m trying to catch more than one at once, but the thought behind it is something to smile about: they have complete faith and love for you!
They have complete faith in you!
So until they fully understand that gravity really exists and can when challenged, it can lead to injuries (an idea not yet achieved but hopefully soon). I will remind myself that they trust us fully and count that we will be there, a sentiment I hope to keep throughout their lives.
This is a hard one, because I love actual sleep but it is but a vague memory at this point in my life! It’s probably better to block out that memory for another year or two; although Craig and I had a brief glimpse of it a few weeks ago when everyone slept the whole night without a peep. That was the first occurrence of seven straight hours of sleep for the parents in almost five months. So while a reminder everyone once in a while of how great sleep can be, getting up at night to comfort and calm a baby isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, why wouldn’t I want to get lots of snuggle time in while they still want to?
What I find utterly ridiculous is, on the rare occasions that everyone stays settled in their room, I actually miss them. Not enough to pick one up out of their bed, of course, but certainly to peek on the baby camera at their cute sleeping positions. So while not all bedtime cuddles actually involve them sleeping right away, I definitely enjoy the individual time…even when it means less sleep for me. But don’t you dare tell them any of that…they need to sleep in their beds sometime!!
This past month is full of lots of overnight snuggling. The girls all had a head cold and cough, making them restless at night. Coughing fits will wake up someone at some point during the night, and involve a repetitive calming each time another one presents. Emerie even had a couple nice snuggle naps with me or Craig after her coughing prevented her from settling down. Luckily we didn’t experience coughing babies until they were twenty months old! I definitely would not have enjoyed this same type of cold when they were much smaller and am glad our prior colds last winter only involved the buckets and buckets of snot. I can say that colds are not quite as brutal now that they are a little bit older, but I have to say that while wearing my rose colored “life glasses.”
Everyone is steadily learning new words at an exponential pace; but what amazes me more than that is their comprehension of other words and phrases. While they won’t necessarily answer you verbally on things, they definitely understand what you are saying on much more than they can express themselves.
For example, if you say “let’s go get your shoes on,” someone will run over to the shoe bin in the living room and try to pull them out. Sometimes they will even grab a shoe, sit down and attempt to put it on (not successfully yet but they try!). Other phrases that they fully understand now:
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! (and they clap…the patty cake song works well for this too)
Let’s brush our teeth! (they point and say teeth!)
It’s bath time! Go see Dad! (and they will run upstairs to the bathroom and usually arrive in the correct location)
Where is the kitty?! (they will turn around and search until they see him and shriek in excitement)
Go throw away your diaper (which results in a run across the living room to the trash in the kitchen)
Not nice…more normally spoken NOT NICE (commonly used now and they know it means they were being unkind or are in trouble)
Say bye-bye (this results in a bye bye and wave when they are feeling like it…)
Multiple body parts…nose, belly, ears, teeth, mouth, eyes…
Each other’s names
Do you want more?
And the exciting, are you poopy!? (We are working on this one and sometimes they understand!)
One other cute comprehension- the past week or so everyone has started pointing out to you if they get an “owie.” They don’t use the word yet, but will run over to you (usually crying or upset), finger pointed straight out, and expect you to fix whatever is wrong. What I recently noticed about the finger pointing…it’s not that finger that is hurt like we initially thought. It is a variety of body parts, but they all stick their pointer finger out straightforward as the indication. So not 100% figured out yet, but progress.
I haven’t heard any phrasing from them yet, but do enjoy watching their word and phrasing comprehension continue to grow. I also anxiously await their conversations to one another; so far it’s pretty limited but I know it’s around the corner and I’m excited! Much of their communication so far results in giggles and inaudible sounds.
New Experiences and Skills
Kids are all about learning new things right? That’s part of growing up. This is something we take for granted as adults. For example, Craig found a cool new adventuring toy called a Pickler. This ladder like toy is meant to improve coordination in young children. I was shocked how quickly the girls could climb it like professionals; and enjoyed that sentiment along with the mild heart attack of them climbing high up.
I’m still enjoying their daily advancement of physical and mental life skills, such as climbing a ladder, going up and down the stairs like pros, figuring out how to build their block tower taller without any assistance, pretend stirring one of their teacups, things like that. Switching out old toys and for ones that spent some time in “toy jail” also allows their creative juices to flow.
They continue to learn new life skills as well. For example, I purchased a clip/clasp pillow a month or so ago that is quite the hit with all three. It lets them practice clipping different, colorful styles of clasps together and is in constant use. No, we are not teaching them how to unclip anything; just how to put them together. I am not ready for them to escape out of their strapped chairs quite yet!
The girls are also learning about shoes and socks. They now try to put their matching slippers on and almost have it down! They try to put socks on as well; every once in a while they succeed but more commonly they plop down in front of you and demand assistance. Emerie was the first to put on adult shoes and slippers and now all three can do it and slowly try to walk around. Such grown up girls!
In addition to new experiences, they’re learning how to interact with new things. Like after an ouch, they sometimes bring sister a toy or a binkie to be nice. Each morning they give the dog a cute greeting, and she’s learned that if she leans into the crib they will pet her (nicely).
So What Else?!
I’m sure there are more things I could appreciate in the day-to-day that I just don’t pay attention to. Looking back I’m sure I will see a few, especially as they get older! I know lots of you have kiddos similar in age, and I’m betting my eyes still aren’t seeing all of the great things that are happening before me…it’s all a matter of perspective. Some days I’m great at looking at things with my happy glasses- other days? Not so much.