It’s ironic to be talking about giving the girls more freedom at home, when everything going in across society seems to be restricting access to basic amenities we are used to. What an interesting time!
Last weekend we tried opening up the living room “play jail” and freeing the girls to explore the rest of the room and main floor, and be less supervised than in prior months. Of course this meant blocking off the stairs, rearranging some furniture and baby proofing newfound opportunities to get into stuff.
The first thing requiring baby proofing was the fireplace. That took t-minus five seconds before Emerie tried to open it up and test out the charred wood. She, of course, shared this new find with both sisters. Needless to say, it now has a child proof lock on it.
The diaper changing area is full of fun things to play with that are not for kiddos. A favorite is the temperature taker and ear checker. These moved up higher until we put things back. The sock and diaper drawers seem to be quite the messy hit as well.
Any surface that can possibly be climbed on was moved out of range. No more end table and lamp. Thankfully it’s more light out now and we can go the summer with less lighting. The wooden bin “bookshelf” is distanced from the reclining chairs, as it was way too easy to reach and resulted in three children constantly climbing on it. It’s also easier for the girls to access the bins, which is actually a time saver because they will put boots on and their coats (with some help).
Because the front living room windows are now within acceptable toddler range, the girls appear to understand the concept of outside versus inside. They will tell us when they see something outside, and especially like four legged visitors (moose) that creep right up to the window and when Mom and Dad get home and come in the front door.
Earlier in the week we finally had warm enough temperatures to walk the neighborhood (yay sunlight!). I asked Emerie to get their hoodies out and she proceeded to get one at a time from the bin and bring them to the corresponding sister- the teal one for Reagan and pink for Harper. Then she grabbed the white one for herself (since we don’t have it in purple and she knows that). She called their names as she delivered them. So stinkin’ cute.
After the weekend we put the baby jail back for the nanny. She ended up just blocking off the fireplace and hearth and opening up the rest of the living room all day. Big step! So far everyone is still going strong…the kids AND the nanny!
Now if we can just get them to stop standing on the chairs, licking the windows and screens, and pushing each other off the furniture. Oh and running out the front door, which Harper did the other day. Apparently she wanted to spend the night with my favorite “nanny”.
Fingers crossed if we have a two week quarantine (however that actually plays out), that it will start feeling like spring outside and be warm enough for outdoor kiddo adventures. Please please please!
We are currently in the thick of the 10th developmental leap for the girls, called the World of Systems. It is the last “baby” leap, occurring at about 18 months, and nicknamed the Fussy Phase– sounds awesome right?
A quick overview on what this developmental leap entails- now that the girls mentally understand more processes and that their actions can have varying results, they see everything in a more curious, yet mature mental state. They are certainly becoming little people!
A couple other notable things from this phase:
You can’t spoil babies, but you can toddlers!
Toddlers generally just want to be near you and have that personal attention (this is a lot harder with 3!)
Bring on the mischievousness.
With it comes more grumpiness and less sleep…nap time AND overnight.
After reading up on this particular leap (all-the-while experiencing it), I gave myself a mental activity to try during outings with the girls. With increasing mental capacity and curiosity of the world around them, I should try to think how a child would see and interpret new things; get away from the often mundane way adults view the world. Sometimes we forget how boring an adult can be. Being a kid is exciting! We also forget how interesting the little things can be when we are used to seeing things one way and not keeping our eyes open for the joy or excitement in it.
The girls react to little things in such cute and random ways. For example, Reagan dumping out a bin of toys. She dumps out a few and reacts to the abrupt sound of toys hitting each other and the floor; then she dumps out the rest because it is fun! I can see Emerie’s mind figuring out how to sit in the doll stroller. She aligns herself, butt out, toward it, and tries to sit back. Sometimes it works, sometimes it rolls and she gets mad. Harper will sit and hug the dog, slowly petting her in a partial hug. I imagine she’s thinking what her fur feels like, how it’s different depending which way she pets, and she listens to Koda talk back to her.
I gave everyone pieces of mint grown on the back porch this past summer. It’s a smell that reminds me of summertime during my childhood…it smells so good. I showed them how to sniff the leaves. Reagan was all about sniffing and licking the leaves. Harper, on the other hand, was unimpressed entirely while Emerie just wanted to collect and carry them around.
The other day I caught Emerie and Harper chewing on the old television stand. Very quietly, standing there, gnawing away. It must have felt oddly refreshing against those eight tiny, front teeth. I watch them sit in their comfy animal chairs- now instead of just sitting on them, they’ll turn one sideways and sit on it. Or they’ll lay across it or flip it upside down and lean on it. All new perspectives to something that’s been in the room for a few months, but has endless opportunity in the eyes of a toddler.
The girls precision is also improving. They will sit still and focus on putting shapes into the correct holes of their picnic basket, trying out incorrect holes methodically until they find the right one. They look around and find different things to add into the pink shopping cart, then watch the contents shift as they push it around the room. All so many interesting ways to look at things!
Last Saturday turned out to be one of the busiest days we’ve had in a while. With three separate outings and being out and about all day, it was anyone’s guess how the day would turn out or if the girls would be overstimulated. Surprisingly, they did great the whole time we were out, staying pleasant for nearly the entire day on a short, 30 minute car nap. Bedtime wasn’t quite so smooth, but we expected that. It was fun to have a full day of outings and see how the girls handled the new experience.
Craig took the girls to dad group in the morning for some play time (and man-time) while I cleaned and did a few household chores. We headed straight to the valley for fall, family photos after group. It took the girls longer than planned to doze off in the car, resulting in a short nap since photos started when we arrived. The day was beautiful. It was a little cold, with the fall crisp air making the girls arms a bit cold- but I was dedicated to their outfits and we went with it. We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous afternoon, with the sun bouncing off the bright, fall colors at the Palmer Visitor Center. In true Brittany style, our session was quick and successful! I cannot wait to see the photos.
Thinking about how the girls would view those photo sessions, you could see they love to explore the flowers and see the yellow, crinkly leaves on the ground. We tossed leaves at them to try to produce smiles and they curiously looked at them. Emerie, on the other hand, tried to pick up all the rotten crab apples off the ground and carry them. They likely felt squishy and cold and she carried around a handful for a few minutes; I don’t think she tasted any thank goodness. Reagan kept running across the pathways, giggling as we hollered to come back toward the camera. Harper did some great photos and then too went off after her sisters with big smiles. They are much more coordinated than when we took photos here in July. This time all three could run across the grass pathways without tumbling. They peeked at flowers and picked up more leaves and tried to grab everything out of Britany’s purse.
After photos we walked (wagoned) over to a little baby fair at the Palmer railroad station, peeked at a few vendors and I found two airplane books, and then loaded back up for the reindeer farm. On the walk back to the car, all three were attempting to lift their legs out of the wagon, feet up in the air. That was apparently quite comical and more fun than sitting there, enjoying the ride.
The reindeer farm was a hit. The girls petted reindeer, which surprisingly no one referred to as “kitties”. In fact, they were all very sullen, shy and quiet when we let them out on the wagon. Everyone did pet one though! And one reindeer really wanted to come home with us, eat out of the wagon, and check out all the contents of the diaper bag. He kept coming back for more! He tasted Reagan’s coat hood as well and she was not impressed.
I imagine that all three toddler minds were a bit overstimulated at this point in the day, with huge, furry animals (and antlers) walking about and a ton of people around. They did get a bit braver and walked around the pen after a few minutes. Afterwards everyone went for their first horse rides- Reagan wanted off by the end of hers while Harper and Emerie thought it was fun and looked a little happier about it. Emerie was a little unsure of it at first, giving me the “hell no mom” look, but after a few feet appeared to enjoy the experience.
I am still mildly shocked the day went off without a hitch on a 30 minute nap. Next year, when the girls are two, fall events will be a little more fun to experience and hopefully a bit easier. For now, I am happy to add this day into my memories as a good one with friends and gorgeous, Alaska weather.
What other things did I notice over the past week that an adult might not appreciate, but the girls find interesting?
With daily practicing of body parts, the girls now understand belly, nose, ears, and are learning where eyes are located. Everyone is extremely enthusiastic about their bellies (and yours too) and getting better at pointing to your nose or theirs. They find wearing bodysuits (as opposed to shirts) unacceptable when they can’t adequately show off their bellies to you when asked. Emerie took this newfound skill to a new level, shoving her finger right up her nose and walking around, making sure you know she knows the answer. It’s pretty cute until she comes after your nose! Reagan will tug on her ears-and I mean hard- when you ask where they are. I think she believes they weren’t there prior to her learning about them…so she tries to pull them off.
Emerie continues to master the block building. She likes to walk around with two duplo blocks and put them together or pull them apart. She comprehends how they interlock and will sit there and focus on it. Her new understanding is impressive; and you can tell she is fascinated that she can do it! I know tower building is right around the corner and I can’t wait because that means we are one step closer to Lego’s! She also just discovered buckles and likes to buckle herself into the lunch table. Luckily she hasn’t figured out how to unbuckle yet; hopefully we have some time for that one. Everyone is fascinated by zipper pulls. This is great for fun, but not so great when they try to take their coats off when we want them on!
Reagan discovered somersaulting on the floor last week, without any help! Since before they were crawlers, everyone enjoys standing on their heads, wiggling their tiny butts in the air, giggling at the world upside down. Reagan was quite impressed the first time she went all the way over by herself and landed on her back. Why? Well the whole world moved, how cool is that?! Similarly, all three girls like to careen off the arm of the couch and flip over onto pillows, or onto a sister, or onto Mom or Dad. Harper seems to free fall off of it; I’m surprised her landings have gone so well this far.
Another really cute toddler discovery is hugging. Harper will come up to you and strong arm you into a solid, double armed hug. It’s so sweet and she will hold it for a few seconds, with her head against yours. She’s a great hugger! I imagine she likes the feeling as it generally results in smiles and talking. Emerie will give you little hugs sometimes too. Reagan is not quite into it yet, but she will pull your arms tight when she wants to snuggle. If you move your arm, she will pull it back over her until she feels that compression. She’s learned this is a better snuggle position than simply being beside someone. The past few nights she demanded full on snuggling to sleep, something I am doing my best to appreciate since it won’t last forever!
After 18 months, our greyhound Kalli finally figured out she can get six, tiny toddler hands to pet her back. I’ve turned around several times this week to see the girls giggling and petting a very happy puppy.
The girls are learning to pretend “grocery shop” with lots of plastic, play food scattered everywhere in the family room. They all take turns with the pink, Minnie Mouse shopping cart, the doll stroller, or the smaller hand basket; sometimes they pile food into the toy bins and kitchen cabinets. Everyone mastered pretend eating, including the nom nom nom sounds that come with it. They will pretend sip out of tea cups, chew on the fake food (sometimes more than light chewing) and are starting to understand they can stack pieces together (like pieces of a cheeseburger).
Harper prefers chewing the fake hotdogs; I’m guessing this is because it feels nice on her molars. Reagan often brings you food to share, and you better fake eat with her…she won’t take no for an answer and will hold it up to “bite” until you do it. You can see her imagination is expanding into the world of pretending. Emerie fills the cart or basket with food, condiments, leaves, sippy cups, or anything she can find and takes it places, usually accidentally dumping the contents out on the way to the destination. She gets all riled up if her sisters take over or grab things out of it. She enjoys collecting leaves in her shopping cart or any container within eyesight. Harper will add things to the cart, but is far more interested in pulling contents out of a box or bin and meticulously figuring out how to fit them back in. She’s gets very focused and always helps me put away the baby lotions after bath time, taking everything out and then replacing it back in the container. I mean…isn’t it so cool how everything fits!
Another fun realization relates to wind up cars (I know…not airplanes!). We’ve had several in the toy box for a while, but now they better understand how to use them and are starting to see they can make them drive without calling for assistance. I pulled up the rug in the living room and we drove cars back and forth for a while the other day. It is definitely exciting in the eyes of a kiddo- to be able to make tiny vehicles speed across the floor and bang into the wall, or furniture, or the dog…on the other side.
With the nanny out with the flu for the rest of the workweek, I used my day off to take the girls to one of the local recreational centers (along with half the parents in town) and let them run wild. It was great to catch up with a few twin moms and let the girls burn some energy. With such a dreary fall day, it was THE place to be! The center purchased new foam climbing mats since we last visited and the girls went to town playing on all the different pieces and shapes. Everyone liked to climb up the tall one, sit and “oversee” the other kids. Harper discovered a toy car that had a bouncy seat, Reagan liked to crawl through the tubes and underneath “tunnel” mats, and Emerie freely wandered the room and tried out everything, making friends along the way. Of course, I forgot to bring her glasses and patch. In the midst of the chaos of twenty-plus young children in one large room, the girls did great exploring new things and socializing with other toddlers. They climbed on everything and ran around. They made friends with a few other parents as well…parents that just happen to have some snacks…
Fingers crossed the flu stays out of our house (foreverrrrr). So far, so good. I have a feeling the next few weeks are going to be fully of teething babies again, so I think that is enough to deal with. For now, I will keep trying to see the fascinating things through the girls’ eyes and find new and fun things to teach them, or learn from them!
It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a height/weight and development/leap update on the littles…so here goes!
We decided this development checkup to split out the appointments and not bring everyone into the doctor together. The past few have gotten more difficult now that the girls are mobile and want to get into everything. Two hours in a tiny, hot doctor’s office is a looooong time with three toddlers.
Emerie was up first and solo. Taking one baby to the doctor almost seems relaxing and allows us to have a little one-on-one time while the nanny also gets a little break! At this visit, Emerie weighed in at 22.0 lbs and in the 43% percentile. She is much higher in the height percentile than weight, at 82% and measuring 32.75 inches.
Of the three, Emerie is the best at entertaining herself with her toys, random containers and nick knacks, or really anything. She is happy to sit on the floor and figure out how a toy works, or put smaller toys into a bigger container, or play with her shapes picnic basket. This can occupy her for a lot longer than I’d probably guess, simply because Harper or Reagan usually interrupt the quiet playtime, steal a part of or all of her toy, and then the fighting (and timeouts!) begin.
Her tinier stature also assists in climbing into small places- boxes, bins, anything that looks fun! She enjoys trying to figure out how to do it; although she often gets frustrated if it isn’t easy and then gets mad and starts hollering about it.
She is a fan of saying “no no no” (it’s never only once) and pointing at her sisters when they do something they shouldn’t. She still loves peek-a-boo and climbing into blankets, or peeking out at you and hiding.
Harper is up to 23 lbs 10 ounces! She is in the 64th percentile for her weight and at 33.75 inches, in the 96th percentile for height! We have very tall babies! She continues to be rambunctious and talkative, learning new words constantly. She loves to tattle on her sisters in a slue of baby gibberish when she is mad. She will tell you allllll about it. She also loves to run around and giggle with her sisters, pulling and pushing them around the room until everyone is solidly laughing. Some nights she solo runs around and thinks she’s a riot. She’s the only one to say her own name so far, and while only a couple of times, it was very cute and came out like “Hapa” during a game of peekaboo.
Harper is the only one sleeping full nights in her crib (lately)- with Reagan and Emerie alternating on who demands attention at all hours of the night. I’m so glad she’s back to being my good sleeper!
She’s also the best at eating pouches at meal time (doesn’t matter the flavor), but probably the most picky eater in general. Lately she’s been my trust faller, and will lean right off a slide or play set, regardless of how close by a parent is. She enjoys jumping off the side of the family room couch, into a pile of (strategically placed) pillows, and jumping up and running back around to do it again.
Lastly, I still believe Harper will be my soccer baby. She remains interested in my mini pink soccer ball more than her sisters and we are working on the concept of kicking. I can’t wait to put everyone in sports next year!!
Reagan continues to be our binkie baby and anti-crib napper; but, she will fall asleep in her car seat seconds after a busy morning of playing. She weighs in at the same 23 pounds 10 ounces as her sister, in the 64th percentile, but is 34.00 inches, and slightly taller, in the 97th percentile. She remains the shyest so far but will come out of her shell when she is comfortable; she’s timid on big park toys and not a big fan of most swings.
Lately she dislikes eating meals more than her sisters, but I believe it’s just a phase resulting from teething, snotty noses and possible stubbornness. In the evening she has started to enjoy more snugglingbthan when she was younger, and will sit with you and relax.
Of the three, I believe Reagan tries to pull things off the counter and table the most, intending to grab anything within her reach. I’ve caught her climbing onto the table a couple of times from a nearby chair to grab something, and she will just look at me like, “what?“
While not so interested in the concept of soccer, Reagan loves to play catch with the mini, pink soccer ball I’ve had since childhood. She also is great at fetch… ahem…I probably shouldn’t call it that… She seems to favor her right arm to throw the ball, so we might have a right hander (I’m very interested to see if everyone favors the same hand as they grow!). The throws produce quite the punch as well, so you must pay attention or take a nice ball to the face, or throat, or chest.
The pediatrician set a goal of five words per kiddo for their 18 month appointment. I believe we hit that mark over one week in August! So far everyone’s favorite word is “baby” and “kitty“. They definitely understand that kitty means the cat; but they also think it means all animals like dogs…horses…pigs… Everyone has mastered saying “no no no” and shaking their finger at you and are starting to say “not nice” back in my face when I scold them for hitting or being mean. They can also inform you when they want a “baba”. And no that does not mean they want another baby. It definitely means they want a bottle and you are not funny!
In addition to the everyday momma and dadda, other words they’ve picked up over the past three months include bubble, yeah (Harper loves to say this!), more (sometime they will sign it too), belly, wow, puppy/dog (sometimes when it’s not kitty), cheese, hi, ball and uh-oh. Emerie is in a phase of repeating uh-oh after she purposefully throws something on the floor. They all love to point out where their belly is if you ask and usually want to point at yours as well. There’s no privacy here; they will lift your shirt right up to make sure YOU know where your belly is. Sometimes they will point to their nose when prompted and Emerie will say nose. Reagan also says Papa instead of Grandpa. A little to my dismay, they are all now repeating our “not nice” phrase when they hit each other or steal a toy. Not only do they repeat it, but they definitely say it a little higher pitched, almost like it’s there first word to throw back in my face. Oh toddlerhood…
So it appears to me that we are good to go on the word quota for these appointments! While generally speaking, most multiples’ speech is delayed, due to premieness and/or because they will do baby language to talk to their siblings instead of real words. I am unsure that this will affect us in the long run. While it’s still too early to tell, both Craig and I are good at languages so I’m guessing that will genetically rub off on them. Our next goal is 50 words by age two. Since that is six months away and we are already well into it, I don’t foresee this milestone difficult to achieve. Now if I can just keep them from learning bad words to add to their vocabulary from a few certain men! 😉
The past few months have been a bit more frustrating on the food end. In addition to Grandma Sue’s food not being a hit with the tiniest grandchildren, they aren’t really enthusiastic or interested in eating a lot during meals, no matter what is placed before them. With the runny noses that visited in early September, no one really wanted much milk either! A big part of this is due to teething- everyone finally has four molars, two top and two bottom on each side, in addition to eight front teeth. I might also add everyone has the exact same teeth in…so we are continuing the identical-ness there too.
Favorite meal foods for all three still include breakfast sausage, rice of any variety (fried, white, brown), canned green beans and corn, avocados, blueberries, yogurt, FRENCH FRIES and udon noodles. For the most part, they seem to maintain tastes similar to Craig and I. On the fruit scale they like almost everything, including mandarin oranges, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, apple (sauce), and nectarines (not peaches as much). Apple pears and watermelon seem to give them immediate diaper rash so we are holding on them for a while…which sucks because they love watermelon. They also like a lot of vegetables, including steamed carrots and broccoli, cold sliced green peppers, sauteed squash, onions and zucchini (Em really likes this!), and cabbage. Yes, I said cabbage, surprising right? Craig makes a mean coleslaw and they like it.
We discovered last week that cheese quesadillas with sour cream are quite a hit too and will be making more of them in the future. While Harper will scarf down a couple strips in no time, Emerie is insisted that she needs a good gallon of sour cream smothered in it and Reagan too. They will lick off the sour cream and hold it up for more. I think that runs in Craig’s side of the family…. They also like tofu fried up on the stove- not sure if they like the consistency or it’s just easy to eat when their teeth hurt. Dislikes include most meats- they will tolerate steak bites and chicken sometimes, but don’t love it.
Other snack foods include goldfish (of course), any type of chex mix cereal and cheerios, veggie straws, animal crackers, cheese puffs and fig newton bars. They are definitely snackers, so to mix it up a bit we add veggies into the mix sometimes too.
In general everyone’s likes and dislikes in the food department are pretty similar, but there are some variations. Reagan really likes my mom’s lime jello salad (really likes) while Harper thought it was the most poisonous thing every to touch her lips in her lifetime. Harper likes Grandma Sue’s turkey meatballs while the other two tolerate them. Emerie really likes mushrooms and now I have to share mine whenever we have stir fry; the other two somewhat tolerate them but don’t love them.
Harper is the pro at eating the fruit and vegetable pouches while Emerie and Reagan think it is more fun to squeeze them on everything and eat it off the table. That is a day-to-day battle… we finally have a house of straw drinkers! In addition to using sippy cups, both Nalgene bottles for water and sippy straw cups for milk, they love drinking out of adult water bottles with straws and the one moms received from the hospital to keep us hydrated. With a surprisingly big straw, they can all drink out of it perfectly fine. They also apparently like coffee (thanks Grandma…) and were all fighting over a frappe Craig brought home from Costco the other day.
I wrote this title…but what does that mean? Sleeping? Haha kidding…not kidding. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a good nights sleep for all three. In general the trend appears to be one will sleep well (maybe wake up once for a bottle but go back to sleep), one will be angry/keep us up a few hours overnight, and one that is in the middle of that, waking up but going back to sleep relatively easy (usually in our bed or or the guest room). Some nights two will sleep all night in their cribs without so much as a peep, but the third will be grumpy and fussy and still keep us up, so it overshadows the success of the other two!
I can’t remember the last night we slept all the way through without anyone fussing or sleeping in our bed! For a while I barely had a night sleeping in MY bed, often sleeping the second half of the night in the guestroom with angry baby #2. Other nights we finally settle one in the master bed, a second falls asleep with me in the guestroom, and then #3 freaks out. That generally seems to end with me sleeping with #3 in the nursery armchair for a couple hours if I can’t get them calmed enough to go back into their crib. They all continue to vary on who is the grumpiest and who is the best sleeper and it can change from one night to the next. The past week or so Emerie is the grump and Harper and Reagan are trading off for best nighttime sleeper. A couple weeks prior to that Harper was the grump and before that Reagan.
We still use the white noise machine for naps and nighttime. I am looking forward to the airport project completing next month so the noise from the 747s flying over our heads all night will be gone. Now that darkness is returning, folks also won’t be outside as much making noise; and nighttime, once again, looks like nighttime!
We tried coloring out again, this time with retractable crayons (which are… umm…SO cool). They ate them a little less and I’m counting the bashing them on the table as coloring…at least it produced some marks on the paper. We also used our smarts and taped the paper to the table. That at least lasted a couple minutes. We are getting closer…but not quite there yet.
Teamwork is slowly starting to develop, with the girls coordinating to knock over toys, push each other around in their cars and airplanes, and best efforts to run three different directions whenever possible to confuse the poor, overtired parental figures. At bedtime the other night (picture a full bedtime march upstairs), two made it out the unlocked dog door by the time the third was up the first set of stairs (with me). They are sneaky like that. Never a dull moment.
More recently the girls are starting to help you when getting dressed and undressed. Reagan has her moments of taking her shirt off voluntarily and without permission, but otherwise all three are usually willing to assist in removal. They will put arms in the arm holes and move their legs to help, as opposed to becoming a bag of bricks and not helping. Everyone thinks it’s a game once they are down to diapers and pajamas are intended; they will step toward you and then run away as fast as they can in the midst of big smiles and giggles. It’s pretty cute…and you definitely have to chase them because they are not coming to you.
One other daily activity Craig started a little while back that is cute enough to mention… when he gets home from work, the girls flock to him for immediate attention. I’m usually home already so I get to watch this. He will pick up all three, for now this is still doable and only, you know, about ~68 wiggling pounds, and sing the Daddy’s Home song while jumping up and down. They think it is hilarious and love participating. We will see how long he can handle all three at once!
This blog turned out to be much longer than I anticipated, and honestly I can barely comprehend we are on the turning curve to age two already. Time is passing quick and I feel as though I say that quite often but still don’t believe it’s true. For comparison, here is a 6 month photo, taken about this time last year, and a photo from this week. Man are they growing up quick! ❤
The past few weeks have proved to be busy and full of activity. With family (and extra hands) in town for a bit, the girls get to explore and adventure a little more than normal, whether that is out and about in Anchorage or simply playing out in the backyard.
A few other developments- we’ve implemented a mild time out time for hitting. At the moment Reagan is the champ on this, although prior to her it was Harper, so I believe it will continue to rotate. Even when you use the “mom voice” and scold, they will still go right back and hit again. We are working on that…I’m sure slow and steady will eventually win that race. That, or great patience and repetition!
The new backyard play place is a total hit. At first everyone was a bit hesitant about the big kid slide but that time has passed. Reagan will trust fall straight off of it if you aren’t looking, and while Harper and Emerie were a bit more timid on the solo sliding, they will occasionally keep you on your toes.
It impresses me how quickly they’ve mastered climbing it in such a short amount of time. They scramble up the smaller slide, climb onto it without help, and even slip off the older kiddo ladder back to the ground, higher than their feet can touch!
No more daytime bottles!
This is a big one. At seventeen months old, we finally broke the daytime bottle routine. It was quite the battle to implement sippy cups- we tried multiple different types before finding one that really clicked. For the longest time they just weren’t interested in them and wanted a bottle. Interestingly enough, we aren’t even on heavy flow for the bottles we still use, and only on a size 3 nipple. We tried to size up but they didn’t like it. This past week Grandma Sue and Papa Lon taught everyone how to use the straw type, and now we have two different sets that work. They also have a mild obsession with adult water bottles…if they find one, the screaming, rage fest begins over who gets to tow it around.
It feels quite odd not having bottles to wash alllll the time. After over a year of doing it constantly (and I mean constantly), it is strangely freeing. Once the girls get up in the morning, they get a regular breakfast and then sippy cups as they desire until lunch time. After lunch and naps they don’t even seem to notice that they no longer want a bottle, and sippy cups are out and used as needed. Now if we could be this successful on naps…we’d be doing great!
We are still doing bottles for bedtime routine, trying to get about 8oz (or more) of breast milk down everyone (they don’t want to drink the supplemental formula as much at nighttime). The 6am bottle will also continue for the foreseeable future; it is the only way everyone ends up back in their cribs until morning wake up. Since we still haven’t mastered everyone sleeping in their beds again, this reset is quite important for us to get ready for work, maybe get a short, kidless nap in before the day starts, or have a little quiet, adult (ahem…Netflix…) time.
Emerie Eye Update
At the last follow up appointment for Emerie, the doctor informed us that a second surgery will be necessary. It is less invasive as her first one and will tighten the eye muscles that control her wandering eye. While it is currently scheduled for early October, we are on the weight list for earlier if anything opens up in their schedule. Healing time should be less than the last one and be less painful.
This procedure won’t really correct her eyesight, but it will help her eye focus straighter and potentially help with the dislike of her glasses. Eye patching is becoming more of a stress to her the past month, with Emerie trying to pull it off if you aren’t paying close attention, even with the tape on it. In true excellent Nanny Chris style, she came up with a solution to the glasses wearing during patch time- tape them on too! So far that is working relatively well (and better than no glasses time at all) and we are able to get a few hours in.
How does Emerie like it? I’ll let you decide…note the adorable bow over everything…
Thankfully she is a good sport most of the time. This past week Grandma Sue made it her mission to get those glasses to stay on her face; a hard mission but so far so good. She gets more one-on-one time and every kid needs that!
I’m not entirely sure how much of a difference this is all doing on her vision, since the eye is still wandering, but ensuring we patch each day is important and we try to make sure we get some time in. Only time will tell, or once she’s old enough to tell us whether she can see or not. And we aren’t too far from that…everyone is rapidly learning new words already.
Lastly, we may again be in the thick of teething. The past few days everyone is super drooling and grumpy, even with all the extra visitors coming to play. Each set of incoming teeth are consistent, with everyone having two molars in on the left side (top and bottom) and one in on the right with another peeking through the gums. So many teeth!
This long weekend’s mission is a new shed in the backyard and playtime for the kiddos. Fingers crossed the crazy smoke will lift and the air will clear for a more pleasant outside adventures.
We tried out a few new activities this week and some things went better than others; you just never know until you try! I am so excited to try out new things, especially related to food and arts and crafts. My saved Facebook videos are filling up with exciting new ideas to try as they get bigger. Now I just need them to, you know, BE bigger so we can try them.
The girls are big fans of the freeze dried yogurt bites (heck they are pretty good), so Craig made some test ones. He put dabs of blackberry yogurt on a cookie sheet and froze it, and they turned out pretty good. They definitely passed the toddler test. The main difference? Because they aren’t freeze dried, they melt immediately in your hand, so just eat them quickly!
The weekend’s windstorm (and now the intense forest fire smoke) prevented us from playing outside as much as the past two months. While the sun was out and it was gorgeous, the high winds certainly cooled it off and for the first time in a bit the girls wore pants and long sleeves! Now that fall is coming (triple yay!!), we will have to start coming up with more fun, indoor play activities before winter settles in.
First new activity? Coloring. It’s been a few months since we attempted it. Since the first unsuccessful time, I ordered the toddler “egg” crayons that are easier for little ones to hold. With everyone in the triplet table, we tried to do some coloring with wax paper. I was a huge fan of coloring as a good, and I am sure this household will be filled with many future hours of it, especially now that so many cool, colorable things are now available for purchase!
Will that be soon? Unfortunately, no. Harper immediately ripped the taped down wax paper, enjoying the crinkle sounds and teasing Reagan to help her out. Reagan took a huge bite out of the purple one (not sure if that is aimed at Emerie or not…) while Emerie attempted it a little and was quite interested in holding all of them. Needless to say, we are not yet into our coloring days, but they will someday be upon us. We will have to wait a couple more months before trying this again. The only visible improvement related to better hand grasping, but they don’t yet correlate the color can go down on the paper or that they can have control of that. Or maybe they just taste THAT delicious?
Another fun, indoor activity- I found a set of alphabet food letters in the Target dollar section a while back that are a hit! They don’t have any small magnets that can be swallowed (which are incredibly hard to find I’ve looked!) and are so cute. I’ve overcome the fact that the “f” doesn’t stand for French Fry (so disappointed…it is french toast) and the “r” is for radishes (yuck). The girls love that they can play at the fridge and not be in the way. Surprisingly the letters have stayed in that general area and not wandered all over the room, although I’m sure a few are missing by now. We are still working on pushing them onto the magnetic part, i.e. the fridge, and not on top of an already placed magnet, since that doesn’t hold as well. The girls will walk by and grab a letter, stick it to a different spot, and then continue to whatever toy they originally intended to get. This process occurred all weekend.
Now that toddler climbing is a central issue taking over our lives, we once again rearranged the playroom to better suit this developmental stage. By separating the sectional and putting half of it in the garage, no one can climb into the windowsill (temporarily anyway). The girls scramble up on the remaining couch piece and ottoman and climb over the side, flopping onto pillows below. Once again, for brief moments we can sit and relax downstairs without any impending injuries and they believe they’ve succeeded in being allowed to climb on things.
Back in the living room, baby jail has been reinstated for brief periods in the morning. They aren’t too concerned about their captivity for the first hour after waking up, and it gives us time to make breakfast, pop in some laundry, and clean. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when the kids are safely contained and playing nicely. It’s also amazing how quickly mundane but necessary tasks can be accomplished when you know the clock is ticking toward hungry toddlers.
Sunday morning they woke up at 6:52 AM, all three of them, and so their day started about 90 minutes earlier than normal. I really enjoy a silent house for that hour on the weekends, having “me” time is better than getting an extra hour of sleep, and I was snuggling with the cat and some Netflix when they decided the day needed to start. After the typical morning sleep feed (at about 6:00), Harper would not settle back down and woke everyone up with her. Once they committed to being awake this early, they nicely played in the playpen for long enough that I finished all dishes, de-cluttered the entire kitchen counter, started breakfast and laundry, AND cleaned out a few of the upper cabinets (tiny baby bottles are secretly trying to take over my house while I’m not looking).
After breakfast we normally open the playpen and block off the front of the living room so no one can climb on the furniture, but leave the rest of the room open for activities. If it is nice out, we open the backdoor to the deck too. This particular morning we finished breakfast, got everyone dressed, and headed on a Costco run. The girls sat in the carts for the first time (instead of their infant seats) and were so cute. The only random, stranger comment the entire shopping trip occurred as we grabbed diapers. An older gentleman smiled at us and said “this must be your favorite aisle.” Yes…so many diapers…
The Douglets “team” is continuing to learn together. It is now a team effort to push each other around on the walkers, especially on their little Minnie Mouse airplane (thanks Kimber!) and puppy dog (thanks Luke!). They help each other climb up on chairs, try to corner the cat together (they love the “kitties”), and full speed chase each other around the room. The endless energy is quite impressive.
Another new development involves the refrigerator. Harper now cries when I open the freezer door, because she knows there are fun things to hold within reach and we are preventing her from them. As you can see from the ice cream photo above, she quite enjoyed carting that around for a few minutes, proudly showing it off to her sisters…you know…until we put it back in the freezer.
In that same evening Reagan discovered the fridge produces water in the door. And she can just reach it. So there’s that…and no off button for toddler proofing. We will have to get creative; for now we just keep blocking her when she thinks about pushing the lever and that might work for a few more days. Nothing is easy!
This weekend Reagan discovered ball throwing. She figured out she can throw the plush soccer balls and thinks it is amazing when you throw them back to her. I still maintain that Harper will be my little soccer player; she’s the only one showing any interest in that area, and will kick them and giggle. Emerie joined in on the throwing fun too. The girls finally use the soccer/basketball/hockey toy gifted at their birthday, dunking the soccer ball in the hoop (Koda ate the basketball already) and tossing the plush soccer balls around. I can’t wait to be old enough for sports!!!
Another baby milestone? Everyone finally graduated from the infant car seats, meaning they will no longer fit in my car three across. We’ve actually stalled on this for a while because they are so much more convenient, portable, and we aren’t in the car that much. Their weight still isn’t even close to requiring the upgrade, but their height is the issue. How grown up do they look here??
I will leave you with the irony of Emerie’s glasses wearing. She will not keep them on for more than a few seconds at a time- we’ve tried all kinds of things and short of holding down her arms, she will not wear them. We have a follow up appointment with the eye doctor this week and will see what suggestions he has.
Another triplet dad suggested removing the bifocal and seeing if that improves her wearing time, and I think we might need to try it and will talk to the doctor about it in September. So what is the irony of it all? I turned around yesterday so find Emerie sans glasses and Reagan doing her very best to wear them. Sigh.
Toddler time continues to become more interesting! There’s certainly never a dull moment. I think I am overdue for another hour time lapse to prove that no one ever sits still!
Last night I could tell Emerie was chewing something that she wasn’t supposed to. I looked at her with a “come here” and hand motioned. She immediately came over and pulled air out of her mouth and handed it to me with a big smile on her face, all the while chewing! I then told her to give it to me again and she put her hand in her mouth, motioned, and dropped air in my hand again. Silly baby! Is she already learning sarcasm?? This repeated several times and she smiled so big while handing me nothing. The last time, she pulled out a tiny piece of plastic and placed it into the palm of my hand. One point for Mom (this time anyway!)
We are trying to teach the girls as much coordination as possible, even at this young age. Who knows if this will backfire on us later when they are coordinated and wreaking even more havoc, but for now their progression continues to move forward at a fast pace! The fine line is trying to determine what to learn and how to keep from injury while doing it. Sometimes that works out, other times it prompts a nice head bonk/goose egg (Harper) or slipping off a toy (Emerie) or baby to baby collision (everyone!). So far nothing is too significant except my anxiety about it! In another year or so they can safely use their new skills during gymnastics, dance, and ballet classes. And, of course, soccer too…counting down the days until we are old enough to break into the sport hobbies!!
At first we were skeptical about stair climbing, even after PIC clearly suggested we start it. The girls proved us wrong and mastered it not only quickly, but really well; they are already pros at it. The next logical “step” (haha) is to master going back down (safely), and while I’ve been a bit more apprehensive about it, Craig is proven right that they are ready for it. Ready for it, other than the occasional I will learn forward with my full body weight and forget I’m on the stairs…. The girls now climb up the eight stairs to the bathroom for bath time, and we are starting to add to the cycle by going back down afterwards. Craig will holler at them to come up once stripped down from their post dinner, full-of-food clothes (still with diapers on mind you-I learned that lesson!!). They will run across the living room and up the stairs, then full sprint down the hallway and into the bathroom. Most of the time they don’t divert into a different room or try to climb up to the loft; every once in a while it becomes an impromptu game of tag, 3 versus 1…
They all have different methods to climbing down stairs and all do it surprisingly well when they aren’t distracted by all the cool railings, or the dog, or the thought of running back upstairs. Harper tries to go down like an adult, on her feet, without holding on! She’s given me several mild heart attacks, but luckily an adult is always close by to catch her. Emerie scoots on her butt now and I’ve seen Reagan try both ways. We are working on railing safety and so far no one has fallen forward, even with the dogs “helping”. While the stair baby gates are not leaving anytime soon, it is good to know that they are starting to understand how to safely climb down. This is especially the case when the dog door is accidentally left open and Miss Harper goes through it like a heat seeking missile, running straight for the three unblocked deck stairs…
In case anyone was wondering, because it has been a while…yes, Craig can still carry all three at once, although he doesn’t test this out too often. For some reason they are starting to get heavier! Instead of immediate baby rage like prior months (insert the “stop touching me” kid voice), they all think it is just so funny! Nothing like carrying 65 pounds of wiggly baby at once and not letting anyone leap off, fall, or collide. Enjoyment ensued in the triple baby bedtime laundry basket ride, as Craig dragged them down the hallway in the midst of many goofy giggles. With the growth since December’s earthquake, I’m not entirely sure I could load everyone into a laundry basket and carry them to safety during an earthquake; they are much bigger now!
Other daily activities include climbing on anything available, running maniacally around the house, speed running while pushing their walkers (into each other or anything in front of them), pulling all food utensils and cookware out of kitchen cabinets, and playing out on the back porch. Cardboard boxes are also popular; who needs toys when you can play with the Amazon box, or the macaroni and cheese box, or the huge goldfish box from Costco?! The girls also push each other on toys now, whether it is with one sitting on the lawn mower and one pushing or one sitting in the mini airplane and two pushing. It brings many giggles and hasn’t resulted in too many crashes so far. We’ve also started building blanket forts. That is a hit literally, as they run full blast at the fort only to hit their forehead on the table under the blanket. We are still working on that…
For the most part we have the danger zones blocked off on the main floor. They can’t climb into windowsills because it’s blocked by a baby wall, the couch and diaper changing area also behind it. Every once in a while someone will discover they can squeeze behind the armchair and make it to the windows, but this typically results in minor baby fights and enough yelling that we intervene and reset the blockade.
One new sport now invented in our household, the “how-to-catch-the-kitty” game. Now that everyone can pronounce kitty (sounds like “ki-eee”), they become unbelievably excited anytime either cat is within view. For the past year both cats have been fine with the random toddler petting, even purring from it, but now it’s progressed to a new level, with three babies running full blast across the room, after the cat, and yelling kitty! Apparently this is less fun for the animals, because they make every attempt possible to escape now.
Here is a nice collage of this week’s at-home baby adventures. We are loving the continued summertime shorts weather!
Why do I say that? The last week or so have resulted in grueling overnight routines, very little sleep for both the parents and the girls, and lots of crazy grumpy mornings, afternoons, and evenings.
Tuesday night was the epitome of it all, with a very early bedtime because survival of all was in question. That didn’t work either, but at least there was 45 minutes of silence before the next round of screaming began. You can get a lot done in 45 minutes…such as a shower, prep for the next day, and pumping for the morning feed!
We just went to the pediatrician last night, hoping this terrible week could be blamed on ear infections and a workable solution would be in sight. But alas, they are healthy with clear ears. I guess that is good news, but it doesn’t feel like that on over a week of close to no sleep and very grumpy minions. We opted to do Emerie’s 15 month shots while we were there, instead of waiting until her Friday appointment. It’s not like she would sleep any less post shots than she has all week, so we just got it over with!
I am happy to report that as of this doctor’s appointment, everyone is finally past the 20 pound mark! Only took 16 months…
Harper: 22 pounds, 4 ounces
Emerie: 20 pounds, 4 ounces
Reagan: 22 pounds, 5 ounces
The doctor claimed the grumpiness is most likely caused by teething. He took a good look in each mouth after clearing their ears of any issues. Emerie is generally the most difficult one to pin down at the doctor, probably considering that she has the most appointments of the three, but surprisingly she was a good sport and Reagan was the least cooperative. In fact, Emerie is taking the teething the best of the three this round, with Harper and Reagan both completely angry and miserable and wanting to fuss and snuggle.
Harper has THREE molars on approach right now, one starting to poke through and the other two close to it. Reagan and Emerie both have two molars coming in as well, with one of Reagan’s showing already.
This week will consist of a lot of teething treats…a particular favorite is Pedialite frozen into popsicles. Now that they understand popsicles are for eating, not beating into each other, the table, or throwing on the floor to see them “explode”, they are useful and well liked. Other cold “treats” at mealtime include cut up blueberries (always a favorite), cold pepper slices to chew on, and cold nectarines! The frozen teethers are again a hit and we rotate through many different types in a freezer container. Depending on the day they will enjoy chewing the cold silicone ones versus the ones that have ice in them. These provide moments of calm, at least until someone steals one.
In an effort to achieve some level of sleep last night, and because it really couldn’t get any worse than prior nights and minimal napping days, we switched up a few things to see if that would improve everyone’s night. Long sleeved pajamas were worn, with the ceiling fan off (it’s been on since the great 2019 Alaska heat debacle of June/July), and put the muslin sleep blankets back on in hopes that they would be a little more comfortable when they randomly wake up and start screaming. We also did Advil and put clove oil on their gums rights before bedtime, which they dislike, but it seems to work. That could be the distraction of a weird taste, or the clove actually helps with pain; I’m not quite sure which one.
I’m also unsure which change improved sleep, but we only had one fussy baby (Emerie) at about midnight. She settled down after a bottle and some snuggles and slept pretty well between us until I got up at 5. Harper and Reagan slept all night…hallelujah!! First night with more than one happy, sleeping baby overnight since we returned from Juneau. In fact, I think that is probably the first night in two weeks I didn’t have an upset Reagan at some point(s) during the night. I feel revitalized with a little sleep today.
As we continue to survive through this grumpy couple of weeks, a few developmental improvements are visible as we go through the ninth developmental leap. This leap relates to rules; toddlers at this age are learning they have new boundaries and skills that must come with ground rules. These rules generally revolve around social cues, us trying to teach them things so they don’t get hurt, and watching them begin to understand they can change the order in a process and still achieve the desired result. For example, they can climb up the slide directly, or go to the side of the slide and use the stairs; both result in getting to the top of the slide. This week I have witnessed each kiddo climb down a stair (monitored of course) on their belly and not fall. That is definitely a recently learned trait.
In between the grumpiness new skills are emerging. Emerie, for example, may end up being our little designer or (cough) engineer. She quickly took to the Duplo blocks and understands she can stack them together or pull them apart. Harper and Reagan watch her do this and are starting to catch on too, but she definitely figured it out quickly. She also likes to play with the sensory toys we originally bought for the airplane and doesn’t need help to use them.
All three girls still love the picnic basket and improving on pushing the shapes into the correct holes. They also carry it around all over the house. This past weekend we put a ball pit/princess house into the living room and they crawled through it, through the balls out of the pit as fast as we tossed them back in, and giggled and giggled. Reagan greatly preferred climbing out of the pit, right over the bendable walls, which was pretty funny to witness. Harper used the tunnel and thought it was so cool while Emerie stayed in the ball pit for a good 45 minutes, completely entertained.
And after the fifteenth try at a style of sippy cup, I believe we finally have a winner!!
Fingers crossed we have reset the lack of sleep into better nightly routines; and if I’m being optimistic…into better nap times as well. I guess we will see what today brings…