You know what’s hard? Parenting. Raising nice, obedient, intellectual children in a high pace, technological and diverse everyday environment. Making sure they are healthy, safe, and comforted each and every day, that they get enough attention and one-on-one time, and grow and thrive.
The past week has been more challenging than our normal triplet life and not something that is depicted on my usual cute and happy social media posts. Which brings me to a point of irritation for my week: social media. It is great to sharing your life and updating multiple people simultaneously and be able to look back on prior years’ activities, but it glamorizes so many things that realistically aren’t. For example, Facebook and Instagram posts that show smiling babies, cuddled up with one another, with clean houses in the backdrop and parents nicely dressed, with perfect hair, clothes and makeup…everyone is smiling.
Can I call BS on this for a moment?! Not that those moments don’t exist, but they are not the everyday norm, whether you have one kid or three or seventeen! In fact, I really do understand the effort it takes to get a cute photo of three toddlers together, with no one blurry or screaming or looking away, and it usually involves me as a sweating mess by the time they are all camera ready and cooperative.
Don’t get me wrong, I post more happy and uplifting things on my accounts than any of our hardships, since the happy memories are easier to carry in the long run and especially in hindsight. But sometimes I want to see the messy photos from people- because we are all going through things, especially now. I want to see the struggles and how they are overcome! That’s far more valuable to me than a bunch of perfect, unrealistic (but very cute!) photos. We should want to remember the treacherous and highly active life we are experiencing; someday we will look back on it proudly…because we made it through! Is that so wrong?
Raising children, let alone multiples, is not glamorous or for the weak of heart. It requires a ton of energy, patience, dedication and sacrificing hobbies, sleep, socializing and often your sanity to get through each day. It’s survival mode, with one task following the next all day long and sometimes no time to enjoy the good moments. It can be very lonely, with not enough time in the day to say hello how are you, even by text, to other people who don’t generally reach out to you to say it.
Now I wouldn’t trade my life as it stands today, but I wouldn’t mind it being a tad easier from time to time and like any parent, sometimes need some support. It can be frustrating to see other’s “perfect” lives, or at least the ones they want to show, on display. Now I definitely have my moments and tend to provide others with my “highlight reel”, but who really wants to see what the chaos is really like? Anyone? Besides me?
My day to day optimism is running a bit low these days, and while I don’t agree that talking about difficulties is the same as complaining about it, I venture to say this is what raising three toddlers really looks like.
Someone is always upset…it’s rare to have three happy at once although it does happen occasionally (and I try to be camera ready for it!). Typically they rotate on the fits. Recently Harper, who was inconsolable the entire weekend and cried for about three days straight, is slowly starting to improve in mood. Crying, whining, more crying and a lot of wanting the opposite parent who is holding her, about 100% of the time.
We checked her ears, any potential new teeth, looked her over head to toe and asked her about any owies, and are now just guessing she is simply anxious or in a major developmental growth spurt and trying to figure out how to manage it. We initially thought it was 1) a fear of airplanes flying overhead, 2) loud noises like airplanes flying overhead, 3) the wind hitting her face/hair, and the current guess is 4) anxiety of parents out of sight or a fear of the dark.
Mid last week she started with running in the house, crying for some unknown reason and not wanting to be outside, to insisting on attention 1000% of the time or continuing the total meltdown, to refusing to stay in her crib and immediately climbing out unless you were within eyesight. Prior to last Friday, she had never climbed out of her crib or attempted to, even after seeing Emerie and Reagan do it, and enjoyed playing outside without any issues. The normal nap time routine meant setting Emerie and Harper in their cribs, turning out the light with the sound machine on, putting Reagan down in the guest room bed, and crossing your fingers they all blessed you with a full, two hour nap. Fast forward to this week- we are surviving nap time with Nanny Chris laying down and settling Reagan in the guest room and me taking my “lunch break” and sitting in their room until they both fall asleep. Harper will emotionally instruct me to “sit” on the sofa in the nursery, and then immediately falls asleep, knowing I am sitting there. She then continues to wake up hysterical and occasionally we can coax her back down, but not most of the time. Emerie, my sleeper, will chats herself to sleep and mostly nap through Harper’s outcries. The double adult method is not preferred, to say the least, but we haven’t been able to resolve her stresses.
The mood disruption also means once of us must sit in their room at night, until all are completely asleep, because you can’t get up and sneak out after an exhausted Harper falls asleep, since the other two sense your movement and want to go with you. The past two nights I’ve spent two-plus hours past 2 AM, sitting and reminding them I am nearby so they’ll go back to sleep in their own beds. Sufficive to say, sleep patterns are not going great in the Douglas household right now, in addition to upset babies during the day and our usual busy routine.
As we navigate through another unknown of toddler hood, and pray the other two don’t step into it with Harper, toddler beds are now on order (unfortunately) and we are slightly scrambling to determine what other baby proofing needs to occur. Closet doors need to be purchased, painted and installed, more baby gates to block off other not babyproofed rooms, decisions on how to rearrange nursery cameras out of reach, those types of details that must be solved while still handling one upset and needy toddler AND her two sisters; all during a global pandemic that almost completely limits any support from outside our household.
So yes, even writing this made me tired, and it isn’t exactly joyous and uplifting; but hey, this is real life. Saying it’s hard is okay, because life isn’t easy or perfect and parenting three can be chaotic. I would not agree if you told me that my life was chaos- in fact people have told me that before and I semi-take offense to it. Why? Because my life is routine, routine, routine. It is very regimented. The minor (and major) interruptions are what we have to get through, because it is just a phase and we will get through it. We just might be a bit more tired during it…
So please…take a nice nap for me on this long holiday weekend, and send some extra patience our way. I think we are going to need it.
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.