While this Halloween was pretty relaxed, it is still one for the girls’ “digital memory” book. Now that they are a little more tolerable out and about (even well behaved!), we chose the simple route and walked around the neighborhood for a short trick-or-treat.
Craig’s dad flew in from Juneau in the afternoon to enjoy the holiday weekend with the kiddos. He brought foam swords that were quite the hit with all three, producing a lot of giggles from kids and adults. Everyone was happy to see Grandpa!
Emerie dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Harper as a pink, sparkly fairy with yellow wings and Reagan as Ana from Frozen. The dresses fit a bit better than they did during Trick or Treat in the heat six weeks ago- I guess the girls will keep growing!
With the unusually warm temperatures in Alaska this year and the past month, outside trick or treating activities were actually feasible. If it was the typical high 30s and 40s, we probably wouldn’t have ventured out, but this week’s 50 degree weather allowed the girls to stay warm enough to have some fun, even with a little rainfall.
Craig put everyone’s coats and boots on under their princess dresses, with hoods up, and loaded them into the wagon with a Halloween themed blanket.
We made it to about ten houses. It was early enough that not a lot of other kiddos were out yet, but the sky still had some light. After a few houses we let the girls climb up the neighbors’ steps for the candy and they were pretty shy about grabbing candy out of the bowl. At the first house Harper grabbed a piece and threw it back in the bowl! After a house or two they didn’t want to sit back in the wagon so everyone walked a bit.
All in all, nothing too exciting, but everyone was a good sport. I’m sure we will be wearing Halloween outfits over the next week or two as new daily apparel.
We ended the night playing downstairs and snacking on some popcorn and ice cream. And, who remembers this spinning toy from waaay back in the day!? I found it at the consignment sale and the girls think it is quite hilarious. They don’t understand how to turn themselves on it…but definitely insist we push it for them.
And so it begins. I came home from work the other day to a nice, teeth sized bruise on Emerie’s arm. The next day a similar one showed up on Reagan! The girls are now comfortable with the idea of using their eight front teeth as weapons, wheedling them against their sisters when they are upset or don’t get their way.
This month’s theme in our household is sweet and sour (yes, like the candy…it is October after all). The girls can be so sweet one moment, to each other, or you, or the dog; and the next moment that switch flips and BAM! They are beating each other with a toy, stealing one and running away with a sneaky laugh, or trying to lock those teeth down on a sibling while throwing a screaming fit.
Sour: These are not the first miniature bite marks we’ve come home from work to see, but it goes to show the toddler attitudes are continuing to emerge daily. For example, the light bulb switched on for everyone regarding hair. All of a sudden, all three at some point in the evening attempted to pull handfuls of hair off their sisters’ head. I guess it was the day for them to notice the blonde hair atop each other and try to grasp it. Obviously that was not met with giggles and smiles; but rather some rage and screaming and Craig and I hollering at them to stop it.
Sweet: Not every moment is the sour side of the candy, they can definitely be sweet too and we gain more of those moments each week. As I wrote in my last blog, Harper is a great hugger now- not only will she give you a nice bear hug throughout the day, but she also goes over to Reagan and Emerie when they are upset and will rub their head gently until they a calmer. It’s a very sweet gesture. Similarly Reagan, the main sharer of the three, will try to cheer up her sisters by bringing them a toy, book, or sometimes a random goldfish she found on the floor. It’s the thought that counts right? Emerie is more often the recipient of the sweetness, but has her moments as well.
Sweet kisses are shared now! No more (or as least much less) of the full face licking kiss we saw during late infancy. I wouldn’t exactly call that a kiss but it was a cute attempt at one. They won’t always respond when you ask for kisses, but sometimes they will come over and plop a sweet on on you.
Sweet AND sour? A new sport in our house is toddler wrestling with a side of baby giggles. This activity is becoming more common as they grow and produces both joy and rage depending on the outcome. When you mix three sets of arms and legs there is generally at least one casualty by the end, whether that is a kick to the face, someone getting stepped on or smacked, or a bonk into nearby toys or furniture.
While several months back I recognized that “nothing is safe” in our house, now I really mean NOTHING IS SAFE. An example of 30 seconds out of sight of the children, who are freely allowed to roam the living/dining room and kitchen (with furniture and stairs blocked off, cabinets locked, and dog door safely closed. I walked through the baby gate, closed it and went downstairs to pull a load of clean laundry out of the dryer. In the time it took me to do that, pick up the basket, and walk back upstairs; I returned to this:
I mean COME ON. We are now in the habit of stacking the chairs on the kitchen table or pinning them between the wall and the table…otherwise…well…this happens. If they had been gifted another minute, I probably would have found them playing with bottles on the countertop.
It also doesn’t matter what type of chair is left out…a grownup one or child’s…because they’ve all discovered things are movable and can be used to reach new, higher heights and opportunity! This newfound methodology very quickly expanded to anything else that can hold a baby’s weight- toy bins, foam blocks, pillows; you name it. We’ve removed some extra playroom toys for this very reason- they are using them to climb to new places, or potentially over the baby gates- I am hoping to squash that learn-able life skill for a least a bit longer. So would you call this sweet or sour…
I’m also finding with multiples that they love on each other almost as much as they fight. Earlier this week Emerie had a total meltdown after Reagan wouldn’t share her book (that she had been carrying around a while). She sat on the floor and was screaming bloody murder; I let the scene play out. Harper got up from my lap and walked over to her raging sister, stood there, and patted her head until she stopped crying. It was the sweetest thing and even helped Emerie calm down!
As a first time parent, it’s quite amazing the things that will come out of my mouth before I really realize how funny they are. For example, in the last couple weeks alone, Craig or I have said all these ridiculous things:
Don’t bite your sister!
Don’t bite me!
Get off the table!
Stop licking my belly button!
Put your shirt back on!
The inside of your shirt is not a food pocket!
Don’t bite the dog!
Let go of her tail!
Don’t suck on my shoes, that’s gross!
Stop licking your snot! Stop licking the dog!
Thank you but I do not want the half chewed goldfish from your tongue.
Put your food in your mouth!
Stop pulling her hair!
It’s not nice to drag your sister around by her shirt…or her glasses…
It’s okay, your foot will not come off and throwing a fit won’t help!
I mean really, who thought such monstrosities would come out of one’s mouth before they had children? They aren’t even uncommon anymore. I’m amazed they don’t say the word “stop” yet…we sure seem to say it enough. They still mimic “not nice” at us when we say it.
Other cute happenings in the Douglets household:
Dog door: Every night we open the baby gates and the girls walk upstairs to the nursery for bedtime. One of the funny parts of that march is once they’ve climbed the stairs from the family room into the dining/living room. Like clockwork, every night, all three go racing over to the open dog door (since we were downstairs so it was open) and whoever arrives there first grabs the door part off the table and runs back to Craig or I, hollering the whole way. They always want us to know that the door is unlocked, even though they are more than willing to climb through it without permission. It is the funniest thing.
Binkie wars: One of the only ways everyone potentially stays in their crib at night and during nap time is with several binkies. This may be a bit out of control at this point, because each crib has three or four now- this helps when they roll over in their sleep and are reaching around, eyes closed, looking for one; and that often solves their fussing without parental intervening. We’ve now noticed at bedtime, once parents have exited the room, that they will throw those binkies back and forth in each others’ cribs, on the floor, all over the place. Fingers cross this entertains them for a while and they don’t start trying to climb out!
Books: We are SOOO close to reading books instead of chewing/throwing them. Reagan expresses interest in reading one specific, Alaska animal book while the others will sometimes bring one over to look at, but it still only lasts maybe a minute. I’m excited that we are getting closer to reading time- something I did a ton of as a kid.
Creative play: Imaginations are expanding and it’s fun to see. Whether it’s pretend eating the play food, climbing into laundry baskets, or flipping face first off the couch into pillow, they are all getting more creative. Everyone plays with the foam blocks and understands how they go together, and we are starting tower building on the duplo blocks now that they are more interested. They think ice is the coolest thing and walk around outside trying to collect (and eat) it.
Puppy time: When we play out in the backyard the girls now entertain the dogs. They throw the ball or dog toy, will tug on them with Koda, and produce lots of giggles. Both dogs are great with them and Kalli seems to be much happier now that they are a little older. Harper likes to take the toy from Koda, toss it a few feet, then take it from her again, and repeat. All very monitored fun. We opted to keep both dogs for now and have a dog walker coming twice a week to burn some energy. This seems to greatly help their attitudes day-to-day.
My “sweet and sour” babies continue to be one or the other at any given moment. Thank goodness it evens out, because life with three toddlers is certainly an emotional roller coaster and we still have a few toddlering years to go. Emerie has another ear infection, making her more “sour”, with a mood improvement once the medicine kicks back in. Everyone is a littler “sweeter” than last week when snotty noses maintained the mood factor.
And I am happy to report, for the first time in longer than my short-term, mom-brain memory recalls, Emerie slept ALL night in her crib the other night. One night is not a trend, but man is it a welcomed improvement! Reagan woke up at three and other than that, the night was uneventful. It felt oddly weird. Now THAT is some sweet news!
This past weekend I took the girls to the local library and met up with a few friends (mine and theirs!). We played and played and explored the new space. The toddler area accommodated noise (thank goodness) and is mostly enclosed, with only one, easily monitored entrance in and out (the girls didn’t discover it until at least an hour into the adventure). I am appreciative that I had extra hands from my bestie Janelle to keep everyone safe and allow for brief diaper change breaks. Two-and-a-half year old Paris also helped keep the girls in check! Conveniently the kids’ area bathroom is very equipped for kiddos and located close to the playpen. This will be a great place to visit during the potty training phase next year when we visit the facilities 1000x each hour haha.
I’m not quite certain how to achieve bathroom breaks if I went alone, but otherwise think it would be possible to play for a bit with everyone contained. At some point we will try out this adventure solo! It was also great to have some of our twin friends come and play and get out of the house too! By the time I unloaded everyone from the stroller, there were a ton of kids in addition to ours.
As standard to all public outings where I take the whole house out and about…during the beginning of the visit I was pestered ton the usual things, being asked to overshare. Once people overcome the omg triplets concept, they often come up with the standard list of questions:
How many weeks did you make it?
How long were you in the NICU?
Are they all girls?
Are they all identical?
Do twins run in your family?
Do triplets run in your family?
Where did you get your stroller from!?
Can I take a picture of them?
And so on- the usual life of a public outing. If one overlooks all the personal questions, the visit wasn’t so bad and they behaved great! It doesn’t bother me that much to answer questions, as people aren’t intending to be rude or nosy (okay maybe a little nosy) and are genuinely curious most of the time. It’s a little weird when I’m asked if they can take a photo, but other than that…not so bad.
We had no meltdowns at all (including myself!) and lots of exploring and testing out new toys. After a bit people let up on my interrogation and everyone settled into playtime. Harper spent the majority of the visit sitting on top of the big kid table, playing with a shopping basket full of fake food, while Emerie and Reagan explored around the room a bit more and delivered new toys to their sister. Reagan managed to put an entire fake cracker in her mouth at once, which was pretty cute. Even though it was a library visit, I don’t think we looked at even one book!
Instead of trying to keep everyone awake through the drive home and lunchtime, I gave them a quick snack in the stroller, grabbed a cookie and latte, and loaded everyone up in the car with a wubbanub binkie and snuggly blanket from Grandma Anne. With nap times consistently inconsistent the past two months, sometimes a long car ride does the trick and guarantees at least a full hour of sleep for everyone…especially on a dreary/rainy day that I’m home by myself.
Car naps = sanity
As I exited Anchorage and headed down the highway toward Girdwood (about 35 miles away), it occurred to me how beautiful this drive really is. A scenic byway really is the truth! Not every mom who is out driving around, trying to get the kids to sleep so she can have a moment of peace and quiet, gets to enjoy such a pristine and gorgeous view for an hour (or more). Sometimes I have to remind myself I’m driving precious cargo and not just looking at the galloping grey inlet and huge rolling mountains, with trees slowly shifting over from summer green to fall yellows, oranges, and reds. My favorite colors of the year and each napping drive displays the brilliance more vividly. Last year I was too busy with six month olds and work to enjoy any of the crisp, fall weather that I treasure; the year before I was too nauseous to go out and do anything in it.
The girls kindly slept for two hours after the library, making the drive quite enjoyable for me and a nice break to sit and sip my coffee in quiet. I repeated this the entire weekend and achieved great naps for all in the midst of many outings and visitors and life. Sometimes the driving nap is worth it just to lessen my inner anxiety. It is extremely rare for everyone to nap more than an hour in their cribs- some days two will do two hours and one an hour, other days everyone freaks out after 30 minutes and are grumpy the rest of the day. I find my highest point of anxiety during the day is usually prior to nap time because I never know if it’s going to go smoothly or be a total disaster and no amount of small changes or routine seems to solve it. Since the scale tips toward disaster more than success, my anxiety of not getting any baby break during the day makes me stressed.
Due to the typical lack of sleep, the battle of my inner monologue keeps me awake for the drive. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in your brain when given the opportunity for quiet with minimal distractions. It’s also relatively rare to sit in one spot (even in a car) for a period of time, since that hasn’t happened at home in over a year. My thoughts vary, of course, from ridiculous notions like “why does the lane I’m driving appear larger than the one the other way?” (Hint: it’s all in my head…they are the same) to the minor paranoia that comes with fast approaching traffic a little too close to the center line for my liking. And, of course, other random things like upcoming events to plan for and thoughts regarding work and daily life.
In between the car napping this weekend were numerous adventures for the girls. We explored a new park on hillside with some friends, played outside in the dirt, and went trick or treating for the first time. This park was better designed for toddler age and assisted with the logic that each park visit gets a little easier…because my little adventurers increase their climbing skills and become braver each time we go. They now go down some of the slides without assistance!
We put everyone in their new rain gear and they were swimming in it (pun intended!). The instructions to size up might be a little untrue- they were really big, even over their wind breakers. Wearing them lasted all of five minutes before we just let “operation let’s get wet and dirty” commenced! They were having a hard time moving around with the excess material…but boy were they adorable in the little “space suits”, fall boots and hoods. Emerie was also a good sport and wore her glasses and her patch for part of the time. After a while we took it off so she could better enjoy the time and use her improved balance.
Once everyone could adequately wiggle and move minus the suits, adventure was ON. Emerie went down the small enclosed slide a bunch of times while Harper and Reagan attempted the larger, open one (Em did too later). Emerie attempted to climb up and down the climbing wall- which she definitely needs assistance on still- and Reagan started the whole gang running around on the grass, outside the fence. Reagan continues to put the most stuff in her mouth, including all the wood chips from the ground. Her face and teeth were covered in dirt after a while, but she was so happy about it. They all found big rocks to carry around; thankfully too big to try to eat! Emerie was the only one to enjoy the bobble toy and sat on it and rocked back and forth. Harper and Reagan did not want to be contained and had no interest in sitting on it.
We wrapped up our busy weekend with Trick or Treat in the Heat. This event is a neighborhood-wide early Halloween celebration and a fundraiser for Hospice of Anchorage, Make a Wish Foundation, and Ronald McDonald House Charities. In 2005, an impromptu block party was created at the request of the family of a little boy named Ian Robbins, who wanted to trick or treat before he succumbed to his terminal illness. He and all participants enjoyed it so much that a new annual event began. Here is the local news coverage from the original Trick or Treat in the Heat if you are curious.
The weather held out long enough to be perfect, with raindrops coming afterwards. The event was well planned, organized and a lot of fun with a big turnout. We saw a number of friends with their kiddos and walked around with BFF Janelle and Paris. Typically we don’t do outings around dinner time to stay in routine, but figured we’d venture out and try it. Gotta live a little right?! The girls were super grumpy on the way home and at home for a quick dinner before bedtime. Overall they were pretty good and it was worth it to get out and about.
In true Disney themed style, everyone was a princess for the night. I ordered costumes from Little Adventures, an online shop recommended to me by another mom. I am still thoroughly impressed with both the quality of the costumes and the large selection for little girls. There are some boys outfits too, but not near the selection. The smallest size aims toward 1-3 year olds, so I knew they were going to be large on everyone. Not surprisingly, the dresses touched the floor but didn’t drag on it- that’s pretty good though for how large they are! We safety pinned the backs a little so they wouldn’t trip as much and I stuck to the girls’ colors for this year. At some point we will do whatever colors they want to wear (I really want to get the Belle and Snow White outfits!), but figured this year having three classic princess dresses that matched their colors would be cute. We will definitely be using these for another year or two. I certainly see some tea parties in our future with everyone decked out in their princess dresses.
Harper became our Sleeping Beauty for the night. I opted for this dress in long sleeves since she typically runs colder than her sisters, like her mother. Maybe it will help her sleep better at night (kidding…not kidding?). She was so darn adorable and so shy around all the other kiddos.
Emerie dressed up as Rapunzel, minus the long hair. The dress went past her feet but that didn’t stop her from walking around with Grandma. She especially liked the suckers as well as all the other sugar Grandma Sue sneaked to her!
Reagan was our classic Cinderella, minus the glass slippers (she opted for tennis shoes). She didn’t show anyone her belly the whole event and while a little grumpier than her sisters, was mostly happy when being held by one of us and walked around.
Everyone liked grabbing candy out of people’s bowls without assistance, although we “helped” them grabbed the suckers and things they can try at some point. At the end the girls all received a tiny tattoo (you can see Reagan’s in her photo above and Emerie getting hers on) from Miss Sherri. I’m not sure they even noticed it on their arms but I know eventually we will have a lot of these speckled about on the girls.
We opted for the triple wagon instead of the stroller, figuring it would be a bit easier to maneuver with all the kids around. The girls walked some with Grandma Sue, enjoyed being pulled in the wagon by Papa Lon, their chauffeur, sitting on Craig’s shoulders, or held by me. I can’t wait until next year when they can really walk around and enjoy this!
Overall, the weekend was a success. I’m so glad Grandma Sue and Papa Lon tagged along with the adventures; extra hands were great and the girls loved it I’m sure. And what did we learn from trick or treating? If you give the girls a lollipop, don’t you dare take it back. EVER. They will be unforgiving and furious, screaming the whole drive home…and be angry AND sticky…
So friends, in closing and with today’s theme…something I hope the girls will learn as they grow older…