The past weekend was chocked full of toddler adventuring and getting out of the house. We find that getting the girls out and about drastically helps with the grumpiness side effect of daycare transition and keeps our sanity intact, so we made plans to do our first real road trip and drive down to the Seward Sealife Center.
As usual, I was super over packed for a half day trip. Part of this is to ensure we have everything needed for whatever comes up, the other part knows if an accident shuts down the highway on our way home (which frequently happens), then we need to have enough supplies to survive a night in a hotel. Thank goodness we didn’t end up testing how that would go, but you never know and preparation is key (I am a planner, after all…)! So in addition to the snacks, lunch food, drinks and extra clothes and coats, I had everyone’s cuddle blanket, stuffed animals, binkies hidden away, and the bedtime book. This clearly tells me we need to purchase a camper so we can adventure for whole weekends and not just half days. Then I won’t feel so over packed!
Everyone was up and ready to go by 7:45, with our fellow triplet road trippers meeting up for the drive down. We anticipated the girls would not sleep on the way down, so Craig sat in the third row and helped entertain them (ahem…keep them from fighting…), supplied a constant stream of snacks, and kept us from a two hour scream fest. I enjoyed my coffee and the beautiful scenery from the driver’s seat.
We arrived right on time for our sealife center reservations. The girls were released from the strollers pretty early on; eventually it was seven toddlers running amuck toward each exhibit, someone always trying to herd them in the right direction as they excitedly screamed about the animals. The sea lions were a hit, especially when they were up close and appeared soooo big. Everyone touched the starfish and managed to get their hoodies all wet. Everyone threw fits going back into the strollers. It was a very pleasant, albeit FAST, visit that we will have to do again soon.
The over energized toddlers released a vast amount of energy at the park down the path along the water. The weather was cool with bits of sun and wind, but overall very pleasant for a (almost) fall day in our great state. The park was amazing, with only two entrances, allowing the parents to breathe a little that they wouldn’t immediately run out to the water. Lunch went much smoother for our fellow triplet friends than for mine. We didn’t bring the food from the car so they were less than thrilled at the thought of sitting for a few more snacks instead of real food; they wanted to run around and go back to the playground.
All in all, it may have been a busy, stimulating day, but also a good one. It was really nice to get out of Anchorage for a few hours and I look forward to longer trips like this next summer. The girls napped the whole way home; Emerie was out before we left city limits and Harper and Reagan chatted a little and pretty much fell asleep mid-sentence.
To continue the weekend adventures, we went down to the Kincaid beach the following day. This includes walking down a massive paved trail until you break off toward the beach (and unfortunately walking back up it later), dragging strollers down a path not meant for them, and having to pull said gear back up that steep path at the end of the trek.
We succeeded at this with about twelves kiddos and only four strollers, lots of snacks and fun beach gear. The girls did GREAT. They didn’t explore more than 20′ away from us the whole time we were down there, they played with their shovels and buckets and walked around with the sand in their toes. Luckily the sun stayed out for most of it and it wasn’t too cold…Alaska beaches aren’t warm and we were ready for that.
The most exciting part of the morning was getting stuck on the beach side of the trail due to a mama and baby moose blocking our way. The girls kept pointing and yelling moose from the stroller. At least 20 people were held up by these creatures, who assumed we would patiently wait for them to have their lunch before we walked by. Other hikers went through the brush around them, something you cannot do with a double chariot and a ton of loud, little people. Eventually they moved far enough that we could walk quickly by and go up the huge hill that took us toward the car. It was another great morning, although it took a good hour into nap time for Emerie and Harper to drift off to sleep. This will definitely be a spot to do again; this time we will warn our friends to wear hiking shoes and bring better gear…which we did not do this time around (oops Megan!).
One of the most adventure packed weekends we’ve had in a while- in a good way- hopefully the rest of fall can proceed in a similar fashion.
Two weeks in and we are still surviving. The girls are doing great at daycare; in fact, according to their teachers, they are settling in better than expected! This just goes to prove that little kiddos are very resilient and I hope we continue this trend as they grow up. One morning this week Emerie even confirmed she understood she was headed to school for the day, saying”Maddie” (who is her preschool teacher who she has closely bonded with!).
At pickup last week I asked if the girls were climbing on the tables during meal times, running away when going outside or refusing to sit still for nap time; all typical things I would expect from my tiny toddlers. Things they all certainly do for their parents. The teachers looked surprised, answering no to all questions. So apparently this is just an issue that Craig and I have with our children and they have better behavior when we don’t witness it! They also have some magical skill at convincing them to nap.
Surprisingly, it didn’t take much to get them to comply with the new nap rules when they aren’t at home. In recent months naps have become much longer and needed to keep everyone pleasant for the evening. This has greatly improved from the 45 minute naps we had for quite a while, in a period my brain has mostly blocked out due to lack of sleep and stress. We also continue to have growth spurts that require more sleep and they make my babies look more like little girls every day. I love it and hate it at the same time.
The past two weeks has equated to more tired kiddos, which means that the parents FINALLY got a few full nights of sleep, without any kiddos pulled out of their cribs from anxiety or rage. This is a very uncommon thing the past year or so; almost every night requires some kind of intervention to keep someone happy. The other night I settled Emerie, put her blanket back on her, and she slept the rest of the night. That’s a little strange since she almost always sleeps through the night and her sisters’ fussiness. Harper is starting to improve after several months of extreme anxiety about her bed and soon I believe she will be back to sleeping in her room all night long. At this point I don’t mind laying down in the guestroom with her, mostly because I know one day I will miss that closeness- I should enjoy it while I can! Reagan’s sleep level varies between her sisters; about half the time she will call out at the crack of dawn for one of us and half the time she’ll sleep all the way through; sometimes we can settle her and sometimes not. Needless to say, the fact that we don’t wake up to full on panicked screaming at two AM every night is a blessing and much appreciated. My mom ears still pick up the momma! calls from the other room just as well as the MOMMAAA! version.
The new routine means the girls are up about 60-90 minutes earlier than normal. This is likely a direct factor why they are participating in nap time, being up so early, and also to the grumpiness in the evenings. Yes, the grumpiness. The girls are excited to see me at pickup, excited for their snack in the car on the ten minute drive home, excited to see Daddy, and as soon as we get settled in the front door, the rage and fussiness reappears for most of the evening. I try to remind myself it’s just the new routine adjustment period and the transition from daycare to home, but MAN, it takes a TON of patience after a long and busy workday. We mostly skipped this daily transition with the nanny because we were able to settle in from work while she was still there. Little did I know how much that helped each day! Fingers crossed this all improves after a couple of weeks.
One funny story out of this week. The girls “drove” a friend’s powerwheel truck at a park date last weekend and had a great time (other than the constant fighting over it). The truck was wide enough for three across and move on the pavement, inspiring us to do a little local, online shopping and find used ones to enjoy. We drove around the neighborhood the first night with all three crammed on and visited with a neighbor who has a similar vehicle. The second night we went down our street, in the rain, hoping for a few happy minutes as we transitioned from daycare to home. As you can imagine, using two vehicles when you have three toddlers doesn’t always go as smoothly as one would like. The three photos below say it all, some real life right here…it started out with smiles and giggles down the street, stretched into fighting over whose foot was on each gas pedal or wanting to be anywhere but where they were sitting at that moment, and ended with three total meltdowns in the middle of the street, both cars left on a neighbor’s front lawn, said meltdowners carried screaming down the street into the house (once we caught up with the little marathoners), and Craig retrieving the vehicles and carrying them home in the rain while I worked to calm the masses in the living room. True story, folks. You can’t make these things up.
All in all, I won’t complain too much about the grumpiness. It’s a phase, albeit not a very fun one, but we will get through it and move onto the next thing. I know the girls have fun all day while we are able to productively finish our workdays. I greatly appreciate the potty training efforts that I don’t have to do all day right now. I greatly appreciate knowing they are learning new things and becoming a little more independent, even though I’m not totally ready for it. And I’m greatly looking forward to the upcoming fall activities and more outdoor adventures, hopefully with happy and excited toddlers in tow.
It’s a little terrifying to give up control as a parent. What do I mean by control? So many things are controlled for our every day routine, something that has been incredibly detailed and stringent for the past two years, with pretty much every second planned out strategically ahead of time (and a lot of hoping for the best!). Control, as in what habits (or words/actions) your children will pick up because they’re only with you or people you’ve hand-picked to be a part of your lives. This may also be genetically from their DNA- yes, that part might be payback for Craig and I. Control, meaning knowledge of each detail of their daily lives, knowing they are completely safe from the craziness of the outside world, safely tucked away in your house, your safe place, the place you call home.
The past two years were controlled, spending the majority of time in this safe place.
It also means relinquishing control by placing your children in the hands of other people and having new experiences that you won’t be there to witness. This is a hard concept to deal with. Because we’ve been so blessed to have in home care, we have been involved in so much of the first times. In reality, it’s really not that different from me and Craig being at work and the girls being home with the nanny, but soon there will be more kids around we don’t yet know and less involvement in daily activities and experiences. Miss Chris was always great at sending pictures and videos and making us feel connected to the girls, even when we at the office. And the last four months with the COVID quarantine and working full time from home, while I was not directly with the girls every second of the day, I could still hear them downstairs or outside the window, laughing in the backyard and playing in the water, or chasing each other across the living room and giggling over a song. I still heard them screaming about the food they disliked, or when they settled down for a nap and chatted in their cribs, knowing from the other room that they are happy and snoozing away from a busy day.
The question is, is this life adjustment harder on the parents or on the kids?! We all know the truth of that answer; it’s harder on the parents and I daresay hardest on the moms. Whether your kid is three months old, two and a half years (like us), or headed off to the first day of kindergarten, separation anxiety is a thing, for both parents and kiddos! It’s hard to let go, change routine and take the next step. Am I ready for them to go to daycare? Not remotely. Did I want to put this off a lot longer? Yes. Do I think they can handle it and be okay? Yes. Do I think I can handle it and be okay? Yesss. I know the transition is tough, whether that is a quiet house for my workday or a few no-nap weeks for them to come home super grumpy and clingy. I am sure it will be quite the transition for them, exciting and scary, but also quite the transition for us as well as we step into this new phase of our lives. A phase with a little less control.
We’ve done a lot of daycare prep the past few weeks. After touring the preschool and talking with several of the staff and toddler teachers, we shifted our daily routine a little bit. No major changes, just small incremental things that encouraged how they would be at school and wouldn’t cause further stress while we juggled everything. This included unbuckling the girls for breakfast and lunch, something we’ve done at all meals their whole lives, using the constrained time to finish food prep, cleanup, throw another load of laundry in or start the dishwasher, and run around and quickly do fifty random chores before they ransacked everything again. The toddler classrooms have kid sized tables and chairs and expect the kiddos to eat respectfully without buckling in. This is going okay at home so far, often the taking away of a full plate of food convinces them to sit back down. It definitely shortens meal times and doesn’t allow for us to sit and eat for long, but the change is going better than I expected it to right away.
We are also leaving the dining chairs on the floor now, instead of putting them back on top of the table. This is soooo much nicer on the parents, not having to constantly remember to put them back up, but still certainly results in climbing toddlers, standing on the table, smacking the television and playing with the remote and DVD player. I won’t call this a win yet; at some point each day someone is on the table (or multiple someones more often), but yesterday I only had to put them (all) in timeout once for climbing up and that is MAJOR progress. Hopefully we aren’t too far from this being a non-issue.
Another bigger change at daycare involves splitting them up. They don’t put three new toddlers together, regardless of sibling status, so we opted for Harper and Reagan to stay together and Emerie to be on her own. No, it’s not because the two team up against their smaller sister more often; it is because Emerie is great at independent play and likes to take the time to figure things out. We are hoping she will thrive from this. They will still be together for breakfast and recess each day, but not for some activities and nap time. I’m hoping once everyone settles in they can go back together, unless Emerie absolutely loves being on her own.
We joked on our walkthrough that daycare staff has until their third birthday to figure out who is who, because we will then dress them all completely alike and make them work for it. They thought that was pretty funny. Kidding not kidding…
We had to do physicals (and shots!) before their first day, and since we didn’t get an official two year height/weight update because COVID hit, here are your updated numbers for the munchkins!
29 Month Update
Height: 38.75” (99%) / Weight: 29 lb., 8 oz. (71%)
Favorite Food: dad’s Belgium waffle pancakes, bacon and blueberries
Favorite Song: Lola the Cow or Baby Shark
Favorite toy: she likes her pink bear or the singing bear
She is still ready to take the world on 100% of the time, is often the instigator for trouble making and encourages her sisters to join her, and is practically talking a mile a minute. She enjoys movies the most of the three and will sit and snuggle for 30+ minutes and watch one before bed time.
Height: 37.75” (96%) / Weight: 27 lb., 4 oz. (47%)
Clothing size: 2T onesies/dresses, 3T everything else but it’s a little big
ShoeSize: 7 / 8
Favorite Word: lullo (yellow)
Favorite Food: mango or blueberries
Favorite Song: Tay Tay’s Shake It Off and Twinkle Twinkle
Favorite toy: any type of container, her Piggy, and her toddler “cell phone”
Emerie is the curious thinker of the group and loves to color and play with puzzles. She loves holding your hand and insists upon it quite often, especially when jumping off things or going down most slides. She likes the Pan movie and Moana and randomly singing her ABCs.
Height: 38.25” (98%) / Weight: 30 lb., 1 oz. (76%)
Favorite toy: any binkie she can get her hands on, her white bear or toddler “cell phone”
Reagan is still the most timid of the three and a little more emotional. She’s shy in new places but then opens up and wants to share toys with friends. She enjoys holding your hand, sitting on your lap under a blanket and watching her sisters get into trouble. She also likes dancing to all music.
Right now no one is a fan of wearing pants, or their diapers if given the opportunity to remove them, and everyone is obsessed with the potty. The current favorite color is “yellowblue”. No, that is not green; it is yellow-blue. As true Alaskan babies, they are now okay playing in hose water or the sprinkle out back, even with the multiple cold! comments.
The first day went even better than expected! Craig and I were still reeling from several nights of actual sleep, which felt weird, with Harper sleeping back in her own bed and not having anxiety episodes that result in me sleeping next to her in the guest room.
We got up a few minutes early and ate a breakfast snack on the couch, I did everyone’s hair really quick and dressed up in cute, first day outfits that matched the beautiful summer day.
Craig and I took them over together at about 8 AM, expecting some tears as we handed them off. Due to COVID-19 rules, we are not allowed into the daycare and have to leave them at the front door, after temperature checks. While I am not a fan of this at all, especially since this is my first time handing them off to new people, I think down the line they will be fine. Harper didn’t even shed a tear, albeit she wasn’t excited, but stuck out her jaw and went with it. Emerie and Reagan? Bloody murder, screaming rage. Yes, as expected. We just walked to the car as they screamed inside.
The coordinator texted us later that they only cried for a few moments and then were okay. I’m sure it helped to have breakfast time together and a whole new set of toys and activities to entertain.
Believe it or not, everyone did some form of a nap, which greatly surprised me! I was expecting very overstimulated and sleepy toddlers by the end of the day, but apparently they were worn out enough to sleep a little. What a good sign! Emerie, who napped in a different room than her sisters, did great according to her teacher, waking up a little upset but quickly calming down with one-on-one time and a book.
We picked them up out on the playground, everyone happy and running around, no one exactly ready to get in the car and go home. The evening was a little grumpy but overall not as bad as expected.
Thank you everyone for the prayers for a calm week!
When you’re brushing one kid’s teeth after bath time and the other two are dressed and in their bedroom, what do they do? Well, of course, they wedge the furniture into the door so that you can’t get back into their bedroom (we tried), climb up to the top shelf, grab the M&M candy container used for potty training, and try to scarf the entire thing down before you can get back in.
Luckily Craig managed to wedge it back out with some fancy closet-hanger-pole creativity, all the while the girls ate their discovered candy and watched the struggle. Harper, who was surprisingly not part of it (because teeth brushing), had no issue getting in the room, not listening to our request to move the ottoman, and enjoyed the candy shared from her sisters.
Well as you can imagine has been quite a busy past two weeks. What I alluded to on my last blog was a change from normal, daily routine to Craig and I working full-time while juggling childcare ourselves and trying to figure out how to go forward; this occurring without any notice or ability to plan ahead accordingly. I imagine this is exactly how many families felt in March, with daycare closures with no notice due to the COVID-19 virus spread. Our daily life didn’t change that much from that shift because of our set up, but is changing now. Props to all of you parents, because I still feel like a stressed out, scrambling mess and it’s been almost two weeks. Two hard weeks.
Craig and I are both working from home and alternating who has the kids throughout the day so that we can make meetings, answer emails and complete workdays. Getting early morning hours in before the girls wake up, working through nap times and into the evenings allow us to get a lot done; but as you can imagine, makes for very long days, both mentally and physically. Longer than our normal long days, the ones we’ve had for the last two years. Oh, did I mention we also have three toddlers in the house? Yeah, that too.
I ventured to the park completely solo one morning last week. That marks the first time going completely by myself and not meeting anyone right away; surprisingly the girls actually did pretty well. They played in the area that I started them at and let me change a diaper without the other two running away. Everybody even played nicely. Now this is not the normal park adventure, usually Harper is running away from me with a big, defiant smile on her face and bringing her sisters along for the ride. This particular adventure alleviated some of my concern taking them by myself somewhere (that is not fully closed off or contained) and surviving. They wore their backpacks that have lovely, little handles at the top and I left the leashes inside, just in case I needed to break them out. But I never did!
There isn’t much time to blog about recent, random things happening in our household, but I have managed to record a few. For example, Reagan slammed Harper’s hand in the back door one afternoon. When I said to go say sorry to your sister because she’s crying with a hurt hand, Reagan tried to blame it on the door. That is funny now but I’m sure in the future it will get old, really fast. If someone bonks on the table, which happens often, another will go over and pat the table and say not nice! We had our first smashed drywall event in the dining room (surely won’t be the last one!), this one from Harper accidentally pushing a chair off the table onto Reagan and hitting the wall. She was definitely trying to climb up and pushed it over with her head and back. That resulted in three screaming toddlers but luckily no injuries.
The girls now repeat ready, set, go to each other and say bless you after a sneeze (occasionally). They also announce burbs and farts to anyone who might make those sounds. We are still working on thank you, but they will say please if they really want something; clearly they understand its meaning.
It feels like half my time in a day involves looking for the third of any object, whether that is a sippy cup, a third stuffed animal that someone insists they HAVE to have now that they like them, or a third set of shoes so we can go outside. Either way, I’m always looking for the third of something. I can’t imagine this will get better anytime soon!
We are finally latched on to stuffed animals- Harper has a pink plush bear and Reagan the same in white. Much to Emerie’s dismay, we received them from my original baby shower and do not have a third. She occasionally loves on her plush elephant- this week we pulled out a big from the out-of-sight stuffed animal bin and she has really taken to carrying it around, feeding it and snuggling with it in her crib. The next step will be to remove the binkies at nap and bedtime, with the hopes the animals will provide enough comfort to replace them. I also order THREE of the same bear and plan to seamlessly (and sneakily) swap the current stuffies out and hope they don’t notice. We will see.
Personality traits are on the rise.
The past week Emerie is on a mean streak, which isn’t her normal, and is quite grumpy. In addition to being unkind to her sisters (frequently in the afternoon), she has started making little whining noises when she doesn’t want to do something, we’ve had one day with no nap (almost two) and she managed to hide her main glasses somewhere in the house, not yet to be found! In fact, we’ve regressed a bit on the glasses wearing and are once again taping them to her face. This is more because she dislikes the pair she has to wear until we find the other ones. The only real improvement this week is her asking to take her patch off before hiding in a corner and doing it anyway. This is a big step and we are trying to reward accordingly for asking permission first. Other notable cute things are her requests to color and pretend time with her animals.
Reagan is on a very emotional streak and quite a bear some days. She wakes up grumpy, is immediately missing patience and frustrated very easily, and wants attention allllll the time. It is making being at home constantly more difficult than usual for sure when one of three is attached at the hip. But on the other hand, she is napping well and talking up a storm!
Harper is still on her anxiety streak, freaking out in her crib when she wakes up and wanting to be close to Mom and Dad. About half of every night involves me sleeping next to her in the guestroom, with Craig settling Reagan if she is disturbed by her sister and Emerie sleeping through like a pro. She’s still waking up early but does so much better when Craig is working downstairs; not sure why but she will sleep past eight when he’s home! She is also talking up a storm and adding new verbs every day.
Please reach out if you’d like to do a park date! That is our sanity during the mid-morning chaos, a way to let the house be quiet for a little while for the working adult, and a safe way to get out of the house while social distancing and still enjoy some adventures.