It’s nothing new, but something I haven’t written a lot about over the past six months. The girls are venturing down the path of constant whining, and by this I mean the high pitched, drawl of a voice when asking for things or complaining about not getting their way. We are to the point that normal pitched voices get forgotten and we are stuck listening to the constant whining, even after correction. They play off each other and the issue gets exponentially worse. Anyone else in the thick of this??
We are to the point of not responding to those voices and reminding them that whining won’t result in what they are asking for, no matter what it is. Is this working? Not really sure yet; they sure are putting up a fight on it! I assume this is all a phase…and not an incredibly fun one…but one we will eventually get through and past.
Toddler tantrums are now a daily standard in this household; luckily they don’t happen too often when we are out and about (which means going to more places than we have over the whole winter). I’m still waiting for a triple tantrum (I’m excited to see this!) but for now the trend is they all continuously take turns. This is clearly so they can attempt to get the upper hand on the adults and something that will be ongoing for years to come. Harper is the queen of the tantrum and will wail and cry and give you the poutiest face possible, with cinched eyebrows, narrow eyes and a hard stare. It’s hilarious and she’s certainly perfecting her angry look at a young age. Reagan is more of an all out screamer and wants you to immediately console her no matter the reason for the outburst. Emerie still has the type of cry that you want to give in to, no matter if it’s a fit or not, and is great at outpouring the tears on command.
We continue to practice listening and stopping with direction when out at the store, the mall, on a trail, everywhere. Emerie is the most agreeable for all locations and actually prefers to hold your hand and walk most of the time. A little of this could be because it’s often morning so she is patched, but more so she likes to be close to you while exploring. Harper and Reagan alternate who runs away; some days they are responsive and obedient and other days they won’t listen worth anything and we have to head back to the car earlier than planned. Going to social, open spaces isn’t easy yet but the practice is slowly helping. Craig takes the girls to Get Air and they are doing well when he is solo. I’m hoping by the time snow is melted we will have better listeners and obeyers and can do more things without requiring extra hands to survive. The neighborhood walks (without a stroller) and other outside adventures across the city are a breath of fresh air as well as good practice. The random house pictured below is one of the hot spots around the neighborhood according to the children because it has a clock!! on the side of the garage. Other popular places, in addition to walking over to Jessie and crew, are the fans that blow in the wind at several places and the decorative, light up peacock at the end of the street.
They may not be those things all the time yet, but they are definitely talkers and conversationalists! Everyone is exceptional at using “you, me, and I;” they use them correctly most of the time. We aren’t quite as good with “he and she” but we are working on it. Harper will rattle off multiple sentences in a row and it blows my mind! Reagan will tell you a story with great enthusiasm and can recite a couple books by memory. Emerie also recites a few books and gets a few of the pages looped and it is so sweet to watch her be so excited about it.
All in all, a decent week. Now we shall go back to the whine o’clock, the more fun version of it anyway, the “wine” o’clock!
A number of friends checked in the past week or so to see how we are holding up without daycare; first off, we appreciate the love and secondly, we are hanging in strong so far! Throughout the day I can’t help myself but chuckle when one of them does something related to an unreasonable write up by the daycare last month. This often includes throwing a tantrum (which allllll kids do!), eating snow outside (which I’m not discouraging unless it’s colored haha), or even letting Reagan walk a few paces down the street with one barefoot, refusing to put her sock and shoe on. Guess what?? She learned after about five steps that walking barefoot on snow is really cold and then wanted to put her sock and boot back on immediately (in between all the whining that is). So yes, we are surviving. The girls seem to learn something new everyday and have their moments of individual play and kindness.
Staying home again means rediscovering some of the fun experiences one misses when out of the house. Old, forgotten toys are re-emerging as favorites as we recycle through the toy bins that aren’t sitting out everyday. Other extremely exciting moments occur throughout the week too. For example, trash truck Thursday is incredibly exciting and the girls will hoot and holler as soon as the truck is noticed down the street. They congregate at the front windows, dog included, and watch the magic of their trash man take trash to the dump? To see Wreck It Ralph?! Trash all gone?! On those lucky days, the girls might notice the second run, as trash is picked up on the opposite side of the street, causing a second stir of excitement and exclamation.
Another equally exciting event, that seems to land during lunch or at the start of nap, are the municipal plow trucks clearing snow off the street. This is extremely magical according to our tiny tots. They love to watch out the windows or quickly don a coat and boots for a better front porch view. This same rule applies when out and about, with muscled enthusiasm when spotting a plow from the car window. The other day I turned around to everyone wearing their winter coats and boots (inside) and authoritatively pushing their doll strollers around the room. When asked, they responded the strollers were snow plows and they were pushing snow. How very creative! We are raising kids who love big vehicles (which should thrill at least half of our family!), with semi-trucks, snow plows, and excavators topping the favorite list. I called an excavator a grader the other day, not trying to be specific, and I was quickly corrected that it was an excavator, NOT a grader. Kids these days… This summer we will have to go visit my M&O team at work and bring some treats so the girls can climb in a few big ones. They would LOVE it.
Other events are less exciting for adults but plenty fun shenanigans for the toddlers. One prime example occurred on a grumpy evening, with kiddos overtired and ready for sleep, when everyone decided to dump their popped popcorn treat down the toilet. If I haven’t mentioned it, we removed the gate from the downstairs bathroom to be freely used for its actual activity- you know, as a bathroom- so the girls now go in and out as needed. This goes well most of the time, other than nights when they dump popcorn down it!! I walked in and demanded they scoop out everything and deposit it in the trash (thank goodness it was at least clean of any #1 or #2!); my snarky toddlers complied by scooping some in the trash and some in their mouth! SO. GROSS.
Let’s move on to something less disgusting…the girls are thrilled with all the cooking and baking activities Grandma Sue continues to inspire in our household during her visit! In addition to all the valentine treats and goodies like donuts, cinnamon rolls and pecan bars, everyone “helped” create their own mini pizzas to enjoy for dinner one night. Clearly they enjoyed the creating part more than eating the final product; that and eating the dough, flour, black olives and as much cheese as possible before it was “shared” with the actual pizza. It’s rather impressive how quickly they can shovel handfuls of food into those food traps when they really want to!
Dinner turned out great that night, but I can credit that to Grandma more than my little ones. It’s amazing the activities that can happen when you have one more set of hands (and a good vacuum!).
The word of the week is “silly.” The girls are calling all kinds of things so silly, or will randomly say that moose is so silly! Or daddy is silly. Extensive discussion occurs about the neighborhood moose; why he is silly, where he is at, what he is doing, who he is with. That poor moose has no idea how hot a topic he is! The girls endeared him with a name- Carrot- because he enjoys eating them and because Olaf the snowman is outside and has a carrot for a nose. See the connection there? Not sure I do…but the kids can explain if you need to know more details haha. Everyone has a differing opinion on what he is up when out of sight (and not in our yard); Reagan usually answers that he’s sleeping, Emerie will comment he’s with his Momma, and Harper explains he wants a carrot and he’s cold. I tell you, having random moose visits causes quite the stir in this household, especially when they venture up to the front windows and are close enough to touch (with a window divide).
The latest off-the-wall, random comment from all three girls notes they don’t like mommy’s boobs and they like daddy’s boobs! Do not ask me where this comes from because I do not know but they constantly remind us about this fact…Harper went as far as yelling she loves daddy’s boobs!! I mean we should encourage body image right?! I’ve learned all big cabinets are called refrigerators; which sounds like a smart observation to me. They are also excelling at understanding the concept of time, with the most popular last morning (which means yesterday) or saying they get to go somewhere after a night or two of “sleeps.” Tomorrow is another popular word they are starting to understand. Someone will put a dolly in a stroller and turn to say see you tomorrow! Some concepts they pick up catch me by surprise; I assumed some of these concepts wouldn’t be understood until they were older and yet here we are. The latest obsession is all things wall clocks, starting with Grandma’s fancy one through FaceTime and extending out to anyone else on the phone who might possess a hanging clock in the background during a conversation. It’s almost like a recreation of their ceiling fan love when they were infants, except now they can talk and DEMAND to see them.
The house is now filled with new conversations, showing great perceptiveness and often bring a smile or a chuckle from nearby adults:
Emerie: Harper, you have an owie? Do you need a bandaid?
Harper: Yes, but it’s getting better. Don’t touch it! And points to it.
Reagan: I have an owie too! I need a bandaid and will pull up her sleeve or pant leg, point to it and then ask you for a bandaid.
I could probably write an entire blog called “Life Advice from Harper.” This little girl is quite the wordsmith and excelling everyday on her grammar and descriptive sentences. Her exclaimed thoughts completely crack me up- we went to Lowe’s and purposely walked down the toilet display aisle to see their reactions. Harper immediately started with I want to see the potties! Momma, I want to pee in them! to which we explained they were display potties and not usable, which did not simmer her enthusiasm with a response of no, I want to pee in them. I want to pee in the display potties because I love them! I mean what do you even say to that!? She was the first one up the other morning and we were watching TV downstairs while the other two slept a bit longer. She looked at me and randomly said, Momma,if you touch fire, you just need to get Elsa and a bandaid. How’s that for words of wisdom from a two year old?!
Bandaids heal all things, don’t you know that? Apparently that AND scotch tape, according to the toddlers this week.
Lastly, nothing says family bonding like cramming five people in the tiny, downstairs bathroom and filling balloons with water and food coloring! In the middle of this Reagan announced she needed to use the bathroom and the activity proceeded with one on the potty and two mad they couldn’t stand on the toilet and see us fill the water. Memories, I tell you. We checked on the balloons the following day to discover they still weren’t fully frozen! The second day temperatures dipped and they were firm enough to cut off the balloons. They turned out really cool and you can see the pattern the water froze into ice crystals. Too bad it was too cold to stay and enjoy them, so we went back inside with three, cold fingered grumps. I did manage to get them set on the porch railing to enjoy from the heated side of the door. If anyone has any better suggestions on how to do this in the future, I’m all ears. The food coloring immediately covered hands and gloves and made a decent mess outside…but they are pretty!
I will close today’s blog out with a quote that appropriately sums up our current life status.
The funny thing about kids is- they are the reason we lose it AND the reason we hold it together.
So, we are holding it together! And just like that we creep into our last month with two year olds! I cannot believe the big three is right around the corner already. The girls have grown SO much over the last year and learned so many new things. I can’t believe I will have three, three-year-olds in the blink of an eye!
Week one juggling full time work and full time kiddos went off better than expected. I’m not sure why I feel my attitude is better than our two week daycare closure in November, but I’m feeling optimistic and strong that we can manage this daycare gap and come out alive and thriving on the other end.
Don’t quote me on that…it could simply be the coffee and wine speaking as I’m well aware it is the dead of winter and being contained inside is hard. But! One week down and we are looking onward to the next one. Much of this is credited to the help of some wonderful friends, one that came over for an evening so I could have an art night with the bestie, two that came over one night so Craig and I could have our first date night in I don’t know how long, one that brought us coffee and donuts bright and early, one that opened her house up for a play date, and of course the bestie who visited several times so we could make work calls and survive playing inside. Each and every one of you…we thank you!!
The Amazon and Target shopping is a bit out of control since we pulled the kids from school, with my mind on what activities I need to encourage each week to keep them learning and thriving. Anyone with ideas on easy, manageable times three crafts while one versus three, I’m all ears!! So far we’ve come up with a few ideas, including:
Triple coloring sheets arrived yesterday so everyone gets to color the same sheet each day. First day was the #1 and today we all colored Little Baby Bum animals that my biased self thinks are soooo cute. Harper spent a lot of time perfecting her animals and everyone thought was amazing when the same monkey getting colored was on the tv!
Play dough: stencils, cut outs and of course new colors. Now if I could get them to stop eating and licking it (Harper and Emerie!!)
Mini button game: haven’t tried yet but it’s little buttons that shape into animals.
All things puzzles! You can never have too many puzzles…errr…until you are cleaning a million pieces off the floor and always missing a few…
DIY paper plate face art, animals edition
Jewelry sets with string
Stamps and sticker time: this is a new and now favored activity. We decorate paper plates with stickers, deck out little plastic boxes and the wooden food toys. So far they aren’t all over the house yet so that is a win!
Reusable sticker scenes still cover the backdoor windows and now the actual sticker books
Watercolors (and I fear for my life lol)
Valentine’s Day crafts for next week…I might have gone a bit overboard but WHY NOT?!
Magnet blocks: I finally caved and purchased a set after watching another toddler friend construct awesome things out of hers!
Fused bead kits: we haven’t tried yet and might be a wild idea but I’m excited! I always loved them as a kid.
Spray bottles: I am excited to try a fellow twin mom’s toddler entertainment hack…”washing” the car in the garage with mini spray bottles.
Much time is spent each day playing with Little People and their sets, play pretend with princesses and dolls, block building (tower time according to them) and dollhouse time, along with coloring, some cooking and dance parties. Don’t get me wrong, the level of disagreeing, tantrums and impatience is often off the charts, but let’s not dwell on that! It also extremely helps that Craig and I bounce back and forth between the kids and work, because, well we all know that the break of those two options is work! Breakfast time is the calmest part of the day and allows us to not only make breakfast, but answer the phone and respond on more emails while they quietly play and watch some nursery songs with their monkeys and princesses. This may become my favorite part of the day, second to right after nap time when everyone wants to snuggle.
And that leads me into why we are still surviving; so far nap is going wonderfully. It’s almost relaxing to get a few quiet hours of laptop work done while everyone snoozes away across the room and the other parent conducts work meetings!
One morning we broke out tattoos. The girls thoroughly enjoyed Auntie Janelle getting everyone a princess and a heart or butterfly, with Paris doing a matching one at home! The girls demanded we call Papa Cliff and Grandma Sue and show them.
In addition to our artwork, letters and numbers, we are working on learning names. The girls have each others’ names memorized, including middle names, and will also tell you both mine and Craig’s. What’s cute is they never say “Craig;” it is always “daddy’s name is Craig.” Whereas mine is just Becca…not to be confused with the teacher Rebecca, so I differentiate that a lot. They also ask us to remind them Grandma Sue and Anne and Papa Cliff and Lon’s names and they are getting increasingly good at them. They randomly asked for Koda’s name too…which is pretty funny since it’s, well, Koda.
The phrase of the week is I asked for it. This often relates to answering what movie or drink they want at a particular moment, someone will respond with Moana, I asked for italready or Reagan asked for it already, momma (usually Harper). Not sure where they picked it up but Harper started the trend and now Emerie and Reagan say it too.
We are in full parent mode on breaking a few bad habits- this is likely due to minimal socializing outside the house and daycare all winter and something that just has to be learned through practice. We continue to harp on everyone to improve listening and obeying while we are out and about, with Emerie complying the best and Harper and Reagan taking turns on actually doing it. Emerie prefers to hold your hand and has no desire to run off, while the other two seem to embrace their adventurous nature. The few excursions we’ve attended lately resulted in several major tantrums on the ride home, when we give them all the chance to obey and walk to the car and climb in and they choose to run into the parking lot or the opposite direction. This is apparently a hurdle to overcome for Harper and Reagan, Emerie complies every time and has received rewards for it while the other two scream they “want to listen!” but don’t actual listen. Obedience is a bit better getting out of the car than loading up and they will stand by us and wait until everyone is out. I attribute this to being in a new place so they don’t want to venture off; not so much to obeying us. Hopefully our disciplinary measures will be enough by the time the snow melts or we are in for some interesting (and grumpy) toddler adventures next season.
And just like that, we are into week two and the start of February! That means spring is right around the corner….right?!
Well guys, this month is one for the books. We can always predict major stress is around the corner when we have a water leak in the house, which apparently happens a lot when I look at the past five years! So what did this past week bring?
over the past month, managing the day to day uncertainty of your daycare being unaccommodating and disagreeable and continually asking yourself if current choices are really the best thing for your kiddos.
the not knowing where your kids will go on short notice and being told “you can find somewhere else that let’s them do whatever they want,” which is obviously not the case and not doable under current conditions with THREE.
just knowing the impending tasks to complete at your day job and not knowing how much or how long you’ll be able to juggling everything at once (again!) and still keep everything afloat.
The past month was a roller coaster of emotion for Craig and I as we struggled through and tried to overcome challenges continually thrown in our direction from the girls’ daycare. It was a month of uncertainty and stress and nothing to do with COVID! In general I believe we are both decent at handling difficult situations and keeping our heads up; I mean clearly we are still hanging in there each and every day with triplet toddlers.
For those of you that haven’t put a kid in daycare during our lovely pandemic, some of the everyday rules make the experience very difficult for parents. For example, parents cannot step foot into the facility and must do drop off and pick up at the front door. Kiddos get temperature checks every morning and have to be under 100 to go through the door; anytime someone has a fever they have to go home and stay home until it’s clear for 24 hours or they have a negative COVID test. Teachers in different classes keep their interactions to a minimum or have to extensively wash hands, rooms, and anything they are in contact with. Kids in different classrooms must stay separated and age three and up have to wear masks all day. The world has changed a lot in the last ten months. It is hard to not be able to look into your children’s classroom and see their interactions while they don’t see you watching, or pick them up with a smile to the helper that day (yay masks…). No daily reports unless it’s bad or an an injury means you don’t often hear what fun happened each day. We all know it happens but two-year-olds aren’t great at explaining that yet!
As you may have guessed, the daycare issues I alluded to in my last blog are a reality I’m now ready to share with you all, with the director deciding to give our family the boot long before we actually sat down and spoke with her the other day. Apparently our girls are “so smart but they refuse to take direction or correction” and that this behavior continues to escalate without them able to handle it. Extensive conversations muttered at us the past month about parenting style, how kids are supposed to behave and how having three shouldn’t factor into how we raise them, as if that is even remotely reasonable.
Going into our meeting last Friday, we assumed the worst and easily met that expectation. After more than 90 minutes of discussion on our concerns and suggestions to improve all their complaints about our kids behavior, we finally received an answer that we are not welcome to continue at their school going forward after flat out asking it twice. Why, you ask? Well…that’s where this gets a lot more interesting.
I am the first person to admit our kids are not perfect angels; we aren’t under any qualms that they always obey the first time they are told to do something, or that they sit quietly and eat their food every meal or take a nap each day. We understand challenges are a part of raising children, especially young toddlers, and with that comes learning how to overcome those obstacles and nurture and grow. We recognize good days should be celebrated and bad days muddled through with thick skin. According to the daycare, almost every day since Christmas was more bad than good. We started dreading hearing the complaints each afternoon at pickup, setting an unwelcomed mood each day for us. Dreading to the point that the stress builds so much throughout the day until you are so exhausted from it by the evening and you just want to do anything but think about it.
Our second to last day one of the teachers made us stand outside (Covid rules) at the entrance and wait for almost 30 minutes before they brought OUR kids to us, and wouldn’t let us leave until she read the latest behavior report word for word while the girls ran for the car. That should have been the indication how this would all play out the following day.
So what other things do you mean by “bad behavior,” you ask? Our opinion on this is vastly different than daycare leadership, but pretty similar to every parent I’ve spoken to about it the past few weeks. I see a bad day as a no-nap day (usually worse for the adult than the kid haha), or a multiple tantrums afternoon with kids super wound up and requiring constant time-outs and discipline. The daycare? Well the reports we’ve received the past several weeks, which started with Harper, shifted to her and Reagan, and every once in a while Emerie, are on things like throwing their boots in the snow and refusing to put them back on, eating the snow and smiling deviously when told to stop while continuing to do it, standing on their chair at lunch time or irritating a sister while eating, and running around and being disruptive at nap time. All challenges? Sure. Typical toddler behavior?! Yes. Worthy of losing daycare over? Not a chance.
While the average person might think this is pretty normal at their age, the daycare’s set of two-year-old standards appears off the chart, entirely lacking the fact young children are learning to handle their emotion in a tough world environment, with adults required to mask up all day and not being able to interact like normal. Throw in the fact that it is still the dark, dead of winter a wha-la…you have grumpy kids. But God forbid, you know, my kid would throw their shoes off in the snow.
We received five behavior reports on what turned out to be our final day…one of which noted another kid biting Reagan and her running around sticking her finger in other kiddos mouths and encouraging it. She didn’t bite anyone and yet SHE received the behavior, not injury, report. We were told later this was just for our awareness, but the page clearly noted behavior and indicated an issue, not an injury. Red flag right?
The other four write ups stemmed from right after lunch time through nap time, about three hours total. During this time the girls refused to settle for nap, with Harper getting Reagan all riled up and then trying to get Emerie to join in. According to the report, multiple teachers were called to help and loud noises could be heard down the hall; they also refused to stop after direction on multiple occasions. So sure, I agree this event falls into the bad day category, but why wouldn’t you call the parents?! Four incident reports, which are clearly ALL from the same extended time, means this could have easily been avoided if we were called to 1) try to talk to Harper and Reagan about obedience, or 2) pick one or both up for the day and remove them from the bad situation for everyone else’s sake, or 3) have a helper remove said disrupter from the room to calm down and reset the attitude. We were told during the meeting that there is no separate space for a kid to go to settle down because of COVID; another thing I think is BS because many kids need a safe space, even if it’s ten feet away from classmates, to settle down! Some just need space to process and overcome their emotions and that is okay! Of course none of these things occurred; clearly they were trying to add another reason to send us away for good.
I have other examples of these types of things…after other days of (what I call) normal toddler grumpiness, one teacher REFUSED to have any of my girls in her classroom under any circumstances, even after several suggestions that splitting them up would be very beneficial. A couple days here and there is not enough time to see benefits from routine and I believe the refusal to try it longer meant that teacher wouldn’t agree to try it. A lot of this stems from that decision, of a teacher not doing what is literally her job!
While little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join in their chaos.
L. R. Knost
Many of you know our kids, or see the blogs that I post about silly things, bad behaviors that we will eventually look back on and chuckle at but might not in the moment, those types of things. They aren’t perfect. We aren’t perfect either. Kids get grumpy and act out, they whine and complain, they throw fits. Parents too. We all have good days and bad days, just like all toddlers do. This is part of growing up and part of living!!!
I fully admit during our meeting I had one of my first times preferring wearing a mask while out in public, because it covered my shock, rage and disdain at the ridiculousness we were forced to discuss. We approached the sit down with a planned set of questions and concerns, things intended to improve the issues and talk through them, not finding out until farther into the conversation that the decision was clearly already made and everything discussed a major waste of our time. Our December meeting was completely useless, with no actual plan formed, something they of course brought up as our fault (and untrue). They asked if we even read the disciplinary notes, alluding to the fact we did nothing to improve attitudes and respect for adults, which I personally find quite offending and quite off the mark. Clearly the expectation was to read reports, standing out in the cold and dark, with the kids running around EVERY night. Unbelievable.
Several times over the past few weeks there was disagreement with our parenting methods, suggesting in the evening we should more explicitly discipline them for transgressions throughout the day, something very inappropriate for their age. Instead, we talked to each one about listening to their teachers and obeying when asked, those types of things. The school continued to tell us they are fine with whatever parenting style we have, but then don’t follow through with the claim and it was very frustrating. It is also interesting to see that the girls often play pretend timeout, with their conversations clearly from time spent during the day, and are constantly putting dolls into timeout for not listening or other minute things.
Craig brought up a few of the books we’ve read, such as the Whole-Brain Child by Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, two child psychologists with great ideas. This was essentially completely dismissed because it is not religion based. The Whole-Brain Child teaches very basic ideas, things that I think are especially useful when you have more than one at an age, with silly slogans to help you remember, such as “connect and reconnect” or “engage, don’t enrage.” Any Montessori methods are clearly too new age to be considered. I will explain more of this on another blog at some point, as it has been very useful guidance for us and worth sharing.
We voiced concerns about their identical status and individuality is extremely important. This suggestion was clearly met with disagreement that they weren’t perfectly working with each one separately every time an incident occurred. We know for a fact at least one teacher couldn’t tell them apart and that majorly concerns me when they saw them every day. I have a lot more to say on this that I will just leave alone for now.
There are minor silver linings to our daycare experience, if you overlook very recent events, that are worth noting as we transition forward. The girls vocabulary exploded in the past few months; they piece together amazing sentences and continue to wow us each day when they say something new or original. I always enjoy hearing the new songs they sing at random times! I credit so much of the potty training experience to the helpers that spent a lot of time in the bathroom this fall and winter! We have come out of that experience amazing and the girls are doing great. Emerie was patched daily and kept a great attitude throughout; this greatly improves her at-home patch time now and it’s visibly better that prior to going. They learned random new skills like putting on their coats without help, gearing up to play outside, and how to hold a marker or crayon correctly. We met new friends along the way that the girls enjoy talking about and playing with outside the facility.
I also want to note that I do not believe the majority of staff fall into the opinions that leadership has. Several of the teachers were wonderful, especially the one who helped us transition into the new daycare setting from being at home, and many of the helpers are wonderful people that give you a smile each day and tell you something good that happened, instead of just the bad. Throughout it all the girls always speak highly of them and were excited to see everyone each Monday. This next transition may not be a walk in the park, but it’s definitely a step in a better direction for our family.
There is so much more to say, but the more I write the more agitated I feel at the whole thing and I’ve already reworded half of this more than once. In addition to the anger I feel at some of this, a small part of me also feels relief, even though we don’t yet have a future plan in place. The relief comes from knowing my kids aren’t stuck in a place that clearly disagrees with our parenting style and knowing that I still have the control over their day to day and can encourage them to behave properly and expand their horizons to new things. The majority of complaints don’t occur at home and that helps us tremendously.
At the end of the day, I refuse to accept the unsaid accusation that we are not good parents. I refuse to let my self worth waver or doubt creep in and believe this is happening because of my kids. They are welcome to judge us as much as they’d like; we won’t be around to stress about it. I plan to move forward from this whole ordeal as just a tiny blip on the radar and not look back.
Week one of the rest of our lives? It’s going to be a wild month, so please check in on our sanity. But also know, we are moving forward and will overcome this obstacle, maybe just with a little more wine and a little less sleep than initially planned.
I haven’t posted the contents of this blog for the past few weeks because I didn’t want to end 2020 on a sour note; or shall I say any more sour than the rest of the year brought for everyone…with a worldwide pandemic, quarantines and minimal social encounters, and of course the overall standard stress of being a parent and full time worker. The girls wrapped up the year with a new attitude at daycare, and not one that we are happy to discover.
I feel minimally prepared for the toddler stage we’ve entered. It’s as though a switch flips on a daily basis, one that changes from happy, curious, well-rounded toddler attitude into a argumentative, frustrated, acting out maniac. The girls refer to this as not listening! We are seeing attitude changes as the girls try to sort through newfound feelings and emotions and don’t quite know how to cope. Daycare seems to be having quite a tough time handling the change (or phase) and continues to hand us behavioral notes, almost every day. It definitely doesn’t help that they feed off each other (and I’m sure other toddlers at school) and escalate the situation more and more. Then, just as quickly, the switch goes off and flips them back to the nice, pleasant children we like to see.
Daycare is providing us reports for misbehavior, with the past few weeks more than the entire time we’ve gone there. It started with Harper saying no and not wanting to listen and has since branched out to Reagan being loud at nap time and throwing shoes at the teacher or when she is outside. I think Emerie has had one report so far but is otherwise maintaining her happy demeanor, even while patched. As for the other two, we talk at night about listening to the teachers and the girls constantly say they miss them on the weekends, but then we still get reports of fighting with the teachers and not obeying the first time they are told to do something without any wiggle room to learn from mistakes. Many of the things they do we don’t have an issue with at home, making it even harder to solve. I’m highly frustrated about all of this and think things could be handled a little differently during school days and that would help a lot, but we aren’t having success with our recommendations. I pray that it’s just a phase.
Harper is definitely the most strong-willed of the three and continues to present more of my attitudes as a kid; in fact, it feels as though she is a little Becca during all kinds of activities and adventures. For example, I had a toddler fascination with the color black, wanting to douse all drawings and pictures with it according to my mother. This phase eventually turned into loving pastel colors and a million necklaces. Harper, in kind, enjoys her black play dough, black markers and crayons. It doesn’t quite align with her love of all things princesses, so hopefully that one will win in the end. Reagan is clearly the most emotional one in the group (this hasn’t changed in a while) and blatantly rejects the idea of scolding and being told no. She’s improved some on this front, but not quite where I’d like to be yet. She very much responds to scolding more than spanking. Emerie still has her moments of rage and toddler angst, but overall is calmer than her womb mates until she reaches a certain tired status, then all bets are off. I believe the patching has helped us on this, because she dislikes it but has learned to understand she has to do it anyway, and complies with less fighting than when she was younger.
Schedule are timed plans while routine relates to commit habits. We survive through routine!
We are trying to navigate these new waters with perspective and grace, exercising discipline when needed, none of which seems to help improve daycare’s behavior notes. The outside eye would probably see our attempts to keep the theoretical boat floating and above water, and some (a lot) of days it feels that way. It does, however, seem to help at home. After school discussions each day consist of the girls explaining they are not listening, so clearly there is a level of understanding of disobedience and the need to correct, regardless of them actually doing it. Timeouts and losing privileges, as appropriate for their age, also occur. We attribute part of the attitude shift to just being toddlers, because they constantly go through phases and one never knows when the flipping switch will go on. Kids are going to push boundaries and talk back- sometimes they have to learn from those mistakes and that is part of growing up! The other part is to being strong willed little girls that keep getting routine disruptions and changes, something we’ve successfully maintained since birth. In fact, routine is likely the number one reason we have survived thus far as triplet parents. Doing the same things each day seems monotonous, but who has time to worry about that when there are screaming kids in the background and a mound of tasks to get done every moment of the day? It took us about two months for the girls to really settle into the new daycare routine, with a lot of very grumpy and clingy evenings after pickup; then with COVID-19 closures, the holidays and a head cold that put us at home for a week, waiting on negative test results, that routine keeps getting disrupted. Maybe the new routine is becoming routine disruption? I don’t know.
What I do know is that daycare believes routine and schedule are the same thing and that what we think is a major disruption isn’t. I disagree, because routine amounts to the daily milestones and habitual activity, if you will, that are done at the same time, in the same order everyday, to maintain sanity and keep things moving forward. Routine happens without planning because it’s so commonly done on a regular basis. For us that used to consist of a morning bottle feed, putting the girls back to bed, getting them back up at the same time, rotating through diaper changes and breakfast, tummy time and activities, naps, and repeat; running through the same process all day, up until the bedtime feed and into their cribs. This same routine lasted more than a year in our house; every. single. day. No days to sleep in, no days to stall and wash bottles later or settle down and watch TV because we needed a break from the business, because that was the daily path to survive. It continues to this day, although it has shifted some as the girls have grown and picked up new skills.
Schedule is what is followed at daycare, which more so relates to a timed plan, and that makes sense! I believe the issue we are having is where the two clash, and then you throw three maturing toddlers into the mix, long weekends extended period at home, and the switching back and forth of daycare classrooms and you find yourself in a lovely, stressful situation like we are burrowed in. We had one of the worst bedtimes we’ve face in a few months the other night- the best part is I have no idea why!
I don’t have an answer to how this will all play out so suggestions and tips are welcome. What I can tell you is it makes me stressed out and uncertain of the future, but I think that comes with the territory of parenting and is just something you have to take in stride and try to fix when you can.
In addition to the emotional, attitude switch, a second one presented itself over the past weekend; this one more encouraging for sure! We’ve worked for months (years, almost!) on sharing and playing together with toys. While we need to make a point to stop buying as many things in triplicate (which is amazing when stuck at home for periods of time to minimize fighting) and push the girls to share and trade off more with each other, it is another sign of growing up and getting more independent. This past weekend the metaphorical light bulb switched on for pretend play with each other. I’m not entirely sure what prompted the change, but it was a noticeable one! The girls all of a sudden spend periods of time playing together without just fighting and it’s simply amazing to watch.
Everyone had a doll, monkey or princess and sat down at the family room kid table for “breakfast.” All three found play food and plates and proceeded to share with one another, having conversations about what said stuffed animal wanted to eat. Once that became less exciting, they moved up into the living room and pulled out a few blankets, TAKING TURNS wrapping each other up and noting it was “nap time.” They even, completely on their own, took turns as the toddlers in the scenario or the parents putting the blanks and pillows out. This is very exciting after so long playing referee every single second, with minimal time to accomplish anything without screaming in the background. I made it through all the laundry while they played…at least before the fighting re-emerged.
A few other cutesy things that I might as well finish the blog on…my little terrors thought it was the greatest thing to remove the bolts that hold the downstairs bathroom toilet to the floor. This was also accomplished while chewing on the lid that goes over the bolt (gross!). I will admit this took so focus and dedication to achieve. And that was only after moments of no supervision. The other day Harper found a small tack somewhere in the house and I found her trying to shove it into one of the few, open outlets in the living room. Boy did she throw a fit when I stopped that little activity. Side note but raising said outlets so plugged in things are out of reach is sooooo helpful when you have multiples to keep an eye on. Anyway, Reagan now repeats Craig’s lovely dad words and phrases and one afternoon when we spotted a moose off the side of the road, Harper commented moosie needs to take a nap, Emerie noted he probably wanted a carrot, and the lovely Reagan answered with no, moosie needs to take a shit. Yep, Craig gets credit on that one. The girls now mention things in future tense, using tomorrow, although I’m not sure they quite understand all that entails yet. Harper will tell me that things happened last morning and is more than happy to repeat your answers to her questions to her sisters. She’s definitely the wordsmith. Emerie’s toddler perspective continues to make us laugh. For example, she went to the bathroom once in Target (since store visits are pretty rare these days) and now she thinks every store bathroom is the equivalent of going potty at Target. I went potty at Target, Momma.
As we head into our next three day weekend, I am optimistic that outside play will keep us going and hopefully Craig and I can keep our level of stress about all these things down. The metaphorical boat is certainly trying to weather yet another storm, this is the first and won’t be the last. Some turn the switch back off!!