It’s Whine O’Clock

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 tantrum times two

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!

The Flipping Switch

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.

Playing

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.

Breakfast time?

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.

Ring around the rosie

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!!

Thanksgiving Week

Week two, or should I say round two, of our unplanned family time has been the usual parenting adventure. The girls are starting to get in the groove of being at home again, probably enough that going back to daycare will reset the calm(ish) and create even more evening grumpiness. We were determined to keep the girls busy and occupied all week while downing a lot of coffee, getting a massive amount of fresh air, and attempting to enjoy each other’s company.

Monday

We kicked off Thanksgiving week really early- with Harper up and ready to take on the day before seven AM and Emerie and Reagan right behind her.

Craig worked while I got everyone up and running for the day, got dressed, did hair and vitamins, and ate a big bowl of cereal with some bananas and sausage. Every decided to go number two relatively early in the morning, and it quite cracked me up they would run downstairs to yell at Craig in the garage, daddy I pooped! Daaaadddyy I poooooooped! I’m sure his coworkers on the other end of the line were enjoying that entertainment.

After adventuring to the park with Nanny, Pricey and Miss Janet, it took about an hour for everyone to calm down enough to snooze in their cribs, after some back talking and promising of a birthday cupcake as snack if they went to sleep! I didn’t think it was going to happen and then they were out like a light.

They were all babbling in their beds before sleep took over and I heard Reagan say “Mommy, go take a shit- no jelly bean for you!” I kid you not…that phrase CLEARLY comes from their dad! Pretty funny that the other two joined in and noted I don’t get a treat. The teamwork has already begun.

After work Craig took them over to the neighborhood school to run around while I had an hour kid (wine!) break and cooked dinner. Everyone devoured their pasta salad, corn and chicken and received a peach yogurt for dessert. I turned my back for one moment to finish the dishes while Craig was upstairs starting the bathtub, and turned around to a full kitchen table of yogurt mosaics. Silly babies!

Tuesday

Emerie was the early riser today so we plopped down on the couch and watched a little Moana before the other two were up. I try to make early morning one-on-one time count, with lots of snuggles, knowing that the girls are always sharing our attention by one-third and don’t often get to relax without their siblings present or the normal excitement around young children. After breakfast everyone went to the playground to burn off energy and I pulled out their rolling, mini four wheelers to push around the living room after lunch. They are now saying four wheeler, since the real sized one is sitting in the front yard, but it comes out sounding more like a four la la or in the holiday spirit, fa lala. Pretty cute indeed once you know what they are saying. They attempted to push their dolls on the wheelers as well as their giant monkeys. It’s crazy to think the toys used to seem so big compared to the girls; now the long legs have to crunch to ride them.

I love my children to pieces but man, some days they really know how to drive a person crazy! The tantrums, fighting, biting, complaining. All. Of. It. Luckily a friend visited for dinner and helped us do a fun painting craft, which certainly helped burn up some time, but even so the girls still ran wild and continued to be mean to one another throughout the evening.

The craft will turn into “hand” turkeys once the paint dries and I cut them out (or several days later still be unfinished on the counter; that’s more likely). Harper went completely 100% in, her usual style, and looked like she had slaughtered a pig by the end of it. Reagan’s method was one finger at a time with minimal paint on the page, but was all for full hand prints painted on her hands by an adult. Emerie tried to splatter as much paint as possible and loved every second of it. After much scrubbing (of the table, chairs, floor AND children), everything is back to cleanliness.

Wednesday

After a little early morning snuggle with Harper, everyone was up with a bang. We had a very overdue twin play date at the house, where my girls didn’t want to play out in the snow and our visitors did, so eventually we came inside and played with our books and toys. This could be because we put the new swings in the garage to warm and straighten up and they were less than pleased at their absence. Once inside, everyone was calm and composed for about two hours…something quite unusually with FIVE toddlers sharing a play area.

We decided even without family visiting this year, we would try to get a little cooking done to enjoy. With the announcement of another “hunker down” for Anchorage for whole month of December, we might as well attempt some of our own holiday joy and Craig is quite a decent cook! He prepped as much as possible while the girls napped and throughout the evening, ready for our first solo holiday.

Thursday

After a delicious breakfast of pancakes and bacon, which involved the adults eating the pancakes and the toddlers devouring yogurt and bacon, we loaded up and headed out to our favorite Eagle River park for some sledding and playground time. I can’t wait for the days when we can enjoy a quiet holiday at home, not have to trek out anywhere, and relax. This, however, is NOT how last year or this or even next year will go, but someday!

The wind was cold and for the first time the girls were enthusiastic to have their new face wraps on for warmth. All three were happy to chew on them and pull them down to “shovel” random snow in their mouths. The only glitch when they are pulled up to noses are the fogging of Emerie’s glasses, which frustrates her to no end. We are constantly wiping the lenses off a finger so she can see where she is going. Apparently it was also cold enough for cooperation on mitten wearing, and the fresh few inches of snow made sledding really fun.

The girls are continuing on their grumpy moods this week so the middle car seat was relocated into the back row for the drive home. Reagan begged to have the first ride…so I’m guessing she now believes that is her seat. The past few weeks the girls have been fighting over who sits in the middle, the spot no one wanted for the last year. This has more to do with being taken to the car first than sitting in that spot, and I’m guessing at some point everyone will have a designated seat instead of all switching around whenever we load them as we do now. We are still rear facing, even with those long legs in tow, because we are still far below the weight standard for forward facing and actively working on the height standard.

Emerie still managed to throw her glasses at Craig TWICE on the drive home and send some toys across the car at her sisters. But overall, it was less of a battle than with all three across and everyone snacked and sang songs until we made it home.

An actual photo of us together!

While the girls napped Craig worked on a multitude of dinner tasks and the amazing smell of turkey filled the house. Other deliciousness consisted of green bean and corn casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, homemade stuffing and pumpkin pie. Unsurprisingly and a repeat of last year, the girls pretty much didn’t touch any of it at dinner…except for the amazing, homemade lumpia the neighbors dropped off for us that afternoon. Reagan ate at least two whole ones! Sounds about right; we couldn’t even convince them to eat sweet potatoes, i.e. SUGAR. Silly kids.

Everyone was so grumpy after dinner that we booted them all outside for some swing time and playing in the snow. That lasted long enough to clean up some of the kitchen and prep bath time.

With our first major holiday sans any out of town family, I’d say it could have been worse. And we have much to be thankful for this season; three smart and beautiful ladies, a happy (albeit tired) and loving husband and cook, a roof over our heads and heat, a wonderful hometown, essential jobs through all this craziness, and a life that always brings the unexpected but often fun. Happy turkey day to all of you!

Friday

The snow started dumping early Friday morning, the perfect weather for Thanksgiving weekend. We did not let that hinder our morning zoo plans and I loaded up kids and strollers and winter gear to trek out in it.

Pretty decent snowfall while we explored

This time we brought one of the double chariots so the girls could sit for a bit intermittently and be contained when attitudes struck. Excluding the fact everyone was in a maniac mood for the morning (including me by the end of it), it didn’t go that badly and I had Uncle Will to help me corral them. The few inches of fresh snow didn’t deter them from running amuck and snacking on it at every opportunity. At least that’s clean snow, right!?

If I had to pick a favorite animal today, it was probably the turkey (which is hilariously timed and so fitting for the week!). One stayed cozied up by the heating lamp while the other one socialized with the girls. As we walked toward the caribou cages, it paralleled us along the fence line. Harper thought that was just so hilarious and informed me I love it a few times, pointing excitedly at the turkey. Emerie stayed behind once everyone moved forward to the alpacas and bonded a bit more with it, until it gobbled (squawked?) at her unexpectedly and she about jumped out of her skin. Apparently a real gobble gobble isn’t quite so comforting. She wanted to get away from him ASAP.

We swung by to see the otters a second time before heading back to the car. Meltdowns were imminent and I was glad the stroller was there to contain two of them. They all liked watching the otters belly slide across the snow, their style of sledding, and hooted and hollered at them.

After nap we donned the snow gear and shoveled the front driveway while the girls sat in the yard with me and “supervised.” We don’t love taking them out front and rarely do so, since for the past two years they bolt into the busy road; but, in snow gear, as well as the late afternoon darkness, they are slower and more timid to taking off down the street.

Craig put the plow on the four wheeler and after clearing the driveway, he convinced the girls to sit behind it while pulling them down the block in the big sled (sitting on my lap, of course!). They talked about that adventure all evening and yes, we went super slow the whole time!

The last funny thing to note for the day, poor Emerie wouldn’t go to sleep because of the turkey gobble from the zoo. She explained to me in a concerned expression that the turkey gobble upset her and I responded he went bye bye (as turkeys do on thanksgiving?). After a good fifteen minutes back and forth from a clearly anxious toddler, she finally drifted off to sleep.

Saturday

By Saturday the toddler mood swings were starting to get really old (or before Saturday really). Others that have warned us that “three-nagers” are actually worse than the “two-nadoes” stage are probably right; at least that seems to be how we are trending. There is an incredible amount of meltdown rage at our house throughout the day; everything from stealing toys to being told no to disagreements about wearing their gloves or a previously chosen color of underwear. Other disagreements spur over who gets to go in which potty chair, because someone peed on someone else’s existing potty chair pee (maybe TMI but it’s funny and true!), when everyone wants to wear the same pair of boots or the same jacket, when one sits too close to the other and they touch, or when they slam the downstairs gate shut on one another. Not to mention other times when no one ever answers us the same, so all three want to sing a different song, watch a different show, read a different book, or have a different drink. I could go on forever…and certainly write an entire blog on reasons for toddler rage.

It’s a constant and long battle that takes a ton a patience AND stamina- because these tiny humans feed off your sense of tiredness or irritation and it FUELS THE FIRE. So, I admit, we both lose our heads probably once (or more) a day after a full day at home, likely with every moment filled with some kind of toddler rage, crying fit, repeated demand or total meltdown all while trying to accomplish everyday tasks, keep things going forward and done.

Through all this, the girls are starting to say sorry more often after an unkind deed, and while the upset sister doesn’t want to accept the apology yet, we are progressing on giving it. Time out is quite frequent right now and I hope that is teaching them to understand when they’ve disobeyed or been unkind. They are using their words better now, and when someone is in timeout inevitably one or both of remaining group will make a point to tell us they are listening. Momma, listening! Daddy, me listening! It’s very cute, but it also usually comes from a place where they haven’t been doing just that. This battle and continued loop will continue for a long time.

They also interject adjectives in their sentence structure now, such as Emerie this morning, point out her “my yellow pee” or Reagan stating she wants to wear “my blue hat” or Harper stringing off a few descriptive sentences about whatever is going on.

Spontaneous family photo – E / H / R

The girls were riled up once again for the start of the weekend so we ordered breakfast takeout (is that called takeout?) from a small, local restaurant, built block towers at the kitchen table while Craig picked it up, and then headed off to Kincaid Elementary for playground slides, swings and a sledding hill.

After a cheeseburger lunch, with Reagan eating an entire adult burger herself, everyone went down for a nap while Craig ran to Costco. Overall the nap was very restless but successful, and they willingly snuggled on the couch afterwards and had a snack with some Pan on the until Daddy came home.

We ended this day with more thanksgiving leftovers (including the amazing homemade cranberry sauce that was delicious- thanks Sara!), pumpkin pie (the girls ate the whip off the top…) and our first Christmas pajamas of the year, which Harper greatly disliked until I explained the snowflakes on the red-striped pants were from the frozen princesses. That explanation seemed acceptable to her and she stopped trying to take them off.

One more day until routine change!

Sunday

That tiny spec is a moose!

Today’s agenda was set around visiting Santa in the morning. After a quick cereal breakfast we visited the Potter’s Marsh boardwalk to burn a little energy before seeing the jolly red man. It’s been a while since we walked out there and our first time with snow, which was helpful because the girls couldn’t see straight down through the boards. It’s also great for the containment, with only two directions to choose from, so everyone could run freely, but for the most part they just wanted to walk and hold our hands and see the wildlife.

Two moose were spotted down below and we were able to get a pretty close look from the boardwalk. The girls were so excited! They called out to “Mr. Moose” and Harper asked if she could first kiss him, then hug him, and that she loves him. The walk provided some much needed time outside and produced much chatter about moosies for the afternoon. I’ll note we did have to promise Emerie that no turkeys were present during that time, as she showed concern about it.

After the boardwalk we quickly changed into Christmas attire and rushed over to Cabela’s for our morning photo slot. I fully expected rage crying like last year, but because no one can sit directly on Santa’s lap, they were content to sit on the bench in front of the glass and not concerned about the jolly man behind them. No one really wanted to look at the camera or smile; instead they kept looking up at the flashing lights after each snapshot. Overall it went pretty well and everyone snacked on a candy cane as we walked around the store and looked at the fish.

The girls were very chatty today about family members. All morning they asked about Auntie Manda and wanted to talk to her, so during lunchtime we did a quick FaceTime call and they were excited (so excited they all pooped- true story!). Later in the day Reagan asked a few times for cousin Tyler, saying she wanted to show her cheek owie to him. Emerie also said she missed Papa Cliff and the other two agreed. I’m glad that even though family isn’t local, the girls still have a close enough relationship to want to talk to them. Thank goodness for modern technology!

Post nap activities included several rides around the neighborhood on the four wheeler, certainly to our neighbors’ dismay, until our hands and feet were tingling and cold. We colored the ornaments from the Santa visit and with some effort, convinced the girls to hang them on the tree and not steal each other’s. As you can see, Harper attempted to color the entire body brown and black; we had to forcably take the colors from her after insisting it needed some holiday spirit on it. I think all three did a good job!

We ended the evening with everyone eating their entire dinner plate. I note this because it’s incredibly unusual, with each kiddo eating more than half a mini pizza, two servings of broccoli and green beans (we slacked on dinner…yes…since we were outside playing on the four wheeler). Everyone excitedly ate their ice cream reward while I sipped some wine!

It sounds silly, but a tiny part of me feels sad the girls went back to daycare (I said a TINY part). While the past two weeks were very draining and busy, there were also happy parts and fun adventures spent as a family. I look forward to the days when they are a bit bigger and it’s easy to do some of these things without the major prep work ahead of time and sense of tired afterwards, and I know that will come eventually. For now, I will relish my workday at home with a hot cup of coffee and a silent house. I will enjoy knowing the girls are off having fun with their class, burning energy and getting out of the house for a bit. I will appreciate the Christmas decorations in my house and the snow outside my windows and get excited for the upcoming holiday season. Can’t I also be thankful for that?!

Life Impacts

Our family is extremely fortunate that to date we haven’t fully felt the affects of the worldwide pandemic. Luckily Craig and I both have essential jobs, since crime and airports don’t stop for viruses, and our hand washing lifestyle was already a must with premie kiddos in the house the past two years.

The daycare notified us a week ago that their facility was closing down through the end of November, meaning a two week period without childcare or any relief from the busy and nonstop kiddo life, all while trying to continue working full time and remaining sane! I’m trying to have a good attitude, but let’s be realistic here. It’s going to be a hard and long month. Especially during a year when no family is traveling for the holidays. It will be our first Thanksgiving with the girls without any grandparents present to cook!

Day ONE

Team meeting at the breakfast table

The girls were up early, even though I managed to convince two of them to stay in bed until at least 7:30 by letting them play with their crib stuffed animals while I checked emails on the nursery couch. They were ready to take on their Monday, which would have been so much better if they could head off to daycare for some fun.

Craig and I were both able to switch off and handle some morning meetings and work calls while Nanny and Pricey visited for a few hours to help us out! The girls played with play dough, strummed the guitar, destroyed the house with their toys, and had all kinds of fun. The day was going okay until nap time, when all three refused participation and would NOT settle down…all three! What a way to kick off the week and not in a good way. Poor Harper wanted to drift off to sleep so badly, but Emerie and Reagan prevented her from doing so by singing, yelling, throwing toys and jumping on their beds until we finally gave up and got them back up.

Getting out of the house!

No nap is the perfect way to kick off two weeks of crazy toddlers that aim to drive their parents insane. Yes, I am complaining, but before you judge me on the grumpiness, remember I have three moody, over reactive busy bodies taking over my house, fighting with each other and over everything, and pushing boundaries at every moment. At some point a break is necessary, especially after a fourteen hour day…

That morning I managed to check a few emails at the kitchen table while the girls corralled around and munched on pancakes. Once I caught Reagan sipping coffee out of MY coffee cup with her hand, which was a good indication of how the rest of the day would go. Later I handed Harper a plastic up to play with, instead of with my coffee cup, and she scolded me with a there’s no coffee in it, Momma. Long day indeed.

We opted to walk over to the school and go sledding after the nap fiasco, hoping to get some fresh air and survive the afternoon with tired girls. It went pretty well and they enjoyed the bigger sledding hill with one of their daycare friends; afterwards we played on the very frozen playground equipment until the sun set from the sky. Overall, they were good sports for most of the evening, although as I finished writing this Craig is sitting in their room, trying to calm them down after waking up an hour into their night and NOT wanting to settle at all.

Day TWO

By the grace of God, the children slept in until 8:15 this morning (probably overtired from Monday!). It has been several weeks since we’ve had such luck, allowing me to get some much needed work done with a quiet and cozy environment.

Nanny Chris and Pricey came over again to keep the sanity in check, as well as one of their school buddies who is also missing her daycare friends! Lots of coffee was sipped (chugged?), minor tantrums occurred…you know, the usual….but this time they napped!! Hallelujah! We went sledding in the late afternoon, well after the sun went down and until our faces were frozen. All in all, a much improved day!

Day THREE

Another day sleeping in, except no one spent the entire night in their bed. It’s a creative process to climb out of bed and not wake a shifty toddler that has half a mind to get up with you bright and early. It’s a juggle of turning the sound machine up, pulling blankets over said kiddo and a pillow to the side so they don’t fall off, and tiptoeing quieter than a mouse out the door, shutting it behind you silently so the pets don’t push it open and wake them up, then looking at the baby cam and praying they didn’t hear you!

Craig and I rotated work hours for the day, watching the girls for an hour or two and then trading off to answer a call. It’s actually pretty nice, since by the time you start feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with the toddler attitude then it’s time to switch off and switch activities up!

I managed to cook an actual meal for dinner- fajitas; the prior two days were Costco prepped meals (which we love!). We did a lot of coloring with the girls and open playtime and the 7 degree weather didn’t stop Craig from taking them on a park date to burn some energy. Overall the day went pretty well in triplet standards.

Day FOUR

Everyone decided to be up at the crack of dawn today, but after two good sleep-in mornings, that wasn’t altogether surprising. Craig made breakfast and dressed everyone for the day while I handled a couple calls and then we switched and I whisked them off for another sledding adventure. This time the girls were heading down the hill solo in the little round sleds and head first on their bellies on the bigger ones. Emerie was taken out by one of the older boys, doing a full body flip into the air and (luckily) landing on his back, breaking her fall. She was not a happy camper on that one and demanded an apology! Harper was happy to go down the hill on her butt, without a sled, until she figured out how fun it was to go faster. Reagan is a sledding pro now and will even bring the sled back up herself while her sisters expect you to come help them up.

I came downstairs to this while the girls were napping and cracked up. A near accurate depiction of them sleeping, minus the fact they don’t cuddle together. We require them to leave the bigger dolls downstairs each day because they would be noisy and take up a lot of crib space, so everyone puts theirs in a doll bed, gives them a blanket and then a gentle kiss. It’s very sweet. Emerie tries to give Harper’s doll a kiss all the time and she doesn’t like that, but it’s still cute. We were gifted several American Girls dolls by one of my coworkers and while I know they won’t care for them like if they were older, they all really like to carry them around, put them down for naps and snuggle with them on the couch, so why not?!

This also brings up the point of stuffed animals in their beds. Reagan now insists she has to bring MANY animals to bed with her every nap and night time, including her teal dragon, green lambie, black AND tie-dye teddy bears, Stella her Cabbage Patch doll, and her brown puppy. It’s a battle to get any of them away from her and she now sleeps in a pile of them. We’ve more or less given up taking them about because she will lay in the dark and ask for them a hundred times. At least she is able to sleep with them either way! Harper doesn’t have this issue nearly as much, but likes to have her Cabbage Patch doll Cici, her pink teddy bear she’s had since birth, and her pink monkey. Emerie also has a regimented demand for animals, with her beloved monkey and Cabbage Patch doll Sadi at the top in priority (they now follow her everywhere), followed by her purple/pink sloth, a tiny, black teddy bear, and whatever other animal she finds that day. For a week or so she was holding a mini, purple rubber ducky in her hand all night. She even woke up a couple of times in the middle of the night, full on screaming ducky!! and trying to find it in the dark. Good times.

After nap we ran several errands to get out of the house and showed off some of the Christmas lights around town. The girls later told us all the different colors they saw; I’m very hopeful people light up their houses this year so we can tour around and enjoy them from a nice, heated car. We have a few more to put up once it gets a bit warmer outside.

Day FIVE

The final day of the workweek started off well, with everyone sleeping in a bit. Emerie lost her mind at about midnight, waking up Reagan as a result, so they are each in a bedroom and Harper later joined Craig since he has the space of a king sized bed. While we don’t love the co-sleeping (Craig less than I do…but I can sleep anywhere), we also manage to get WAY more sleep when we pull an angry baby out of their bed and into ours, whoever it may be. They are pretty good at going right back to sleep unless they aren’t feeling well, knowing that they got exactly what they wanted…for us to bring them in our room. They inform us in the morning now that they sleep in Daddy’s bed or sleep in Mommy’s bed (guestroom bed). At some point we will have to put in the time and effort to resettle them in their own room but honestly, at this point with it the middle of winter, dark outside, both of us working from home full time and without daycare, I will take sleep any way I can get it, even if that means a battle later down the line.

The morning went pretty well and I loaded the girls up and headed to a park by Nanny’s house so she and the hubs could join us for some sledding! We had Taco Bell nachos for lunch with some yogurt, a good nap, and played in the circle behind our house before dinner.

Craig made a piping hot vat of chicken noodle soup and for once the girls chowed down on it! Reagan was all about the peas and celery and pretty much ate all of mine, Emerie chomped on all the noodles and some celery, and Harper preferred the dark meat chicken and broth. It all worked out; past experience with soup hasn’t gone nearly as well. The girls liked chicken broth when they were little; we used to put a little warm broth in a bottle and let them sip it when they had colds, so hopefully we are growing some soup loving toddlers.

Day SIX

After the usual morning routine we headed off to a new sledding hill on the west side of town. The girls were acting rough, pushing each other down deliberately and treating their friends unkindly, so we loaded back in the car a few minutes early and headed home to prepare for our lunchtime mini winter photo session. Surprisingly the girls were very well behaved for those fifteen minutes, even while cold in the 20 degree and windy weather with just sweaters, tights and boots on, and I am SO excited to see them!! I always love snowy professional photos, but haven’t tried them with the girls being so young and less than amenable to the chill.

After the outdoor excursion we came in and bundled everyone up in their frozen princess,

hooded blankets and read a book until they warmed up. We had another good nap and managed to play inside for the remainder of the day without too much fighting. We broke out the special color markers (ones that only color specific types of paper and are amazing!) and Harper fully colored her whole sheet, Emerie colored a few baby sharks and Reagan adamantly begged for Tyler and Uncle to see it her creation. It was pretty cute.

All in all, a decent day!

Day SEVEN

We rounded out our first week of family time with a pancake breakfast, strong coffee, and some vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting at the sledding park in honor of Craig’s birthday. The fogged rolled in and over the sunlight toward the end of our outdoor excursion and the sight was beautiful. The warmer, 30 degree weather was a nice change and you could tell the girls were happier about it. Although the weekend grumpiness was still there, they went up and down the sledding hill more than a dozen times without assistance. Emerie ended up with the bloody nose and lip at one point and needed a break, Harper required a little coaxing to go down on a sled (and then remembered her need for speed) and Reagan was happy to play with Sage on the slides and swings for a while.

In the afternoon the neighborhood moose were out to the girls delight, walking down the street from our house. We did multiple drive bys in the car so the girls could see them from both sides of the car and they hollered, screamed and talked to those poor baby moose, whose ears very much listened to the conversation.

Unfortunately no plans for daycare this week or any back up family that’s local meant Craig didn’t get much of a relaxing day off for his birthday, but we did order a nice dinner and he managed a solid nap while they napped!

Happy to have one week down! And as I was reminded at the park this morning, this is a good time to be thankful to spend more time with your family, that is something COVID has given all of us. Yes, it’s hard, stressful, and sometimes makes you want to pull your hair out, but we only get this age once, and we have to choose to enjoy it. The expanded vocabulary, the emotional fits, the questions and demands, and the snuggles and kisses.

Here’s to Thanksgiving week! We have so much to be thankful for.

October Memories

I’m continuing to really enjoy the random, silly things that the girls surprise us with each day. You just never know exactly what it will entail; I think that is part of the fun. Something crazy or hilarious is always right around the corner, you just have to take the time to appreciate and remember it, or in my case, write it down before my brain erases that it ever happened. Other small maturities help make our daily lives a bit easier and are most appreciated. For example, Craig and I walked our normal 1.5 mile loop around the house last night, but instead of keeping the girls in the strollers the entire time, we let them walk the wooded portion and look for sticks and pine cones. Over the summer freedom to walk was only prompted if friends walked with us and outnumbered them (imagine herding cats to walk on a trail- that is a similar…); this was the first time we did it solo and they did AMAZING. At the end of the trail Harper and Emerie voluntarily climbed back into their seats and puled the blanket up; we have a little more work with Miss Reagan, who tried to outrun Daddy and didn’t want to sit back down. This sounds like a small step forward but really, this improvement is soooo nice.

Here are some of the random happenings in the Douglets household as we wrap up our fall season and head (excitedly) into wintertime.

2.5 Year Update

Toddler Conversations

The children are starting to become conversationalists on a number of new topics, emotions and opinions. The leader of the communication pack (at this moment) is Harper, who is growing increasingly good at stringing together full sentences and phrases and throwing adjectives in with it! She commonly states things like I want to go potty, Mom, I want to wash my hands, or my current favorite regarding her sisters, saying she touched me Mom. Mom she touched me! Mooooommmm. She will repeat that sentence over and over until you acknowledge her complaint. Emerie is part of the politeness police, ensuring she says please and (more often) thank you, or responding with no thank you to anything she doesn’t want. She likes to randomly whisper to us that someone farted, usually followed up with a farted like daddy (which is hilarious!!). What beautiful memories. Her constant response of yeah is now replaced with an affirming yes when you ask her something. She is also the one that reminds her sisters to bring the forgotten teddyor stuffed animal downstairs, and will adamantly DEMAND they take it or she will insist on bringing it herself. While Reagan may not be as much of a conversationalist as either of her sisters, she is definitely a singer and randomly breaks out into song throughout the day. This rule does not apply upon request; if you ask her to sing she might do a bar but then goes quiet; it has to be on her terms! She is also exceptional at telling us when she needs to potty and has those bodily functions down! The other day she also asked if she could do something for two more minutes– it cracks me up she is now negotiating with the adults in her life, which I know is only going to happen more and more as time goes on. She will also tell you who her boyfriend is if you ask, but I’ll leave that new for her to tell you.

We are working on the trading concept now- when Emerie’s precious monkey is taken by Reagan, she can trade another stuffed animal to get it back without a full on sibling disagreement and often without adult intervention. It doesn’t always work, but it is a noticeable change that they somewhat understand the concept and apply it when they want something in their sister’s possession. Progress. They also encourage each other to cleanup (Emerie usually instigates but Harper and Ray are starting to do it more), singing the song the entire time. We are making GREAT progress in this area.

Craig drops the girls off at daycare each morning, as it is on his way to work and I’m still working from home. After loading in the car seats, Emerie always requests a goodbye kiss; the other two recently picked up on the idea and now ask for it as well. We seem to load them the same each morning, with Craig taking Harper out first and putting her in the middle seat while I keep coats on the other two, then he puts Em in the seat behind him (it’s easier to patch her eye on this side when he arrives at the school), and I load Reagan up on “her side.” Reagan receives her kiss as she comments that they are going to school to see Madi and Dina (Diana, both their teachers) and I have to go around and plant one on Emerie or she gets demanding. She will then remind me to climb up and give one to Harper.

We went out to dinner at Red Robin the other night (just the five of us!). My more observant children excitedly shrieked through the restaurant at the “monkey” (actually the robin) standing in the restaurant lobby (we didn’t argue semantics here) and the carousel horse mounted across the room by another table, who they decided was Max from Tangled because he was white with a fancy saddle. Throughout dinner all three kept pointing at the “monkey” and telling us he was wearing shoes. Monkey shoes! Monkey shoes off? No shoes, monkey. It was pretty hilarious to hear this in between french fry munching and apple juice sipping. They also randomly re-noticed Max’s presence and shrieked that information out to all the tables on our side of the restaurant.

And the last gem on the new, toddler conversations in our house- Auntie Megan, who we play with constantly because the girls adore her boys, taught the girls about some new body parts that differ from theirs. This happened out of a diaper change, because every toddler in the house must participate in them and provide their inputs; she explained that boys have a penis and girls have a “gina”. Well, if you must know, this is a very hot topic in our household now that is randomly brought up day-to-day. One of those random times happened to be while we were at Fred Meyer last weekend and to my dismay (and delight, not sure?), all three were chanting daddy-penis, mommy-penis, rather loudly I might add, across the store. I could see the smiles and chuckles of passer-bys through their masks, as we headed for the checkout line at a bit faster pace! At some point they might accept that mommy does not have that equipment, similarly neither do they, but apparently that is not for my age two beauties. Silver lining of that shopping trip…we made it through the whole shopping experience without any diapers on or accidents!

Coloring

The girls bring home random “art displays” a couple of days each week from school. Since they are in two different classes, they don’t always come home with the same thing or on the same days. I noticed the other day that all three happened to color the same sheet; it made me chuckle how different they all look. See for yourself:

They all ask to color more often now, with Reagan seemingly the most lately, followed by Emerie and Harper. And yet, with that methodology and looking at the pages above, you would think Harper would be asking the most, as she was definitely the most dedicated to coloring that animal and this is not the first time. It’s interesting to see the differences between the three; after all, they are all individuals!

Also, if you wanted to know, Harper is going through the color black phase, just like I apparently did as a toddler. She wants black bows in her hair, the black crayon; she keeps asking for black! When given the choice of silverware color at dinner, she always asks for the blue one (occasionally her pink color), but I am certain if I had a black option she would pick it. Emerie likes her purple more so than anything else and doesn’t like the others to wear her coats and hats; Reagan often wants to take the purple from Emerie! I’m pretty sure purple is her favorite color at this snapshot in time, although she also likes green and orange colored jellybeans.

New Friends

As we continue subliminal binky weaning, which are now confined to the bedroom for sleep activities now, I feel as though I’ve been “stuffing” stuffed animals down their throats (see what I did there?) as a replacement. We are making great strides in this area, and the girls are allowed to take one animal of their choosing to daycare each day, mostly for snuggle time during their nap. Their preference varies each day for Harper and Reagan; Emerie brings the same one every time. For a couple of months this meant the stuffed pink bear for Harper and the white one for Reagan that I received at my work baby shower. The third animal was a soft elephant- not the one Emerie wanted because she wanted a bear like her sisters. This led to buying three new teddy bears that were a combination of pink/purple/teal, which lasted a little while, but the girls never loved on them as much as their original bears. Emerie then latched onto a pink “beany boo” piggie with big, purple eyes, so much that we had to buy a second one because Harper was quite insistent a pink pig should be hers. Fast forward a few more weeks and Emerie discovered her newest and most treasured companion, the purple tie-dye “beany boo” monkey. Monkey goes everywhere with her and has replaced any stuffed pig or teddy bear in her heart. It helps her flush the toilet, eat dinner, sit in the car, snuggle at bedtime and do all the other playtime toddler activities. I am currently trying to find two other similar, small stuffed animals to keep the other two from stealing her precious playmate.

Monkey goes everywhere with Em, including the potty!

Other preferred companions consist of the pig and chicken from Moana, a few soft, black teddy bears from Cousin Gabe, a stuffed sloth, and new Cabbage Patch dolls, whose names are CiCi, Stella, and Sadi according to their labels. It’s adorable to hear the girls yell where is Cici!? hi Cici. Sadi in time-out. Stella, no. They are working on potty training the dolls. I will often turn around to all three instructing their “kiddos” on the potty chairs in the living room, which sometimes results in cleaning them in the washer…

Reagan likes to snuggle with all of Emerie’s purple animals and has a very demanding regiment each night that often ends in toddler rage if she can’t get it exactly how she wants. It usually ends with a blanket wrapped fully around her body and over her head like a hood; then she HAS to either sit on the couch with Craig or I or sit at Craig’s feet on the floor. Harper is happy snuggling under a blanket with me and watching whatever movie is on, while Emerie rotates between her parents on who she feels like snuggling with that night. Everyone munches on apple pieces and explains whatever we are watching. It is by far the girls’ calmest moment of the day and one of my favorite parts.

Toddler Adventures

Another memorable moment from this month- Emerie managed to lock herself in the upstairs bathroom as I was putting the other two in their cribs for bed. We learned in this moment that neither of us know how to pick this type of lock; after about five minutes of a stressed out and crying two year old on the other side of the door, she managed to flip the lock back herself. Thank God!! A little YouTubing by Craig and now we know how to unlock it. Even more than a week later, Harper and Reagan still comment that Emi locked the door, Emi pushed the “button”, and so on. Apparently it was quite memorable for them too.

Harper’s latest thing is sipping juice or taking a bite of food and then spitting it back out onto the table. Then, in true toddler style, she will sip that juice off the table and repeat the process. Have I mentioned lately that toddlers are gross?

We went swimming for the first time since March’s quarantine and took the girls for their first visit to H2Oasis. Going right at opening meant we had the place to ourselves, which was great. We discovered that Emerie is our main water baby now (it was Reagan when they were little in the bath), so much so she even floated the river on her own (with arm floaties on) without us holding onto her. Harper was holding onto an adult for dear life and Reagan was happy to sit in the inter-tube and collect the rubber duckies. they were all a bit hesitant to go down the small water slides unless sitting on your lap but all enjoyed walking around the shallow areas. We also made 200+ trips to the bathroom throughout the two hour visit, because they HAD to pee in the regular potty and not in their swim diapers. Overall it was a great visit that resulted in some happy toddlers; we will have to go again.

Pumpkin Carving

One night Nanny came over for dinner, playtime and some pumpkin carving. Reagan received a little one-on-one time while we took the other two for their flu shots (she already had hers). Extremely excited toddlers shrieked as much as the dog at her arrival and were mostly cooperative for the pumpkin crafting. We gave them markers to “draw” faces on their mini pumpkins, which really meant slightly marking the pumpkins and majorly drawing on themselves. It came off…eventually.

We put up a few fall decorations this year, which was more than I can say for the last two years. Craig put the Halloween pillowcases on and Reagan was quite impressed, telling us new pillows over and over for a couple of days. I believe the orange lights hung on the fireplace finally prompted the learning of the color orange, which is not a key color in this house so they’ve ignored it to date. Now Harper and Reagan always seem to want the orange jellybean when given a choice of color.

All in all, the pumpkins turned out pretty cute and the girls willingly participated in a photo on the porch. Most of that credit can be given to Craig and Nanny for their knife skills.

Dentist Take Over

We had our first triple dentist visit, figuring it would be more time efficient to take all three simultaneously than by individual appointments. We opted to take the double stroller in and carry kid number three; this way two were strapped in and accounted for while the third had teeth checked. We let them run on the way out of the office and they were more than excited for that.

The car ride over consisted of discussion about showing our teeth to the dentist, smiling and opening your mouth wide, but that wasn’t enough for them to cooperate and do that at the appointment. Emerie went first, figuring she would be cooperative because she’s a pro at her eye doctor visits. Unfortunately, she was not having it and screamed and fought it every moment. Her turn was very quick! Second up was Reagan, who remained chill and let him look in her mouth AND brush her teeth and everything. This is a pretty typical doctor visit attitude for her, unless you are messing with her ears. Harper went last, since she is typically the most anti-doctor (and goes to the doctor the least so that’s good) and because she hated the last dentist visit after chipping two teeth. Surprisingly she did great and smiled and let him brush her teeth without too much attitude. Kudos to the Libby Group for surviving a triplet appointment with minimal meltdowns from the children or adults!

We are looking forward to our last fall adventure for this year, Halloween, and jumping into the holiday season. While I already want to put Christmas lights up, rest assured I will at least hold out until Thanksgiving!