Summer Adventures

The past weekend was chocked full of toddler adventuring and getting out of the house. We find that getting the girls out and about drastically helps with the grumpiness side effect of daycare transition and keeps our sanity intact, so we made plans to do our first real road trip and drive down to the Seward Sealife Center.

As usual, I was super over packed for a half day trip. Part of this is to ensure we have everything needed for whatever comes up, the other part knows if an accident shuts down the highway on our way home (which frequently happens), then we need to have enough supplies to survive a night in a hotel. Thank goodness we didn’t end up testing how that would go, but you never know and preparation is key (I am a planner, after all…)! So in addition to the snacks, lunch food, drinks and extra clothes and coats, I had everyone’s cuddle blanket, stuffed animals, binkies hidden away, and the bedtime book. This clearly tells me we need to purchase a camper so we can adventure for whole weekends and not just half days. Then I won’t feel so over packed!

Everyone was up and ready to go by 7:45, with our fellow triplet road trippers meeting up for the drive down. We anticipated the girls would not sleep on the way down, so Craig sat in the third row and helped entertain them (ahem…keep them from fighting…), supplied a constant stream of snacks, and kept us from a two hour scream fest. I enjoyed my coffee and the beautiful scenery from the driver’s seat.

We arrived right on time for our sealife center reservations. The girls were released from the strollers pretty early on; eventually it was seven toddlers running amuck toward each exhibit, someone always trying to herd them in the right direction as they excitedly screamed about the animals. The sea lions were a hit, especially when they were up close and appeared soooo big. Everyone touched the starfish and managed to get their hoodies all wet. Everyone threw fits going back into the strollers. It was a very pleasant, albeit FAST, visit that we will have to do again soon.

The over energized toddlers released a vast amount of energy at the park down the path along the water. The weather was cool with bits of sun and wind, but overall very pleasant for a (almost) fall day in our great state. The park was amazing, with only two entrances, allowing the parents to breathe a little that they wouldn’t immediately run out to the water. Lunch went much smoother for our fellow triplet friends than for mine. We didn’t bring the food from the car so they were less than thrilled at the thought of sitting for a few more snacks instead of real food; they wanted to run around and go back to the playground.

All in all, it may have been a busy, stimulating day, but also a good one. It was really nice to get out of Anchorage for a few hours and I look forward to longer trips like this next summer. The girls napped the whole way home; Emerie was out before we left city limits and Harper and Reagan chatted a little and pretty much fell asleep mid-sentence.

To continue the weekend adventures, we went down to the Kincaid beach the following day. This includes walking down a massive paved trail until you break off toward the beach (and unfortunately walking back up it later), dragging strollers down a path not meant for them, and having to pull said gear back up that steep path at the end of the trek.

We succeeded at this with about twelves kiddos and only four strollers, lots of snacks and fun beach gear. The girls did GREAT. They didn’t explore more than 20′ away from us the whole time we were down there, they played with their shovels and buckets and walked around with the sand in their toes. Luckily the sun stayed out for most of it and it wasn’t too cold…Alaska beaches aren’t warm and we were ready for that.

The most exciting part of the morning was getting stuck on the beach side of the trail due to a mama and baby moose blocking our way. The girls kept pointing and yelling moose from the stroller. At least 20 people were held up by these creatures, who assumed we would patiently wait for them to have their lunch before we walked by. Other hikers went through the brush around them, something you cannot do with a double chariot and a ton of loud, little people. Eventually they moved far enough that we could walk quickly by and go up the huge hill that took us toward the car. It was another great morning, although it took a good hour into nap time for Emerie and Harper to drift off to sleep. This will definitely be a spot to do again; this time we will warn our friends to wear hiking shoes and bring better gear…which we did not do this time around (oops Megan!).

One of the most adventure packed weekends we’ve had in a while- in a good way- hopefully the rest of fall can proceed in a similar fashion.

First Two Weeks

Two weeks in and we are still surviving. The girls are doing great at daycare; in fact, according to their teachers, they are settling in better than expected! This just goes to prove that little kiddos are very resilient and I hope we continue this trend as they grow up. One morning this week Emerie even confirmed she understood she was headed to school for the day, saying”Maddie” (who is her preschool teacher who she has closely bonded with!).

Headed to the car after a busy day having fun

At pickup last week I asked if the girls were climbing on the tables during meal times, running away when going outside or refusing to sit still for nap time; all typical things I would expect from my tiny toddlers. Things they all certainly do for their parents. The teachers looked surprised, answering no to all questions. So apparently this is just an issue that Craig and I have with our children and they have better behavior when we don’t witness it! They also have some magical skill at convincing them to nap.

Surprisingly, it didn’t take much to get them to comply with the new nap rules when they aren’t at home. In recent months naps have become much longer and needed to keep everyone pleasant for the evening. This has greatly improved from the 45 minute naps we had for quite a while, in a period my brain has mostly blocked out due to lack of sleep and stress. We also continue to have growth spurts that require more sleep and they make my babies look more like little girls every day. I love it and hate it at the same time.

The past two weeks has equated to more tired kiddos, which means that the parents FINALLY got a few full nights of sleep, without any kiddos pulled out of their cribs from anxiety or rage. This is a very uncommon thing the past year or so; almost every night requires some kind of intervention to keep someone happy. The other night I settled Emerie, put her blanket back on her, and she slept the rest of the night. That’s a little strange since she almost always sleeps through the night and her sisters’ fussiness. Harper is starting to improve after several months of extreme anxiety about her bed and soon I believe she will be back to sleeping in her room all night long. At this point I don’t mind laying down in the guestroom with her, mostly because I know one day I will miss that closeness- I should enjoy it while I can! Reagan’s sleep level varies between her sisters; about half the time she will call out at the crack of dawn for one of us and half the time she’ll sleep all the way through; sometimes we can settle her and sometimes not. Needless to say, the fact that we don’t wake up to full on panicked screaming at two AM every night is a blessing and much appreciated. My mom ears still pick up the momma! calls from the other room just as well as the MOMMAAA! version.

The new routine means the girls are up about 60-90 minutes earlier than normal. This is likely a direct factor why they are participating in nap time, being up so early, and also to the grumpiness in the evenings. Yes, the grumpiness. The girls are excited to see me at pickup, excited for their snack in the car on the ten minute drive home, excited to see Daddy, and as soon as we get settled in the front door, the rage and fussiness reappears for most of the evening. I try to remind myself it’s just the new routine adjustment period and the transition from daycare to home, but MAN, it takes a TON of patience after a long and busy workday. We mostly skipped this daily transition with the nanny because we were able to settle in from work while she was still there. Little did I know how much that helped each day! Fingers crossed this all improves after a couple of weeks.

One funny story out of this week. The girls “drove” a friend’s powerwheel truck at a park date last weekend and had a great time (other than the constant fighting over it). The truck was wide enough for three across and move on the pavement, inspiring us to do a little local, online shopping and find used ones to enjoy. We drove around the neighborhood the first night with all three crammed on and visited with a neighbor who has a similar vehicle. The second night we went down our street, in the rain, hoping for a few happy minutes as we transitioned from daycare to home. As you can imagine, using two vehicles when you have three toddlers doesn’t always go as smoothly as one would like. The three photos below say it all, some real life right here…it started out with smiles and giggles down the street, stretched into fighting over whose foot was on each gas pedal or wanting to be anywhere but where they were sitting at that moment, and ended with three total meltdowns in the middle of the street, both cars left on a neighbor’s front lawn, said meltdowners carried screaming down the street into the house (once we caught up with the little marathoners), and Craig retrieving the vehicles and carrying them home in the rain while I worked to calm the masses in the living room. True story, folks. You can’t make these things up.

All in all, I won’t complain too much about the grumpiness. It’s a phase, albeit not a very fun one, but we will get through it and move onto the next thing. I know the girls have fun all day while we are able to productively finish our workdays. I greatly appreciate the potty training efforts that I don’t have to do all day right now. I greatly appreciate knowing they are learning new things and becoming a little more independent, even though I’m not totally ready for it. And I’m greatly looking forward to the upcoming fall activities and more outdoor adventures, hopefully with happy and excited toddlers in tow.

The struggle is real…

When you’re brushing one kid’s teeth after bath time and the other two are dressed and in their bedroom, what do they do? Well, of course, they wedge the furniture into the door so that you can’t get back into their bedroom (we tried), climb up to the top shelf, grab the M&M candy container used for potty training, and try to scarf the entire thing down before you can get back in.

Luckily Craig managed to wedge it back out with some fancy closet-hanger-pole creativity, all the while the girls ate their discovered candy and watched the struggle. Harper, who was surprisingly not part of it (because teeth brushing), had no issue getting in the room, not listening to our request to move the ottoman, and enjoyed the candy shared from her sisters.

The struggle is real guys. The struggle is real.

Such innocent faces can be SUCH TROUBLEMAKERS

Little Mimickers

The #toddlerlife is becoming increasingly interesting in the Douglas household. Everyday produces new words, groupings and phrases as well as explicit commands. New comprehended actions are instructed to you, to siblings, the pets, and immobile objects like the table and door. Mimicking of actions and words increases all the time and they are clearly keeping an eye on all activities throughout the day. And with all that, we are starting to see our little people grow up. SO. FAST.

Dinner time with the fam.

I’ve been writing notes to myself of the funny and cute, random things that scream toddler. Here are a few of the silly mimics to look back on when they are older. For example:

  • Sibling spankings – the girls now try to discipline one another, Reagan most of all. She will provide her sister with a light pat on their butt if they continue to do something as Craig or I are telling them no and asking if they’d like a spanking. It’s almost become a game and they will chase one another around the room and yell “spank!” with a giggle.
  • Picture taking – In true modern fashion, they will pick up objects and pretend they are cell phones. This consists of small conversations held to their ears and as of this week, holding it sideways and yelling “cheese!” as they try to take your picture. They get frustrated when Koda does not smile based off their demands. It is ironic that they understand how to talk on the phone with your ear and mouth, since they rarely witness us do anything but text or FaceTime; AND that they don’t seem to understand the concept of an actual camera. If I hold the fancy camera up for a picture, they don’t look or smile or comprehend what it is most of the time, even more so when they were tinier.
  • Books – the other day Harper took it upon herself to read the night-night book to her half awake sisters, as we started the morning. She sat on the toy ottoman with the book in her lap and essentially sang twinkle twinkle little star (sounds like inkle inkle ittle star and is super cute) while holding up the bedtime star book.
  • The dreaded diaper – Butt smelling is the latest and greatest thing. Someone will say they are poopy and one of the adults will ask, are you sure, do you stink? And another clean-butted baby will go take a whiff of the butt in question. It’s pretty hilarious. They will also hold their butt up to you to check and try to assist on the changes. It’s very considerate.
  • Trashcan – We’ve progressed to the point that the girls now open the kitchen trash compactor using the foot pedal; something they’ve witnessed us do constantly, especially after diaper changes. Not going to lie, it is somewhat nice that they can hand delivery the stinky diapers to the trash for me, saving me a trip into the kitchen (sometimes three trips).

Verb comprehension is through the roof in the past month. We are now told bite it! or do it! or hold it! (that one is a Harper favorite) all the time. They want a bite of anything we are eating, even if it is the same thing on their untouched dinner plate; they want to buckle their own car seat (a process that takes ETERNITY when you have to comply with all three of them), and we are often instructed to hold something like leftover snacks or dolls. For the record, my masterminded mom-ness (is that a thing?) for the car seat buckling is to allow them to mess with the chest harness buckle while I quickly buckle the lower portion. For the moment, that suffices as they are “doing it” themselves. My downfall of the week is the lastest phrase of kill it! which I did not intend to teach them. In my defense, the MASSIVE polka dotted spider on my back porch had me toddler-demanding Craig to kill it. So that’s just great.

They also say shit! When they drop things…but I choose to blame that one mostly on Craig.

Harper’s latest word explosion consists of enunciating her words, saying things like “ride-IN” or “Ko-DAH” or my favorite, Rea-GAN. One day she just stopped saying Ray Ray and now refers to her sister by her full name. It’s so cute. Emerie continues to call her Ray Ray. They call each other’s names when something of interest requires immediate attention, meaning there are a lot of Harper!! Emmi!! Reagan!! exclamations during walks and outdoor adventures. It typically includes excited pointing and a lot of yelling.

The girls, especially Emerie, now recognize enough of the neighborhood through the car windows to ask if we are going home as we pull onto our street. When we leave the house, everyone says bye-bye house! They recognize our friends and 17-houses-away neighbor’s house and comment anytime we pass it in the car. Other notable neighborhood objects consist of the wind fans in people’s front yards, the lawn mowers (called momos in this house) parked in yards and driveways, and the ever popular trash or garbage cans. The girls will ask about Koda as we head home from somewhere. If we eat out somewhere or have a picnic snack at the park, they look for the dog to give their scraps too. Yes, we are working on that one and they are working on getting her to smile when they tell her cheeeese! with their pretend camera phone.

The baby timeout chair, aka the high chair we used in addition to the triple table, is now retired to the garage for resale. We are continuing to implement time-outs and this is not so simply with three at once. Surprisingly, they will mostly stay in the corner you put them in for punishment, and half the time it is Harper. The next door neighbor asked us the other day which one is always in trouble, is it Harper? I find it hilarious they pick up on that from our day-to-day, because she is definitely the one in the hair pulling, biting stage. Emerie’s biting habits are letting up now and in general Reagan responds to verbal discipline far more than her siblings do. It is interesting to see how they all respond differently to punishment, as I predicted they would (just because that is harder!). They also asked us who is the one that seems more upset than the other two…which Craig and I both responded with Reagan! She is currently living her best two-year-old life, which means acting typical for her age according to the nanny, while the other two are on better behavior (I guess?).

We made it through our first real movie with the girls over a few evenings this week, watching (in short chunks) Tangled and then Moana. I think they all sat for five minutes or so and watched intently, then one or two got up to play while number three snuggled and talked about it. And switch and repeat. While encouraging screen watching isn’t exactly what I want to do as a parent, I am realistic enough to know having them enjoy some television time occasionally is not a bad thing and is really nice!! The funniest part of watching Tangled is the girls’ new obsession with pan!! and yes, I am referring to the frying pan that our princess uses to beat up her tower intruder and other bad guys along the way. Now we get requests for the pan! movie. Hopefully they don’t take it to heart tooo much.

You are Loved

It’s taken me a while to find the words I wanted to explain my thoughts and it ultimately boils down to a very simplistic idea. I have a daily reminder to myself, through the crying, fits, mischievous behavior and fighting, reminding me that “you will never be more loved that you are right now.”

This idea is pretty profound, right?? It’s also really true. Your toddlers are teetering on independence, learning boundaries while staying in the comfort and knowledge that Mom and Dad are nearby and will protect them and keep them safe. As they grow older and mature, that love will change and reshape; but for now it really is unconditional!

you will never be more loved that you are right now

Unknown

It certainly makes me think. Think about how hard it is to raise a kiddo, let alone more than one, in a busy society filled with uncertainty and pressure. Think about the different, difficult stages that seem to be on repeat, think how to process them AND get through them while still trying to enjoy the days. Think about the sleepless nights and crazy busy days.

Snack time

They go to you for injuries, comfort, to snuggle or show you a rock they’ve found, as well as all other daily wants and needs. There’s no question in their mind that you are the person able to fulfill them and they never doubt your ability to. You are the person they have meltdowns with, because they know you will fix it and make it better, and the person to share an abundance of emotion, good and bad, as those unrecognizable feelings rise to the surface and bubble over.

Reminding yourself that your kiddos have an unrequited and abundant love for you helps improve state of mind! At least it does for me. One must remember to enjoy all these different parts of parenthood, the easy parts as well as the detrimental ones, because the future teenage meltdowns will not result in easy forgiveness and a snuggle! I have to enjoy the constant demand for attention, the “mom! mom! mom!”, because it won’t always be this way and they won’t always be vying for my unlimited attention. Enjoy it. Embrace it.

Growing up happens really quickly, and I don’t think it is something you realize until you witness your kiddos age before your eyes. This is on my mind this month, as we’ve made some daily changes that only occur as the girls grow and mature from babies to toddlers to pre-school age.

For example, the beloved triplet table is now collecting dust in the garage. The past month or two the girls have fought us on sitting in it, regardless of the fact that they still fit in it, and the past six months we’ve left the middle seat empty and separated one out in a high chair due to the fighting, hair pulling and food stealing that occurs.

They’ve taken to the adult table really well, and by that I am referring to the eating part. Less food is thrown on the floor (in general) than at the triple table and they usually humor us and sit a little longer. They also like to climb up and buckle themselves in for meals and the occasional puzzle. You can definitely tell they try to mimic us and be “grownup.”

But don’t let that convince you they are behaved grownups; because, well, someday they will learn to sit at the table and not stand and dance on top of it. After two weeks, if you walk out of the room for five second, you return to everyone standing on it and trying to play with the TV, the remote, or anything they usually can’t reach. Many tears and timeouts continue to occur from this.

Another furniture change was getting rid of the baby slide I found at a garage sale early last summer when they were just starting to walk. It was probably the best $10 I’ve ever spent in my life and was used constantly for months! It used to be a big slide with little girls playing on it; now it’s a little slide with big girls playing on it! It started on the back deck, shifted to the family and living room for the winter, and now off to a new toddler to enjoy!

This past week we’ve let the minions run free at a few new spots, including two walks where they lollygagged down the trail freely and did surprisingly well. They picked flowers, collected rocks, shrieked at the mud puddles, and ran around ON THE TRAIL. I know, I can’t believe it either. Part of that is due to the extra hands that walked with us and partly due to the vegetation on either side being about their height.

Emerie walked most of the way holding my hand (her insistence, not mine!), accepting flowers handed to her by Harper and Reagan and putting rocks in my pockets. Harper ran up the trail and then back to us on a continual loop, screaming at birds and claiming to see piles of poop. Reagan collected flowers and shifted between the front of the group and holding our hands.

In case you are wondering why everyone is in hooded sweatshirts for a walk in the middle of June…I can confidently tell you the mosquitoes are out in force this year and while they like all three girls, they LOVE Harper. You can see that obvious love from the bites on her face. To keep that minimized (even with bug spray), we try to keep them covered when in the woods.

Another first for the girls was a trip to the zoo. It was a beautiful sunny day, with minimal mosquitoes joining us, and turned out to be a very nice morning of fun. Once again we let them out of the wagon after a while and they loved it, although we went from a tour of Alaskan animals to a tour of the trash cans at the zoo. There was a great deal of running and exploring and total meltdowns when we loaded up to leave. Who can blame them…the zoo is pretty fun!

We learned that visiting the zoo is doable with three, mobile toddlers…IF you bring extra hands to corral them the right direction. I’m not sure it would have worked out with just Craig and I. The girls adored that our friend Kimber “Kimmie!” pulled around the wagon and joined us on the trek as well as another fellow toddler friend. They constantly demanded her muscles to pull them, refused snacks from anyone but her, and all wanted to hold her hand. It was very cute.

Throughout the two hour trek, we were continually reminded that all large animals are moose! with a shriek of great enthusiasm. This included the coyotes, bears, musk oxen and alpacas. Harper especially disliked the musk ox and leaned as far the opposite way as she could as we rolled by. Emerie and Reagan weren’t even phased. Every especially liked the big kitties that looked at the girls like they were a potential snack and, of course, all of the different birds (eagles, owls, birds, etc.). The polar bear impressed them less than I was expecting; instead they much preferred ooooing over the coffee mug in the wagon than looking at the massive bear on the other side of the glass. We will get there…

Run run RUN!

We will certainly go visit the zoo again and hopefully the petting zoo part will be reopened soon because they will love it. Give us a shout if you want to go sometime and we’d love to join…as long as there are extra hands coming with us.

Once again, I am thankful that summer is here! I am thankful and appreciative of the tiny toddlers that brighten up my life and make it oh so interesting, even when they are driving me up a wall, and constantly reminding myself to enjoy this period of my life, enjoy the snuggles and the big smiles and the excited reactions to new experiences.

Hang in there, fellow parents. I’m still living in the denial that the next age is more pleasant than this one….just go with it…. ❤

First family trip to the zoo