The Douglas household was fully embracing summer by the middle of May. A little optimistic, maybe, but also a nice break from the dreary and cold winter and spring. Harper’s obsession of shorts and dresses has passed to the other two and everyone now strongly demands such attire each day, regardless of the weather outlook. Fancy dresses were worn during gardening and throughout the long, sunny weekend.
The neighborhood will often witness three princesses biking down the street, in full-length princess dresses, heels (although they are learning heels are hard to bike in!) and bike helmets. Harper led the charge on the peddle bikes and training wheels and had the process completely down in about two days. For the most part her understanding of breaking is learned, other than when stressing down a “big” hill, freaking out and slamming into a curb. Reagan was right behind her and picked up the peddling a few days later. Her stuffed panda is mandatory for all rides. Emerie has no desire to climb on the bigger bike and races around her sisters on the pink balance bike. Occasionally Reagan will opt to ride hers and fly down the street with her legs out, balancing! We plan to let Emerie decide when she wants to transition to peddles, especially considering her balance is still off a bit from her recent surgery.
In addition to the almost daily neighborhood bike rides, we are back to the constant water play. With dandelions in bloom, custom versions of dandelion soup and tea are the hits of the house. Every time you turn around you find dandelion parts, water, and flower petals. The girls designed some great food off the fallen petals on the floor of Bells Nursery this week. And those are free! A number of bouquet deliveries have also occurred and I can confidently say that our lot has no growing dandelions at the moment.
Another really cute moment during a bike ride last week; Emerie found a field of seeding dandelions on a nearby neighbor’s lot and abandoned her bike to collect them. By the time we caught up to her, she was hollering she found a bunch of wishes! So cute.
Reagan already mastered the art of swinging and while she knows how to do it, she still wants to be pushed sometimes. Harper and Emerie study their sister’s new skill and are starting to do it themselves too. New types of swings continue to pop up on our property thanks to Craig’s creativity and we now have a front tire swing and normal swing, and three regular swings, a trapeze bar and a fancy sun seat in the backyard. This week the girls all learned how to do a back flip holding the trapeze and are so thrilled to show it to everyone.
The Douglas family is also growing again (calm down, not THAT) with the arrival of baby chicks. As shouted at me when arriving home from work to them, we got Easter eggs! We briefly tried adopting some last year but quickly learned the girls weren’t quite ready to be gentle with them (and I might have threatened Craig’s life if we kept them). This time around is going much better. Craig told me he showed all three how to gently help the babies drink water while I was at work; Emerie’s first attempt was more like a shove-the-entire-chick-into-the-water type of “help,” but she will learn. Reagan and Harper are quite gentle with them but enjoy petting their heads more than feeling the scaly feet on their hands. A few have definitely tried to learn to fly in the moment from getting thrown by a stressed out preschooler; none of them have died yet either! When asked what everyone is named, the quick consensus was all names starting with ballerina (Ballerina Emerie, Ballerina Harper, Ballerina Grandma, Ballerina Tyler) or Ling-Fong. Yes, we will work on better names as they get bigger.
We are almost three weeks out from Emerie’s surgery and her eye is straightening nicely. Unfortunately this improvement is tied to a very droopy left eyelid (like her first procedure) and now that she’s a bit older, she has more opinions on it and tells people her eye is closed or that it won’t stay open. She asks to go to Dr. Winkle to fix it too. Her patching and wearing of glasses continues to be a daily battle; she is such a trooper while patched and distracted with an activity and while a bit less balanced, still works really hard to do everything her sisters do while wearing it. I’m thoroughly impressed at how well she handles her wobbles and continues having fun and try to give her credit and praise when it goes well.
A few more girls nights have occurred over the past month and I feel as though they are getting easier to navigate by myself. Maybe it’s because we are getting into a groove; more likely it’s due to the yummy food and ability to chow down on dinner with a movie in the living room, which we don’t do any other time. This week elevated temperatures resulted in a granted ice cream request to kick off girls night before dinner, and went really well.
The three day daycare closure and holiday weekend meant a solid six days with the kiddos home. While exhausting and very stimulating, the girls slept in later than normal due to efforts to tire them out all day, no naps and direct sun beaming down through most activities. Reagan even slept until 9:30 one morning! I’m guessing a growth spurt is right around the corner.
The majority of Memorial Day weekend was spent outside with lots of adventuring and activities. We played at the beach (an Alaskan beach with dry, cold sand!), played with the water slide and pool in the back yard, ran the sprinkler, destroyed the back deck with smashed orso balls, shopped for and planted flowers and vegetables, had play dates with friends, went to the park, explored Saturday market carnival rides, and so much more. The girls continue to be fearless and went down a three tiered slide for the first time. Emerie bonked her forehead on the second trip down and was less than impressed and Megan nearly broke her leg (again) at the same time. Everyone loved the carousel and boasted big smiles throughout several rides. All five kiddos joined Megan on a spinning apple ride and no tears or screaming occurred, much to my surprise. It is very likely all three will be fans of fair rides in the future and that state fair this year will probably cause us bankruptcy; here I was thinking they’d be nervous or hesitant (well Emerie and Reagan anyway- Harper has always had a need for speed!).
Now that summer is here, a few trips are in the planning stages and I look forward to trekking to a couple other towns on the road system this summer. I will certainly have three extremely tanned and super blonde girls in tow for most of it…and I can’t wait to see what shenanigans we get into.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Excluding the fact that Daylight Savings Time brought on the worst night of sleep our family has had in a while, the overall weekend was filled with fun activities and mostly happy babies who actually took good naps.
When I say a bad night of sleep, it usually involves a rotation of all three babies angry at some point during the night, but not usually all at the same time. While I don’t think DST is the reason for the grumpy night, keeping them up an extra half an hour probably didn’t do us any favors- we definitely had triple baby rage for almost two hours, sometime in the middle of the night (I don’t actually remember when). So the night went like this: my mom brain immediately awakes to the sound of a shrieking baby, can’t tell who until looking at the nursery cam, but by that point all three were unhappily awake. On a typical night when someone shrieks, they usually can’t find a binkie or bumped their head into the crib rails- most of the time they will settle themselves after a few seconds and their sisters will sleep right through it. On a night like this weekend, that one cry just grew louder and instantaneously awoke the other two, who were NOT impressed with being woken up. We let them cry for a while, hoping they’d settle and go back to sleep. On a bad night like this one, after over an hour of crying, Craig ended up with two unsettled babies in bed with him and I had one in the guest room and we slept a couple hours like that until I got up at five. Sounds superrr fun right?
On nights when they don’t settle, I fly into the nursery as quickly and quietly as possible and whisk that baby out. This usually works (and is usually Emerie although we do trade around) and that baby gets some one-on-one parent time with us for the next few hours until the early morning feed. Some nights they immediately go back to sleep between us, other nights they want to cuddle or drink a bottle before dozing off, and some nights it becomes a several hour battle to get them to go back to sleep, even with us.
Here’s the catch- you have one baby in your room, finally settled, and the next one cries out a little while later. I dive out of bed again, quickly checking the nursery cam to see who it is. If they both wake up at this point, we give them a few minutes and see if they settle without intervention. If only one is awake, I know I have seconds to grab that baby (usually Reagan at this point) before she wakes the third one. I then lay down in the guest bedroom with baby #2 while Craig stays in our room with baby #1. The biggest issue from this point on is if baby #3 wakes up and starts wailing…thankfully those nights don’t happen too often, and since it’s usually Harper (gotta give her credit as my best sleeper!), we can give her a bottle and briefly snuggle in the nursery. She’ll usually go back to sleep in her crib while the other two are asleep in the other bedrooms for a few more hours. Having one or two babies out of their beds for a couple hours each night seems to be our norm since our trip to Juneau. Having no one in their crib at all is pretty abnormal, so by the time my alarm clock goes off in the morning, I am very ready for tho types of nights to be over with. Thankfully the early morning feed (that we will have to give up someday but not yet!) gets everyone back in their own beds for a couple more hours of sleep while we get up for work or take a catnap ourselves.
Did reading that tire you out? It did for me!
Excluding the minimal night of sleep, the weekend wasn’t sooo bad. We left the house a few times for different types of activities: ate out at one of our favorite local restaurants (french fries and milkshakes!), swam with friends at the pool, played at dad’s group, “helped” Grandma Sue make cookies and played with Papa Cliff, and wreaked havoc on the library. This is one of the first weekends in a while that we didn’t hit up the park, but the weather was wet and windy and the girls weren’t thrilled to play out in the backyard, let alone go somewhere outside.
I like to take the girls to the library on my off day- they are usually pretty good about running around the play area and not immediately trying to escape. But after about 10 minutes there this week, they were already off and trying to escape to explore the whole kid area. We ended up letting them check out the book aisles (that burns energy!) and try out the games on the kid computer and the chalk table. Unfortunately they still want to just eat the chalk, not so much color with it. They definitely enjoyed the computer keyboard and mouse, not so much what was playing on the screen.
The girls did great out to lunch at one of our favorite local, family-owned restaurants- Arctic Roadrunner. I discovered their great love for delicious pickles and brought a pile home with us for snacking on later. They will suck all the juice off the pickle before attempting to eat it, so I think it passes the toddler flavor test. At the end of the meal, Emerie and Reagan were playing peekaboo under the table with each other, initiated completely by them! And as I handed the last baby to Grandpa to take to car, the table next to us sweetly commented that they have twins and thought the girls behaved great throughout our lunch.
After an unusually successful nap time at home, we bundled up and played on the back porch for a bit while Grandma continued cooking. No one was too thrilled at the wet and windy surroundings, but they all played a bit on the castle (with all the new pieces installed!). It only took moments for everyone to figure out how to climb into the tower and open the fancy trap door. Emerie really liked hanging out in the tower and going up and down, and Harper and Reagan checked it out and then went back to their play cars and the slide.
After a few minutes, we came back inside, took off coats, hats, boots and fleece pants and all three had a turn helping helping Grandma Sue roll the cookie dough in powdered sugar and onto cookie sheets…although it might have looked like an explosion of sugar in the kitchen afterwards. I imagine we will have a number of years with such “explosions” when cooking, especially with how much Craig and I like to bake (whenwe have time).
Harper was not a happy camper to wait her turn and Emerie and Reagan didn’t want to stop “helping”. Emerie was the self-proclaimed and certified taste tester and Reagan was such a helper and happy to plop the dough onto the cookie sheet. Don’t worry, the cookies turned out fine!
The girls haven’t gone swimming, other than the occasional back yard baby pool adventure during the summer, since we visited Juneau back in early July. The rec center there was much warmer and set up for small children than the high school pool we went to on Sunday. The girls started out pretty chilled, with teeth chattering a bit, but eventually accepted their fate of water time and cooperated. We brought two floaties with us and rotated who sat in them and who held what kiddo. Janelle and Megan, with kids in tow, joined us for extra hands! For an event that had more kids than adults and involved water, I think we did pretty great.
Also, I mean really, how cute are they in those tiny swimsuits? And they are 2T and fit (a little big on Em still)! My babies are getting so grown up.
One key piece of advice that was shared to me sometime last winter. Do NOT dress the girls in matching swimsuits. At first I really questioned that, but if you think about it. Having all three looking the same can confuse the lifeguards, they may see a kiddo struggling for a moment, look away for a second and look back to see the kiddo playing fine in the water, while the first one could actually still be struggling and in danger. The lifeguard wouldn’t know that they are two or three different kids when dressed alike and a short distance away. It is very smart to remember this when you have similar sized (and looking) babies in an environment that needs lots of parental supervision and a great piece of advice that I’m taking going forward.
We may be getting to the point that swim lessons will be fun. Craig was definitely a water baby and I think the girls take after him on it. Anyone who wants to join us to be the third set of adult hands; you just let us know! Of all the kiddos that participated, the girls were the only ones that didn’t somehow meltdown in the locker room afterwards. I call that a win…even though it just means they were happily running around the locker room while I chased and tried to dress them…a fun, diaper issue also occurred, but I won’t go into more explanation or detail than that (use your imagination and you’re probably right…).
One other cute memory from this past weekend- the girls are really interacting together so much more; not so much full on talking or words, but noises and basic interactions. It improves every day as they discover new things to try. This photo, from right after dinner the other night, shows Emerie going and tickling Harper’s toes, completely unprompted. She started with Reagan, who was giggling at her from the table as I cleaned off her hands from dinner, and then moved over to Harper to see if she would react in the same manner. It was so cute! Occasionally they will try to belly tickle each other as well- probably from seeing us do it to them, but it is less effective than going for those feet! Harper is definitely the most ticklish of the three, but it’s also not too difficult to tickle torture Reagan and Emerie to get a laugh.
All in all, it was a fun weekend. Now back to the work week grind!