Hunker Down: Week 2

How can those adorable faces be so mischievous?!

This week is all about my toddlers living their best toddler life. And by that, I mean major shenanigans, tiny adventures, learning how to be mischievous, and everything in between.

Harper and Reagan are now talking a lot more and expanding their vocabularies; Emerie continues to mimic all the words you give her. The main word for this week is no and mermaid. Do you a want timeout? No! Do you want more food? No! Do you want to come inside? No! Do you want your diaper changed? No! (but it really means yes but they still want to run from you)

Saying her words!

They now call William Uncle, it’s really cute; and are finally starting to say Grandma after months of coaxing. It has taken much convincing!

Bedtime routine consists of sister chatting, reading the bedtime book while they throw stuff animals at us and then snuggle down in bed, and using the new nightlight from their birthday. It has multiple projector settings with a swirl of colorful stars! Different settings seem to interest them greatly, but we’ve found that settling is more difficult for Reagan when they are shifting around the room in red and blue. White, not-rotating stars seem to be accommodate going to sleep.

I can sum this week up with two words: mischievous and wild. More personality traits are emerging in each and they are maturing into sensitive, high energy, smarty pants toddlers. For example, Emerie is now mischievously sneaking off to places out of sight (like the play castle or caterpillar, and taking the time to pull of her glasses and patch before re-emerging like nothing ever happened. She’s started doing this for just her glasses as well; but is slowly learning if a stern voice threatens her with timeout, she will go find said glasses and try to put them back on. It’s quite a lot of effort to keep track of them (and I don’t mean the kids on this one haha). We’ve also taken to small rewards when she does obey, find the glasses, and put them back on her face. She especially enjoys an M&M or a marshmallow.

On my solo Friday off, mischievous Reagan showed Emerie how to climb out of her crib as I brought Harper downstairs. I found both of them standing on the changing pad area of the crib, looking out the bedroom window and giggling. Luckily she hasn’t tried it again, but I’m sure she’s saving that for another day. On the flip side, a post bath time Reagan climbed back into Emerie’s crib and lost her mind that she was again contained, even when she put herself there. Toddlers…

Mischievous Harper keeps finding the dog food…no matter where we put it! I guess there are some healthy elements in it and, as typical, she goes at it 100%, grabbing full handfuls. On the table, back porch, stairs…she b-lines straight to it at every opportunity.

Other fun mischievous things for the week: climbing out of the bathtub without permission, running out the front door and toward the street, pulling off diapers and running around, and yes, poop… Bolting the front door is now a necessity and we probably need to invest in another lock to add- all three have dashed out the front at one point; luckily a parent was close by or they were running out to welcome Daddy home.

It’s been a while since a poop incident…so I guess we were overdue. While working away on my laptop, upstairs and out of sight of children, I hear some commotion downstairs regarding diapers. Apparently, our almost-ready-to-potty-train Reagan removed her pants and diaper and proceeded to take a nice #2 bathroom break on the floor behind the play castle. The area is out of view and private from most of the room and between the castle and front living room windows, making it the perfect spot to be up to no good! Now, of course, when you have three toddlers and one of them is doing something they shouldn’t, it’s a given that the other two will get in on it. So both Emerie and Harper walked through it; thankfully they had socks on, but gross! Harper also had it all over her hands and kept repeating yucky! And Emerie? Well, she was walking around, repeating oh shit, oh shit later that afternoon. I mean, we knew that would happen eventually…right? I choose to blame that one on Craig. Anyway, it was quite the commotion to get Reagan’s diaper back on. Oh so fun. Poor Nanny.

The girls now try to participate during diaper changes and often point at their sister and repeat yucky. They wish to help facilitate the change, grabbing diapers, any and all accessible wipes, pulling on sisters’ clothes, climbing on the parent, all of it. That help also means taking a diaper, opening it and holding it up to their sister, and giggling. With the changing area open to the whole room now, the girls try to beat on the sister that’s momentarily immobile…or the occasional rare moment where I can convince all three to give kisses. That’s only happened once and I wish I had captured it on film, but I didn’t have my phone handy.

To continue the potty theme, after coloring in the shower for a few that evening, on a whim I put everyone on potty chairs. Knowing ahead of time this usually ends messily, we let them run around in the nursery before pajama time. Two successfully peed on/next to the potty (well kinda- missed mostly but they were sitting on it!) and one went right on the floor…her trend for the day (and I’m sure you can guess who). So yes, enough if that. And I didn’t take any photos…you’re welcome.

We attempted this again another night and had one success! Harper got an M&M for it, wowed her audience (Emerie and Reagan), AND to commemorate the joyous achievement, threw the chair full of pee at Craig. So funny.

For the wild portion of the week, we make it a point to burn as much energy as physically possible during awake hours, especially being at home all the time. This has improved napping for the most part. Reagan has been sleeping on the guest room bed and we’re finding she takes a two hour nap when no one interrupts her in the middle of it. This means she actually likes sleep as long as it’s steady; something that’s been questioned the past year. It’s almost as if she’s flipped with Harper, who is having a harder time settling herself this month, waking up multiple times during a nap and having a hard time going back down. Emerie is a rock star, napping through Harper’s insistence to get up, AND for the most part sleeping all night! If she does awake in the midst of the night, she easily settles with a snuggle and sometimes a bottle, going right back to sleep after. The other night she even laid back down by instruction when we snagged the other (screaming) two.

Finding more ways to enjoy magnets!

My solo Friday went decently and the girls were in jolly moods- we played outside twice in the morning with the fresh, wet (April) snow. They made snowballs, played in their snow covered cars and “helped” me shovel the deck.

For the most part, the day went without a hitch until the mailman rang the doorbell twice, smack in the middle of nap time, waking up Harper. Emerie didn’t nap at all but was in her crib almost an hour and a half, with the doorbell going off the last straw. Very frustrating, since we have a sign that reminds visitors not to wake sleeping babies or ring the doorbell. Our typical mailman (mailwoman?) is great and never wakes the kids. It’s the small things that can have such a big impact on the day, you know? Ruining a nap may seem small, but it’s the only hour of sanity I get in the 12+ hours everyone is awake.

As most moms are, I’ve been scanning the internet for creative crafts and new activities to keep the kids interested and engaged throughout the day. I cooked mac and cheese again with all three colors this time and the girls liked to point out the differences. Emerie commented Harper for the pink noodles, and everyone is improving on repeating the real colors back to you.

I also attempted a Facebook craft video using empty rolls of toilet paper. It lasted all of five minutes before little hands tore it to shreds, but they were definitely entertained well into the afternoon just playing with the ping pong balls and toilet paper rolls. I think we will find a way to reinforce it so they can’t tear it down- that will provide a great deal more entertainment. Who knew gravity was so exciting?!

Other WILD traits for the week including running around the house with doll strollers and the driveway with chalk, riding tricycles, and dragging me around the main floor by my hands, which prompted a good twenty minutes of laughs and lots of steps for me. A few nights consisted of very grumpy toddlers, even after good naps and overall days, and overnight sleep is about the same.

All in all, this week was more chaotic than our first seven days in “hunker down” mode, which went pretty smoothly in terms of triplets, Here’s to hoping week three is calmer than this one; and if not, a few more glasses of wine and batches of no bake cookies should do the trick. We finished off the week with 30+ hours of triple grumpy toddlers, for no major reason that we could tell. Even with decent naps and some decent meals, they were all GRUMPS. So please, let spring show up so we can start spending hours outside in the sun and heat (warmth?!) to burn that energy and have some happier children.

Pink Purple Teal

A new phase is on its way and it is color related.

The other night, for the first time ever, Emerie color associated all on her own. Because we often dress the girls in their colors, although we do so less often than we used to, it was just a matter of time until they started to picked up on it. While we don’t stress learning their colors too much (although we tried at Christmas and too soon), most days center around pink/purple/teal in regards to their outfits.

Tiny color coordinating
Pink / Purple / Teal

In case you can’t remember, Harper is pink, Emerie is purple, Reagan is teal. Each theme color means a set of clothing that matches those colors, or triple matching outfits I’ve found that include all three and are great for causing confusion when friends come over (small perk) or we go out to an event. The older they get, the more we dress them in matching outfits; far more than during infancy, probably due to the fact that Craig and I can easily tell them apart now through sounds, facial expressions, and actions. Their plump, little baby faces were much less distinguishable!

My mind is blank on how we originally decided who received what color when they were in the NICU. What I do remember is how helpful the color coordinating was for people who didn’t see them daily as well as for the overtired parents. Looking back at pictures of the first year, I’m not completely sure who is who other than through labels or colors.

Getting Emerie ready after bath time earlier this week, I had three footie pajamas laying next to the diaper changer. As I put her lotion on, she picked up the pink striped one, looked at me and said “Harpa;” I held up the teal with sheep one and she said “Ray Ray.” Holding up the pink and purple one with flowers, intended for her, the response was again “Harpa” and she pushed it away from her. So she ended up with wearing a whale themed one as she refused the partial pink one on her!

The next night I asked Harper the same questions after her bath. She looked at me as I held up the teal themed one and said “Daddy” (lol). When I held up the pink one she did say “Harpa”, but would not respond for the purple one. I fully support Craig wearing 2T footie pajamas to bed; after all, he is in a house of all girls!

Lastly, Reagan provided no participation in my questionnaire. As I held each outfit up, she just stared at me and tried to escape. The light switch at the other end of the dresser means she can play with the lights and turn the ceiling fan on and off. That was definitely a much higher priority in her playbook.

Everyone still does a bottle at bedtime (a habit we are hoping to break soon). Routine is much easier now than last year. One of us says “bottle time” while the other finishes prepping them; they all run downstairs and lay down on the couch cushion, against the pillows that are propped to limit jumping injuries. They often holler a few “babas!” at us until each is hand delivered. Sometimes they will down a whole bottle in one setting, sometimes it takes a good hour of play and bottles.

I’ve been letting them make random decisions lately, hopefully making my little toddlers feel empowered on some of the tiny stuff, like choosing which of the three bottles they want to drink, or which spoon they want with dinner, or which Bog boots to wear when we run an errand. One night this week I attempted to hand Reagan a purple rimmed bottle and she refused it, insisting she had to have the white capped one (since no bottles are teal). This is her first time avoiding the pink or purple one, and later in the evening it didn’t seem to matter anymore.

This is a brief look into what I believe is just around the corner on our toddler development roadmap. I’ve heard other triplet parents who color associated saying all kinds of wild, new things are on the way as they continue to mature, such as:

  • their kids will only wear their specific color and no one else’s
  • their kids become super possessive and don’t like their siblings to wear their colors
  • toys in those colors become more of a battleground when sharing
  • their kiddos grow up and hate the color they were given and want nothing to do with it
  • a combination of each kid acting one of these ways (seems like the hardest one to me)

Luckily I doubt we will stick to their colors forever, simply because they are easily recognizable to us at this point…you know…most of the time…

So…more multiple fun to look forward to.


One more lovely new issue that’s really taken off this week- the anti-clothing movement. The cold outdoor temperatures do not help, with our house feeling warm in comparison; but our main level, with vaulted ceilings, is still a little chilly to run around without clothes on.

Reagan, as the ringleader, now inspires her sisters to remove their shirts and pants on a frequent basis. How are we solving this? Well, everyone is wearing short sleeves in February, because long sleeves get pulled off at some point during the day and involves so much effort and time-outing to fix. We are also back to onesie shirts that are now snapped over the pants like leotards. Thank goodness the girls are skinny and have some time before they outgrow 24 month bodysuits or we’d be in trouble! Bigger sizes don’t make them and I’m not dressing them in swimsuits all day long.

We tried out overalls and they were unimpressed…I will try to tackle this one again this weekend because they would be so adorable in them. Ultimately I can’t blame the soft clothing preference, such as the jeggings, leggings, and stretchy tights they’ve worn most of their life, to the corduroy and jean type material. It’s much less comfortable! We also tried putting big-girl underwear over their pants. Hilarious…yes. Successful…somewhat! Plan to go out in public dressed this way? Not quite… Throw an 80s themed toddler party? Maybe.

The typical two-piece pajamas are on hold for a bit and we are back to one-piece footy pajamas and one-piece sleepers with feet free. Harper and Emerie don’t try to pull theirs off, but Reagan will easily unsnap the snap within two minutes, unzip the rest, and be running around entirely free to tackle the next step in her plan, diaper removal. This is currently solved by safety pinning the two sides of the zipper together, creating a less than thrilled toddler.

So for now, we’ll be over here hall monitoring the clothing situation until they LISTEN and leave them on. And who knows, maybe their clothing colors will be a mute point this summer…you know…IF NO ONE WILL WEAR THEIR CLOTHES.

#tripletlife

Triplet Talk

I started a blog on the girls’ “triplet talk” over a year ago. The thought of future sneaky conversations, ones that us parents can’t interpret, is something we’ve looked forward to since before the words started to flow.

Let’s back up a little, shall we?

NINE MONTHS: A few months prior to their first birthday, around Christmas time, no one was speaking more than the normal, nine-month old baby gibberish, with an occasional momma, dadda, or nom nom nom when eating some delicious food (mostly Reagan on that one). Everyone made sure that the parents were equally prioritized throughout the new words, with one saying momma first, one saying dadda, and one saying both! Very considerate to level the playing field for us. Even at this age everyone interacted non-verbally quite consistently, using their motions and eyes to tell each other things. Sometimes a simple look would draw a smile out of a sibling.

As you can see in the photo of my bald babies, the binkie stealing was an early interaction. This continues to this day but with a lot more emotion!

By the end of their first December, the very basic triplet talk began to emerge. Here’s a cute moment between Harper (left) and Reagan (right) and some baby food! The sit up chairs that we used before the triple table and highchairs definitely helped spur some conversations, especially because we shifted them around the room constantly and made them face each other sometimes too. They look so very tiny and immobile back then…

ELEVEN MONTHS: Fast forward about two months…here is another cute interaction, this time between Harper and Emerie. I’m sure discussion centered around why Harper was free of the baby prison and Emerie and Reagan remained in containment. In real time at 22 months, this discussion is WAY louder. If one is outside the play area (for whatever reason that isn’t usually escape), then the other two are certainly hollering and announcing how unfair it is that they aren’t free as well. This consists of a lot of yelling and uninterpreted sounds until someone gets a parents’ attention or the baby gate is shifted to allow free play in the room.

Conversations continued as we rounded out their first year of life. At this age enthusiastic noises sound like baby dolphins having a nice conversation. Plus, look how cute they were!!

Adorable right?!

ONE YEAR: At the end of March of 2018, around their first birthday, we noticed the first crib time baby giggles, usually between all three and often after bath time or right before bedtime. One example below, shows everyone pulling themselves up on the rails of the crib and interacting with one another. They look so short here, as they now stand much taller! There are also sooo many more teeth marks on those poor railings.

Reagan and Harper

Another activity that helped draw out more interactions was the fabric playhouse. They enjoyed crawling through the side door and playing peekaboo with one another or anyone that would sit in the house and jump out at them. Sister time really started, as you can see here! While it consists mostly of giggles, laughs, and happy noises, the eye contact displayed who was “talking” to who. Words would show up later. After this picture Harper tried to chew on Reagan’s forehead, which ended the sweet encounter and the happy sounds.

Emerie and Reagan having a moment:

At this age peekaboo was the single, greatest game ever created. They endeavored to play it with each other independently as well as with mom and dad. While no one fully understood the concept of sharing yet, they definitely peeked at each other and giggled, sometimes with a blanket or a burp cloth, a pair of pants from the floor, or anything cloth related that they can get their hands on or steal from their sister.

FIFTEEN MONTHS: By summertime the girls were much more communicative. This is likely attributed to improved mobility as well as better social cues from one another. As soon as they were off and running (in addition to walking), they would play with each other and zoom across the house, across the deck, even the backyard; hollering and giggling with one another and the pets! This became an hourly occurrence.

No secretive toddler language had emerged at this point, but everyone was well aware of one another and each other’s cues. They also knew their sisters’ names at this point, and while they didn’t verbally say them, everyone knew who the parents were talking to with their usage. After not too long Harper would say her own name, “Harpa“, and eventually “Emi” and “Ray.” It was a number of months before everyone began using their names, although “sissa” wasn’t too far away.

EIGHTEEN MONTHS: By the midway mark to age two, word were minimal words between them with lots of mimicking and learning of new sounds individually. By the 18 month pediatric checkup, we were already at about ten words each, but not really ones they speak to each other. This is about the first time we heard “sissa” for sister, instead of using their names. It’s rarely said but sooo cute.

The doll strollers became quite the hit, once Emerie taught her sisters how to sit in them and attempt to buckle in (which they could do themselves after a while), they then chauffeured one other around the living room and kitchen, colliding with everything in their paths, including each other. The toddler cars brought out the same thing.

TWENTY MONTHS: At this point in their development, the girls harnessed onto specific things and then harped on them for days. This started with the dog door, as you know, and expanded out to the “shut” from Emerie to anything left open (gates, doors, cabinets, nightlights!). The girls began to collaborate on these types of issues, running synchronized to something that was left open and then all hollering for Mom or Dad to fix it…immediately. This prompted the first sets of teamwork, kids coordinating together versus everything! And yes, that is mildly terrifying because they aren’t too far away from figuring out their numbers are higher than their parents. Craig and I will have to step up our “zone defense” once that concept is established, because “man-to-man” doesn’t work when there are three!

Pushing each other…

TWENTY-TWO MONTHS: Zoom to present day- new conversational habits are emerging this month that are both cute and entertaining. Each kiddo seems to have a different one too:

  • Emerie: We all know about the shut instructions Emerie provides to everyone and taught her sisters (I should probably write SHUT in all caps-she’s very confident about it.) Another one Emerie does daily is “me me me“. This is specific to anytime Harper or Reagan takes something from her…a toy, a binkie, a wash cloth, all of it. The volume will increase with her rage on the stolen item. If her binkie is plucked from her mouth then it is said over and over again until one of two things happen: her sister brings it back and gives it to her (occasionally) or we convince her to go find something else and divert her attention.
  • Harper: Harper is the first to really comprehend help and stopping someone from helping her when she thinks she can do it unassisted. The other day she put her hand on mine and said “no, stop” when I attempted to buckle her in the highchair. She knew she could figure it out; it was the first time she confidently told me no, knowing she could do it herself. And she did. Such a big girl!
  • Reagan: my favorite word quirk from Reagan relates to sweets (figures, like father like daughter!). She will insistently repeat “ein, ein, ein” until she depletes your resistance and you share your treat (often ice cream or frozen yogurt, but sometimes even broccoli or green beans!). She’s very insistent and will get in your face to make sure you are paying attention.

Here is a cute display of everyone admitting their love for Tay Tay (Taylor Swift), and shaking their hips and butts when I ask if they want to listen to their favorite song. The best part is they responded in sync, after we were talking about what music to play on YouTube. They will all dance at the same time, but rarely dance together; hold hands, anything like that. I’m sure we have a few more months before that will emerge and I can’t wait!

Because the girls now get into everything, whether or not you think they can reach, we are trying to set up a few more verbal boundaries with better instruction. Earlier this month they learned “hot” and “cold”, relating this to a number of things. It’s cold when you get out of the bathtub, it’s cold outside; or some of their food is hot, the stove is HOT, things like that. They know the stove burners are hot, but this doesn’t always stop them from touching things they shouldn’t. When reminded, they usually point to the stove knobs and say hot. If someone touches one of the knobs, someone else will shriek “hot!” and tattle on them.

They tell each other commands: Emerie is the queen of the shut command. This reaches from her sisters to all people in the room. Surprisingly, right now Emerie repeats the most words back to you no matter how complicated or long; I thought it would be Harper! Harper more often spouts some gibberish to you about her day or some pain that her sister inflicted on her, which is very cute even though you have no clue what is coming out of her mouth. Reagan likes to tell you when she wants something and is pretty clear at expressing her thoughts. She’s also adamant about bottle time and will let you know if you need to move a little faster.

Shutting the door on Daddy

They also tattle on the parents. If you leave a glass out on the ledge in the family room, whoever sees it first will holler to everyone else that it is there. If the dog door is unlocked, they run over and grab the door and either try to close it themselves or insist you do it immediately! In a way this is actually helpful- when you forget to close a baby gate or block off the stairs, someone will point it out to you instead of running amuck.

Emerie giving instruction for sissa to “sit”

While many days are filled with fighting, biting and crying from all parties, we are also seeing them share a little more. Binkie stealing is more common than prior months, but now I also see them give an extra binkie to someone who is upset, or because they ask for it in their own way. They will bring toys to each other sometimes; other times they take one and run. Typical siblings, I guess.

Lastly, verbally saying names is now more prominent. I’ve now heard everyone say each (Harpa, Emi, and Ray). Sometimes it is to each other and more often it’s a multiple repeat until that sister pays attention. We also asked them things like, “where is Harper?!” and they will turn and point to her, saying “Harpa“. They are also mastering the dogs names, “Kayi” and “Koa“, although they almost always defer to saying Kalli for both dogs. The cats remain nameless as “kitty.”

With two right around the corner, we are starting the “twin (triplet?) talk.” I know one of these days it will explode with a ton of new words. For now, it’s fun to see them express their feelings toward one another as well as the occasional kisses, head pats, and snuggles.