The girls continue to live in an “attitude funk” the past week or two and it is incredibly exhausting for mom and dad. It feels like the parenting full moon cycle is stuck and never ending (you all know what I mean by that!), with tired, grumpy girls every night that constantly bicker, refuse to listen, continue to name call and sass you, and have a hard time settling down. While boundary pushing is nothing new in any house with kiddos and has occurred for a while now, the attitude shift and blatant disobedience is very wearing and frustrating.
The girls’ funk is occurring at home and at school, with evenings a special treat and you can’t anticipate if everyone will be pleasant or over-tired rage monsters. This week Emerie missed out on the entire bike day activity at preschool. Her teacher noted that not only did she express her inner vampire and take a chunk out of Reagan, but she refused to listen or obey any instructions given, so missing out on the fun and spending time in the office was her repercussion. After reading the daily report about it and forcibly extricating everyone from the playground and into the car that night (not fun for me!); everyone had quite the screaming meltdown, most of all Emerie. Needless to say, my blood pressure skyrocketed before I even made it home for the night.
Once the screaming and crying decreased, we had quite a group discussion on the drive home about what happens when you are naughty and when you are nice, when you listen and when you don’t. Emerie owned up to her office visit and Reagan and Harper were happy to point out that she was in trouble and they were still able to ride their bikes. They also pitched in some opinions, noting that the office isn’t any fun and you just have to sit there. Emerie did point out she was well behaved and did indeed sit there; just not in time to participate in the activity.
I am personally glad she missed out on the activity and seemed to learn that her bad behavior was the main contributor. I can’t say this revelation improved her attitude the following nights or at pickup other days this week- at one point I had to chase her across the parking lot and manually load her into the car seat, kicking, screaming, and trying to bite me. This was after I wrangled the other two in, with a semi-cooperative Harper and somewhat resistant Reagan. It’s a lovely thought at the spectacle we become on nights like this and I try to block that thought out or it induces more mom stress. These moments also remind me that in so many ways the girls being older is a thousand times easier, and in other ways it’s just the same as the age-two-and-run-three-directions stage.
For the most part we skipped the Tiny Vampire Club when the girls were younger, with some occasional biting during toddler disagreements, but nothing that we “couldn’t nip in the bud” (pun intended!). It seems that we haven’t escaped it altogether in the preschool age and are currently smack in the middle of the attitude, with Emerie as club leader and entrepreneur. To give her some credit, it can’t be easy to bite your flailing four-year-old sister on the rib cage, through her t-shirt, and leave a full outline (top and bottom teeth!), without some real effort, dedication and gusto! Reagan certainly did not appreciate this at all and is still sporting quite the bruise from it, several days later.
So yes, the Tiny Vampires Club is brought to you by #realmomtalk. Who knows what next week’s club will be?!
February always seems like such a long month, even when in reality it is the shortest one of all (maybe it’s lucky it’s in the winter and not the summer!)! It drags on for a number of reasons you’ll all agree with me on- it’s the end swing of the eternal Alaska winter, still pretty dark outside (but improving on light), and by now parents have exhausted all the creative, indoor play ideas and are so tired of putting snow gear on and off just in time to hear mom, I have to poop. Yep. Pretty glamorous.
Nothing too crazy is happening at the Douglas household as we try to maintain sanity for the remainder of the winter season. I latched onto the Valentine train this year and tracked down some cute crafts, outfits and recipes to try while we maintained our indoor status due to colds, the darkness, and the general sopping wet snow that’s crummy to sled on.
Valentine weekend was chocked full of cookie decorating, some sledding after a fresh snowfall and four wheel riding, the jump park and very wild, grumpy and overtired girls. Craig mixed the sugar cookie dough on Saturday and the girls assisted shaping it into hearts, flowers and butterflies on Sunday morning. We tried out a new princess icing that “shined” and glossed over each cookie in a fancy pink color and the girls decorated a bunch of cookies to gift to their teachers the following day. In the midst of all this sugar, Craig also made an epic batch of from-scratch cinnamon rolls.
The girls flip flopped on their enthusiasm for decorating, with Harper on board the most and Reagan picking up the slack. Emerie was a bit more enthusiastic than her usual two cookies and out and everyone was thrilled to eat ONE heart shaped selection at the end of the chaos.
This year the girls created custom valentine boxes using crayons, a million stickers of numerous variety (puffy, glittery, sparkly and crazy shapes) and a lot of discussion on placement. Reagan colored the entire box with crayons before sticker commencement, while Emerie and I argued that stickers should go on the outside of the box, which she found entirely unreasonable.
Megan and I filled out the princess valentine cards that night and everyone brought a chunk to school for their party the following day. I did not anticipate the level of goodies requiring collection and shoved everything into my one bag at pickup. The girls then managed to push all the candy and tiny toys into their fancy boxes and demand to taste more candies. The slinkies and light up balls were definitely the favorites from the day, in addition to the sugar.
Craig and I managed to sneak away for the night and do a craft class together while Auntie Megan graciously came over sans the boys and made mini pizzas and fought the girls off the newly acquired candy. Overall it was a good holiday and we greatly appreciate Megan taking on our tribe for a few hours.
While not too much craziness has occurred since my last blog a couple weeks ago, I’m happy to share a few of the “pre-schoolisms” (toddlerisms sounds so much better!) that fly out of the mouths of my children at random. Things they will likely deny as they get older, of course, but are oh so fun to record for my enjoyment in my older age. And these are the only the ones I’ve remembered to write down…
Reagan, sitting on the toilet (which makes it so much better): Mom, pee-pees and penises are gross right? Even though everyone has one?
Reagan (in the bathroom again): I dropped my coin in my poop. Get it out! GET IT OUT! For the record, I did NOT get it out and sent it to fishie heaven with everything else.
Emerie: Grandma, Elsa is afraid and she is running away from her sister really fast and builds a castle and quickly said so many more story words I couldn’t write them down fast enough!
Harper, any time she strongly disagrees with me on something, more often when she’s not listening to save her life: You’re not my mom anymore. You’re NOT MY MOM! This one is just so fun and I’ve yet to hear it thrown into a dad-ism, just directed at me. It’s especially fun when screamed at you in the middle of the grocery store.
Reagan, running over to tattle about something a sister did the prior day, when we tell her to stop tattling, she responds with: I’m not tattling; I’m just talking to you. Such a smart ass.
Emerie, completely asleep and yet yelling my direction: Harper took my toy! That’s my toy! and a shriek and then rolls over, still asleep.
The girls are now more aware of the meaning of time. While the yesterdays and tomorrows don’t always come out right, they understand if you say number of sleeps or refer to a school day versus the weekend. Everyone keeps asking when Grandma Sue will visit next and we started counting the number of sleeps after the questions become on constant repeat. Reagan especially asks several times a day, while Harper and Emerie keep demanding her presence solely for the donuts and breaded Olafs they get when she visits.
We successfully attended our most recent triplet dentist appointment with three stacking appointments in mid-afternoon. Luckily waking up early from daycare nap time and whisking them to the appointment went better than we could have hoped. Last fall we kept two in the car with a show and sent one in at a time (with Craig) and swapped out each time; this visit we brought everyone inside at once and it went decently. Reagan immediately went back with Craig while Harper, Emerie and I chilled in the waiting room and watched “New Pan” (Rapunzel TV show). I believe it’s success was attributed to being allowed to hold Mom’s prized iPad.
Surprisingly our toughest client for the visit was Emerie, who didn’t quite want to follow directions when asked and was more interested in goofing off with the toothpaste for her teeth cleaning (which was strawberry, by the way). Emerie is incredibly behaved at her eye doctor appointments but doesn’t seem to enjoy other body part visits at all. Not all doctors can be as loved as Dr. Winkle is in our house. Reagan and Harper loved the dental attention and chilled with their cool glasses on. Craig recorded a funny video clip of Reagan playing with the water sucker and living the dream; quite the cool kid.
A couple weeks back we rearranged the girls’ toddler beds a bit in hopes of better overnight sleep. Did it make a difference? Of course not. But hopefully it’ll keep Emerie from overheating next to the heater all night. Well, I should say for the few hours she actually sleeps in her bed each night.
We continue encouraging the effort of actual bed sleeping by beginning a new form of bribery. If anyone sleeps in their bed, all night long for five whole nights, they get ice cream. Harper just hit her first five nights, although she’s great at sleeping in her bed all night and has been for months, just not recorded on paper. She was very pleased to receive the ice cream sandwich reward while Reagan super pouted that she needed one more sticker to get hers. Reagan is close to five nights, which seems like a crazy miracle given the last few months of adamant demands to sleep in our bed around midnight every night. Emerie is still at a solid zero nights in her own bed; but in her defense she gets up, collects her blanket, all her animals and sometimes even her pillow, and treks to the guest bedroom where she will sleep for the rest of the night. Sometimes I’ll hear her call us, but more often than not she now does it all by herself. We haven’t had any epiphanies how to fix this one yet, but really it’s not the worst thing in the world.
And lastly, Emerie’s surgery was a couple weeks ago and she’s doing well. She managed to lose a glasses lens at school earlier this week and then Craig had to repair the backup glasses Thank goodness we have three different pairs! Her eyelid droop is similar to last summer; it just took a couple days to take effect and will wear off in two to three months. Eye patching each morning doesn’t seem to be any worse than before, which is great, and we ordered some new patch patterns she enjoys selecting each morning.
All in all early January was pretty subdued and without too much excitement (good or bad!). The high point of winter means dark days, various illnesses, busy work hours, and a lot of entertaining the littles indoors since the cold air seems to make them cough more.
Craig and I took all three to the doctor this week just to ensure we aren’t missing something on the prolonged coughing fits. It’s been a bit since a triple pediatrician visit and it started out super strong, with all three hanging out and “reading” their mini princess books and cooperating with each other; by the end of the visit they were climbing the walls of the waiting area and ready to go. They all did unusually well at obeying the doctor, who checked lungs, ears, nose and mouth with great cooperation. The pediatrician confirmed everyone just has a viral cough, not croup, not COVID, not RSV, not pneumonia from me (thank goodness), just a mild, fever-less cough. Good news I guess!
A few fun outings have happened in the past two weeks. I ventured out to the valley with Megan and the boys, getting a solid driving nap on our way out, and spent a full afternoon and evening at the play center in Wasilla. It was our first visit and the girls loved the climbing area, spending a lot of time going up and down and chasing each other. At some point Reagan went down the big slide at the top so Emerie followed her, which resulted in a tearful discussion of I went down the REALLY big slide and it was scary. It hurt me! Needless to say, she only went down it once.
We devoured snacks, rode the tiny train and spinner rides multiple times, and played a few games. The girls all enjoyed the basketball one and even made some hoops; watching all three play at once is definitely a good source of entertainment. In several cases the ball hit the rim and immediately ricochet straight into someone’s face- causing quite the moment of laughter. Calm down, the balls were much softer than real basketballs….which aren’t so fun when colliding with your nose. The girls enjoyed any game that involved whacking things and tested out their fruit ninja skills with Oaki. Toward the end of the night we watched a few friends race around the track on the other side of the center, with five very excited littles watching. I did not plan to be out until after 8 on a school night (who are we kidding, any night), but the visit went so well the time passed quickly.
It was wonderful to feel more like what I assume “normal” parents feel like during outings. I wasn’t chasing the kids around the whole time to not lose them, wasn’t stressed out and hoping for time to be over so we could go home; I was actually enjoying an afternoon with my girls and not feeling impending stress. Everyone was clearly tired as we loaded up about the time we’d normally be settling down for bedtime, and managed to keep them awake and entertained (annoyed) the entire hour drive with all the favorite Disney tunes…Frozen, Encanto, Home, and so on. And of course, more snacks.
Outings over the past month or two continue to be stroller-less, which is quite the change over the past three years. I should say, stroller-less AND survivable, for the most part. The snow plays a small factor is containment as we walk into a store or the jump park, but overall we are just getting better at it. Excluding the few horrible times that are sprinkled throughout the good trips, it is wonderful to be able to walk from the car to the destination and not haul a thousand things. Not all times are smooth or wonderful, like the other day when I picked up the girls at preschool. They proceeded to run from the gym across the whole school lobby and to the front door with their dresses pulled down to their waists, shoes littering the floor and bare chests on display, and would not listen or come back to me. Those are the beautiful memories to hold onto when they are older…right? The jump park is another spot that one parent can easily take all three and keep the damage to a minimum and it’s really nice.
The girls are currently all on a dress up kick, and while you’d assume Harper would be leading that charge with her love of all things pink, black and princessery, Emerie is currently the one obsessed with her Snow White two piece outfit from Uncle William at Christmas. The past few weeks she’s worn it to school over her clothes a number of times and every night the battle of convincing her it isn’t pajamas occurs. Harper is more into the tutus, dress up heels and crown headbands while Reagan occasionally accepts an article of clothing, especially when delivered by her sisters; overall her favorite “dress-up” article of clothing is the plain green hat from June and January, which she constantly wears and carts around. The other evening Reagan was wearing a pink princess cloak and Harper called her out, claiming she can’t wear pink, you’re Reagan and you wear blue! It’s funny to say, but we definitely hit the nail on the head on who correlates to what color, since we didn’t make the call based on personality at birth. Harper loves girly and pink things, Emerie likes purple (also blue but not the point) and Reagan appears to be the tomboy and prefers teal and blue when given the option.
And then, when you take away the color from a picture, it’s VERY hard to tell who is who, even more so with eyes shut and sans glasses! Don’t you think?!
We have returned to the question phase about my name, with the constant why do we call you mom but Kaden calls you Becca? Can we call you Becca? Daddy’s name is Craig; my mom’s name is Becca, but we don’t call her Becca. So many complicated thoughts to work out.
Many other kiddo musings are fun to interpret and not often understand unless one is paying attention. These types of things must contribute to mom brain, since the lack of understanding their intent often results in rage and meltdowns…so one must store these jewels in their mind until the kid moves onto the next one. I enjoy writing them down, since it shows their quirks and what things they enjoy and latch onto!
Last year the main example of this related to listening to or watching Pan, more commonly known as Tangled or Rapunzel to everyone else on earthy, and they still call her that to this day, but others are definitely popping up into every day conversation. Like when Emerie asks me to play the castle song or the horse song in the car, can you guess those ones from Frozen? She’s referring to Let It Go, the song where Elsa builds the castle while she sings and the song in Frozen II when she wrangles the horse. Reagan is now a huge Rihanna fan, insisting each night that I play the shadow song, which refers to one of Rihanna’s songs from the movie Home, where she sings about the sun and a shadow. Reagan constantly sings that chorus or hums it to herself. Everyone requests the bubble song from the same movie, referring to the main opening scene when all the Boov people come to earth in their bubbles. As mentioned in a previous blog, my favorite interpretation to anything are the requests for the crack house movie (Encanto).
Who knows what requests will be next, but I can’t wait to see. We are gaining five minutes of daylight a day, everyone is starting to get healthier from their coughs, and I can sit and write this on my long-awaited, new living room couch; things are already starting to look up!
2022 is definitely starting off with a bang, and not exactly a fun one. All three adults managed to pick up pneumonia, likely transmitted through the girls (who didn’t catch it thank goodness!) and to my mom, me and as of this week, Craig. Being down for the count with zero energy the past two weeks means relying on a few friends’ gracious help and sheer will power to keep the household floating! Without some help the past several long weekends would have ended with the house on fire. The delivered meals feel similar to back when the babies were tiny and we got through the first few months in survival mode.
In addition to the sick adults, two of the girls have ear infections and Harper now has the croup, meaning everyone in the entire house is on some form of medication (and it’s not covid yay!). This might be a first! The only bonus with our current sicknesses is that Craig and I spaced ours apart just enough to survive; with my second round of stronger medication kicking in right about the time he started feeling worse and having the major fatigue.
On New Years Day I managed to drag myself to the car and we did a family donut run to Carrs in our pajamas, at negative temperatures! The donut requests started with the girls begging for Grandma Sue’s donuts, which no one was up for accomplishing, and so we drove to the usual local spots that were closed for the day. Everyone enjoyed a frosted donut from Carrs, with Reagan eating the entire sugared one, Emerie eating the top icing and sprinkles off hers like a mouse, and Harper slowly nibbling on all the parts.
Other than this, we haven’t been up to much since the new year started. I thank my lucky stars that this extreme sickness hit our household this year and not last, because the girls have done exceptional at playing at home and entertaining themselves without requiring us to be on our feet and moving the whole time. This, and Megan and Heather’s clans coming over to feed and entertain (thank you friends!).
In addition to all the sickness, we recently made another household change and I feel like I’ve already written a very similar blog to this a year ago when we re-homed our Kalli. Here we are again, doing the same thing for our second dog, Koda, who many of you have loved on and snuggled with over the past five years.
Craig and I mused over this decision the last few months and finally made the call that this is something we can do to ease our stress a little bit, stop the dog versus cat fights that cost a lot of money, and give Koda a better place with more puppy attention, something she deserves! It’s a hard decision to make; ultimately what is best for Koda is a place that can sit and snuggle and love on her, something we seem to do a lot of, just not for her and more for our kiddos. These decisions are never fun.
Unlike when we went through this with Kalli, the kids are now a factor in how to play out the situation. Making a big deal of it doesn’t deplete the stress, but neither does a vanishing act with no explanation to the littles that would wonder where she went. We opted for a happy medium of the two, with the explanation that Koda needs to go stay with another “momma that needs help and snuggles” and she is going to have so much fun there! We played it off as something exciting and good for our pup, something she will enjoy and be happy with, and I think it worked! Everyone asked why and thought about it, with Emerie claiming no, she’s my Koda the most of the three. She likes to call our house Koda’s house; when she’s mad at both parents for something, she whines she wants Koda. So we will see how that plays out in future days.
Craig dropped her off at the rescue the other night before picking up the girls from preschool and surprisingly no one questioned where she was- although I think they just didn’t notice. The second night I received more questions about her location and randomly throughout the day Emerie asks where her Koda is, which is sad! I never noticed how often she is mentioned in random conversations the girls have until now, but hopefully that will ease with time and it won’t be a sore spot for them.
The house feels strange without a pup and while Craig and I both feel sad that we had to make this call, it is best for the household going forward. The kitties are already starting to run around and play more freely!
Cheers to the start of a new year, which is relatively rougher than some other year starts. Next thing to solve? Getting everyone, myself included, back to feeling healthy so we can get back to fun adventures and activities.
This holiday season the girls are no longer fearful of the jolly red man and acted like such big girls meeting him earlier this month. We overdressed everyone in their fancy Christmas dresses and loaded up in negative six degree temperatures for a quick visit.
So very Alaskan of us, the passenger door of the car wouldn’t latch due to the cold, so we drove there manually holding it shut so we wouldn’t miss our reserved time slot.
The girls all approached cautiously but without cowering, which is much more impressive than last year, which even had a anti-covid glass divider at the time. They talked to him and quietly answered his inquiries and questions. When asked for their names, Harper and Reagan were more silent while Emerie responded for all three. The funniest response was all three telling Santa that they don’t ever fight! Insert major eye roll here, since we ALL know that definitely isn’t the truth!
This holiday season was full of colds, ear infections and pneumonia! Not exactly a great combination for a fun filled holiday experience, but we managed to enjoy it as much as possible, went to the gingerbread town downtown, decorated cookies a few times, colored a million ornaments, and spent a great deal of time at home.
Even with all the illness, the girls made it to almost every school day, with most symptoms seeming to appear over weekends or allowing ear infections to improve before school starts back up for the week. Each morning at breakfast the girls have a rotating request for one animals friend to attend work with us for the day and check on them after school. It’s pretty cute and so thoughtful they want us to have a friend, even if my office is only upstairs in the loft!
The girls vocabulary and explanations continue to improve and with that comes better stories about their school days. I try to ask what their favorite daily experience was at least a few days each week; sometimes they copy each other’s answers but overall everyone is getting better at individual responses. For example, they now explain games created at school. One afternoon’s favorites were Emerie playing hula hoops, Harper playing basketball with Elijah (one of the teachers aides) and Reagan’s response? Playing cows and chipmunks. After asking for clarification, she reiterated she played moooos and chipmunks with the boys that day. Another drive home prompted the response that Harper and Reagan played fall on me with Arlo and Gavin, and that this resulted in a smashed nose and tears but that the game was “so fun.” It’s intriguing to see my little pre-kindergartners start to grow and innovate their own playtimes at school, even if they sound painful!
You also get additional life advice from our big preschoolers, such as Harper’s leave your boobies out, take a shower, put your clothes on and go. Such demands and great wisdom!
After spending more time at home, especially the past few weekends, the girls get more creative during free playtime and interact more than simply fighting. Christmas Eve everyone made a subconscious decision to behave so I could relax on the couch and spent the day playing hide and seek, with their Christmas Eve present we opened that morning (mini backpacks), and finding other ways to play with each other. It was wonderful (and didn’t last lol).
Weather warmed up and cooperated enough for the first sledding adventure of the winter. Last year at this time it was more like our tenth sledding trip; this year has been so cold and full of sickness! Tyler trekked into town and participated in the fun and the girls were so thrilled. After a few minutes Emerie was entirely over the cold air and coughing, so Craig took her back home while Harper and Reagan continued going up and down the hill. Last year Harper was all about speeding down solo; this year Reagan seems to enjoy it more.
Not many other Christmas adventures happened this season, with pneumonia really laying me up and taking all my energy just to try to help Craig a little with the girls while I try to feel better. Luckily presents were wrapped earlier in the week and ready to roll under the tree, or I’m not sure we would have opened them. I gave up trying to find the Christmas stockings and ended up throwing all the planned nick knacks into their trick or treat buckets to go through, prompting some questions on if we were going trick or treating!
Christmas morning wasn’t anything too crazy, pretty relaxed in fact, with the girls patiently waiting to open anything until we gave the green light. It’s quite impressive that not a single curious child opened a present unsupervised this whole month! The method to my madness, last year and probably for many years to come, is to use the same wrapping paper for three gifts at a time, so everyone opens something the same or similar at the same time. Then a few other sets of presents were specifically chosen for the likes of each kiddo, which they all opened at once but were different things. Lastly a couple things were gifts for all to share, like a princess dollhouse Craig quickly built that morning that lets the Barbie doll princesses dance to music!
It took three days to open everything and we opted out of making a fancy Christmas dinner until the house is feeling better. It wasn’t a ton of gifts, but took so much energy and the girls wanted to play with their new treasures after opening each thing. Reagan had a few panda related things and a bazaar yeti I found, since she loves Abominable. Emerie opened a box of mini magnatiles, since she loves tiny things, a new, special holder for her glasses. Harper received several new outfits for her doll and pretty hair clips. Everyone opened a mini princess house with figurines inside (Pan’s tower, Aurora’s wooded house and Belle’s home) and traded around with each other. Aunt Jenny and Uncle Keegan sent a cool fairy house, horse stable and underwater mermaid “castle” that are providing some good entertainment and everyone likes the plastic, Frozen themed container from Papa Cliff. My mom made custom doll dresses for each kiddo during her visit that turned out really adorable! I’m unsure what the favorite presents are this year, since I never quite guess right, but I’d say the dress up clothes, Elsa braid pony tails and Grandma Sue’s princess heels top the list.
This Christmas didn’t quite turn out as planned, but I am very thankful I didn’t have this dreadful illness last year when the girls didn’t independently play very much yet. Also thankful for kiddos who now enjoy movies while parents can relax a bit, with many requests for Merida (Brave), Abominable, Frozen and our latest favorite, Disney’s new Encanto, which the children have conveniently renamed the crack movie. I can’t make that up folks, and really it’s an accurate description, the whole movie is about cracks in the house!
For all those wondering, we deferred Emerie’s eye surgery until January, since everyone needs to be healthier to have it! Reagan’s ENT follow up for tubes consideration will also be next month.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. Wishing and praying for a great 2022 when these girls will turn FOUR! Also praying everyone feels better and my energy returns.