The Pre-Terrible Twos & Em Eye Update

We are in a new stage where the girls don’t want to do many of the things they’ve been doing for months. For example, they don’t want to eat unless you feed them, they don’t want diaper changes and flail around like angry alligators when you change them, and they don’t want to wear their clothes but also don’t want them off. They certainly can’t seem to decide what they want!

This is making the day-to-day a lot more interesting, in a not-so-great way. These new habits change daily (even hourly!). At dinner time they will eat a couple pieces of the food set out before them (type varies each day) and then throw everything else on the floor, no matter if they love it or not or are starving or not. In fact, they refuse to eat any more unless someone sits there and feeds it to them, bite by bite. Looks like we are back in the baby stage on this one, at least for the moment. Let’s hope this doesn’t last too long because it’s mildly irritating and takes so much longer.

The good news on this feeding strike- everyone still enjoys a variety of healthy foods (when we feed it to them), including:

For the love of sour cream
  • Broccoli: the current obsession with steamed broccoli is REAL.
  • Green beans/blueberries: they’ll eat a few themselves before starting the dodge ball match with you. Two of our main foods.
  • Mushrooms: this recent discover is a surprise, they are all thrilled to eat this off our forks and will eat ALL our mushrooms. Even a large container!
  • Corn: canned corn is a hit…sometimes they’ll eat it themselves for a handful of two.
  • Apples/grapes: we rediscovered these fruits last week and they chomp down both at snack time.
  • Blue corn chips: okay, not super healthy but they LOVE them.
  • Avocado: this is hit or miss right now, this has been a favorite food for six months now but lately it’s been floor decoration.
  • Sour cream: not really that healthy, but weirdly enough they will take a bite of anything smothered in it. And they will yell at you until more is shoveled into their mouth.
  • Fruit and veggie pouches: this is the go-to if we can’t convince anyone to eat their meal. Luckily they still like these and will chow down.
  • Yogurt: the funny thing is, they love yogurt and they love blueberries, but they do not love blueberry IN their yogurt. Sometimes I can sneak them in for Harper, but Reagan and Emerie will swallow the yogurt and deliberately spit out the berry with an offended glare at whoever is feeding them.

Reading that list doesn’t sound so bad…if they’d go back to feeding themselves. It doesn’t appear that teething is the issue and no one is sick, so that makes us believe that it is a mental game that they are testing us on. I was just getting used to handing them food and them eating it, even with the typical mess! And while the dogs very much enjoy this new trend…I would prefer to go back to them actually eating. Time will tell.

Most 1-year-olds dislike diaper changes and ours are no exception. Even with our “distraction” method, they still holler and try to get away from you. Since potty training (hopefully) is right around the corner, we are compensating for this rage by rewarding them. Once dressed they get the honor of throwing away the dirty diaper all by themselves…running into the kitchen and waiting for us to open the trash compactor so they can toss it away. Then they “help” close it and get a high five. This small task brings about a lot of toddler enthusiasm; although they are now fighting over them because everyone wants to participate, even when it isn’t their dirty diaper.

At meal time Emerie and Reagan always try to get their shirts off; Harper will join in when she sees her sisters do it. Thankfully they aren’t always coordinated enough to succeed; but, of course, this brings forth rage. And don’t even get me started on bibs…that ship has sailed.

Reagan hanging out in Emerie’s shoes

Emerie is the anti-socks and shoes baby; she is the first to pull them off and will not wear socks in the house. Occasionally we can keep her indoor booties on. Craig thinks this has something to do with a dislike of socks that have the little grippies on the bottom. She is also mastering removing her shoes in the car.

Another comical thing- since Emerie dislikes socks so much, it means I am not “allowed” to wear them inside either. If I’m sitting on the floor and wearing socks (this is Alaska so I usually am), then she is at my feet trying to pull them off. She’s converted Harper to this idea and they team up; the two of them will insist on removing everything from my feet each night and either try to wear them or throw them down toward the laundry area.

Harper doesn’t mind her shoes, but won’t leave on any zippered coats or hoodies unless fully occupied with other things. She knows how to unzip her coat and will do so by the time the other two are suited up and ready to go. Now grandma just needs to teach her to re-zip it!

Reagan doesn’t seem to have an issue wearing her shoes or coats, but dislikes hats and really dislikes gloves, even on cold walks!

Oh hey there, free sugar!

The girls are learning how to break a few more boundaries, such as reaching things on the counter they couldn’t touch before, climbing on higher surfaces while staring you down as you tell them not to, and opening the higher kitchen cabinet drawers that were never noticed (or locked) in the past. Reagan is convinced she should be allowed behind the baby gate in the living room when we are in open play mode- that area is blocked off by floor tiles and mini kid chairs. She keeps figuring out how to get back there and then gets stuck and mad about it. I believe we are right around the corner from another living room rearrange. We have an electrician coming out next week to raise several outlets so we can be a little safer and still plug things in.

So about five minutes after the nanny left yesterday, before Craig returned home from work, I turned around to this. In t-minus five split seconds someone (I’m guessing Reagan?) pulled this bag off the counter and sprinkled them everywhere. Then everyone, you know, who won’t eat for us…sat on the floor and enjoyed a marshmallow and dog hair snack together. We will now be pushing everything farther back against the backsplash. The good news is that everyone was completely willing to help me pick up the rest of them and set them into a bowl. I only stepped on the handful we missed for the next hour or so…good times. Here’s a fun reaction to me seeing the mess!


Emerie Eye Update

I took Emerie to her four week post-op checkup on Monday. The doctor wants to see us back in two months, after the holidays, to reassess if a third surgery will be necessary. While her eye isn’t trailing now, it hasn’t eased out as much as we hoped and she still looks a little cross-eyed at times. We knew this was a possibility and he intentionally over corrected during surgery in hopes it would center out on it own. There is now about a 50/50 chance we will require another one to loosen up one more eye muscle a bit more. There is also a possibility she will need another correction later; it could be five years, it could be thirty, only time will tell.

So for now, we keep doing what we are doing. Two hours of patching per day, more if she’s taking it well and forgets it’s on. Some days it might be a little less, because she’s either super grumpy or taken it off several times already. We continue taping each side of her glasses with medical tape, because she (or her sisters) won’t leave them alone otherwise! Minor progress, because we don’t have to put tape over the eye patch and the glasses now; the glasses help hold it on enough that she usually leaves it alone, at least for a while. And after patch time, she gets to hold her prize because she handled it like such a big girl!

Going for a run at Potter’s Marsh this weekend

DST=Adventure

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.

Sleeeeeeep

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!


Weekend Activities

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 (when we 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!


Toddler Swimming

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.

Emerie tickling Harper’s toes

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!