It’s ironic to be talking about giving the girls more freedom at home, when everything going in across society seems to be restricting access to basic amenities we are used to. What an interesting time!
Last weekend we tried opening up the living room “play jail” and freeing the girls to explore the rest of the room and main floor, and be less supervised than in prior months. Of course this meant blocking off the stairs, rearranging some furniture and baby proofing newfound opportunities to get into stuff.
The first thing requiring baby proofing was the fireplace. That took t-minus five seconds before Emerie tried to open it up and test out the charred wood. She, of course, shared this new find with both sisters. Needless to say, it now has a child proof lock on it.
The diaper changing area is full of fun things to play with that are not for kiddos. A favorite is the temperature taker and ear checker. These moved up higher until we put things back. The sock and diaper drawers seem to be quite the messy hit as well.
Any surface that can possibly be climbed on was moved out of range. No more end table and lamp. Thankfully it’s more light out now and we can go the summer with less lighting. The wooden bin “bookshelf” is distanced from the reclining chairs, as it was way too easy to reach and resulted in three children constantly climbing on it. It’s also easier for the girls to access the bins, which is actually a time saver because they will put boots on and their coats (with some help).
Because the front living room windows are now within acceptable toddler range, the girls appear to understand the concept of outside versus inside. They will tell us when they see something outside, and especially like four legged visitors (moose) that creep right up to the window and when Mom and Dad get home and come in the front door.
Earlier in the week we finally had warm enough temperatures to walk the neighborhood (yay sunlight!). I asked Emerie to get their hoodies out and she proceeded to get one at a time from the bin and bring them to the corresponding sister- the teal one for Reagan and pink for Harper. Then she grabbed the white one for herself (since we don’t have it in purple and she knows that). She called their names as she delivered them. So stinkin’ cute.
After the weekend we put the baby jail back for the nanny. She ended up just blocking off the fireplace and hearth and opening up the rest of the living room all day. Big step! So far everyone is still going strong…the kids AND the nanny!
Now if we can just get them to stop standing on the chairs, licking the windows and screens, and pushing each other off the furniture. Oh and running out the front door, which Harper did the other day. Apparently she wanted to spend the night with my favorite “nanny”.
Fingers crossed if we have a two week quarantine (however that actually plays out), that it will start feeling like spring outside and be warm enough for outdoor kiddo adventures. Please please please!
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.
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.
As we approach the beginning of year TWO, I enjoy monitoring some of the cute, new habits the girls are learning and consistently starting to mimic. There are many everyday activities that an adult doesn’t think much about, but a kid will notice as they are repeated over time. This includes getting ready in the morning, mealtimes, or the mundane activities of laundry or cleaning up, which are constantly requiring effort to complete.
We now have a better routine when we leave the house, which happens far more often than it did a year ago and at a much quicker pace (quicker in triplet terms). Prior to the mobile stage, this routine involved constant preparation while the girls were in their swings or on a blanket- time for us to get the diaper bag ready, prepare milk and bottles, ensure all the essentials were ready, put the proper hats, coats, and booties on the girls, make sure to have a plethora of binkies available, that type of thing. All required things since the girls weren’t big enough to help yet. By the time we toted the infant car seats to the car, we were sweating!
Now, this process is 1000x easier and so wonderful after months of solid effort. If we say we are going “buh-bye” and “go get your shoes,” the girls will go get their Bog boots from the shoe bin by the front door and put them on without assistance! This goes much easier if socks are already on and it’s fun to see how often they put the right shoe on the correct foot. Most of the time each kiddo ends up wearing two different colors of bog boots and it becomes an eclectic triplet style between the three of them.
They will remind us about their coats if we don’t get them out quick enough. Of course, when we put them on too early, they usually remove them before we make it to the car. It’s a total timing game. Someone gave us puffy, red coats that have a bow that snaps and are amazing for fixing this issue. They haven’t figured out how to take them off yet even though they can unzip them. Those designers knew what they were doing!
The diaper bag contains sippy cups, now with water or the occasional juice, and is far quicker to prep. We don’t have to worry about forgetting something vital that will make our outing scale to disastrous; which happened a couple times when they were smaller. Once we forgot bottle parts and couldn’t do a feeding; they didn’t approve of that at all and were oh so vocal about it. Other times we’ve forgotten diapers or the whole diaper bag, but not very often.
If you leave the house, Emerie is very happy to slam the front door behind you. Better watch out though or she will slam it ON your backside or your face! You better move quick as she yells her instructions out at you. She takes no prisoners (haha).
Another routine the girls are picking up on is our shoes. If they know we are going somewhere they will deliver our shoes to us and sometimes try to assist us putting them on. And how dare we expect to wear them on the correct feet if they’ve already laid them out the opposite way!? Other things they see us doing and try themselves relate to hair and teeth brushing and dressing or undressing.
Getting dressed is both improving and getting more difficult. All three are wonderful at helping slide their legs and arms in the clothing (most of the time), especially as you say the body parts out loud (since they know most of the main ones). It makes getting dressed much easier than the infant stage, except you usually have to chase them across the room to start the process, about 100% of the time. The increased difficulty comes with keeping the clothing ON their bodies. Heaven forbid they would have to wear that shirt all day, or wear those pants when it’s zero degrees outside. Reagan is the ring leader of this revolution and generally the one to instigate removal, with the other two always following in step once they see her do it. I feel that with one kiddo this wouldn’t be a big deal, you would continually correct them until they learn to stop it. With three, you can correct and re-correct twenty times between the three and as soon as you walk away from one to fix the next, they are already repeating the process. The nanny suggested we safety pin the bedtime sleepers on and that works great for us; she is not amused by it. It is progressing to the point that Reagan will pull off her pants AND her diaper. The other night she did this with a poopy diaper and Craig chased her across the house to minimize that destruction. Toddlers…you just never know what you are in for, one moment to the next!
Another cute habit picked up from Craig and I involves the car keys. One of the most popular stocking stuffers and Christmas present are three car key fobs. Since auto start is a must in our house, and for living in Alaska, the girls will now “start” their cars using the keys, put them into their purses and bags and then turn around and tell you buh-bye.
They also help with the laundry. Our house floor plan boasts a staircase in connecting the main floor with the up and downstairs. We often throw their clothes over the railings, down to the laundry area, and they’ve picked up on this habit. Not only do they throw their dirty clothes down the stairs and into the pile waiting for washing, they are most insistent on putting that same pile into the washer. It definitely involves adult supervision, otherwise someones hand (or head) gets slammed in the door when the “shut!” discussion starts. I am excited for the day they are old enough to do actual laundry…but yes…that is a LONG time from now.
Remember back in the day when the main obsession in my household was the ceiling fan? Well, the nightlight sound machine is the newest trend worth obsessing over (apparently). Since this is part of bedtime routine every night, they’ve watched us flip it on for months. As we get lotioned and dressed after bath time, all the toddler chatter now relates to that darn machine…the “nigh-nigh” machine. In fact, if I don’t hide it before I bring the first one into the room, I can guarantee a future fight-to-the-death over it once everyone is freed or I’m getting number three ready. This usually involves climbing up the chair and end table to get it, by one or all. When we go down for nap or bedtime, everyone is extremely excited to push the on button and see the stars light up on the ceiling. They promptly remind us to turn it on every afternoon and evening.
A couple entertaining things this week. I caught them scooping water out of the toilet during bath time when we left the room for a moment. They like to slam the toilet lid, which is just reachable from the tub, and throw any and all bath toys in when no one is looking. Thank goodness the flushing concept is still unknown. Craig gives them baths or showers more than I do; I will do a quick scrub of the kitchen post dinner and get bottles warming while he scrubs them down and let’s them play. It is incredibly entertaining to listen to the dialog that occurs from downstairs. It involves a lot of yelling and “no, that’s too hot” or “no, stop turning it all the way cold” or “get down!” over and over again. It also involves Craig showering with them, even if he never gets in the actual water…
The girls’ second Valentine’s Day remained pretty laid back. We packed up and went to one of our favorite spots for dinner, Perfect Cup, with everyone all dressed up in matching dad valentine shirts and their fancy boots. Later in the weekend everyone received their first valentines from one of their friends; he even hand delivered each of them at the play date and signed the backs! While they were intrigued at first, the cards eventually became chew toys before being taken away. I can’t wait until next year when we can do miniature V-Day crafts for family and friends.
One last, entertaining story for your enjoyment this week. Craig and I are learning that all things on the kitchen counter are fair game. Emerie figured out the other day that if she pulls the cloth on the counter toward her, she can access things she couldn’t reach before. It’s not new that they will stand on something to reach new things, but getting even smarter about it is new. I was chasing Harper around the living room to dose her with Tylenol (she is not a fan of new teeth); when I turned around to get the next dose, the bottle was gone! Emerie, that sneaky baby, was attempted to take a big gulp of the medicine behind the veil of the curtain. Luckily she didn’t get much, but it proved to be a good lesson for me to 1) close the bottle each time I walk away or 2) make sure it is very out of reach. These girls are getting craftier!
And as of today, my babies will be TWO in one month!! ❤ ❤ ❤
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!!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.