National discussion the past few days centers around the coronavirus outbreak in this country, with Washington at the forefront of discussion.
While I try to stay informed on the basics, checking in to reputable news sources when questions pop into my mind, it definitely brings up a bigger issue I haven’t had to deal with on this level, as a parent.
How do you keep your kids safe from big, scary life things like severe illnesses?
Prior to having children, I doubt this impending respiratory outbreak would cause me much concern. I typically get a bad cold or two each winter, have had pneumonia a couple of times as a kid, and after the past two years of minimal medicine (due to pregnancy and then breastfeeding), I feel like I could tackle it!
With three premature, now toddlers running around the house, the outbreak stresses me a little. How can I protect them from this, or at least try my best to minimize their chances of catching it (regardless of if it’s less of an issue for young, healthy individuals)? I’m sure I’m not the only parent with these thoughts running through their mind.
So far daily routine remains unchanged, but prevention is certainly in the back of my head as we go out for adventures. They are growing rapidly and look so very grown up with pigtails, big girl boots, and fancy dresses on.
What have I come up with to this end? Nothing too revolutionary, but all good things to practice as an adult, colleague and parent:
Remind myself not to panic. It’s going to be okay!
Stay informed – the media is doing what they do best…stirring things up and stressing everyone out. Pay attention to reputable news sources and read up on what is going on. For example, I initially considered buying a box of masks (as did half of America) until I researched it further and determined that is not needed or necessary for prevention.
Wash hands like crazy – this one is constant since the day I went back to work, when the girls were four months old. All public places are filled with gross bacteria and illnesses just waiting to latch onto you. Washing hands throughout the day as well as immediately after entering your house makes a difference.
Stay distant from others who are sick. I think this is already one of my life mantras having three tiny kiddos. Even a basic cold makes our daily lives SO much harder…times three.
Be prepared – make sure to have extras of some of the basics. This is simply good planning any time, especially living in Alaska. One week of no trucks or cargo jets would significantly impact stores and daily life. It never hurts to have extra diapers, wipes, milk and food essentials. A freezer full of fish or moose doesn’t hurt either…
Make a plan – we are still working on this one, should we need to actually do it!
Remember…spring is just around the corner and that means (hopefully) cold and flu season will greatly decrease and put our minds a little mode at ease.
And because that was SUPER depressing, here’s a cute video of the girls stroller walking their baby dolls the other day. Yes, before you ask, Reagan is wearing underwear over her pants. And yes, everyone has shirts snapped over their pants as well so they stay on…
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.
This weeks adult lesson is patience. The girls’ shenanigans appear to be an attempt to drive the parentals crazy. It’s almost as if the witching hour from infant hood has returned and lasts a couple hours every evening this week. If that isn’t it, then I blame the four incisors slowly pushing through the girls’ gums, making them very grumpy, short tempered, anti-food and soooo whiny.
In addition to the grumpiness, they are on a path to testing the limits on EVERYTHING.
On Friday I walked out of the living room to grab a towel out of the closet upstairs. In that twenty seconds, Emerie pulled the singleton high chair into the middle of the room, climbed it (tray and all), and was standing and jumping on it when I walked back in. Thank goodness she didn’t knock it over (and yes, I’m hollering and running at her as I took the picture).
That same morning the triple escape plan went into effect. On my solo Friday, I usually leave the girls in the playpen for twenty minutes or so while I get breakfast going and the kitchen cleaned up. They typically play and wake up while watching Little Baby Bum music, generally staying happy enough and not yet starting the MMA portion of their day. It was quiet for a moment, quiet enough to be out of the ordinary, and peeking out confirmed my suspicion. One of them moved their sofa chair over, used the back the hoist their leg up onto the hearth, and off they went, one at a time. Reagan made it up the stairs before I noticed, meaning she was probably the instigator, Emerie was going through the diaper changing station stuff, and Harper was in the process of climbing. It’s only a matter of time before their playpen is going to be completely empty so they can’t climb anything and get out. We are close to opening up the whole room, but not quite ready to commit to that level of freedom yet!
Rooms with confined walls and doors, like our family room, leave opportunity. Reagan started it, but now Emerie and Harper both follow in suit, to climb one of the kitchen sets (already anchored to the wall) and stand up in the sink. They are attempting to reach the wall thermometer that is quite a ways up from the floor! We almost had a repeat of my water before I realized that was again reachable. Funny thing is, they are willing to climb up but all three insist they cannot get back down themselves…
A little more icing on the cake for this week’s toddler life- Harper managed to grab my water container off the counter last night. You know, the big one the hospital gives new moms to encourage more water intake post baby. I rounded the corner into the kitchen to see her causing a rainstorm, furiously shaking it and thrilled to see water flowing out in every direction. Emerie and Reagan managed to pull their prepped bedtime bottles off the counter too; Reagan was drinking hers and watching the chaos approvingly while Emerie added hers to the growing water puddle.
As Craig grabbed towels and new pajamas upstairs, everyone tried to lay down and “swim” in the mess. Awesome.
So yes, this is what #realtime looks like with triplet toddlers. Life is not calm, relaxed or rosy. It’s been a long week; teeth still aren’t completely in and NO ONE wants to sleep, especially last night.
If you need me, I’ll be over here chugging down another cup of coffee.
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!! ❤ ❤ ❤
This week’s word of the week (WOTW!)? ICE. That’s right…ice ice baby.
Temperatures finally warmed up over 30 degrees and it feels like a heat wave. Compared to the negative numbers we’ve seen for most of January, it really is and it feels so great.
The warmer temps opened the door for the girls to don their snowsuits and go outside and get some fresh air. Much overdue! Once outside, all they wanted to do was scoop snow with their spoons or measuring cups (stolen from the kitchen) and eat it. That’s good hydration right? It’s not yellow snow and untrampled by the pups…so it’s fresh?!
This activity inspires great enthusiasm and lasted about 45 minutes on my solo Friday off. it feels like forever since we’ve been able to go play outside and the stimulation encourages a good nap.
My Friday off turned out to be a pretty great day. The girls are clearly feeling better from their winter colds and ear infections. They ALL ate both breakfast and lunch like little ladies. I was able to give them cereal with spoons and milk and they devoured everything without assistance or destroying my dining room floor (or walls?). That may not sound impressive to you, but it is HUGE progress considering the past few months, through stuffy noses and teething babies.
In fact, yesterday ended up being one of the best solo days I’ve had in over six months. There are only a handful of my Fridays off that I felt were smooth days that didn’t increase my stress about one thing or another, with happy babies that play nicely, ate the food given to them, AND napped. It’s about damn time I had another one, and the whole day went by smoothly.
When playtime consists only indoors, we try to get creative on new, toddler friendly activities. For example, taking a single ice cube from the freezer and putting it in a tiny Tupperware container entertains each girl for a good 15 minutes. They like to stand there and impatiently yell “ice ice ice,” then trade them back-and-forth. The best part is even when it spills it doesn’t make a huge mess! This means “ice” is now quite the popular word around here…and snow once we reintroduced it outside. This excitement also extends to cups of snow brought in from outside. It’s quite the fun time!
Cabin fever is giving the girls opportunities and confidence to test boundaries, to attempt to climb new, unnoticed things around them for months. For example, Emerie and Reagan now climb up on the kitchen set from Papa Cliff. Harper observed a few times and now does it too. After the struggle to pull up their total body weight to something a little bit high for them, they will sit in the sink. I’d course, they can’t seem to figure out how to get back down, since their feet remain a good six inches off the ground. The kitchen set is definitely not intended for climbing and not sturdy enough to prevent tipping. They’ve also figured out, thanks to Emerie, how to climb the high chair with the tray attached. Another thing to keep an eye out on.
Everyone is now in the habit of clothing removal; it varies who starts it each time, but if one baby starts to remove a shirt, everyone jumps on the bandwagon. The last few days everyone wears short sleeved shirts or dresses because they haven’t mastered taking them off! I’ve also tried putting vests over their pajamas to encourage leaving things on, and greatly discourage anyone trying to remove pants. They do like to put pants on, although get frustrated when they can’t quite figure it out. We are also at the point that only diapers is not an option. Only diapers equals no diapers and as you all know, that doesn’t end well in this house.
I believe this might be a glimpse of what this summer will consist of; at least I hope so! Lots of outdoor fun and happy babies.
Oh, and last night all three slept through the entire night. A baby has slept, at least several hours on a rotation of all three girls, in our bed 100% of the nights since about September. Now I’m not silly enough to think it will repeat tonight, but at least we’ve had one good night so far in 2020.
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.
Well, it has definitely been a trying week or so. Pink eye re-emerged, triple head colds that the girls were kind enough to share with their mother, nighttime coughing interrupting sleep, AND our mini masterminds are now putting a good foot forward in escaping their cribs.
I knew this day would come, but did it absolutely have to be before 22 months?! I was optimistically and unrealistically hoping for this to happen closer to age three!
In addition to problem solving the crib situation, it looks like we are starting the anxiety portion of development that we skipped over six plus months ago. Not only is Reagan having a hard time self soothing at night, but now she is back to hating nap time and her crib and it’s starting to rub off on her sisters. We went through this last summer for a bit but were somehow able to overcome the issue. This time around, it doesn’t appear to be that easy.
Last week Reagan proved her skills in climbing from one crib to the other, like Harper achieved a few days earlier, so we separated the cribs to not touch one another. Luckily the room is just big enough to scoot the dresser over and turn Harper’s crib against the side wall, providing enough space to put Reagan’s centered on the back wall.
This worked for a couple of days, until Reagan decided she really didn’t want to take a nap and lifted her leg up, barrel rolled over hte side, and used her arms to lightly decline to the floor, almost effortlessly. After a day or two with this issue, we opted to trim the legs of her crib so that her mattress can sit on the floor but not slide out from the confines of the crib.
Want to guess how well that worked?
Not even FIVE minutes. We put her down for bed on Wednesday night with the usual routine, turned off the light and walked out of the room, and immediately she climbed right up the now higher crib railings and right out into the hallway. Trying to put her back in the crib was almost worse, because her escape caused grave anxiety for Emerie and Harper, with full on screaming tantrums coming from both their cribs. Harper cried so hard as we attempted to put Reagan back that she puked up a good portion of her dinner. Nothing improves your evening like seeing regurgitated breast milk and half processed mushrooms on the floor. This, of course, resulted in the light back on, new sheets and sleep sack, and a quick scrub of the floor/rug…all while everyone screamed.
We tried putting the blanket sleep sack on Reagan, the one that confines her feet enough she (in theory) can’t hoist one leg over the side. How did that work, you ask? Well everyone hollered in rage when we left the room and turned off the light, so much so that Emerie decided to puke up her dinner all over everything, bringing us back in to clean up like with Harper the previous night. Good news was in that five minutes Reagan didn’t even try to escape. Bad news? I literally watched her take the blanket sleep sack off by herself, like it was no big thing. So that’s not going to work either and we put her back in the open footed one she prefers.
In efforts to delay the inevitable shift to toddler beds, we tried one last ditch effort, mildly edited our typical, nightly routine. It’s been a bit since we’ve had to chance anything up for that process, and the girls are so busy growing and changing now, so I guess it’s time. One of us will now sit in their room until everyone dozes off, much like we did when they were a lot smaller (until we wised up and let them fuss a bit to fall asleep). So far Craig has done a couple nights of this so I could shower and scrub the lovely pink eye goop out of my eyes. I can hear him calmly tell them to lay back down, to settle, to sssshhhhhhhh. So far Reagan has not attempted to climb out while he’s in the room and eventually drifts off to sleep.
While this is a band-aid measure for sure, it hasn’t kept them from waking up an hour or two later and losing their minds throughout the night. I’m pretty sure this is getting worse, not better, as they get older. I’m attributing this to the cold/cough/pinkeye more than the anxiety; in either case they don’t stay in their cribs long enough!
We tried putting everyone down for nap the regular way yesterday and Reagan didn’t try to climb out. Craig reinforced “lay down” from outside their bedroom, while watching on the baby camera, and that seemed to work for now. The other theory is that she can’t climb out without the crib meshing; but I’m not sure that is really it.
About the only good thing from this past week pertains to Emerie’s eye follow up. I took her to Dr. Winkle last Monday, expecting to be told another surgery would be needed to loosen up the eye muscles that were tightened in October.
While being less than cooperative (in trend with the week we are having), after his first look he said she was progressing along nicely and that no surgery was needed yet. So we will reassess in three months after her birthday! We also have to take the other two in to ensure no issues have occurred since Emerie was originally diagnosed.
On an interesting note, Dr. Winkle did mention that he’s seen a couple other sets of identicals (twins) this winter. We were concerned last year that everyone would have the same issue and need the cataract surgery, since they are genetically the same, and were incredibly pleased that this was not the case. Apparently the identicals he’s seen recently are all presenting the same issues (don’t worry, he was very vague for HIPPA) and he said that the Douglets were the only recent outlier for this. So glad something is working out in our favor. It also goes to show that Emerie’s cataract is not a genetic issue but something environmental, likely occurring from pressure in the womb that differed from where Harper and Reagan were positioned.
Interesting stuff indeed!
Last Friday Nanny Chris and I loaded everyone up for an eyes, chest and ears check, especially since the doctor’s office refused to prescribe more pinkeye drops without an in-person visit from the girls. Better to be safe than sorry as we enter into a long weekend off work.
It turns out that both Reagan and Harper have double ear infections AND eye infections (pinkeye unconfirmed) and Emerie has the eye infection and would have an ear one if the tubes weren’t draining a bunch. So yay…no wonder no one believes in napping this week or sleeping at night!
To top all of this, I managed to get all of the girls’ illnesses, including a bacterial eye infection. So no contacts for me this week and it’s oddly strange, like in the first months after having the girls, when we didn’t sleep more than 90 minutes at a time so contacts weren’t worth putting in.
If someone could please remind 2020 that this year should be good…that would be great? The first two weeks haven’t started out very strong and this better not be an indication of what age two will be like.