Easter this year meant more involved activities than in years past, including an egg hunt, egg dying, spring cookie decorating, a lot of nail polish, and a lot of sugar. The girls were good sports for the majority of activities and enthusiastically participated in all of it.
We accidentally went to the Cabela’s Easter bunny earlier in the month after looking at the animals and fish. After running Reagan to the bathroom, we spotted a white bunny rabbit strolling down the aisle and Reagan did a complete double-take. We quickly signed up for a photo session (which were by appointment only) and all three did far better than expected sitting in front of it. In fact, I would say they were less terrified of this creepy eared animal than of Santa Claus earlier this year, which is hilarious. It also helps that procedure was similar to Christmas time, with a clear glass separation, making the kids feel less threatened than sitting closely with them.
The sugar cookie decorating lasted for a little while, with five toddlers helping snack on the icing and sprinkles but also somewhat decorating them. No one wanted to share their completed cookies or let me put them up on the rack; they more so hoarded full plates until we demanded to take them away and replace them with empty canvases. Megan and crew brought more sprinkles to add to the mix, including a pack of tiny eyeballs that everyone wanted to use! I plan to make it a family tradition to make sugar cookies and decorate them in celebration of (impending) spring…that thing we are still waiting to see right now.
I was not feeling adventurous about outdoor egg hunting with a snow covered backyard, so the morning hunt stayed inside on our main level with a few more in our empty, under renovation family room. The girls wore matching bunny dresses and new, fancy shoes. Just like last year, they immediately picked up the concept and slung their baskets around as they peeked under furniture and opened cabinets in search of delicious treats. There are only so many places to hide plastic eggs, so the whole search wrapped up pretty quickly, with Reagan’s bucket about 3/4ths full, Emerie’s almost halfway, and Harper’s the least filled as she kept getting distracted with trying to open them. Once all were collected everyone sat down on pillows in the empty family room and sifted through their “booty” before I handed over their real Easter baskets. Harper’s first egg contained a spotted brown jelly bean, which she promptly threw on the carpet with a that’s a rock! comment. Hysterical, I tell you! Her excitement joined her sisters as she opened a few more and found mini marshmallows, other more deliciously colored jelly beans, and egg shaped tootsie rolls.
I enjoy seeing the different responses to new candies. Emerie ate her marshmallows speedily when usually she’s not a big fan of them, Reagan tried one tootsie roll egg and spit it out into my hand with a yucky, while Harper kept getting the gross flavored jelly beans (I guess it’s my fault for not picking better colors to add) and running to throw them into the trash. Harper was the only one of the three to really enjoy the egg tootsie roll treats. Reagan did manage to collect more tootsies and bring them upstairs to share, with one placed lovingly at each table setting and the last one on the couch for Daddy, along with her open sticker book. She demanded Grandma Sue guard that candy until Daddy came upstairs…how cute is that.
This year’s Easter baskets weren’t anything to rave about, just a chocolate bunny for each and a few knickknacks and bunny ears from Grandma Anne. The girls have been carrying the light up baby chicks around with them and I’m sure I will find the princess stickers around eventually. Strict instructions for consuming the chocolate bunnies meant everyone had to take a good nap; somehow orders were obeyed and they all woke up from nap with a I want my chocolate bunny, Momma! type exclamation. It took Harper 45 minutes to eat that tiny bunny, while Reagan scarfed it down and Emerie enjoyed pointing out what parts she ate (ears, then eyes, then mouth etc.).
Easter dinner meant a house of nine kiddos running around, which isn’t too out-of-the-ordinary these days, with the girls refusing once again to eat most of their dinner but the adults and visiting kiddos enjoying each bite!
The phrase of the week for the toddlers is I not can’t. Clearly we haven’t learned double negatives yet but they sure do know how to voice when they can’t do something! I not can’t handle it if they keep saying it like that!!
As we round up to age three, the girls all know their colors, numbers up to about fifteen, most of their shapes and a TON of vocabulary. Life skills include mostly dressing themselves, running away given the opportunity, potty training pros, teeth brushing, baking, tower construction, coloring and drawing, and so much more!
But just because the girls were born together, look similar and hit most of their milestones together does not mean they are always the same. In fact, it continues to get easier to answer some of the differences between them as they grow and learn new things. Here are a few for the current stage of toddlerhood as we round up to age THREE!
Popcorn is prepared in the same pot, in the same heat, in the same oil and yet…the kernels do not POP at the same time. Don’t compare your child to others. Their turn to pop is coming!
Harper Anne – the strong willed one
Height: 39” (90% in height)
Weight: 32.2 pounds! (66% in weight)
Harper is all about her pink color and anything princess related. I’m unsure which Disney princess is her favorite, as she will randomly ask for Cinderella (and Gus Gus the mouse), Mulan, Snow White, Pan (Rapunzel), Ana and Elsa. She also loves to color everything black and always requests the black marker when given a choice. In fact, this little girl will color an entire page, making sure to fill up the color every where; if black isn’t available she opts for brown or pink. I’m sure this is just a phase! She dislikes water the most of the three and is very nervous going around the floating river at H2Oasis; she will not do it unless she has a tight grownup safety net the entire way around.
Harper is the hugger of the group and the only one that will really voluntarily give one to a sibling! She is also very expressive about her feelings and will tell you when she likes/dislikes something, or when she wants to love on it. I want to kiss it is a common term that applies to a variety of things such as the trash man, the forklift driver at Costco, and Daddy’s four wheeler. She is a cuddler and most nights will snuggle up with me and watch a show before we go up to bed. That is worth noting because as an infant she resisted cuddling the most of the three!
We shifted “top diva status” in the past year, with Harper taking the title as we round out age two. This is likely because she’s a girl that knows what she wants (and doesn’t want!) and has no qualms about throwing a full out, pouty tantrum over it. Her grumpy face is adorable in my opinion, which is surely not her intent when giving it to me, and her strong willed attitude combined with the face is one for the memory books. She also provides the entertainment of a silent tantrum and will lay face down on the floor and wait for you to react. It’s hilarious!
Favorite word/phrase:I love it, I kiss it, I hug it (about everything!) and I tired! when she’s not happy about something.
Favorite food: Harper enjoys meat more than the other two, liked plain chicken, bacon and, of course, hot dogs! She also LOVES black olives and would eat an entire can if given the opportunity.
Favorite book: Llama Llama Nighty Night (referred to as the “Potty Book”); she can quote the whole board book by memory now but will only do it when she feels like it.
Favorite song: Cocomelon’s Itsy Bitsy Spider and Shake It Off is making a comeback. She’s also on a Little Bunny Fufu kick.
Favorite show/movie: A few months ago I would have said Wreck It Ralph replaced “Pan!” in her heart but more recently she is on a big Cocomelon, Netflix’s Leap (ballalina movie as she calls it), Cinderella and Mulan kick. She is also anti-Moana and doesn’t want to watch it.
Favorite toy: her dolls and all things princess related. She enjoys playing with the American Girls dolls and towing her favorite one around. She’s also on a Cinderella kick and really likes Gus Gus the mouse (and received a stuffed one for her birthday!)
Favorite activity: coloring or watching a show. She favors black and brown and will take the time to color the enjoy paper or ornament before she’s done; she’s also the most willing to sit and watch TV, much more than her siblings. She also loves to play pretend napping, with her dolls and sisters using blankets and pillows on the floor.
Hand dominance: right hand
Dislikes: sleeping by herself, some sweets and being cold
Favored Parent: she’s a Momma’s girl for sure!!
Emerie Faye – the helper
Height: 38.2” (76% in height)
Weight: still hovering around 30 pounds (37% in weight)
Our little Baby B has turned into quite the sweet little girl. Emerie is such a helper and very willing to share with her sisters (when asked and even on her own accord) as well as clean up toys and get dressed on her own. She loves playing with blocks and building things, her purple monkey (seemingly named “Monk”) and her cabbage patch doll Sadi and loves to play pretend with them. Her towers continue to grow in height and she insists she doesn’t need help on them.
Emerie is a complete water baby and would live in the bathtub if allowed. She often gets an attitude because she doesn’t want to share her water from the spout and will fight for it at all costs! One of her favorite things is floating the wavy river at H2Oasis, near an adult but freely by herself in the water!
Patching the past six months has greatly improved; now that she is older and better understands rewards and obedience, we are able to get more time each day than when she was younger. I find that she’s a little more timid when we go places wearing it, but for the most part will still run, climb and slide at the playground. Instead of pulling it off immediately, she will ask when it’s time to remove it and wait until we say yes, which is SO helpful. The past few weeks the patch’s new home seems to be on Grandma Sue’s leggings, while she is wearing them no less, after she takes it off herself. Silly girl.
Emerie loves to read the entire Llama Llama Nighty Night book from memory; she loops one of the pages twice and it’s very endearing. She can recite her own name as well as both her parents, Grandma Sue, Papa Cliff and Uncle Will and Aunt Manda. She likes to remind her sisters not to run in the parking lot and is the only one of the three we don’t have to worry about darting out in front of a car.
Favorite word/phrase:I do it myself! and I want to sit in the middle! of the car, where she is definitely the best behaved.
Favorite food: she always downs her berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.) and as many pickles as available. And does snow count as a food? Because she is always eating that too.
Favorite book: she seems to favor the That’s Not My Llama book and most other Llama Llama series books. She randomly likes to read “Tyler book” from Christmas.
Favorite song: Jesus Loves Me or Dave and Ava’s Lola the Cow
Favorite show/movie: Pan (Tangled) and Cocomelon
Favorite toy: it used to be her tiny monkey but lately monkey is getting a little less love while she plays with “my purple sloth” and stuffed Olaf. She enjoys building with the magna-blocks and making towers all by herself or adding a handful of Little People into them.
Favorite activity: building towers, reading books one-on-one with you and wrapping up her Cabbage Patch doll Sadi and carrying her around.
Hand dominance: right hand but sometimes left
Dislikes: she will plug her ears at loud noises and her patch. She’s also in a kick right now where she doesn’t want to feed herself and wants someone to scoop up the food for her.
Favored parent: she plays pretty evenly between both of us
Reagan Jean – the comforter
Height: 39” (90% in height)
Weight: 32.6 pounds (70% in weight)
Miss Reagan still appears to be the tomboy of three and I’m interested to see how that plays out. She isn’t a huge fan of dress up, other than the occasionally sparkly tutu, and really likes to “drive” the four wheeler with Daddy. She plays with her cars and construction equipment the most and went through a phase of always ensuring one was in her coat pocket. She LOVES play dough and can sit at the table for an hour making shapes. Her coloring masterpieces are getting fancier by the week and several are hanging on the fridge once she agrees they are finished. Reagan loves playing at the water park; or, you know, running away from you there. She is also a girl after her Dad and Grandma Sue’s heart and loves any and all sweets.
Reagan expects you to focus if she is speaking to you and after a year will still hold your face in her hands and speak nose to nose. She concentrates when explaining a story and thinks out what she wants to say. She has mastered the art of getting dressed and will put on pants, socks and shirts without needing much help. If the pants have back pockets she will put them on backwards so she can use them- how well thought out is that! Toward the end of every evening, becoming tired equals a burst of energy and she often wants to climb all over everything (us) and irritate her sisters as they are calming down for the night. In general it takes her the longest to fall asleep in her bed (or at least to settle) at naps and bedtime.
Reagan continues to be the spontaneous singer and dancer and will often break into both when it suits her mood. The maternal instinct is growing for Rher too, as she now babies her stuffed animals. You will find her walking around the living room with a teddy bear wrapped in a blanket, whispering loving words to it and shushing her sisters because it’s trying to go to sleep! She will tell you baby is tired or baby doesn’t feel good and console it; her new baby doll with matching binkie is quite the hit. She will also bring toys to her sisters when they are upset and pat them on the head when she has to apologize.
Favorite word:why! But it doesn’t sound like why, more like wwwhhhyyyyyyyy….? and daddy fix it.
Favorite food: she is the biggest sweet tooth of the three but also likes lettuce, celery and bananas! She also loves Craig’s sweet pancakes and will eat several of them in one sitting and inhale the neighbor’s homemade lumpia!
Favorite book: the kid Bible and bedtime llama llama books. She loves to recite them for you.
Favorite song: she likes Cocomelon nursery rhymes and sings the ABCs a lot. She is definitely quite the little singer and breaks out into song quite often
Favorite show/movie: Tangled, Cocomelon and Leap
Favorite toy: she favors playing with cars and little people and always has one handy in her pocket; she really likes Daddy’s four-wheeler and her musical “cell-phone”
Favorite activity: play dough, paint and coloring – she is always asking to color, use markers, or paint something. She also really likes to decorate cookies and pretend cook her cake and cupcakes.
Hand dominance: right hand
Dislikes: being told no, having a voice raised in her direction, tags on any of her clothing and dress up
Favored Parent: she’s a Daddy’s girl all the way
So how are they different?
A perfect example of how different they all are- look at their magnetic block creations! Reagan really likes to make flat, 2D puzzles and strategically choose which color goes where. Harper generally makes a big stack and then runs off with them or demands more help from an adult. Emerie will start with one 3D square and collect little people to add to her castle as she expands it across the table or up to the sky. At some point, if no one destroys the creations, they usually end up all connected in some way or in a huge pile on the floor.
When we first overcame the fear of the loud four wheeler, everyone fought over sitting on Daddy’s lap for an excursion around the neighborhood. Now Emerie prefers sitting backwards on the sled and look at me while Harper and Reagan both like to “drive.” Harper discovered it’s fun to sit on an adults lap on the back of the actual four wheeler and look out too.
Everyone responds a bit differently to discipline. Reagan will straighten up with a stern voice in her direction much more than the other two will, Harper often needs a time out to miss the current activity, and Emerie responds to a combination of time-out and spanking, although she ends up with both a lot less often than her sisters. All three respond really well to positive praise and a reward system.
But not everything is different- of course there are also similarities to raising three of the same age at the same time. Everyone likes to sit in the middle car seat and fight over it, with Emerie the best behaved of the three during rides around town. Favored activities include the trampoline park, sledding, playgrounds, neighborhood walks, swinging (yes it needs its own category), baking, play dough, arts and crafts, anything with buckets and scoopers and pretend play. Everyone loves to play in the bathtub and make a huge mess on the bathroom floor. They all LOVE trash truck and snowplow visits, seeing forklifts at the store and helping hold things in a shopping cart. Moose sightings are a huge deal and worth talking about for days. Everyone loves their designated colors and fully believes they should never have to share something that is “their” color, including silverware and dishware, clothing and any type of toy/stuff animal that is pink/purple/teal. All three love to FaceTime with family and hold the phone themselves, hogging it as much as the parents will allow and running off with it to hide.
When asked what they wanted for dinner on their birthday, the overwhelming response from all three was cake!! In future years I plan to let each kiddo choose dinner one night over the course of the birthday week, but for now how can I refuse such an excited response! For the record, they didn’t each as much cake as you would have expected them to over birthday week! They did, however, pick the icing and berries off said cake.
Since you all know how smoothly the actually birthday went…we managed to finish prepping for a jump park birthday party last Sunday and it was pretty much a twin-fest up in the park for the morning. Later that night we attended our rescheduled dinner to Red Robin. The waiter and crew sang happy birthday Red Robin style and Harper, being a mini Becca, was super embarrassed, turned red and stuck her tongue out at everyone while Emerie and Reagan smiled and watched the charade with amusement. Everyone enjoyed the ice cream sundae and sprinkles.
We continue to open random presents we’ve forgotten about and it has really become a birthday week. I still can’t believe we are now in age three!!
This is a year for the books. Whether that is good or bad, I will let you decide.
Looking back at photos from this time last holiday season, right before our impending 2020, the girls look SO much tinier. They advanced so much in the past twelve months, from personalities to everyday skills to talking up a storm! By the end of 2019 they were saying single words and pointing when they wanted an action, were pros at walking and running around, still ate in the triplet table and threw food constantly, started trying to use their clippy pillows and learn to buckle things, and were very unhappy to be stuffy with a cold.
This time last year we were dealing with constant ear infections, a month of colds and less than optimal sleeping habits, but also good things like play date outings with friends to pass the long mornings, littles that (for the most part) slept in until eight AM (I miss that!), and quality time with visiting family.
By the end of 2020, coordination and running full force is now easy, they climb into their dinner seats and buckle when asked (which we don’t have to do every night anymore either!), drink out of big girl cups (with lids) and use silverware, turn light switches on and off and shut doors, and go sit on the potty themselves. Our park adventures are much easier and they love to go down the slides, climb on everything and swing. While we see a lot more daily tantrums, they are also learning to ask for help when they can’t do something, tell us when they need to potty, and tell us tidbits about their day from the perspective of a toddler.
The girls etch-a-sketches from last Christmas are now replaced with coloring boards, where they ask you to help draw shapes and words. The tiny doll strollers that brought hours of enjoyment over the past year are replaced with fancier ones that boast more functions they continue to discover. The Little People houses are still used every few days; if you listen you can hear them talk to one another about the person on the potty or sitting in the chair or whatever little story they’ve conceived. Arts and crafts time is expanding to include more than just crayon eating and markers are beloved, even though they seem to always venture onto arms and legs. Requests for specific drawings is constant for whatever mood hits each day. The girls specifically ask to Facetime with Papa cliff or Lon or Grandma Sue and Anne, often demand I send a new drawing to cousin Tyler or Uncle Will, request to have park dates with friends and Auntie Janelle, and are always excited to see Oaki and Kaden, or Paris, Sage or Luca, and other adults such as “Kimmie,” or Megan and Alyssa, as much as possible. Anytime we see Nanny and Pricey everyone gets so excited. It’s a blessing we are able to maintain a small group to socialize with throughout all the craziness of the year.
Here’s a rundown on the biggest highlights for our family during 2020 (in my opinion!):
Word explosion is putting it mildly. Since the first big phrases in September 2019, we now have sentence structure, adjectives and multiple words for the same meaning. Everyone sings songs, all their ABCs and can count to 10. Harper leads the charge on sentences and the other two are on her tail.
This is a biggie. Shifting from at-home-all-day nanny care to a toddler classroom at daycare down the street was a scary mommy step for me. Luckily, the girls handled it so much better than I expected, are thriving every day, and love going to socialize and see their friends on a daily basis.
This is one of the major wins of the year! Credit is largely due to daycare initializing it and laying the foundation, since we weren’t quite ready to trigger it, and now Reagan is pretty much completely potty trained, Harper is very close to no accidents, and Emerie is getting there.
Over the past year the girls learned to color, build block towers, pretend play in their kitchen and with their dollies, go to the park without simply running off at every chance, walking to the car, swinging and going down the slides without help, swimming, driving powered cars, and putting on their own shoes and socks!
The shift to daycare was the largest routine interruption of the year, even more so than the initial pandemic shutdown last spring. While I readily admit I was NOT ready for it, overall it was a good change that allowed them out of the house when we are almost exclusively home and to socialize with a new group their age. We have made some new friends from the new experience and that must be treasured after a year like 2020! For the most part we’ve spent the past nine months without attending social engagements or mom/dad groups (that we really relied on the girls’ first year!), play dates or public kid spots like the jump park, library and recreational centers. It makes the year sound like a drag, but we made it work by testing out all the local elementary school playgrounds, finding new sledding hills, adventuring out into the wilderness and exploring creeks and trails.
Emerie had one eye surgery in June, the same week Craig was able to sneak off for two nights to have a little kid-free, much overdue four wheeling fun and we had a fun sleep over weekend with Aunt Janelle. We anticipate another surgery is right around the corner and will have an update for everyone on that in January. We survived all but the beginning and end month of the year without colds, which is impressive! We also managed to get the house and new shed painted, repaint the loft into more acceptable office colors, build a new garden bed filled with raspberries, and catch up on some minor, miscellaneous house to-dos. Hopefully a few new projects will expand in 2021; such as a kitchen update, more garden beds or a deck add-on, and maybe some new lighting. Can you tell we miss doing projects!!
It sounds silly, but my biggest change in 2020 was probably when I stopped pumping! After two years and GALLONS of milk later, it was a breath of fresh air to not have to continually worry about keeping supply up, when I could sneak in a glass of wine around my pumping schedule, and getting up earlier and staying up later to do it. I know I was very fortunate how well that whole process worked for us and the girls, but am very glad to be done. Craig’s major milestone of the year was probably getting a spot back at DPS, after several years spent in other departments. While we are both working from home a lot, it is wonderful to have job security, interesting work and coworkers we like!
Other highlights throughout the year that consist in the mind of a mother…the girls finally have HAIR!! Don’t laugh, it is a milestone after they went the first year with almost none! Looking back even a few months, it’s grown so quickly and braids are right around the corner. Another highlight is finding more time to cook meals we enjoy and bake goodies; this was on hold for 2018 and much of 2019. In fact, we (the adults anyway) skipped a lot of meals that involved any prep time when the girls were little, and it’s nice to have a little more time to commit to that. The girls are slowly starting to “help” with baking, although three sets of kid hands and an adult gets a bit cramped in the kitchen and usually ends in a fight. We will get there. The four wheeler now brings squeals of excitement rather than fear and the trashman, postman, plow and dump trucks and moose visitors are welcomed sights out the front window.
2020 has been a tough year for a variety of reasons, but then again, so was 2018 and 2019 (for us). There are plenty of parts to look back on and smile; it hasn’t all been a drag! I foresee 2021 giving us more FUN adventures, hopefully with more trips around the state to explore new activities with the girls, such as more camping, hiking, fishing, and everything in-between. It’s still going to be challenging with three in tow, but looks to be more doable than the past two years now that the girls are more grown up and occasionally listen to directions.
So happy new year to all of you who keep up to date on how we are doing! We look forward to being able to visit with many of you in-person next year…fingers crossed! And to everyone else near and far, feel free to Facetime us and let the girls see those faces and hear those voices. They love to socialize and if that is the best we can do for now…well then let’s do it!
The past weekend was chocked full of toddler adventuring and getting out of the house. We find that getting the girls out and about drastically helps with the grumpiness side effect of daycare transition and keeps our sanity intact, so we made plans to do our first real road trip and drive down to the Seward Sealife Center.
As usual, I was super over packed for a half day trip. Part of this is to ensure we have everything needed for whatever comes up, the other part knows if an accident shuts down the highway on our way home (which frequently happens), then we need to have enough supplies to survive a night in a hotel. Thank goodness we didn’t end up testing how that would go, but you never know and preparation is key (I am a planner, after all…)! So in addition to the snacks, lunch food, drinks and extra clothes and coats, I had everyone’s cuddle blanket, stuffed animals, binkies hidden away, and the bedtime book. This clearly tells me we need to purchase a camper so we can adventure for whole weekends and not just half days. Then I won’t feel so over packed!
Everyone was up and ready to go by 7:45, with our fellow triplet road trippers meeting up for the drive down. We anticipated the girls would not sleep on the way down, so Craig sat in the third row and helped entertain them (ahem…keep them from fighting…), supplied a constant stream of snacks, and kept us from a two hour scream fest. I enjoyed my coffee and the beautiful scenery from the driver’s seat.
We arrived right on time for our sealife center reservations. The girls were released from the strollers pretty early on; eventually it was seven toddlers running amuck toward each exhibit, someone always trying to herd them in the right direction as they excitedly screamed about the animals. The sea lions were a hit, especially when they were up close and appeared soooo big. Everyone touched the starfish and managed to get their hoodies all wet. Everyone threw fits going back into the strollers. It was a very pleasant, albeit FAST, visit that we will have to do again soon.
The over energized toddlers released a vast amount of energy at the park down the path along the water. The weather was cool with bits of sun and wind, but overall very pleasant for a (almost) fall day in our great state. The park was amazing, with only two entrances, allowing the parents to breathe a little that they wouldn’t immediately run out to the water. Lunch went much smoother for our fellow triplet friends than for mine. We didn’t bring the food from the car so they were less than thrilled at the thought of sitting for a few more snacks instead of real food; they wanted to run around and go back to the playground.
All in all, it may have been a busy, stimulating day, but also a good one. It was really nice to get out of Anchorage for a few hours and I look forward to longer trips like this next summer. The girls napped the whole way home; Emerie was out before we left city limits and Harper and Reagan chatted a little and pretty much fell asleep mid-sentence.
To continue the weekend adventures, we went down to the Kincaid beach the following day. This includes walking down a massive paved trail until you break off toward the beach (and unfortunately walking back up it later), dragging strollers down a path not meant for them, and having to pull said gear back up that steep path at the end of the trek.
We succeeded at this with about twelves kiddos and only four strollers, lots of snacks and fun beach gear. The girls did GREAT. They didn’t explore more than 20′ away from us the whole time we were down there, they played with their shovels and buckets and walked around with the sand in their toes. Luckily the sun stayed out for most of it and it wasn’t too cold…Alaska beaches aren’t warm and we were ready for that.
The most exciting part of the morning was getting stuck on the beach side of the trail due to a mama and baby moose blocking our way. The girls kept pointing and yelling moose from the stroller. At least 20 people were held up by these creatures, who assumed we would patiently wait for them to have their lunch before we walked by. Other hikers went through the brush around them, something you cannot do with a double chariot and a ton of loud, little people. Eventually they moved far enough that we could walk quickly by and go up the huge hill that took us toward the car. It was another great morning, although it took a good hour into nap time for Emerie and Harper to drift off to sleep. This will definitely be a spot to do again; this time we will warn our friends to wear hiking shoes and bring better gear…which we did not do this time around (oops Megan!).
One of the most adventure packed weekends we’ve had in a while- in a good way- hopefully the rest of fall can proceed in a similar fashion.
It’s a little terrifying to give up control as a parent. What do I mean by control? So many things are controlled for our every day routine, something that has been incredibly detailed and stringent for the past two years, with pretty much every second planned out strategically ahead of time (and a lot of hoping for the best!). Control, as in what habits (or words/actions) your children will pick up because they’re only with you or people you’ve hand-picked to be a part of your lives. This may also be genetically from their DNA- yes, that part might be payback for Craig and I. Control, meaning knowledge of each detail of their daily lives, knowing they are completely safe from the craziness of the outside world, safely tucked away in your house, your safe place, the place you call home.
The past two years were controlled, spending the majority of time in this safe place.
It also means relinquishing control by placing your children in the hands of other people and having new experiences that you won’t be there to witness. This is a hard concept to deal with. Because we’ve been so blessed to have in home care, we have been involved in so much of the first times. In reality, it’s really not that different from me and Craig being at work and the girls being home with the nanny, but soon there will be more kids around we don’t yet know and less involvement in daily activities and experiences. Miss Chris was always great at sending pictures and videos and making us feel connected to the girls, even when we at the office. And the last four months with the COVID quarantine and working full time from home, while I was not directly with the girls every second of the day, I could still hear them downstairs or outside the window, laughing in the backyard and playing in the water, or chasing each other across the living room and giggling over a song. I still heard them screaming about the food they disliked, or when they settled down for a nap and chatted in their cribs, knowing from the other room that they are happy and snoozing away from a busy day.
The question is, is this life adjustment harder on the parents or on the kids?! We all know the truth of that answer; it’s harder on the parents and I daresay hardest on the moms. Whether your kid is three months old, two and a half years (like us), or headed off to the first day of kindergarten, separation anxiety is a thing, for both parents and kiddos! It’s hard to let go, change routine and take the next step. Am I ready for them to go to daycare? Not remotely. Did I want to put this off a lot longer? Yes. Do I think they can handle it and be okay? Yes. Do I think I can handle it and be okay? Yesss. I know the transition is tough, whether that is a quiet house for my workday or a few no-nap weeks for them to come home super grumpy and clingy. I am sure it will be quite the transition for them, exciting and scary, but also quite the transition for us as well as we step into this new phase of our lives. A phase with a little less control.
We’ve done a lot of daycare prep the past few weeks. After touring the preschool and talking with several of the staff and toddler teachers, we shifted our daily routine a little bit. No major changes, just small incremental things that encouraged how they would be at school and wouldn’t cause further stress while we juggled everything. This included unbuckling the girls for breakfast and lunch, something we’ve done at all meals their whole lives, using the constrained time to finish food prep, cleanup, throw another load of laundry in or start the dishwasher, and run around and quickly do fifty random chores before they ransacked everything again. The toddler classrooms have kid sized tables and chairs and expect the kiddos to eat respectfully without buckling in. This is going okay at home so far, often the taking away of a full plate of food convinces them to sit back down. It definitely shortens meal times and doesn’t allow for us to sit and eat for long, but the change is going better than I expected it to right away.
We are also leaving the dining chairs on the floor now, instead of putting them back on top of the table. This is soooo much nicer on the parents, not having to constantly remember to put them back up, but still certainly results in climbing toddlers, standing on the table, smacking the television and playing with the remote and DVD player. I won’t call this a win yet; at some point each day someone is on the table (or multiple someones more often), but yesterday I only had to put them (all) in timeout once for climbing up and that is MAJOR progress. Hopefully we aren’t too far from this being a non-issue.
Another bigger change at daycare involves splitting them up. They don’t put three new toddlers together, regardless of sibling status, so we opted for Harper and Reagan to stay together and Emerie to be on her own. No, it’s not because the two team up against their smaller sister more often; it is because Emerie is great at independent play and likes to take the time to figure things out. We are hoping she will thrive from this. They will still be together for breakfast and recess each day, but not for some activities and nap time. I’m hoping once everyone settles in they can go back together, unless Emerie absolutely loves being on her own.
We joked on our walkthrough that daycare staff has until their third birthday to figure out who is who, because we will then dress them all completely alike and make them work for it. They thought that was pretty funny. Kidding not kidding…
We had to do physicals (and shots!) before their first day, and since we didn’t get an official two year height/weight update because COVID hit, here are your updated numbers for the munchkins!
29 Month Update
Height: 38.75” (99%) / Weight: 29 lb., 8 oz. (71%)
Favorite Food: dad’s Belgium waffle pancakes, bacon and blueberries
Favorite Song: Lola the Cow or Baby Shark
Favorite toy: she likes her pink bear or the singing bear
She is still ready to take the world on 100% of the time, is often the instigator for trouble making and encourages her sisters to join her, and is practically talking a mile a minute. She enjoys movies the most of the three and will sit and snuggle for 30+ minutes and watch one before bed time.
Height: 37.75” (96%) / Weight: 27 lb., 4 oz. (47%)
Clothing size: 2T onesies/dresses, 3T everything else but it’s a little big
ShoeSize: 7 / 8
Favorite Word: lullo (yellow)
Favorite Food: mango or blueberries
Favorite Song: Tay Tay’s Shake It Off and Twinkle Twinkle
Favorite toy: any type of container, her Piggy, and her toddler “cell phone”
Emerie is the curious thinker of the group and loves to color and play with puzzles. She loves holding your hand and insists upon it quite often, especially when jumping off things or going down most slides. She likes the Pan movie and Moana and randomly singing her ABCs.
Height: 38.25” (98%) / Weight: 30 lb., 1 oz. (76%)
Favorite toy: any binkie she can get her hands on, her white bear or toddler “cell phone”
Reagan is still the most timid of the three and a little more emotional. She’s shy in new places but then opens up and wants to share toys with friends. She enjoys holding your hand, sitting on your lap under a blanket and watching her sisters get into trouble. She also likes dancing to all music.
Right now no one is a fan of wearing pants, or their diapers if given the opportunity to remove them, and everyone is obsessed with the potty. The current favorite color is “yellowblue”. No, that is not green; it is yellow-blue. As true Alaskan babies, they are now okay playing in hose water or the sprinkle out back, even with the multiple cold! comments.
The first day went even better than expected! Craig and I were still reeling from several nights of actual sleep, which felt weird, with Harper sleeping back in her own bed and not having anxiety episodes that result in me sleeping next to her in the guest room.
We got up a few minutes early and ate a breakfast snack on the couch, I did everyone’s hair really quick and dressed up in cute, first day outfits that matched the beautiful summer day.
Craig and I took them over together at about 8 AM, expecting some tears as we handed them off. Due to COVID-19 rules, we are not allowed into the daycare and have to leave them at the front door, after temperature checks. While I am not a fan of this at all, especially since this is my first time handing them off to new people, I think down the line they will be fine. Harper didn’t even shed a tear, albeit she wasn’t excited, but stuck out her jaw and went with it. Emerie and Reagan? Bloody murder, screaming rage. Yes, as expected. We just walked to the car as they screamed inside.
The coordinator texted us later that they only cried for a few moments and then were okay. I’m sure it helped to have breakfast time together and a whole new set of toys and activities to entertain.
Believe it or not, everyone did some form of a nap, which greatly surprised me! I was expecting very overstimulated and sleepy toddlers by the end of the day, but apparently they were worn out enough to sleep a little. What a good sign! Emerie, who napped in a different room than her sisters, did great according to her teacher, waking up a little upset but quickly calming down with one-on-one time and a book.
We picked them up out on the playground, everyone happy and running around, no one exactly ready to get in the car and go home. The evening was a little grumpy but overall not as bad as expected.
Thank you everyone for the prayers for a calm week!