It’s no secret that 2020 is not on the top of the charts as a nice or pleasant year. That being said, a number of fellow moms have shared their struggles with me in the past week or two; how hard the past few months have been. I share in their frustrations and tiredness for sure!
I wanted to share something a friend posted the other day, as I did not write it, but understand it to my very core. It resonates very strongly as a mother and full time worker trying to get everything done. Everyday. There isn’t enough time in the day to do it all- and that is okay (even when it doesn’t feel like it)!! That laundry will be there tomorrow, the dishes will be too (although who are we kidding- my life goal is to have a clean sink every night…since they were born). But that bedtime snuggle might not be, that toddler playtime or cute interaction might be missed as they grow up. Priorities are key. Family, is a priority.
“One time I was at a Q&A with Nora Roberts and someone asked her how to balance writing and kids and she said that the key to juggling is to know that some of the balls you have in the air are made of plastic and some are made of glass.
I dropped more than one ball today…but they were plastic, and tomorrow, it will be okay.
Source: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
If you drop a plastic ball, it bounces, no harm done. If you drop a glass ball, it shatters, so you have to know which balls are glass and which are plastic and prioritize catching the glass ones.
Nora was not talking about juggling five balls. She was talking about juggling FIFTY-FIVE balls. The balls don’t represent “family” or “work.” There are separate balls for everything that goes into each of those categories. “Deadline on Project Y” or “crazy sock day at school.”
And her point, addressing a room full of women, was not “prioritize kids over work.” It was “some kid stuff is glass and some is plastic, and sometimes, to catch a glass work ball, you have to drop a plastic family one, and that is okay.”
And the reverse is also true. Sometimes, to catch a glass kid ball, something at work has to slide, and that is okay too.
If you are juggling 55 balls, some are going to drop, so you have to focus not on broad categories, but on the glass balls.
I think about this ALL THE TIME. I dropped more than one ball today. It is hard to drop any ball and I hate it! But they were plastic, and tomorrow, it will be okay.”
Source: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
So am I a ball dropper? 100%. Everything can’t get done everyday. Do I wish I wasn’t? Sure. But it’s really about prioritizing and figuring out which ones are glass and which are plastic, and trudging forward that way, knowing that your best is all you can do. Getting in those moments with the girls, trying to enjoy the hard times, knowing they will get easier, and spending time with my family as we continue down this crazy, pandemic road we are stuck on.
So keep your head up, friends, mommas, dads!! And reach out if you need to talk; I’m tired and overworked with too much on my plate, but I am also here if you need me.
Want to know what potty training triplets is like?
It’s like helping your daughter in from the backyard because she announced she was pooping, taking her to the bathroom, and emptying the lovely contents of her big girl underwear into the toilet… And as it falls into the water, it splashes you in the face.
That, my friends, may or may not have happened to me this this evening. I guess you could say potty training… it is just shits and giggles…
This definitely ranks in my top five grossest experiences since having kids, right up there with my hair smelling like vomited breastmilk (even after showering) and having to buy a whole new outfit at the hospital because Reagan pooped through her diaper during our skin to skin time.
The past several weeks have been busy, full of outdoor adventures, “school” activities, grumpy evenings and toddler snuggles. While nothing incredibly interesting has occurred as we push into my favorite time of year (fall!), I have noted some silly things the girls do on a daily basis. Enjoy.
Harper is on a roll the past week, having two incident reports in two days. The first one involved her pointer finger and a bee sting, to which she proudly held up the band-aid to show us; the second a trip and fall face plant, resulting in a scratched up cheek, nose and forehead. The daycare teacher says she took the bee sting like a pro and patiently let them “fix” it; the face plant required a little more coddling and easing back into playtime, as expected. Luckily neither seem to be bothering her too much after a day or two.
Harper is getting really great at singing the ABCs and will randomly break out into song. She also joins in with her sisters for twinkle twinkle and will sing the full Jesus Loves Me song. She is also on a momma kick; everything is momma-do or ends with momma (it’s cute!). Things like sit down or help become sit down, momma or help, momma. She is certainly on the momma train this month.
That also includes evening movie time; the only time of day that we successfully get them to sit somewhat still and quietly. Pan! is still the favorite movie, followed by Moana and Llama Llama, but the most common request, ahem demand, is for Tangled. We’ve been watching it on repeat for a month now- while that does get old, I enjoy sitting on the couch and snuggling, especially since Harper will intently watch it and sit there for 30+ minutes, most of the time.
Lastly, the other morning I watched Harper put her coat on entirely by herself and was quite impressed. She laid it on the floor with the hood at the top, put both arms in the sleeves, stood up and pulled it over her head to her back. I imagine this must be something from daycare, but still. Genius right here! She is also the jewelry wearer and almost always has a bracelet (or five) on. This was Emerie for a time but has moved over to Harper enjoying the fancy style.
Harper likes the Little People Frozen sets and prefers the Kristoph and Ana (who she calls Elsa) figures. She is completely obsessed with every character in Tangled, especially the frying pan (which is considered a character in this house lol). She also often sleeps with the stuffed Hay Hay (chicken) from Moana.
Current favorite color: Emi color (purple)
Current favorite color to wear: Harper color (pink); unless it’s socks- she always picks blue socks- every single morning.
The daycare teachers tell me Emerie is thriving in school. We were concerned about the separation of classrooms at first- instead of being detrimental or upsetting, her independence is thriving. She is very attached to her teacher, Miss Maddie, and I’m sure that is one of the reasons for excelling. I’m told she is the class helper when it comes to cleaning up, which is an accurate depiction at home as well. The monkey bars are one of her favorite activities out on the playground. Breakfast and recess time have all the toddlers together, which certainly helps the mood when she misses her sisters; it’s great to see her doing so well.
Emerie will be the kiddo that remembers everyone’s name (NOT one of my skills). It took us a little while to figure out classmates’ names at school, not knowing exactly what she was saying at first. We now know that she has friends in class named Kyle, Luca (Reagan’s buddy apparently), Elise, Reya, and Kia (who she tells us she sees everyday). We haven’t figured out the rest yet, although there is an Emi in the older classroom that likes to share with us their names match. That usually follows by a who is who question as we walk by to pickup the girls for the day haha.
One of Emerie’s latest pretend activities involves putting stuffed animals into time out. This is usually completely unprompted and not right after someone is in trouble. She will sit them in the corner or on the stairs and tell them no! timeout! The usual inquiry of what they did answers with climb on table. So good, we are getting somewhere! Of the three, Emerie requires timeout the least, so it’s funny that she’s the one that pretend plays it. When Reagan or Harper are in it, she often tries to bring them a toy or join them for it, even if they are in time out from being mean to her. She’s a gentle soul!
Lastly, Emerie loves a couple of books, especially one that sings the nursery rhymes. It’s sooo cute, she repeats dumpty dumpty when the song plays and gets a big smile on her face. She also likes to sing Jesus Loves Me when her sisters are humming it.
She loves to put her dollies to nap and give them a blanket and a bottle and she enjoys playing with the bathroom Little People set. The Little People Olaf figurine is one of her favorites to play with, as well as any of the babies from the bathroom set- she is constantly putting blankets, or towels as she says, on them and putting them to nap. She still brings Harper and Reagan stuffed animals and ensures they are content to snuggle them at night or first thing in the morning. If they forget one upstairs, she always grabs and delivers it for them. Of the three, she is also the only one that will hand over a favored toy to her sister if we ask her to; the other two takes a bit more convincing but we are getting better.
Current favorite color: yellow
Current favorite color to wear: Emi color (purple). She will not let me put her in sometime that is all pink (like pajamas).
Right now Reagan is the rock star potty trainee. Daycare put her in underwear on day four- over the last month she’s had fewer and fewer accidents and pretty much spends the whole day using the big girl potty without diapers on. We aren’t quite as far along at home, generally because anytime we take Reagan to go, the other two majorly melt down if they don’t get to fully participate. We are still putting her in diapers when we go out for adventures, but yes, I know at some point we will have to take on the underwear 100% of the time. I optimistically think Reagan will be completely potty trained in the next month or so (other than nighttime and maybe nap), she can hold it and is doing so well. Hopefully the other two will be close behind and we can kick the diapers before the holidays!
Reagan loves to count and uses a different voice when she does it. I haven’t been able to capture it on video because she won’t do it when we ask; usually she just randomly starts counting in the car or while she’s playing with a toy. When all three participate, they always skip the number nine (we are working on that).
The Little People play sets and individual people are quite the hit right now. In fact, I am collecting new, small sets that seem to keep them entertained and less full meltdown when we get home for the evening. Reagan is completely obsessed with Little People potty set (sink/toilet/bathtub); so much that I actually ordered a second set so the toilet battles would become less frequent at the table. She is very attached to her Little People Elsa figure and carries it around the house all evening. I’ve found it clutched in her hand in the morning and in her coat pockets. So that it doesn’t get lost for school, she has to put Elsa to nap (much to her dismay), meaning in the doll crib in the living room with a blanket. The moment she gets home, she immediately gets her and holds her for the night. Thank goodness we haven’t lost it yet.
Reagan likes to be silly during book time and will laugh and ask you to read the monkey book. By read, I mean look at the first page of the book, where the sad monkey dropped its ice cream. She will then take the book from you and lick the ice cream on the page. Clearly this girl loves sweets like her father!
In the evening, Reagan always wants to cuddle with Craig and watch Tangled or Moana while laying under a blanket and on a pillow. Not any pillow, but the one with the white pillow case on it; if she can’t have that one then the world is just not okay. In the morning she is all about me, wanting me to get her dressed and do her hair, wanting me to walk her out to the car while Craig takes Harper and then Emerie. It’s fun to see how her minds works on the specific things she believes should be done by Mom while other things are Dad functions. For the most part we placate her wishes, letting her prefer both of us depending on the occasion!
Current favorite color: blue (sometimes green)
Current favorite color to wear: green, or Emerie’s purple tennis shoes
A few other interesting things in our household this month.
If you are in the mood to watch Tangled, Moana, or every once in a while Frozen, well then you should come over and hang out. The house preference is movies with songs, but we haven’t convinced them yet that the old timey Disney movies like Aladdin and Jungle Book are amazing, so a few goodies remain on repeat.
Tangled, being the number one hit movie in our household, causes a lot of toddler discussion about 1) pan! (frying pan + movie weapon), 2) Max! (we are starting to get into horses, you are welcome, Tami!), 3) princesses (a very popular word in the house right now), and 4) excited shrieks to tell us that when Rapunzel is singing in the Ugly Ducking Saloon scene, she clearly should be in time-out for standing on the table.
We have entered the bows portion of toddler hood (finally!), both having enough hair for them to stay on AND cooperative, little girls. All three now allow “pretties” to go in their hair and Craig is becoming a pro at it! I bought a few more bow clip sets with lots of colors, allowing the girls to decide what color bows (and then socks) they want to wear for the day. Can you guess what colors they want in their hair? You would think it would be the one they wear the most (pink purple teal) right? So far if Emerie’s hair is last, Harper and Reagan always want at least one purple one. Emerie is into black and pink ones the past few days, no purple. Harper usually opts for a pink with her purple one; Reagan is the most consistent to want her own color, whether that is blue or green. It’s fun to see what colors they latch onto as they get older- especially since we are trying to stay consistent for the daycare teachers, until they can easily tell who is who. It probably didn’t help everyone wore each other’s coats to school the other day because no one wanted their own. Also, if they don’t match on outfits (say we have two matching coats and the third was left at school), that becomes a show stopper and everyone has to have something in their own colors.
We experienced our first fire alarm beep since the girls were born (I think), which doesn’t entirely count since it was two separate beeps and that’s all. I was always concerned when they were tiny that the alarm would go off (for whatever cooking reason) and we’d have a super meltdown by all three, or it would be in the middle of the night and wake everyone up quite unhappily. Luckily that never happened. Well, those two beeps made quite the impression on the little ones at this age; after five days, they are still reminding me about loud beep and making sure I remember it. After the first day of constant reminders, we told them the beeps went night night and are gone. So now they remind us the loud beep is night night / loud beep went buh-bye. Harper especially tells me loud beep no like. It’s interesting to see that their minds still remember it, even those it was only about five whole seconds of their lives!
Loud beep no like
Miss Harper Anne
I will end this blog with a chuckle…the children were driving me INSANE after spending the whole day doing activities, stripping off their clothes and not wanting to nap well- after dinner I just gave up in stopping them from the naked, toddler rage and just went with it. You can only fight so long when you are outnumbered. Their answer? They told me to shake it offmomma, using hand gestures. At least they are putting their musical choices to good use. Sigh.
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.
Two weeks in and we are still surviving. The girls are doing great at daycare; in fact, according to their teachers, they are settling in better than expected! This just goes to prove that little kiddos are very resilient and I hope we continue this trend as they grow up. One morning this week Emerie even confirmed she understood she was headed to school for the day, saying”Maddie” (who is her preschool teacher who she has closely bonded with!).
At pickup last week I asked if the girls were climbing on the tables during meal times, running away when going outside or refusing to sit still for nap time; all typical things I would expect from my tiny toddlers. Things they all certainly do for their parents. The teachers looked surprised, answering no to all questions. So apparently this is just an issue that Craig and I have with our children and they have better behavior when we don’t witness it! They also have some magical skill at convincing them to nap.
Surprisingly, it didn’t take much to get them to comply with the new nap rules when they aren’t at home. In recent months naps have become much longer and needed to keep everyone pleasant for the evening. This has greatly improved from the 45 minute naps we had for quite a while, in a period my brain has mostly blocked out due to lack of sleep and stress. We also continue to have growth spurts that require more sleep and they make my babies look more like little girls every day. I love it and hate it at the same time.
The past two weeks has equated to more tired kiddos, which means that the parents FINALLY got a few full nights of sleep, without any kiddos pulled out of their cribs from anxiety or rage. This is a very uncommon thing the past year or so; almost every night requires some kind of intervention to keep someone happy. The other night I settled Emerie, put her blanket back on her, and she slept the rest of the night. That’s a little strange since she almost always sleeps through the night and her sisters’ fussiness. Harper is starting to improve after several months of extreme anxiety about her bed and soon I believe she will be back to sleeping in her room all night long. At this point I don’t mind laying down in the guestroom with her, mostly because I know one day I will miss that closeness- I should enjoy it while I can! Reagan’s sleep level varies between her sisters; about half the time she will call out at the crack of dawn for one of us and half the time she’ll sleep all the way through; sometimes we can settle her and sometimes not. Needless to say, the fact that we don’t wake up to full on panicked screaming at two AM every night is a blessing and much appreciated. My mom ears still pick up the momma! calls from the other room just as well as the MOMMAAA! version.
The new routine means the girls are up about 60-90 minutes earlier than normal. This is likely a direct factor why they are participating in nap time, being up so early, and also to the grumpiness in the evenings. Yes, the grumpiness. The girls are excited to see me at pickup, excited for their snack in the car on the ten minute drive home, excited to see Daddy, and as soon as we get settled in the front door, the rage and fussiness reappears for most of the evening. I try to remind myself it’s just the new routine adjustment period and the transition from daycare to home, but MAN, it takes a TON of patience after a long and busy workday. We mostly skipped this daily transition with the nanny because we were able to settle in from work while she was still there. Little did I know how much that helped each day! Fingers crossed this all improves after a couple of weeks.
One funny story out of this week. The girls “drove” a friend’s powerwheel truck at a park date last weekend and had a great time (other than the constant fighting over it). The truck was wide enough for three across and move on the pavement, inspiring us to do a little local, online shopping and find used ones to enjoy. We drove around the neighborhood the first night with all three crammed on and visited with a neighbor who has a similar vehicle. The second night we went down our street, in the rain, hoping for a few happy minutes as we transitioned from daycare to home. As you can imagine, using two vehicles when you have three toddlers doesn’t always go as smoothly as one would like. The three photos below say it all, some real life right here…it started out with smiles and giggles down the street, stretched into fighting over whose foot was on each gas pedal or wanting to be anywhere but where they were sitting at that moment, and ended with three total meltdowns in the middle of the street, both cars left on a neighbor’s front lawn, said meltdowners carried screaming down the street into the house (once we caught up with the little marathoners), and Craig retrieving the vehicles and carrying them home in the rain while I worked to calm the masses in the living room. True story, folks. You can’t make these things up.
All in all, I won’t complain too much about the grumpiness. It’s a phase, albeit not a very fun one, but we will get through it and move onto the next thing. I know the girls have fun all day while we are able to productively finish our workdays. I greatly appreciate the potty training efforts that I don’t have to do all day right now. I greatly appreciate knowing they are learning new things and becoming a little more independent, even though I’m not totally ready for it. And I’m greatly looking forward to the upcoming fall activities and more outdoor adventures, hopefully with happy and excited toddlers in tow.