Turning a Corner

I feel as though we have turned a corner in the last two weeks or so.

The first 2 months postpartum are already a blur and have been for some time- including the NICU stay and those first few weeks at home with a three-hour round the clock feeding schedule and just Craig and I.

Tiny babies!

The following 8 months are less of a blur, but none-the-less just as busy, even without feedings every 3-hours. Days at home solo were very testing and often hard to appreciate, just because they were exactly that, HARD. Some days I felt robbed of the fact that singleton parents get to sit still and snuggle their babies upon occasion. It’s okay for baby to nap on them, all snuggled up and happy, but not me. It was rare to sit still that long, and definitely never happened when one had the girls solo. Even sitting down to relax for 10 minutes here and there was rare. I think I can count on one hand how many times anyone took a full nap on me, to this day! I remember sitting in the nursery with Harper one day because she was fussy and wouldn’t nap in her crib, probably when she was around 7 or 8 months old, and thinking “wow, this feels weird” because I had a napping baby on me (Craig had the other two) and did my best to appreciate the moment. I look back and can’t quite seem to grasp how I survived the days when Craig was at work, and still managed to “play dress up”, do cute photos, and even leave the house!

It’s only in the last several weeks that the girls are finally becoming more self-sufficient; i.e. they now hold their bottles like pros, continue to enjoy their jumpers, love baby food time and also find great entertainment in their toys for periods of time.

It is a relief. Why? Because it is amazing to have small moments of relaxation after close to none for almost a year. We only survived this far based on taking life day by day. Specifically for me, I kept my purview very close to real time, as to not think how many more days or months we had to continue down a cycle of one hard task or another, over and over again each day to keep our little ones fed, happy, and thriving.

As a teenager I used to wonder how adults could go to work every day for years and not get caught in that mundane repeat of daily life. Once I began that cycle myself, I learned to not dwell on the repeats or worry about those things, but to take each day at a time. A Monday would eventually be Tuesday, which is eventually Friday, and then the weekend! It definitely helped me move forward over time, and is exactly how I continue to live- day by day, watching each milestone as they come, getting up and going to work so I can get home and be around what really matters!

Harper and Em having a moment

The girls are also starting to interact with each other more. Since around mid-January they have really discovered their connection and are starting to embrace it. When one tumbles or bumps their head (or face plants lol), the other two are very concerned. This can include sympathy crying, which is not helpful from the parental perspective, or small gestures such as reaching out for their pained sister or gently touching their face.

It’s exciting to see them interact together. The other day Harper and Emerie had a cute moment, full of eye contact and giggles. Sometimes they snuggle against each other, not “too” close, but enough to be touching. It’s very sweet.

Emerie holding a head, Harper holding a leg

Valentine’s Day came this week and the girls didn’t not quite cooperate on photos. Because they are starting to be more mobile and always reaching for something or shifting around, it is much harder to get a clear photo with all three smiling! But they, of course, had their cute, matching heart dresses that I managed to save from all the baby food mess.

In true Valentine’s Day colors, we tested out raspberries. It’s pretty cute: they are a little more sour than everyone was used to.

Harper had a tooth break through in holiday celebration. She did not appreciate that at all…

While folding laundry last night I caught Emerie lifting herself up to the basket, completely unassisted (and on the edge of the bed!). Harper pulls herself up unassisted quite well now. Reagan now knows how to backward scoot on her belly and is getting rather skilled at moving across the living room without actually crawling.

I know there are more corners to turn in the next few months (and years). For now, the journey is getting a little more manageable from a parental standpoint. Let me enjoy my bliss until they are fully mobile and additional chaos ensues! Now we just need to find time to fully baby proof the house…because real crawling is just around the corner.

Like the Movies

Last night was definitely a night to remember.

To the girls’ delight, it started with Cousin Tyler visiting for the night and lots of giggles and playtime.

We went through our normal nightly routine: jumping, baby food time and finger snacks, playtime downstairs, and bedtime feeding. Everyone is starting to get their appetites back as the cold symptoms start to ease back up. Thank goodness!

Everyone was close to finished with their bottles, about 6 oz or so each, and Craig was giving Reagan cough medicine while Emerie and Harper were with me, sitting on the nursery arm chair, playing with their tiny books.

Harper started a flemmy cough because I swear she is filled with snot. She spit up the cough medicine Craig had just given her, something he was commenting when…

Sidebar…I’ve always called BS on the way comedies portray projectile vomit. The straight river like stream that protrudes out of an actors’ mouth, obviously fake, is simply for the delight (or disgust) of TV viewers. Well, I thought that until today.

Harper literally pulled out her own personal movie stunt and emptied her entire 6 oz bottle straight out of her mouth, all over her and the pillow she was sitting on (and I was just about to pick her up at that moment…mommy bath time dodged!). As I’m scrambling to keep her from choking, she’s looking at me all calmly and happy…and wet.

Harper(yes she is in purple) post Project try-to-puke-on-mom

To make matters even better, Emerie, who is playing next to her sister, thinks it’s a perfect time to dive straight into that pile of fresh milk vomit, and try to swish around in it. And she moved fast!

Needless to say, they both received new pajamas, and Reagan and Emerie snuggled in the crib while we cleaned up Harper. Did I mention she had a bath about an hour prior to this?!

It was quite comical. I mean really, look at this face post clothing change. How could I possibly be upset with that??!?

The upside of the whole fountain of milk scenario? It apparently made everyone tired; and EVERYONE slept ALL night in their cribs. I don’t think we’ve accomplished that in 2019.

Everyone asleep IN THEIR BEDS!!

We feel RESTED. Even at 4:30 AM when I started writing this!

sNOT for the weak of heart…

The other day I was looking at a friend holding her two week old baby; he fussed a little so she got out the bottle and fed him. In my mind that seemed weird, but cause what if feeding the baby right away got them off schedule? Then I remembered, some of our baby raising habits are different than those with singletons, although the rigid “must follow the schedule to the exact detail” days are more or less over. We are still following a schedule but it shifts around a little here and there, especially when we are out and about doing things or the girls wake up super early or sleep in late!

Speaking of off schedule…the crud has made its way back into our household, after surviving most of December and January without the girls getting it (I was not so lucky…).

Pretty blue eyes (Reagan) and some great nose snot

Everyone is extra grumpy and nap times and overnight sleeping are a fight to the death. The good news is, each night at least one baby has slept in their own crib, but it alternates who that one is. I think that is the only way Craig and I will survive this, since we can go to “man to man defense” during the night and still get some sleep.

Snack time and nose bubbles from Emerie

Saturday night I had a fussy Harper with me and Craig had a minorly fussy Emerie. The prior night Harper slept without a peep all night while Reagan screamed about her stuffy nose.

Harper’s “beautiful as ever” bib

Last night I was fortunate to end up with Reagan, who was SUPER hyper throughout bedtime and wouldn’t go down until about 9 PM. But once she did, she was out! Craig woke up for a cranky Emerie, who had fallen asleep on her belly in her crib, and awoke to realize that was a detriment to her happiness. From there she fussed a lot.

A little playtime before bed. They were missing their toes (since they are always in fleece sleepers this month)

Different personalities come out when a cold takes over the house. Harper isn’t largely phased by it, although she does fuss a little more overnight if you don’t successfully get her down before she realizes she is stuffy. Reagan mopes- all. Day. Long. Fights naps when she doesn’t usually and has only had one nap each day this weekend. She gets a little more “diva like”, similar to Emerie when she’s grumpy.

“Don’t wipe my nose!!”

Emerie actually thinks you are trying to kill her when you wipe her nose off, even when the boogers are SO LONG and hit her upper lip and bottle. So inconsiderate.

When my nose is stuffy I’m not a big fan of food. The girls are the same! It is an epic cage match to get a bottle down everyone each feed, one that the parents are not winning. To placate that, we try to pump a bunch a baby food and finger snacks down them to help will those less than full bellies.

The girls like the yogurt melts a lot, and other snacks they can pick up with their hands. Harper has to have something in each hand as she eats, and Craig discovered Emerie cooperates much better when she has a clean spoon to bang around.

Avocado was a hit for these snot nosed monsters

We braved two walks this weekend to help clean out those sinuses. Not sure how the girls felt about fifteen degree weather but we sure bundled them up!

Fingers crossed we are over the cold hump and can get back to the normal eating of bottles and sleeping (mostly).

Momma vs Dada

The house is getting more vocal! Harper and Emerie are on Team Craig and like to yell, or quietly whisper, dadadadada…

I think they win for first ones saying it…BUT….

Reagan is on Team Becca and the first to pronounce the “m” sound and say Momma this week!

Harper saying dadada….she’s getting really good at it!

We are also starting the baby wrestling this month.

Harper and Reagan

Everyone is starting to be on the move in one way or another. Em has figured out she can get out of tummy time by rolling… Every. Single. Time!

Reagan now does this cute little shoulder roll when she is happy. It usually pairs with a happy giggle and big smile.

I now can’t turn my back without someone rolling over or moving spots. They aren’t quite crawling yet, but Reagan is super close. Even Harper, who is not a fan of exerting herself unless forced, is pulling herself back to sit right positions and turning onto her stomach, much to her dismay.

This started as sit time…

We broke out the activity table they received from Christmas and all three think it is about as cool as the ceiling fan! In fact, when one is playing on it (assisted by parent), the other two are insanely jealous and let us know it should be their turn ASAP!

Reagan keeps turning onto her tummy and playing and swinging her feet around. I think she will be our first crawler, but the other two won’t be far behind. Here Emerie is doing the butt wiggle. She is trying really hard to beat Reagan to it!

Okay one more video…not only are the girls talking, or should I say babbling, more, but they are also interacting with each other. The secret baby language is not too far away!

So yes, there is a lot going on this month in the Douglas household. And it’s about to get even wilder!

10 Months…Going Bananas!!

The girls hit 10 months this past weekend! Time is passing so quickly to their first birthday; it’ll be here before we realize it and should probably start planning for their (our) party.

We are introducing more table foods to the girls now that we have the fancy triplet table. And it makes it so much easier to wrangle them in!

Everyone is picking food up really quickly and especially like bananas that they can squish and play with…not necessarily eat. They are much happier to have it shoveled into their mouths by Craig or I. They also really like pancakes!

At ten months old, 8.5 adjusted, we are really starting to see some of the big milestones appear. My personal favorite??

Bottle holding. I’ve been waiting MONTHS for this one.

Harper seems to really have it down, but can be lazy about holding it when the bottle is full or if you start to hold it then she “lets” you do it the whole time. Reagan is pretty good at it as well, and likes to swing it around and then correct it back to her mouth. Emerie is great at holding it when starving, but still easily distracted and expects you to pick up the slack!

Everyone is progressing at sitting up. We still use the boppies with all three to minimize the bumps and screaming. Overall, they are all pretty good at it and can turn onto their stomachs, reach for toys, and steal from each other.

Another one? Crawling. It. Is. Coming. My guess is Reagan is going to achieve this one first, followed by Emerie and then Harper. Why? Reagan is already rolling and trying to push herself around. She’s definitely figured out her pushups!

Emerie has the rolling back and forth down, but not quite there on the butt wiggle. Harper, on the other hand, thinks it’s fine to hang out and chill with her toys and not put in any physical activity unless forced to.

The swaddle. We took that battle on at New Years and I am happy to say everyone is out of it for both naps and nighttime! It took four nights and a lot of grumpiness from babies and parents, but we did it!

Harper shifting around in the crib

Harper and Reagan have really mastered self soothing…Emerie…not so much. The past few nights she starts in her crib for a few hours, and then ends up with us after a meltdown. Reagan and Harper are sleeping great overnight!

Reagan is now rolling in her crib ALOT!

Playtime is getting more interesting, not just because the girls can sit up, but because their leg muscles are nearly strong enough to play with things while standing. That is our current strength training, in preparation for crawling.

Reagan at the play table

Emerie loves her jumper

Harper having some piano time

Personalities continue to change:

Harper has a great love for animals already! She loves the pups and kittens, stops what she is doing when they go by and genuinely wants to play with them. She’s the talker still; lots of dadadada and random discussions to herself. She’s very stubborn and doesn’t want to roll or start crawling…she is a great sitter though and really good at taking photos in selfie mode!

Reagan, at the moment, is our music baby and best sleeper. Not only does she love the YouTube singalongs like Trolls, Frozen, and Disney princesses, she also has a new shoulder roll type dance. I haven’t captured it on video yet but it’s soooo cute. She is really close to pronouncing her “m’s” and has said Momma twice this week! I thought I imagined it at first but others heard it too! Yay!

Emerie now cheeses it up for the camera with a huge, teethy grin. It’s adorable and shows off her bottom two teeth. She is saying dadadada and screaming in quite a high tempo now. She fights naps the hardest of the three and hasn’t quite figured out self soothing yet. She still loves to snuggle the most of the three.

We are back to better sleep with all three, with the exception of Emerie in our bed the last few nights. It does make for some pretty cute photos though…

Right before the morning feed at 5:30

I’m excited to start planning their birthday and have their first Valentine’s Day before that. So much to do!

Baby play date

Who is the most…?

I saw this on Facebook earlier this fall and thought it would be fun. I started filling this post out a couple months ago and I can already see some of the answers have shifted around. As I alluded to in my last post, the girls seem to have flip flopped a little on several personality traits. For example, Harper is no longer our rock sleeper…thankfully Reagan has taken that on and now loves to stretch out and sleep in her crib, pacifier and all.

Sleepy Reagan (unswaddled!)

Random family photo from when I started this post originally. They are so tiny!

So here we go!

Who’s the most stubborn? Emerie when she’s mad, Harper when she’s tired and doesn’t want to be in her crib.

Who’s the most laid back? Harper for the first few months, now that teething has slowed down it’s Reagan.

Reagan hanging out at the new table

Who has the worst temper? Emerie!!

I just love this photo, poor baby.

Who’s more likely to share? All of them right now, but they also all steal each other toys.

Who eats the most? Reagan. She’ll eat 2 full bottles at bedtime, sometimes more!

Who is the picky eater? For baby food, Reagan or Harper; both sometimes believe we are poisoning them. For bottles, lately Emerie has been the most fidgety.

Who can sleep the longest? Harper up until last month. Now it’s Reagan!

Harper post afternoon nap

Who’s the loudest? It depends. Emerie has the highest pitched shriek, but Harper loves to randomly yell and exercise her voice.

Who is the shyest? Reagan

Who has the attitude? All of them lol…although Emerie probably takes the cake on this one.

Who needs the most reassurance? Emerie in general, Reagan when going thru a developmental leap.

Who is the most dramatic? Emerie for sure. She’s already starting her terrible twos lol

Who’s the clingiest? Emerie is when she is fussy or at bedtime, Reagan when I first get home from work and she demands snuggles. Harper occasionally at bedtime but she’s getting better at self soothing.

Who’s the sneakiest? Emerie. I think she’s going to be the bandleader.

Who giggles the most? Right now all of them on different things. Reagan is the hardest to get to crack a smile, while Harper will give you a big grin pretty easily. Em loves to smile.

Reagan resisting a smile. So serious!

Harper helping Mom sort through new clothing

Who dislikes tummy time the most? Who likes it the best? Harper definitely dislikes it the most! She will lay there and scream. Emerie dislikes it too but will immediately roll out of it. Reagan is not a fan but will cooperate for a few minutes.

Who enjoys jumping the most? If I have to choose one baby, I think it would be Emerie. When she’s excited to be in the bouncer, she is jumping to the heavens and giggling.

Who rolls over the most? Lately Emerie rolls the most, but generally that is due to her hatred of tummy time. Otherwise it is Reagan!

Who is the best sitter? Reagan is our strongest kiddo and can sit up really well!

Who holds their bottle the best? No one is great at it yet, but everyone is progressing along nicely.

I will fill this out again this summer and see how different it is once the girls are mobile and better voicing their opinions.

Sleep Training

The past few weeks pushed us out of our normal routine. As the girls continue to grow, each personality shows up a little more and constantly in new ways.

What is notable now is that it seems as though the girls are flipping around on a few of their traits. How?

We used to sleep. A solid, beautiful six or seven hours each night with only a handful of jumps out of bed to calm one or re-binkie. This phase appears to be over, especially for Harper, our best sleeper up until December. Now it is Reagan who is happy in her crib for the night, and generally doesn’t fight us when she goes down to sleep. Her timid demeanor lets her settle down for bed and go to sleep, especially when she has her pacifier.

The girls have always been swaddled for naps and nighttime. While this doesn’t work for all babies, we were 3 for 3 since coming home from the hospital. As the girls continue to grow and find the world more interesting, so far we have been unsuccessful in figuring out how to “unswaddle” them.

That brings us to this week.

Because we had such good sleepers prior to the holiday season, we never saw a reason for the cry it out (CIO) sleep training method…until now. In an attempt to get everyone out of our room and back into their own crib, we decided to give it a shot and hit two birds with one stone, teaching them to settle themselves AND be unswaddled.

Night #1 – Epic Battle

The first night of sleep training really displayed how stubborn our little minions are. We started bedtime at six like usual, coaxed about six to eight ounces of breast milk down each kiddo over the course of an hour, following our usual routine. Then, instead of coddling them to relax and crib sleep, we put everyone down, gave them a binkie, turned off the light and walked out of the room.

How’d they like that? Emerie was fully prepared to fight to the death over sleeping in her crib. It’s been quite a while since she’s spent an entire night in it, much to the dismay of Craig’s normal sleep habits. So off she went, like a heat seeking missile of baby rage.

Emerie’s rage encouraged Harper…I mean I guess sisters should battle things together? So both raged. Reagan quietly laid in her bed, wide eyed, chewing on her binkie with wide eyes and probably wondering what in the world was up with her sisters’ rage.

10 minutes. By this time all are crying. You can definitely tell Harper and Emerie are throwing temper tantrums, while Reagan is a little overwhelmed at their shrieks and is crying in response to that.

So the cycle continues. 10 minutes. Go in and reassure and binkie, walk back out. Massive rage. 10 minutes. Check and reassure, them walk back out. Then 15 minutes. Still baby rage. At this point I caved and gave Reagan to my mom, because her crying was due to her sisters chaos, otherwise she would have been sound asleep already. The second 15 minute stint finally accomplished our goal of the girls caving in due to exhaustion, and off to sleep they went (unswaddled!!).

ALL. NIGHT. LONG.

Best night sleep for Craig and I in probably 2 months. I almost don’t even know how to handle a whole night’s sleep.

Night #2 – The Battle Continues

Harper and Reagan protesting a long morning nap.

similar to the first night, the girls quickly hit rage once set down in the cribs. It appears the days are over when they will hang out in their cribs while we get extra milk down one of them, as the screaming starts about the time you lean Harper and Emerie over the crib to set them down. Definitely a new and not so fun trend. The girls drifted off to sleep after the first 15 minute interval (10. 10. 15). It is encouraging it was a little better than the first night.

Night #3 – Progress…

Victory is not yet declared, but we are making progress. The girls hollered through two ten minutes and one fifteen minute interval, and then Harper finally caved and fell asleep, allowing Reagan to then settle. Emerie fell asleep in the second ten minutes and slept through all other fussing by her sisters. That is definitely a first! They fussed a little through the night but self soothed after a couple minutes!

Night #4 – Still working on it…

This night took a ten minute and fifteen minute interval. While you could certainly tell everyone was tired, they definitely fought it tooth and nail to stay awake. Emerie would NOT feed and was put to bed with only two ounces, far less than her normal, so it was no big surprise when she was hollering at 10:30. I checked on her and then let her cry it out, and after a full hour caved and gave her more of a bottle. Little stinker! We ended up with Harper in our room and me asleep on the nursery armchair with Emerie. So much for that sleep training. I think the girls won this night. Reagan, like a champ, slept through the night in her crib and even soothes herself a couple of times when Emerie squawked from the chair.

Night #5 – Tired Littles

Again Miss Emerie wasn’t a fan of dinner time, although we managed to get a bottle down her. Tonight’s cry it out only took about 15 minutes! We did an impromptu bouncer session part of the way through their feeding, which we never do, but they were SO hyper. That seemed to help them go down a bit faster after that, but only worked until Emerie completely lost her mind around midnight. Needless to say, we lost that battle and gave her to Grandma because she kept waking up Harper and Reagan.

Night #6 – Two steps forward, one step back!?

Harper and Reagan went down pretty quick after their feed. Craig and my mom fed them their bottles and settled them a bit before putting them in their cribs with binkies. They maybe fussed five minutes? I fed Emerie in a different room- she was clearly grumpy and not feeling great, but I managed to get six ounces down her before she fell asleep.

Unfortunately her quick cat nap made her stay awake until around 10, so she and I slept in the first room for the night. She is also either growing a cold or has a sore throat, because she is hoarse and it sounds so pitiful!

Sleep training lessons learned?

It’s not super fun to let your kiddos scream it out; however, it drastically improves their sleep and helps them learn to self soothe and remain calm (mostly) when another one is crying. While at first I questioned if we should subject Reagan to her sisters crying, ultimately it was better to have everyone go through it together.

In five days we successfully broke them of the swaddle habit we’ve stuck to since bringing them home from the NICU. Now they are napping with arms out in the swaddle blankets or sleeveless swaddlers and will reach around in their cribs looking for their pacifiers without our assistance!

They also look ADORABLE when sleeping with their arms out. I think Harper might end up being a tummy sleeper (as long as she doesn’t realize it is like tummy time haha). Reagan is now our best sleeper and Emerie is still a work in progress but does go to sleep eventually!

How I found Harper this morning, happy with her giraffe wubbanub

We are glad to have the swaddling issue solved. While I would have been okay with them staying swaddled until they are five…I figure that is probably not the best route to get them to sleep anymore (haha).

We are also back to no Grandmas staying in the house, so the girls outnumber us again. Now let’s just get through the rest of their first year without a bunch of sickness and at least one needs to sleep each night!Fingers crossed.

Last night with Grandma Anne!