This past weekend we attended our second annual NICU reunion, meeting all ages of NICU graduates and parents (including us!) from years passed. The event had a professional photographer with one of our nurses ensuring big, excited smiles from the models (thanks Jess!). Other booths had kiddo activities, food, and baby books for us to enjoy at home. It is a great all ages, annual event that happens each October and something I hope to take the girls to for many years to come.
We spent just under a month in the NICU with Reagan [28 days]; Harper and Emerie followed their sister home just four days later [32 days]. Events like these remind me how lucky we are in this day and age to have access to the medical help we need, both for moms and for babies. A century ago my survival would have been questionable, let alone delivering three healthy kiddos. More realistically probably not, due to high blood pressure and eclampsia and a variety of other factors like c-sections and sterile hospital environments.
I count my blessings we had the care we needed, when we needed it, and was happy to keep them cooking for 33 weeks (maybe not so thrilled at the time but I am now!). Many other kiddos at the event were more premature than ours- I know their parents feel the same way I do and it is nice to see all the success stories. On the flip side, I definitely keep in mind that not all outcomes end up like mine- yet another reason to be so appreciative that my girls are healthy.
We saw a number of other twin and triplet sets, many who we see at play groups and who also spent some time in the hospital post birth. Lots of once premie singletons too! We visited with our favorite doctor, Doctor Mary Alice Johnson, and got this great picture of her with the girls, who cooperated momentarily.
Dr. Johnson was wonderful to have during our stay and instrumental in the health of our three little ones. I was definitely more confident as a new mom, recovering from major surgery with three, tiny babies hooked up to IVs and tubes, with her on our medical team.
The girls tried out a few little activities like the ring toss onto balloon antlers and “fishing”. They also ate some snacks, played with friends and ran amuck! Overall, a pretty good day.
I leave you with last year’s photo, full of tiny, six month old baby smiles. Hopefully this year’s picture will be equally as cute! ❤
We are currently in the thick of the 10th developmental leap for the girls, called the World of Systems. It is the last “baby” leap, occurring at about 18 months, and nicknamed the Fussy Phase– sounds awesome right?
A quick overview on what this developmental leap entails- now that the girls mentally understand more processes and that their actions can have varying results, they see everything in a more curious, yet mature mental state. They are certainly becoming little people!
A couple other notable things from this phase:
You can’t spoil babies, but you can toddlers!
Toddlers generally just want to be near you and have that personal attention (this is a lot harder with 3!)
Bring on the mischievousness.
With it comes more grumpiness and less sleep…nap time AND overnight.
After reading up on this particular leap (all-the-while experiencing it), I gave myself a mental activity to try during outings with the girls. With increasing mental capacity and curiosity of the world around them, I should try to think how a child would see and interpret new things; get away from the often mundane way adults view the world. Sometimes we forget how boring an adult can be. Being a kid is exciting! We also forget how interesting the little things can be when we are used to seeing things one way and not keeping our eyes open for the joy or excitement in it.
The girls react to little things in such cute and random ways. For example, Reagan dumping out a bin of toys. She dumps out a few and reacts to the abrupt sound of toys hitting each other and the floor; then she dumps out the rest because it is fun! I can see Emerie’s mind figuring out how to sit in the doll stroller. She aligns herself, butt out, toward it, and tries to sit back. Sometimes it works, sometimes it rolls and she gets mad. Harper will sit and hug the dog, slowly petting her in a partial hug. I imagine she’s thinking what her fur feels like, how it’s different depending which way she pets, and she listens to Koda talk back to her.
I gave everyone pieces of mint grown on the back porch this past summer. It’s a smell that reminds me of summertime during my childhood…it smells so good. I showed them how to sniff the leaves. Reagan was all about sniffing and licking the leaves. Harper, on the other hand, was unimpressed entirely while Emerie just wanted to collect and carry them around.
The other day I caught Emerie and Harper chewing on the old television stand. Very quietly, standing there, gnawing away. It must have felt oddly refreshing against those eight tiny, front teeth. I watch them sit in their comfy animal chairs- now instead of just sitting on them, they’ll turn one sideways and sit on it. Or they’ll lay across it or flip it upside down and lean on it. All new perspectives to something that’s been in the room for a few months, but has endless opportunity in the eyes of a toddler.
The girls precision is also improving. They will sit still and focus on putting shapes into the correct holes of their picnic basket, trying out incorrect holes methodically until they find the right one. They look around and find different things to add into the pink shopping cart, then watch the contents shift as they push it around the room. All so many interesting ways to look at things!
Last Saturday turned out to be one of the busiest days we’ve had in a while. With three separate outings and being out and about all day, it was anyone’s guess how the day would turn out or if the girls would be overstimulated. Surprisingly, they did great the whole time we were out, staying pleasant for nearly the entire day on a short, 30 minute car nap. Bedtime wasn’t quite so smooth, but we expected that. It was fun to have a full day of outings and see how the girls handled the new experience.
Craig took the girls to dad group in the morning for some play time (and man-time) while I cleaned and did a few household chores. We headed straight to the valley for fall, family photos after group. It took the girls longer than planned to doze off in the car, resulting in a short nap since photos started when we arrived. The day was beautiful. It was a little cold, with the fall crisp air making the girls arms a bit cold- but I was dedicated to their outfits and we went with it. We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous afternoon, with the sun bouncing off the bright, fall colors at the Palmer Visitor Center. In true Brittany style, our session was quick and successful! I cannot wait to see the photos.
Thinking about how the girls would view those photo sessions, you could see they love to explore the flowers and see the yellow, crinkly leaves on the ground. We tossed leaves at them to try to produce smiles and they curiously looked at them. Emerie, on the other hand, tried to pick up all the rotten crab apples off the ground and carry them. They likely felt squishy and cold and she carried around a handful for a few minutes; I don’t think she tasted any thank goodness. Reagan kept running across the pathways, giggling as we hollered to come back toward the camera. Harper did some great photos and then too went off after her sisters with big smiles. They are much more coordinated than when we took photos here in July. This time all three could run across the grass pathways without tumbling. They peeked at flowers and picked up more leaves and tried to grab everything out of Britany’s purse.
After photos we walked (wagoned) over to a little baby fair at the Palmer railroad station, peeked at a few vendors and I found two airplane books, and then loaded back up for the reindeer farm. On the walk back to the car, all three were attempting to lift their legs out of the wagon, feet up in the air. That was apparently quite comical and more fun than sitting there, enjoying the ride.
The reindeer farm was a hit. The girls petted reindeer, which surprisingly no one referred to as “kitties”. In fact, they were all very sullen, shy and quiet when we let them out on the wagon. Everyone did pet one though! And one reindeer really wanted to come home with us, eat out of the wagon, and check out all the contents of the diaper bag. He kept coming back for more! He tasted Reagan’s coat hood as well and she was not impressed.
I imagine that all three toddler minds were a bit overstimulated at this point in the day, with huge, furry animals (and antlers) walking about and a ton of people around. They did get a bit braver and walked around the pen after a few minutes. Afterwards everyone went for their first horse rides- Reagan wanted off by the end of hers while Harper and Emerie thought it was fun and looked a little happier about it. Emerie was a little unsure of it at first, giving me the “hell no mom” look, but after a few feet appeared to enjoy the experience.
I am still mildly shocked the day went off without a hitch on a 30 minute nap. Next year, when the girls are two, fall events will be a little more fun to experience and hopefully a bit easier. For now, I am happy to add this day into my memories as a good one with friends and gorgeous, Alaska weather.
What other things did I notice over the past week that an adult might not appreciate, but the girls find interesting?
With daily practicing of body parts, the girls now understand belly, nose, ears, and are learning where eyes are located. Everyone is extremely enthusiastic about their bellies (and yours too) and getting better at pointing to your nose or theirs. They find wearing bodysuits (as opposed to shirts) unacceptable when they can’t adequately show off their bellies to you when asked. Emerie took this newfound skill to a new level, shoving her finger right up her nose and walking around, making sure you know she knows the answer. It’s pretty cute until she comes after your nose! Reagan will tug on her ears-and I mean hard- when you ask where they are. I think she believes they weren’t there prior to her learning about them…so she tries to pull them off.
Emerie continues to master the block building. She likes to walk around with two duplo blocks and put them together or pull them apart. She comprehends how they interlock and will sit there and focus on it. Her new understanding is impressive; and you can tell she is fascinated that she can do it! I know tower building is right around the corner and I can’t wait because that means we are one step closer to Lego’s! She also just discovered buckles and likes to buckle herself into the lunch table. Luckily she hasn’t figured out how to unbuckle yet; hopefully we have some time for that one. Everyone is fascinated by zipper pulls. This is great for fun, but not so great when they try to take their coats off when we want them on!
Reagan discovered somersaulting on the floor last week, without any help! Since before they were crawlers, everyone enjoys standing on their heads, wiggling their tiny butts in the air, giggling at the world upside down. Reagan was quite impressed the first time she went all the way over by herself and landed on her back. Why? Well the whole world moved, how cool is that?! Similarly, all three girls like to careen off the arm of the couch and flip over onto pillows, or onto a sister, or onto Mom or Dad. Harper seems to free fall off of it; I’m surprised her landings have gone so well this far.
Another really cute toddler discovery is hugging. Harper will come up to you and strong arm you into a solid, double armed hug. It’s so sweet and she will hold it for a few seconds, with her head against yours. She’s a great hugger! I imagine she likes the feeling as it generally results in smiles and talking. Emerie will give you little hugs sometimes too. Reagan is not quite into it yet, but she will pull your arms tight when she wants to snuggle. If you move your arm, she will pull it back over her until she feels that compression. She’s learned this is a better snuggle position than simply being beside someone. The past few nights she demanded full on snuggling to sleep, something I am doing my best to appreciate since it won’t last forever!
After 18 months, our greyhound Kalli finally figured out she can get six, tiny toddler hands to pet her back. I’ve turned around several times this week to see the girls giggling and petting a very happy puppy.
The girls are learning to pretend “grocery shop” with lots of plastic, play food scattered everywhere in the family room. They all take turns with the pink, Minnie Mouse shopping cart, the doll stroller, or the smaller hand basket; sometimes they pile food into the toy bins and kitchen cabinets. Everyone mastered pretend eating, including the nom nom nom sounds that come with it. They will pretend sip out of tea cups, chew on the fake food (sometimes more than light chewing) and are starting to understand they can stack pieces together (like pieces of a cheeseburger).
Harper prefers chewing the fake hotdogs; I’m guessing this is because it feels nice on her molars. Reagan often brings you food to share, and you better fake eat with her…she won’t take no for an answer and will hold it up to “bite” until you do it. You can see her imagination is expanding into the world of pretending. Emerie fills the cart or basket with food, condiments, leaves, sippy cups, or anything she can find and takes it places, usually accidentally dumping the contents out on the way to the destination. She gets all riled up if her sisters take over or grab things out of it. She enjoys collecting leaves in her shopping cart or any container within eyesight. Harper will add things to the cart, but is far more interested in pulling contents out of a box or bin and meticulously figuring out how to fit them back in. She’s gets very focused and always helps me put away the baby lotions after bath time, taking everything out and then replacing it back in the container. I mean…isn’t it so cool how everything fits!
Another fun realization relates to wind up cars (I know…not airplanes!). We’ve had several in the toy box for a while, but now they better understand how to use them and are starting to see they can make them drive without calling for assistance. I pulled up the rug in the living room and we drove cars back and forth for a while the other day. It is definitely exciting in the eyes of a kiddo- to be able to make tiny vehicles speed across the floor and bang into the wall, or furniture, or the dog…on the other side.
With the nanny out with the flu for the rest of the workweek, I used my day off to take the girls to one of the local recreational centers (along with half the parents in town) and let them run wild. It was great to catch up with a few twin moms and let the girls burn some energy. With such a dreary fall day, it was THE place to be! The center purchased new foam climbing mats since we last visited and the girls went to town playing on all the different pieces and shapes. Everyone liked to climb up the tall one, sit and “oversee” the other kids. Harper discovered a toy car that had a bouncy seat, Reagan liked to crawl through the tubes and underneath “tunnel” mats, and Emerie freely wandered the room and tried out everything, making friends along the way. Of course, I forgot to bring her glasses and patch. In the midst of the chaos of twenty-plus young children in one large room, the girls did great exploring new things and socializing with other toddlers. They climbed on everything and ran around. They made friends with a few other parents as well…parents that just happen to have some snacks…
Fingers crossed the flu stays out of our house (foreverrrrr). So far, so good. I have a feeling the next few weeks are going to be fully of teething babies again, so I think that is enough to deal with. For now, I will keep trying to see the fascinating things through the girls’ eyes and find new and fun things to teach them, or learn from them!
With an opening in the doctor’s schedule for Emerie’s upcoming surgery, we pushed it up to today instead of the following Tuesday. The first procedure in June corrected her blurred vision by conducting a lensectomy and removing the cataracts in her left eye. The surgery then added a new lens and we’ve worked with patching to improve her eye use.
Today’s surgery, called an eye recession and resection, focuses on the muscles that control her left eye and will correct the lazy eye effects still hindering her. This is not considered a cosmetic surgery; while it repairs the look of a lazy eye and makes it less noticeable, it more importantly encourages her brain to use the damaged eye more and improves its focus and function. That is far more important than simply making it less visible to others, although that is a perk! The exterior eye muscle will be loosened and the interior one tightened to draw the eye in and minimize the wandering. The procedure is less invasive than the prior one but does result in a red, irritated eye for a couple of days.
There is a possibility she will need a third surgery in the future to do the same correction, as lazy eyes often shift back to some extent. With the nature of her eye issue, this is something that can be likely, but we won’t know for a while and it doesn’t happen to everyone. For now, straightening things out will hopefully assist her brain in using the bad eye even more than it currently has. We will continue with two hours of patching (of the stronger eye) each day and hope visibility improves.
As I wrote this, Dr. Winkle came out with an update that everything went well and she is in recovery. She went back with him about 7:40 and was done by 8:25. Pretty quick! Just enough time to get donuts… after another hour we headed back to post-op and helped settle her before going home for the day.
Emerie was much more active this time around, so we wandered around the lobby when we checked in, she even helped me with my purse. Back in the pre-op area she did not want to sit still or be contained, even with the Versed medicine. In typical Emerie style, she spit some of that medicine right back in Craig’s face as he wrestled to give it to her. He can tell you that it doesn’t taste very good. She eventually became woozy from it, but still wanted to move around. Last time she just snuggled!
After her meds she sucked down a tiny cup of water. That plastic cup entertained her for a good 15 minutes, making her giggle as it crinkled against her teeth. It made for some silly pictures (see below!). She would not let the nurse take her forehead temperature, fought the anesthesiologist on checking her heart and lungs, and decided the pulse finger machine was permanently hers. In fact, the pulse machine went back with her into the operating room because she was literally not giving it up. She also got to walk back there with the doctor, not a nurse like last time.
I made the mistake of sipping my coffee thermos in front of her that was not appreciated, especially with the no food or drink rule before a surgery with anesthesia. Mental note for next time: don’t do that in front of her!
The dog walkers took Kalli and Koda for some adventuring this morning while we were out, hoping to tire them enough for calm puppies the rest of the day while Emerie settles in. Harper and Reagan get nanny and grandma playtime while I snuggle with Peanut.
For now, we are home. She was much happier in post-op than last time around. Instead of upset and crying, she was snuggly and very sleepy. She slept on the car ride home and is now totally out on my lap in the nursery.
Thank you everyone for the prayers and encouraging words for Miss Emerie. ❤
The past summer was hot. Super hot for us Alaskans that dislike hot weather and humidity! Our August maintained the warmer than normal temperatures, but when September hit, it was almost like a switch was turned and things went back to typical fall weather (rain, 60s, etc.). This temperature change, while welcomed by me for sure but not by most, brought on the first cold of the fall/winter season, giving us three snotty babies for the first two weeks of September.
This didn’t completely ruin our fall time- we continued to play outside and bundle up, and had our first puddle splashing adventure. That was a hit! The girls also realize the boots light up and will pull them out of the bin and bring me one to put on them when we are playing inside. Yes, that is Harper you see trying to eat the street puddle water. A moment after these photos everyone made a break for it and took off down the street (monitored).
Last winter the girls survived three colds total, all that mostly involved stuffy/snotty noses and fevers for all three simultaneously; only Harper ever developed a cough, which was more “flemmy” than a deep, scary chest cough. I’m pretty sure Craig and I managed to keep another cold or two at bay from the girls throughout last winter, mostly by crazy hand washing and special efforts not to spread our germs. Now that the girls are a little older, colds seem way easier to struggle through. It’s still not great, but it’s not completely unbearable. I’m telling myself that delirious point, because it might have simply been a minor cold they handled better than normal…trying to stay optimistic here, folks.
Anyway, last weekend we had one night and following morning with a seriously grumpy Reagan, which is generally unlike her. By the time we made it to the doctor that afternoon, she had an ear infection and blown left ear drum. Poor babe. By evening the medicine kicked in and her mood significantly improved.
Over the last week Harper and Emerie started tugging at their ears a little and were grumpier than usual. While I don’t always assume it is an ear infection, I figured maybe getting over the cold prompted the ear issues. After another doctor visit, we determined Harper was in the clear and Emerie had a minor infection.
While I don’t like my babies to feel sick, the snuggles are pretty nice since they rarely sit still for any period of time when feeling good. We went to the park a couple of times, even with the rain, played outside all bundled up, and met up with some friends. Looming colds or ear infections are not going to stop the adventures hit year; hopefully they will be minimal and everyone will stay in good spirits when we can’t outrun them.
We discovered a lone, tennis ball at the park that turned in to quite the toddler adventure. Throw the ball…watch all the babies chase it…pick it up, they throw it toward you, and repeat. Lots of open space to burn energy, fill up on giggles, and have some good ‘ole entertainment. Next visit to that park, I am bringing a soccer ball! Enjoy.
What is in a name? We tend to use names so often over the years that we never really think what a name really means or how it was originally selected. Someone asked us the other day how we arrived on each of the girls’ names- that made me think I hadn’t written that down yet.
It took the entire pregnancy (7 months at least) to come up with three names that both Craig and I agreed on and that flowed together. Figuring we would eventually be yelling them all in a row, they needed to match at least enough that we wouldn’t have a word jumble every time. It didn’t take us long to come up with three boy names, since we counted on having three boys. In fact, we hardly even considered any girl names before finding out the sexes, simply because Craig’s whole side of the family is a line of Douglas boys. But no, to our surprise…alllllll girls!
Craig had a gut feeling it was going to be girls after our 16 week ultrasound, when the doctor told us she was about 90% certain on all three and said she wished to be a fly on the wall when we figured it out. She wrote down her results on three, individual sticky notes. Sitting in the car, we decided we couldn’t just look at them sitting there; but, we also couldn’t go home and let them burn a hole through our kitchen table and our sanity. Instead we went to Target, picked out six small accessories (3 girl and 3 boy) and three cute boxes, and went up to the Customer Service desk. The guy and girl working there definitely laughed at our request, but also complied. They took all six items and the sticky notes. We walked around the store while they boxed up items corresponding to the notes and hid the remainder from view. Once done, we paid for the secret items and headed home.
That is how we discovered what is now our everyday reality. Opening the boxes one by one, and then Face-timing family and doing it again.
People ask us if we intentionally planned spelling out their initials as “HER” for a set of identical girls. This was not something we even noticed or thought of, and was actually pointed out by a nurse after everyone officially had their names. It is quite the funny coincidence, since the letters correctly spell the word and could have easily ended up in a different order. If you really want to get silly about initials, it actually spells out “HERD” if the last name is included. And that is correct…we have a HERD of girls.
We started out with a few key rules in our “name the triplets” game:
All names had to flow and be easy to say in a row.
No names with the same starting letter and none that rhymed!
Both Craig and I had veto rights, and could outright deny anything we hated and it would come off the list.
Middle names would be family names.
No one received their name until we saw them post birth, in case it didn’t match them.
As they continued cooking, we called everyone Baby A, Baby B, and Baby C and associated any heath risks and measurements to each specific letter. Before b-day we asked the doctor if they could be delivered by the A/B/C, since that was how we associated who was who, and she agreed that was doable and that they were aligned to make that possible. At that point they were distinguishable by minor features in the womb, Baby A and B shared a placenta, with Baby B about 20% smaller than A, and Baby C had her own placenta/sac and matched in weight with Baby A. They were also distinguishable to me as the baby that sat on my bladder (Baby A), the baby that snuggled with my stomach so I filled up on food quickly (Baby B), and the baby that hid out in my rib cage (Baby C).
I can’t remember exactly, but I believe we finalized all three names a couple weeks before delivery. Knowing that I wasn’t going to make the 36 week mark, but hopeful to make it past 32, we put some effort in until we finalized to Harper, Emerie, and Reagan. It’s funny that all three names are technically gender neutral; we could have named three boys the same and it would have worked. I remember thinking back then how significant it was to have names defined; it seemed much more real! I also remember telling myself someday I will look back and smirk at some of the choices we almost used, simply because the girls fit into their names so well now that I can’t imagine them by anything else.
I’m happy to report no one’s name is on the top 5 girl (or boy) names in the United States in 2018, although Harper is in the top 10. In 2018 in Alaska, Harper landed at #8 (no wonder we meet so many Harper’s!), Emerie (spelled with a “y”) is at #95, and Reagan at #54. The list is fun to look at, check it out here; some of our twin friends did quite well picking out uncommon names!
Miss Harper Anne, our Baby A and oldest by 30 seconds, was our easiest name to agree on. Craig and I had “Harper” picked out before any other name and planned to use it for a boy or a girl. I secretly hoped to use it for a girl (worked out nicely!), but was okay with either sex because the name is just so cute. Too bad so many other people think that right now too, as Harper is one of the most popular, trendy names, rising significantly in popularity in the past decade. We claim we picked it out before it was so popular; in fact, we coached a little girl in soccer a few years back named Harper. She was the cutest thing (about 3 years old), even though she wasn’t really a fan of the sport, and it sparked our interest in the name. Harper ranks #9 of the 10 favorite names in 2018, according to the Social Security Administration, with over 10,000 girls receiving it in 2018.
So what does Harper mean? I’m betting you could guess it, because yes, it means “harp player” or “someone who plays the harp.” At one point in history this was a very important figure. Very creative, I know. Would I prefer it to say soccer player or someone who plays soccer? Sure, but then the name would just sound weird! It originated in England and currently popularity is often attributed to Harper Lee, the famous writer of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Harper’s middle name is Anne, with an “e”, which is also my middle name, my Mom’s first name, and trickled down the maternal side of the family line in a few other places as well. It is less popular now than when I was born, although likely a good pick for middle names for a lot of people (I can’t look that stat up). Anne is Hebrew in origin and means “full of grace” or “gift of God’s favor.”
So to some it up, Harper Anne means harp playing gift of God’s favor ❤
Miss Emerie Faye was our hardest name to decide on and our last decision. We went back and forth on a few others before hearing this one day at soccer and thinking it was cute and less common. We went back and forth a bit on spelling, as I felt “Emery” was more masculine (plus I have family with this spelling)- this version is more popular. I just couldn’t get behind “Emeri” without the last “e” and I knew a few other folks that used “Emori” or “Emory”, eventually landing us on Emerie. I think it’s feminine and it fit her! In 2018, it was ranked 688th on the female popularity chart with around 400 baby girls receiving the name that year.
What does Emerie mean? Very fitting to her personality, it means brave and powerful or a version of “powerful home.” Originating from the French, it eventually shifted to a variant of “Amory”; in England, pulling from Emaurri, meaning busy, industrious, and power. I think that all fits her quite well.
Emerie’s middle name, Faye, is after her Grandma Shelly (Faye). While not blood related, I consider Shelly a second Mom, friend, and now Grandma! She was very instrumental in my teenage years and the babies (and I!) adore her. Like her first name, Emerie’s middle name also sits about the same place on the popularity scale, with about 400 babies receiving it as a first name last year. Faye, which is old French, means fairy or elf.
How fitting is that?! Her name means brave or powerful fairy. So fun!!
Some say Miss Reagan Jean might be named after the popular show Blue Bloods, but really we just thought the name was pretty and unique (of course I love Blue Bloods too…so there is that…). It is a nice, strong name and I believe that fits her well. It has never ranked higher in popularity than #97 in 2016, so we will see if a new trend begins for it. I have seen a few baby Reagan’s on my triplet page this past year.
What does Reagan mean? Originally Irish, it means “little ruler” for girls and “little king” or “kingly” for boys. The name became more popular after Ronald Reagan’s presidency- that makes me laugh- when family visited in September, a couple of the boys were calling her Ron. She does not answer to that name haha.
Jean is after Craig’s Grandma Barbara, the girls’ great grandma, and a form of Grandma Sue’s middle name…It isn’t on the top 1000 names in the past 20 years (only thing I could find is it is #1,479!), meaning it took us 6 names to get to a super uncommon one! It is also from Hebrew origin (later Scottish for girls and French for boys), meaning “God is gracious” or “gift from God.”
In summation, Reagan Jean means little ruler and gift from God.
Want to know what your name ranks according to Social Security records? It is pretty cool to see- check it out here.
While the girls aren’t using sentences and phrases yet, they’ve known each other’s and their own names for quite some time. If I call Harper, the other two will look at Harper and she will turn toward me. The same goes for Emerie and Reagan. While they don’t verbally say each others’ names yet, they definitely have an understanding of the association and who is who. I can’t wait to see them verbalize in a mirror and see if they recognize themselves or call the reflection one of their sisters’ names. Should be fun to see.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a height/weight and development/leap update on the littles…so here goes!
We decided this development checkup to split out the appointments and not bring everyone into the doctor together. The past few have gotten more difficult now that the girls are mobile and want to get into everything. Two hours in a tiny, hot doctor’s office is a looooong time with three toddlers.
Emerie was up first and solo. Taking one baby to the doctor almost seems relaxing and allows us to have a little one-on-one time while the nanny also gets a little break! At this visit, Emerie weighed in at 22.0 lbs and in the 43% percentile. She is much higher in the height percentile than weight, at 82% and measuring 32.75 inches.
Of the three, Emerie is the best at entertaining herself with her toys, random containers and nick knacks, or really anything. She is happy to sit on the floor and figure out how a toy works, or put smaller toys into a bigger container, or play with her shapes picnic basket. This can occupy her for a lot longer than I’d probably guess, simply because Harper or Reagan usually interrupt the quiet playtime, steal a part of or all of her toy, and then the fighting (and timeouts!) begin.
Her tinier stature also assists in climbing into small places- boxes, bins, anything that looks fun! She enjoys trying to figure out how to do it; although she often gets frustrated if it isn’t easy and then gets mad and starts hollering about it.
She is a fan of saying “no no no” (it’s never only once) and pointing at her sisters when they do something they shouldn’t. She still loves peek-a-boo and climbing into blankets, or peeking out at you and hiding.
Harper is up to 23 lbs 10 ounces! She is in the 64th percentile for her weight and at 33.75 inches, in the 96th percentile for height! We have very tall babies! She continues to be rambunctious and talkative, learning new words constantly. She loves to tattle on her sisters in a slue of baby gibberish when she is mad. She will tell you allllll about it. She also loves to run around and giggle with her sisters, pulling and pushing them around the room until everyone is solidly laughing. Some nights she solo runs around and thinks she’s a riot. She’s the only one to say her own name so far, and while only a couple of times, it was very cute and came out like “Hapa” during a game of peekaboo.
Harper is the only one sleeping full nights in her crib (lately)- with Reagan and Emerie alternating on who demands attention at all hours of the night. I’m so glad she’s back to being my good sleeper!
She’s also the best at eating pouches at meal time (doesn’t matter the flavor), but probably the most picky eater in general. Lately she’s been my trust faller, and will lean right off a slide or play set, regardless of how close by a parent is. She enjoys jumping off the side of the family room couch, into a pile of (strategically placed) pillows, and jumping up and running back around to do it again.
Lastly, I still believe Harper will be my soccer baby. She remains interested in my mini pink soccer ball more than her sisters and we are working on the concept of kicking. I can’t wait to put everyone in sports next year!!
Reagan continues to be our binkie baby and anti-crib napper; but, she will fall asleep in her car seat seconds after a busy morning of playing. She weighs in at the same 23 pounds 10 ounces as her sister, in the 64th percentile, but is 34.00 inches, and slightly taller, in the 97th percentile. She remains the shyest so far but will come out of her shell when she is comfortable; she’s timid on big park toys and not a big fan of most swings.
Lately she dislikes eating meals more than her sisters, but I believe it’s just a phase resulting from teething, snotty noses and possible stubbornness. In the evening she has started to enjoy more snugglingbthan when she was younger, and will sit with you and relax.
Of the three, I believe Reagan tries to pull things off the counter and table the most, intending to grab anything within her reach. I’ve caught her climbing onto the table a couple of times from a nearby chair to grab something, and she will just look at me like, “what?“
While not so interested in the concept of soccer, Reagan loves to play catch with the mini, pink soccer ball I’ve had since childhood. She also is great at fetch… ahem…I probably shouldn’t call it that… She seems to favor her right arm to throw the ball, so we might have a right hander (I’m very interested to see if everyone favors the same hand as they grow!). The throws produce quite the punch as well, so you must pay attention or take a nice ball to the face, or throat, or chest.
The pediatrician set a goal of five words per kiddo for their 18 month appointment. I believe we hit that mark over one week in August! So far everyone’s favorite word is “baby” and “kitty“. They definitely understand that kitty means the cat; but they also think it means all animals like dogs…horses…pigs… Everyone has mastered saying “no no no” and shaking their finger at you and are starting to say “not nice” back in my face when I scold them for hitting or being mean. They can also inform you when they want a “baba”. And no that does not mean they want another baby. It definitely means they want a bottle and you are not funny!
In addition to the everyday momma and dadda, other words they’ve picked up over the past three months include bubble, yeah (Harper loves to say this!), more (sometime they will sign it too), belly, wow, puppy/dog (sometimes when it’s not kitty), cheese, hi, ball and uh-oh. Emerie is in a phase of repeating uh-oh after she purposefully throws something on the floor. They all love to point out where their belly is if you ask and usually want to point at yours as well. There’s no privacy here; they will lift your shirt right up to make sure YOU know where your belly is. Sometimes they will point to their nose when prompted and Emerie will say nose. Reagan also says Papa instead of Grandpa. A little to my dismay, they are all now repeating our “not nice” phrase when they hit each other or steal a toy. Not only do they repeat it, but they definitely say it a little higher pitched, almost like it’s there first word to throw back in my face. Oh toddlerhood…
So it appears to me that we are good to go on the word quota for these appointments! While generally speaking, most multiples’ speech is delayed, due to premieness and/or because they will do baby language to talk to their siblings instead of real words. I am unsure that this will affect us in the long run. While it’s still too early to tell, both Craig and I are good at languages so I’m guessing that will genetically rub off on them. Our next goal is 50 words by age two. Since that is six months away and we are already well into it, I don’t foresee this milestone difficult to achieve. Now if I can just keep them from learning bad words to add to their vocabulary from a few certain men! 😉
The past few months have been a bit more frustrating on the food end. In addition to Grandma Sue’s food not being a hit with the tiniest grandchildren, they aren’t really enthusiastic or interested in eating a lot during meals, no matter what is placed before them. With the runny noses that visited in early September, no one really wanted much milk either! A big part of this is due to teething- everyone finally has four molars, two top and two bottom on each side, in addition to eight front teeth. I might also add everyone has the exact same teeth in…so we are continuing the identical-ness there too.
Favorite meal foods for all three still include breakfast sausage, rice of any variety (fried, white, brown), canned green beans and corn, avocados, blueberries, yogurt, FRENCH FRIES and udon noodles. For the most part, they seem to maintain tastes similar to Craig and I. On the fruit scale they like almost everything, including mandarin oranges, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, apple (sauce), and nectarines (not peaches as much). Apple pears and watermelon seem to give them immediate diaper rash so we are holding on them for a while…which sucks because they love watermelon. They also like a lot of vegetables, including steamed carrots and broccoli, cold sliced green peppers, sauteed squash, onions and zucchini (Em really likes this!), and cabbage. Yes, I said cabbage, surprising right? Craig makes a mean coleslaw and they like it.
We discovered last week that cheese quesadillas with sour cream are quite a hit too and will be making more of them in the future. While Harper will scarf down a couple strips in no time, Emerie is insisted that she needs a good gallon of sour cream smothered in it and Reagan too. They will lick off the sour cream and hold it up for more. I think that runs in Craig’s side of the family…. They also like tofu fried up on the stove- not sure if they like the consistency or it’s just easy to eat when their teeth hurt. Dislikes include most meats- they will tolerate steak bites and chicken sometimes, but don’t love it.
Other snack foods include goldfish (of course), any type of chex mix cereal and cheerios, veggie straws, animal crackers, cheese puffs and fig newton bars. They are definitely snackers, so to mix it up a bit we add veggies into the mix sometimes too.
In general everyone’s likes and dislikes in the food department are pretty similar, but there are some variations. Reagan really likes my mom’s lime jello salad (really likes) while Harper thought it was the most poisonous thing every to touch her lips in her lifetime. Harper likes Grandma Sue’s turkey meatballs while the other two tolerate them. Emerie really likes mushrooms and now I have to share mine whenever we have stir fry; the other two somewhat tolerate them but don’t love them.
Harper is the pro at eating the fruit and vegetable pouches while Emerie and Reagan think it is more fun to squeeze them on everything and eat it off the table. That is a day-to-day battle… we finally have a house of straw drinkers! In addition to using sippy cups, both Nalgene bottles for water and sippy straw cups for milk, they love drinking out of adult water bottles with straws and the one moms received from the hospital to keep us hydrated. With a surprisingly big straw, they can all drink out of it perfectly fine. They also apparently like coffee (thanks Grandma…) and were all fighting over a frappe Craig brought home from Costco the other day.
I wrote this title…but what does that mean? Sleeping? Haha kidding…not kidding. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a good nights sleep for all three. In general the trend appears to be one will sleep well (maybe wake up once for a bottle but go back to sleep), one will be angry/keep us up a few hours overnight, and one that is in the middle of that, waking up but going back to sleep relatively easy (usually in our bed or or the guest room). Some nights two will sleep all night in their cribs without so much as a peep, but the third will be grumpy and fussy and still keep us up, so it overshadows the success of the other two!
I can’t remember the last night we slept all the way through without anyone fussing or sleeping in our bed! For a while I barely had a night sleeping in MY bed, often sleeping the second half of the night in the guestroom with angry baby #2. Other nights we finally settle one in the master bed, a second falls asleep with me in the guestroom, and then #3 freaks out. That generally seems to end with me sleeping with #3 in the nursery armchair for a couple hours if I can’t get them calmed enough to go back into their crib. They all continue to vary on who is the grumpiest and who is the best sleeper and it can change from one night to the next. The past week or so Emerie is the grump and Harper and Reagan are trading off for best nighttime sleeper. A couple weeks prior to that Harper was the grump and before that Reagan.
We still use the white noise machine for naps and nighttime. I am looking forward to the airport project completing next month so the noise from the 747s flying over our heads all night will be gone. Now that darkness is returning, folks also won’t be outside as much making noise; and nighttime, once again, looks like nighttime!
We tried coloring out again, this time with retractable crayons (which are… umm…SO cool). They ate them a little less and I’m counting the bashing them on the table as coloring…at least it produced some marks on the paper. We also used our smarts and taped the paper to the table. That at least lasted a couple minutes. We are getting closer…but not quite there yet.
Teamwork is slowly starting to develop, with the girls coordinating to knock over toys, push each other around in their cars and airplanes, and best efforts to run three different directions whenever possible to confuse the poor, overtired parental figures. At bedtime the other night (picture a full bedtime march upstairs), two made it out the unlocked dog door by the time the third was up the first set of stairs (with me). They are sneaky like that. Never a dull moment.
More recently the girls are starting to help you when getting dressed and undressed. Reagan has her moments of taking her shirt off voluntarily and without permission, but otherwise all three are usually willing to assist in removal. They will put arms in the arm holes and move their legs to help, as opposed to becoming a bag of bricks and not helping. Everyone thinks it’s a game once they are down to diapers and pajamas are intended; they will step toward you and then run away as fast as they can in the midst of big smiles and giggles. It’s pretty cute…and you definitely have to chase them because they are not coming to you.
One other daily activity Craig started a little while back that is cute enough to mention… when he gets home from work, the girls flock to him for immediate attention. I’m usually home already so I get to watch this. He will pick up all three, for now this is still doable and only, you know, about ~68 wiggling pounds, and sing the Daddy’s Home song while jumping up and down. They think it is hilarious and love participating. We will see how long he can handle all three at once!
This blog turned out to be much longer than I anticipated, and honestly I can barely comprehend we are on the turning curve to age two already. Time is passing quick and I feel as though I say that quite often but still don’t believe it’s true. For comparison, here is a 6 month photo, taken about this time last year, and a photo from this week. Man are they growing up quick! ❤
This past weekend I took the girls to the local library and met up with a few friends (mine and theirs!). We played and played and explored the new space. The toddler area accommodated noise (thank goodness) and is mostly enclosed, with only one, easily monitored entrance in and out (the girls didn’t discover it until at least an hour into the adventure). I am appreciative that I had extra hands from my bestie Janelle to keep everyone safe and allow for brief diaper change breaks. Two-and-a-half year old Paris also helped keep the girls in check! Conveniently the kids’ area bathroom is very equipped for kiddos and located close to the playpen. This will be a great place to visit during the potty training phase next year when we visit the facilities 1000x each hour haha.
I’m not quite certain how to achieve bathroom breaks if I went alone, but otherwise think it would be possible to play for a bit with everyone contained. At some point we will try out this adventure solo! It was also great to have some of our twin friends come and play and get out of the house too! By the time I unloaded everyone from the stroller, there were a ton of kids in addition to ours.
As standard to all public outings where I take the whole house out and about…during the beginning of the visit I was pestered ton the usual things, being asked to overshare. Once people overcome the omg triplets concept, they often come up with the standard list of questions:
How many weeks did you make it?
How long were you in the NICU?
Are they all girls?
Are they all identical?
Do twins run in your family?
Do triplets run in your family?
Where did you get your stroller from!?
Can I take a picture of them?
And so on- the usual life of a public outing. If one overlooks all the personal questions, the visit wasn’t so bad and they behaved great! It doesn’t bother me that much to answer questions, as people aren’t intending to be rude or nosy (okay maybe a little nosy) and are genuinely curious most of the time. It’s a little weird when I’m asked if they can take a photo, but other than that…not so bad.
We had no meltdowns at all (including myself!) and lots of exploring and testing out new toys. After a bit people let up on my interrogation and everyone settled into playtime. Harper spent the majority of the visit sitting on top of the big kid table, playing with a shopping basket full of fake food, while Emerie and Reagan explored around the room a bit more and delivered new toys to their sister. Reagan managed to put an entire fake cracker in her mouth at once, which was pretty cute. Even though it was a library visit, I don’t think we looked at even one book!
Instead of trying to keep everyone awake through the drive home and lunchtime, I gave them a quick snack in the stroller, grabbed a cookie and latte, and loaded everyone up in the car with a wubbanub binkie and snuggly blanket from Grandma Anne. With nap times consistently inconsistent the past two months, sometimes a long car ride does the trick and guarantees at least a full hour of sleep for everyone…especially on a dreary/rainy day that I’m home by myself.
Car naps = sanity
As I exited Anchorage and headed down the highway toward Girdwood (about 35 miles away), it occurred to me how beautiful this drive really is. A scenic byway really is the truth! Not every mom who is out driving around, trying to get the kids to sleep so she can have a moment of peace and quiet, gets to enjoy such a pristine and gorgeous view for an hour (or more). Sometimes I have to remind myself I’m driving precious cargo and not just looking at the galloping grey inlet and huge rolling mountains, with trees slowly shifting over from summer green to fall yellows, oranges, and reds. My favorite colors of the year and each napping drive displays the brilliance more vividly. Last year I was too busy with six month olds and work to enjoy any of the crisp, fall weather that I treasure; the year before I was too nauseous to go out and do anything in it.
The girls kindly slept for two hours after the library, making the drive quite enjoyable for me and a nice break to sit and sip my coffee in quiet. I repeated this the entire weekend and achieved great naps for all in the midst of many outings and visitors and life. Sometimes the driving nap is worth it just to lessen my inner anxiety. It is extremely rare for everyone to nap more than an hour in their cribs- some days two will do two hours and one an hour, other days everyone freaks out after 30 minutes and are grumpy the rest of the day. I find my highest point of anxiety during the day is usually prior to nap time because I never know if it’s going to go smoothly or be a total disaster and no amount of small changes or routine seems to solve it. Since the scale tips toward disaster more than success, my anxiety of not getting any baby break during the day makes me stressed.
Due to the typical lack of sleep, the battle of my inner monologue keeps me awake for the drive. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in your brain when given the opportunity for quiet with minimal distractions. It’s also relatively rare to sit in one spot (even in a car) for a period of time, since that hasn’t happened at home in over a year. My thoughts vary, of course, from ridiculous notions like “why does the lane I’m driving appear larger than the one the other way?” (Hint: it’s all in my head…they are the same) to the minor paranoia that comes with fast approaching traffic a little too close to the center line for my liking. And, of course, other random things like upcoming events to plan for and thoughts regarding work and daily life.
In between the car napping this weekend were numerous adventures for the girls. We explored a new park on hillside with some friends, played outside in the dirt, and went trick or treating for the first time. This park was better designed for toddler age and assisted with the logic that each park visit gets a little easier…because my little adventurers increase their climbing skills and become braver each time we go. They now go down some of the slides without assistance!
We put everyone in their new rain gear and they were swimming in it (pun intended!). The instructions to size up might be a little untrue- they were really big, even over their wind breakers. Wearing them lasted all of five minutes before we just let “operation let’s get wet and dirty” commenced! They were having a hard time moving around with the excess material…but boy were they adorable in the little “space suits”, fall boots and hoods. Emerie was also a good sport and wore her glasses and her patch for part of the time. After a while we took it off so she could better enjoy the time and use her improved balance.
Once everyone could adequately wiggle and move minus the suits, adventure was ON. Emerie went down the small enclosed slide a bunch of times while Harper and Reagan attempted the larger, open one (Em did too later). Emerie attempted to climb up and down the climbing wall- which she definitely needs assistance on still- and Reagan started the whole gang running around on the grass, outside the fence. Reagan continues to put the most stuff in her mouth, including all the wood chips from the ground. Her face and teeth were covered in dirt after a while, but she was so happy about it. They all found big rocks to carry around; thankfully too big to try to eat! Emerie was the only one to enjoy the bobble toy and sat on it and rocked back and forth. Harper and Reagan did not want to be contained and had no interest in sitting on it.
We wrapped up our busy weekend with Trick or Treat in the Heat. This event is a neighborhood-wide early Halloween celebration and a fundraiser for Hospice of Anchorage, Make a Wish Foundation, and Ronald McDonald House Charities. In 2005, an impromptu block party was created at the request of the family of a little boy named Ian Robbins, who wanted to trick or treat before he succumbed to his terminal illness. He and all participants enjoyed it so much that a new annual event began. Here is the local news coverage from the original Trick or Treat in the Heat if you are curious.
The weather held out long enough to be perfect, with raindrops coming afterwards. The event was well planned, organized and a lot of fun with a big turnout. We saw a number of friends with their kiddos and walked around with BFF Janelle and Paris. Typically we don’t do outings around dinner time to stay in routine, but figured we’d venture out and try it. Gotta live a little right?! The girls were super grumpy on the way home and at home for a quick dinner before bedtime. Overall they were pretty good and it was worth it to get out and about.
In true Disney themed style, everyone was a princess for the night. I ordered costumes from Little Adventures, an online shop recommended to me by another mom. I am still thoroughly impressed with both the quality of the costumes and the large selection for little girls. There are some boys outfits too, but not near the selection. The smallest size aims toward 1-3 year olds, so I knew they were going to be large on everyone. Not surprisingly, the dresses touched the floor but didn’t drag on it- that’s pretty good though for how large they are! We safety pinned the backs a little so they wouldn’t trip as much and I stuck to the girls’ colors for this year. At some point we will do whatever colors they want to wear (I really want to get the Belle and Snow White outfits!), but figured this year having three classic princess dresses that matched their colors would be cute. We will definitely be using these for another year or two. I certainly see some tea parties in our future with everyone decked out in their princess dresses.
Harper became our Sleeping Beauty for the night. I opted for this dress in long sleeves since she typically runs colder than her sisters, like her mother. Maybe it will help her sleep better at night (kidding…not kidding?). She was so darn adorable and so shy around all the other kiddos.
Emerie dressed up as Rapunzel, minus the long hair. The dress went past her feet but that didn’t stop her from walking around with Grandma. She especially liked the suckers as well as all the other sugar Grandma Sue sneaked to her!
Reagan was our classic Cinderella, minus the glass slippers (she opted for tennis shoes). She didn’t show anyone her belly the whole event and while a little grumpier than her sisters, was mostly happy when being held by one of us and walked around.
Everyone liked grabbing candy out of people’s bowls without assistance, although we “helped” them grabbed the suckers and things they can try at some point. At the end the girls all received a tiny tattoo (you can see Reagan’s in her photo above and Emerie getting hers on) from Miss Sherri. I’m not sure they even noticed it on their arms but I know eventually we will have a lot of these speckled about on the girls.
We opted for the triple wagon instead of the stroller, figuring it would be a bit easier to maneuver with all the kids around. The girls walked some with Grandma Sue, enjoyed being pulled in the wagon by Papa Lon, their chauffeur, sitting on Craig’s shoulders, or held by me. I can’t wait until next year when they can really walk around and enjoy this!
Overall, the weekend was a success. I’m so glad Grandma Sue and Papa Lon tagged along with the adventures; extra hands were great and the girls loved it I’m sure. And what did we learn from trick or treating? If you give the girls a lollipop, don’t you dare take it back. EVER. They will be unforgiving and furious, screaming the whole drive home…and be angry AND sticky…
So friends, in closing and with today’s theme…something I hope the girls will learn as they grow older…