The latest trend in the Douglas household is the use of “adult words” or inappropriately used potty phrases. Any of you that have the pleasure of knowing my other half are certainly not surprised by this thought or any other atypical phrasing that comes out of everyday conversations when you’d least expect it.
It turns out that what we both believed was a genius way to handle profanity with toddlers may actually be backfiring. In other words (pun intended!) the continued use of certain four letter words that are essential in everyday life when raising toddlers, while lessened from prior years, still fly out of our mouths more than they probably should. For a while I was monitoring such things a lot better (with much effort), but ultimately age three pummeled me with such force that such things re-emerged with a hurricane force (does that depict it well enough?!). With the girls hearing such explicits, we constantly reminded them the words are only for adults, hence the that’s an adult word, you can’t say that word conversations we’ve maintained the past few months, which much success and minimal toddler repeats.
Previous to this genius, albeit backfiring, plan, the girls would drop the “f bomb” occasionally at age two (mostly Harper) and we couldn’t help but hide our chuckles. The correct usage of it taught us not only were they listening and paying attention to their parents, but that they are picking up verbiage and sentence structure incredibly well. This clearly covers more than bad words! One can’t help but appreciate using it as an adjective and then later as a verb, correctly, from the mouth of an unknowing tot.
Yes, we nipped that as quickly as we could…but I can still chuckle at the thought of Harper yelling mom, open thef$&king door! at me a time or two. That one definitely came from the “slam-the-door/gate-on-everyone’s-face-as-much-as-you-can-to-drive-the-adults-INSANE” phase. Gives me a stress headache just thinking about it.
The girls threw an unapproved rule book change at me when they started retorting any bad words from my mouth with that’s a daddy word, not a mommy word. You can’t say that, only daddy. I’m not sure what super level sneakiness Craig did to pull that sh$t off, but it’s now a rule. Writing that I even hear in my mind…mom you can’t say that. Just taking away ALL my fun. Craig doesn’t seem to have an issue with this change.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the instructional “we can say it but you can’t” concept was going amazing until recently. I believe this change resulted from two things: 1) the implementation of constant tattling, and 2) the recognition that saying it provokes a response from either a parent or a sibling or both!
A 3-year-old is basically a walking, talking middle finger.
The cycle typically goes something like this:
Emerie: you’re a freakin’ poopoo. (to anyone in general or no one at all!)
Oh did I not mention the potty mouth words such as poopoo and peepee are apparently harder to break than the profanities? Yes, THAT, and any adult that remotely uses those out of the proper context in the ear range of my toddlers is going to hear more profanities heading their way from my mouth!! Anyway…
Harper: no, you’re a poopoo!!
And the argument goes back and forth until number three chimes in.
Reagan: Mom! Dad! Emerie said f$&king poopoo! MOM! Emerie said f$&king!! She said poopoo!! Moooom!
And repeat this about ten million times. Also include the times that Emerie did not, in fact, say those words, and yet here comes the tattletale, repeating them herself until you provide a response.
This wouldn’t be such an issue if ages were spanned out or we were just talking about one disruptive toddler. The girls have this magnetic super power that feeds off each other, in pretty much everything good or bad, and once it loads up, stopping it is practically impossible. One outlier from this occurred in the past few days, when Harper had a great attitude all weekend, listened at dance class and was most obedient on our last outdoor excursion, not feeding off the grumpy, push-mom-to-the-limits sisters’ attitudes. One can dream it will improve with age.
I sincerely hope the use of such wording is more centered at home then out at school, but I know the sister jabs and name calling of poo and pee reach far out into our activities and down times, with minimal success at shutting it down thus far. We’ve disciplined, given rewards for good behavior, flaunted rewards when one obeys and the others don’t, had continuous conversations about when it’s okay so talk about poop, and continue to stress the adult word concept, which is understood but not entirely accepted now.
And so, here I am, writing this fantastic blog on the woes of parenthood and my clan of three year olds and their potty mouths.
Tonight’s bedtime story went as follows. We asked the girls to read their “potty book”, which is the night time closer before lights out. The book is from the beloved Llama Llama series and only briefly mentions potty training activities but the nickname stuck. The girls (and parents) have the entire thing memorized and we let them “read to us.”
Everyone enthusiastically (and very loudly) hollered every page and this is how it went.
(All three, not in unison but somewhat close)
Dinners over! Tuuuummmy fed. Llama llama, time for bed.
Time to brush, and fill the tub. Time to splish and splash and scrub.
(Momentum is gaining and everyone is yelling it!)
Pjs on, then potty time. Choose a book with a silly rhyme. (Reagan says that last phrase super quick)
Then Harper breaks free from the group with:
Snuggle in…TURN OUT THE FUCKING LIGHT.
And all three in unison finish with:
Llama llama, Nightynight!
I’m pretty sure that’s not quite the wording written on the pages…
But who can argue that’s pure entertainment. Raising kids can be hilarious.
And we are working on cleaning up this newfound toddler vocabulary they’re picking up….
There’s been a lot going on the past several weeks, doctors visits, errands, work and a lot of busy toddler time! In addition to our normal “keep the kids entertained and out of trouble” routine, other random things continue to pop up. For example, we are proactively working toward getting the girls passports so we can adventure through Canada at some point- this is pretty standard on years without mind numbing pandemics and we know at some point we will travel out of country to go to Haines or Dawson City on an adventure. The first piece to that adventured apparently meant spending ninety minutes at the local DMV to get the girls identification cards and update our drivers license to the Real ID compliant ones.
Would you like to guess how ninety minutes at the DMV with three toddlers and no strollers went?? Well, I can fill you in on the details…not great. They were running and shrieking around the place enough that the poor photo lady, who we found out later was pretty new, nicely asked us to wait outside of the area. This wouldn’t have been so bad except that the girls badly needed to burn more energy and were running down the halls of the University Center and having a good ‘ole time. It was stressful but we managed to get three photos and by the end of the visit Reagan was helping that same employee take our photos, sitting on the chair behind the computer and telling us to smile.
I’m happy to say that first step is over and can tell you, toddler IDs are so cute. Their non-committal faces are seriously so completely cute!! Hopefully their passports will turn out as well!
Other more stressful life things this month seem to relate with two important parts of ones face – the teeth and the eyes! While my need for more dental work isn’t a super call for stress (since pregnancy really throws a wrench in your face when it comes to healthy teeth) and I find myself needing more cavities drilled and a crown for the first time; that same week we took all three kiddos to their second dental visit. We did this visit one-by-one while the others waited for their turn in the car. By the end, we were told the unfortunate news that Reagan would need to go to a pediatric dentist to have a tooth pulled. Last year she chipped her front tooth in half tripping on the floor in the dining room, and while we didn’t notice the chip until a few hours later, we were still able to find the tooth chunk on the floor later.
The dentist smoothed out the jagged tip the following day and off and on she would complain that it hurt for a month or two; after that she didn’t mention it anymore. We watched for the tooth to change colors and die but it didn’t. The X-ray at this visit showed that the tooth is indeed dead and needs extraction so the root isn’t damaged for her future adult teeth.
Reagan was fantastic for the entire appointment, letting the tech do new X-rays, opening her mouth wide when asked, and asking to see “Mr. Thirsty”, the water tool, and enthusiastically drinking cups of water. By the end of the appointment she was telling Dr. Barnes she loved her and excitedly selected a princess sticker and tiny, stuffed tiger. It is such a relief to take one kiddo to the doctor at a time, no matter what the reason for the visit. The visits involve minor scolding and more conversation and explanation than just trying to survive it!
Her actual procedure is at the end of the month and we are opting for keeping her awake without anesthesia. We know how a toddler reacts to being put under, even for something only ten minutes like Emerie’s ear tubes, and are hoping to avoid that if possible. The doctor notes the Versed will make her woozy (just like Emerie) and be strong enough she likely won’t even remember most of the procedure. It also helps that it’s on an easily accessible tooth and should only take a few minutes to pull. I’m hopeful she is still young enough that this won’t cause her to fear going to the dentist, but I guess we will see!
There’s a bigger issue at play though than being stressed out over a toddler tooth extraction. That bigger stress relates to the fact that we are still a binkie household at nap and bedtime; obviously pulling a tooth means she cannot (or won’t want to) suck on her binkie. Reagan loves them the most of the three and always has; they are very much a source of comfort for her in times of anxiety or pain so this might get really interesting. Throw in two sisters who also like their binkies at night; you have to take them away from all three at once or it’ll be hell to pay.
Emerie had another follow up visit with Dr. Winkle and her eye is again trending more inward again. Because she’s already had several surgeries and the more you cut, the more scar tissue builds up, the recommendation this time is a Botox procedure on the eye muscles. It’s less invasive (resulting in creation of less scar tissue) and often creates a similar result for kiddos whose eyes keep shifting in or out. The procedure will be in June once we schedule it.
The entire way to the doctor Emerie was saying I love Doctor Winkle! in the car. She was shy at first but warmed up pretty quick after a few color and depth tests and was playing with him by the end of the appointment.
While this is another added stress, hopefully the Botox next month will help with her not wanting to wear her glasses and with her patching. The three to four hour goal each day is still going pretty well, with us allowing it off early for activities like swimming and ice skating so she can see easier and be happier during them. Maybe this will also help with the removal of her glasses, which seems to constantly happen the past few weeks, with her even hiding them in a purse one night and handing them off to sisters upon occasion. The new prescription means new glasses will be ordered in the next size and her old glasses look so small now compared to her!
I am happy to report Harper is hanging in there strong and does NOT need any medical procedures at the moment, thank goodness! She is asking when is her turn to go to the doctor since both sisters had an appointments this week with both parents and no sisters. This week she is also mastering the eyebrow cringing glare though and it’s quite impressive (and adorable much to her dismay). She will request you take a photo when she makes the face and show it to her. Silly attitudy girl!
I am slacking this month on documenting some of the cute activities and conversations we witness throughout the busy days, most likely because I feel there is SO much going on all at once! On the drive home the other day the girls asked us to go by the purple house and then the yellow house! I wasn’t sure what they meant until Craig pointed out that one of the houses on a nearby street was getting painted a brilliant purple and they noticed before we did! The yellow house is the first one on our street. It’s funny to see the latest toddler observations!
They also now ask each other are you serious?! Probably because a few of the outrageous things they’ve done the past week had me beckoning the same sentiment and now they think it’s fun to say. For example, two littles were downstairs giggling away while Craig was outside with number three, Grandma Anne was washing dishes and I was working at my desk upstairs. Upon walking downstairs, a waterlogged bathroom was discovered and the girls were flinging water across the room using their toys and giggling with delight. I might have asked them if they were serious…
Mother’s Day was a relatively quiet day, with Craig taking the girls swimming so my Mom and I could run a couple errands in a kid free environment! Megan and the boys came over after and played with bubbles and outside until nap time. I woke up that morning to raspberry, white chocolate scones (that Harper devoured) and ended the evening eating ponset and lumpia courtesy of our awesome neighbors and a homemade cherry pie from Craig. Gotta love the delectable food for sure! The girls would want you to know they ended the day with flamingo pajamas from Grandma Anne and some Bob’s Burgers.
Otherwise we are busy busy with lots of conversations, outdoor activities and walks, swimming, gardening and everything in between. Bring on summer and let’s get through this next month of stress!
Easter this year meant more involved activities than in years past, including an egg hunt, egg dying, spring cookie decorating, a lot of nail polish, and a lot of sugar. The girls were good sports for the majority of activities and enthusiastically participated in all of it.
We accidentally went to the Cabela’s Easter bunny earlier in the month after looking at the animals and fish. After running Reagan to the bathroom, we spotted a white bunny rabbit strolling down the aisle and Reagan did a complete double-take. We quickly signed up for a photo session (which were by appointment only) and all three did far better than expected sitting in front of it. In fact, I would say they were less terrified of this creepy eared animal than of Santa Claus earlier this year, which is hilarious. It also helps that procedure was similar to Christmas time, with a clear glass separation, making the kids feel less threatened than sitting closely with them.
The sugar cookie decorating lasted for a little while, with five toddlers helping snack on the icing and sprinkles but also somewhat decorating them. No one wanted to share their completed cookies or let me put them up on the rack; they more so hoarded full plates until we demanded to take them away and replace them with empty canvases. Megan and crew brought more sprinkles to add to the mix, including a pack of tiny eyeballs that everyone wanted to use! I plan to make it a family tradition to make sugar cookies and decorate them in celebration of (impending) spring…that thing we are still waiting to see right now.
I was not feeling adventurous about outdoor egg hunting with a snow covered backyard, so the morning hunt stayed inside on our main level with a few more in our empty, under renovation family room. The girls wore matching bunny dresses and new, fancy shoes. Just like last year, they immediately picked up the concept and slung their baskets around as they peeked under furniture and opened cabinets in search of delicious treats. There are only so many places to hide plastic eggs, so the whole search wrapped up pretty quickly, with Reagan’s bucket about 3/4ths full, Emerie’s almost halfway, and Harper’s the least filled as she kept getting distracted with trying to open them. Once all were collected everyone sat down on pillows in the empty family room and sifted through their “booty” before I handed over their real Easter baskets. Harper’s first egg contained a spotted brown jelly bean, which she promptly threw on the carpet with a that’s a rock! comment. Hysterical, I tell you! Her excitement joined her sisters as she opened a few more and found mini marshmallows, other more deliciously colored jelly beans, and egg shaped tootsie rolls.
I enjoy seeing the different responses to new candies. Emerie ate her marshmallows speedily when usually she’s not a big fan of them, Reagan tried one tootsie roll egg and spit it out into my hand with a yucky, while Harper kept getting the gross flavored jelly beans (I guess it’s my fault for not picking better colors to add) and running to throw them into the trash. Harper was the only one of the three to really enjoy the egg tootsie roll treats. Reagan did manage to collect more tootsies and bring them upstairs to share, with one placed lovingly at each table setting and the last one on the couch for Daddy, along with her open sticker book. She demanded Grandma Sue guard that candy until Daddy came upstairs…how cute is that.
This year’s Easter baskets weren’t anything to rave about, just a chocolate bunny for each and a few knickknacks and bunny ears from Grandma Anne. The girls have been carrying the light up baby chicks around with them and I’m sure I will find the princess stickers around eventually. Strict instructions for consuming the chocolate bunnies meant everyone had to take a good nap; somehow orders were obeyed and they all woke up from nap with a I want my chocolate bunny, Momma! type exclamation. It took Harper 45 minutes to eat that tiny bunny, while Reagan scarfed it down and Emerie enjoyed pointing out what parts she ate (ears, then eyes, then mouth etc.).
Easter dinner meant a house of nine kiddos running around, which isn’t too out-of-the-ordinary these days, with the girls refusing once again to eat most of their dinner but the adults and visiting kiddos enjoying each bite!
The phrase of the week for the toddlers is I not can’t. Clearly we haven’t learned double negatives yet but they sure do know how to voice when they can’t do something! I not can’t handle it if they keep saying it like that!!
December and January of the past two years consisted of cold after cold, with runny noses, short tempers, a bout of pink eye, and a lot less sleep, especially when the girls were tiny. We hoped this year would be a little improved, if only because most places to pick up a cold or virus are closed and socializing (for the most part) is a pre-COVID perk.
Well, we made it to about day four or five of December before the first cold caught up with us- not a great start but pretty fantastic if one considers no one has had a runny nose since last January. It started with Reagan and a runny nose, went to Harper with one as well, and then Emerie struck an almost 104 degree fever with no other symptoms. The tele-doctor call strongly suggested we get a COVID test for Emerie, since her random fever aligns with those symptoms, so we took all three girls over to the pediatrician’s drive up testing site on Monday morning.
Knowing the girls were not going to enjoy a swab up their nose, we explained to them before leaving that the doctor was going to “look at their nose” and “clean it out.” As expected, all three certainly shed some tears at the experience, with Reagan first and the other two crying just watching her. We broke our no binkie rule and gave them binkies to calm them in the car seats and a lollipop treat.
The doctor noted that they aren’t doing rapid tests, which I’m not thrilled about, so whether we come back positive or negative, we pretty much lost out on daycare for the entire week. That, in turn, means another week on double duty, working and taking care of (sick) kiddos.
Clearly the girls weren’t feeling great, since we took our longest nap on Monday, maybe ever. Although it took Reagan almost an hour of wiggling and chatting in her crib to fall asleep, even she ended up sleeping almost three hours. Harper and Emerie were out pretty quickly and we let them go longer than the usual wake up time, hoping that would help fight off the runny noses and fevers.
Day two: as we continued to wait for test results, the day started off with a very grumpy and fevery Emerie. Everyone ended up sleeping in our beds early on in the night as the snot continued to cause coughing (they didn’t cough at all otherwise!). We played out in the backyard while the snow dumped and spent a good hour with play dough at the kitchen table. I also started feeling the effects of a sinus cold and started cramming down tea and Advil cold and sinus, hoping for a mild one while we can’t go anywhere or get any kiddo relief. I always find it entertaining that I seem to catch EVERY cold that girls get but Craig manages to skip most of them.
By Wednesday we still had no word on testing results. Emerie’s fever continued on and off and she awoke with a 101, which is better than the past few days. Harper and Reagan’s only symptoms were runny noses now and they have mastered the skill of blowing their noses into a tissue. It was very cute at first since they didn’t quite comprehend how to do it, but learned quite quickly! It probably helps that they shared this cold (as usual) with me so my nose blowing is their continued demonstration.
Craig and I continued to juggle working our hours while watching the girls. We’ve found it really helps to hide toys for a short period of time and then get them back out. It doesn’t take much for something to be “new” and exciting again for a toddler. I pulled the foot-push cars out from the shed and let them thaw in the living room and moved the random toys and furniture off to the side as much as possible. The girls played for a while with them, alternating who sat in which one, Craig strung some LED Christmas lights on two of them, they drove with blankets on top for “peek a boo” and carried baby dolls and monkeys around with a loud goodbye, mommy! Of course fighting occurred over who could use what (since two are red and one is teal), when someone wouldn’t move for someone else, or if a foot was accidentally run over, God forbid! While the activity passed the hour for us adults, we still opted to go to nap a few minutes earlier than normal and they went down pretty quickly.
By day four of still no test indications, grumpy, cooped-up kids and a full fledged cold for me, I finally dropped the optimistic and happy life attitude that most of my blogs represent and became more of the realist of- this. just. plain. sucks. Emerie was in a mood the entire day and no matter what activity was done, toy was out, show was on, everyone just fought.
Parenting is hard. Parenting more than one kid of any age is hard. Parenting three toddlers at the same time is hard. Staying home for multiple days, waiting on test results, is hard. I am SO over this month, this year, this phase of kiddos? While my current struggles this week could be blamed on COVID, I can’t really blame the lack of socializing or visiting family entire on it and just have to continue to struggle through. I hoped Friday would be another day, hopefully with cheerier kiddos and test results, but who are we kidding? It’s was just going to be a repeat of this day (and thanks to the stuffy nose- I can’t even enjoy a glass of wine or bowl of eat ice cream to help). In fact, we were very close to opening the not-yet- wrapped Christmas presents just to pass the time, or do an Easter egg hunt (if I could find the plastic eggs). I’m not sure which is worse, that everyone is snotty and grumpy every second or the fact that I know it’s not going to get any better anytime soon.
Friday came and went about the same as the rest of the weekdays. We loaded up in the car and got hot chocolates for the girls and fancy drinks for the adults, came home and enjoyed them and ventured out on the fourwheeler for a quick jog around the neighborhood. That proved to be very cold, even in broad daylight, and by the end, the girls just wanted to come inside and snuggle in their hooded blankets. We caved and brought out the first Christmas presents of the year that afternoon, the fancy doll strollers from Grandma Anne. After the little ones they’ve had since about twelve months old, these things are fancy! Not only do they have a baby carrier and stroller, but they even have some bells and whistles like real strollers. I am sure next spring will consist of walks down the street, with all three walking their dolls (or monkeys) each evening in delight.
I am happy to report that we eventually received the all clear, negative, test results we were hoping for. By the time they came, the fevers were gone and only runny noses remained. It’s been a long week; while we are SO ready to send them back to school, we are also happy that we didn’t catch anything other than the usual, mundane December sniffles.
I learned this week that toddlers can be even grosser as they get bigger. We always joke about the snot and slobbery times when they were babies, assuming at least some bodily fluid was on every shirt or pair of pants at all times (pretty accurately assuming). Well, I witnessed an exhausted Reagan, completely asleep, wipe her nose with her hand and then lick the same hand. While she was ASLEEP!! Let’s pray that we don’t all do that when we are sick and sleeping…so gross and subconsciously! The next day I also watched Harper blow her runny nose into the front window screen and then try to rub it off with her hand. Yep, that happened too. I’m going to go wash my hands…
Since most of this blog was mildly discouraging and full of snot, quarantining, and stress, I will mention a few cute things over the past week. For example, like at Halloween, Craig switched out the random pillowcases around the house from spooky to Christmas themed, and again Reagan noticed and kept pointing it out. That led to her discovery that the cases are removable from the pillow and usable for a variety of things, such as hauling toys around, wearing on her head as a hat, or climbing in and using as a sleeping/potato sack of sorts. By the end of that evening, all three were playing with a pillow case and fully entertained for an hour.
The princess phase of toddlerhood is in full swing. Now remember that they enjoyed the you-tube videos of Disney songs while in their jumpers, with those medleys on replay for several months. Harper fully embraces this attitude- she likes to dress up, wear her color (pink), and adamantly DEMANDS to have some form of princess on all pajamas and often on her clothing and underwear. It is to the point it can be difficult, because she will NOT wear any old pair of underwear laying nearby when it needs a change from an accident and will NOT cooperate unless you specifically show her how there is a princess on that article of clothing (she doesn’t believe castles apply). I’m pretty certain I’ve ordered every princess pajama I can find in their size (which isn’t that many actually) so the three pairs we have don’t require washing everyday. Recently Reagan was in an owl phase, then a purple phase and now she is in support of the princess-wear, but won’t argue as much about other pattern options. Emerie is the easiest to convince to wear any pajama or outfit; this week she is asking for butterflies.
Several new Llama Llama books came in the mail last week and the girls are thoroughly enjoying the new topics. I missed reading the Thanksgiving theme one for the actual holiday (I couldn’t find it!), so we are reading it at nighttime now followed by the Christmas Llama Llama book and the usual “Potty Book” (actually titled Llama Llama Nighty Night), but renamed by the girls because it has a potty page. After a week we are still reading these three each night and the girls now recite the nighty night book with me if asked. For a while Harper was calling out the words before I turned the page, clearly a sign of how much it is enjoyed. It’s quite adorable too.
A new household rule exists that Mom is not allowed to sing but Dad is. Since Cocomelon is streaming a lot more these days while we are all at home, I’m informed by the tiny humans that I am not allowed to participate in singing along under any circumstance, but that Craig should clearly sing with them. Not sure how I should take that…but they are very boisterous about it while we are in the car. I am, however, allowed to dance at the musical dance parties- and let’s be clear…I can sing MUCH better than I can dance. Hopefully the girls have their dance genes from the Douglas side of the family. Harper is constantly requesting the Itsy Bitsy Spider song and likes to do the motions when it plays. Emerie is on a Jesus Loves Me and This Little Light of Mine kick, and Reagan asks for Lola the Cow and Baby Shark. Harper refuses to let Lola reach her ears, even after loving it a few months ago, which cracks me up.
The girls conversations continue to expand. They like to goof off and play together (when they aren’t fighting, which is every once in a while) and if you peek and watch them, the conversation usually goes Harper, again! with a response of Emi, my turn, my turn, again! or me, Reagan, me! and then the action is repeated. For that one moment of no toddler rage, it’s pretty cute. The girls are starting to play cook more now as well. Harper brought me a cup a “tea” and poured it the other day, Emerie will deliver a plate full of random (fake) food that always contains interesting combinations to “eat”, and Reagan will go answer the phone on the play kitchen, stop and look out and have a conversation on it while she walks around the room.
Another hot topic in the household is the neighborhood moose. It ran down the street the other day and they were SO excited, but disappointed it didn’t stop and hang out in our front yard. A few days prior that same moose was across the street eating a frozen pumpkin at the neighbors, in perfect view from their bedroom window. They’ve decided that anything resembling a horse is now a moose and argue with you if you disagree.
As you can see, there is a lot going on this winter, even without the socializing and normal holiday activities. While there is much more we’d like to participate in and hopefully will in future years, for now we will try to dwell on the good and not sit on the hardships, like waiting for test results, babies that wake up early and are grumpy, or winter colds!
We hope everyone is hanging in there this holiday season and please reach out if you want a Christmas card ❤