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 ❤
I’m continuing to really enjoy the random, silly things that the girls surprise us with each day. You just never know exactly what it will entail; I think that is part of the fun. Something crazy or hilarious is always right around the corner, you just have to take the time to appreciate and remember it, or in my case, write it down before my brain erases that it ever happened. Other small maturities help make our daily lives a bit easier and are most appreciated. For example, Craig and I walked our normal 1.5 mile loop around the house last night, but instead of keeping the girls in the strollers the entire time, we let them walk the wooded portion and look for sticks and pine cones. Over the summer freedom to walk was only prompted if friends walked with us and outnumbered them (imagine herding cats to walk on a trail- that is a similar…); this was the first time we did it solo and they did AMAZING. At the end of the trail Harper and Emerie voluntarily climbed back into their seats and puled the blanket up; we have a little more work with Miss Reagan, who tried to outrun Daddy and didn’t want to sit back down. This sounds like a small step forward but really, this improvement is soooo nice.
Here are some of the random happenings in the Douglets household as we wrap up our fall season and head (excitedly) into wintertime.
2.5 Year Update
The children are starting to become conversationalists on a number of new topics, emotions and opinions. The leader of the communication pack (at this moment) is Harper, who is growing increasingly good at stringing together full sentences and phrases and throwing adjectives in with it! She commonly states things like I want to go potty, Mom, I want to wash my hands, or my current favorite regarding her sisters, saying she touched me Mom. Mom she touched me! Mooooommmm. She will repeat that sentence over and over until you acknowledge her complaint. Emerie is part of the politeness police, ensuring she says please and (more often) thank you, or responding with no thank you to anything she doesn’t want. She likes to randomly whisper to us that someone farted, usually followed up with a farted like daddy (which is hilarious!!). What beautiful memories. Her constant response of yeah is now replaced with an affirming yes when you ask her something. She is also the one that reminds her sisters to bring the forgotten teddyor stuffed animal downstairs, and will adamantly DEMAND they take it or she will insist on bringing it herself. While Reagan may not be as much of a conversationalist as either of her sisters, she is definitely a singer and randomly breaks out into song throughout the day. This rule does not apply upon request; if you ask her to sing she might do a bar but then goes quiet; it has to be on her terms! She is also exceptional at telling us when she needs to potty and has those bodily functions down! The other day she also asked if she could do something for two more minutes– it cracks me up she is now negotiating with the adults in her life, which I know is only going to happen more and more as time goes on. She will also tell you who her boyfriend is if you ask, but I’ll leave that new for her to tell you.
We are working on the trading concept now- when Emerie’s precious monkey is taken by Reagan, she can trade another stuffed animal to get it back without a full on sibling disagreement and often without adult intervention. It doesn’t always work, but it is a noticeable change that they somewhat understand the concept and apply it when they want something in their sister’s possession. Progress. They also encourage each other to cleanup (Emerie usually instigates but Harper and Ray are starting to do it more), singing the song the entire time. We are making GREAT progress in this area.
Craig drops the girls off at daycare each morning, as it is on his way to work and I’m still working from home. After loading in the car seats, Emerie always requests a goodbye kiss; the other two recently picked up on the idea and now ask for it as well. We seem to load them the same each morning, with Craig taking Harper out first and putting her in the middle seat while I keep coats on the other two, then he puts Em in the seat behind him (it’s easier to patch her eye on this side when he arrives at the school), and I load Reagan up on “her side.” Reagan receives her kiss as she comments that they are going to school to see Madi and Dina (Diana, both their teachers) and I have to go around and plant one on Emerie or she gets demanding. She will then remind me to climb up and give one to Harper.
We went out to dinner at Red Robin the other night (just the five of us!). My more observant children excitedly shrieked through the restaurant at the “monkey” (actually the robin) standing in the restaurant lobby (we didn’t argue semantics here) and the carousel horse mounted across the room by another table, who they decided was Max from Tangled because he was white with a fancy saddle. Throughout dinner all three kept pointing at the “monkey” and telling us he was wearing shoes. Monkey shoes! Monkey shoes off? No shoes, monkey. It was pretty hilarious to hear this in between french fry munching and apple juice sipping. They also randomly re-noticed Max’s presence and shrieked that information out to all the tables on our side of the restaurant.
And the last gem on the new, toddler conversations in our house- Auntie Megan, who we play with constantly because the girls adore her boys, taught the girls about some new body parts that differ from theirs. This happened out of a diaper change, because every toddler in the house must participate in them and provide their inputs; she explained that boys have a penis and girls have a “gina”. Well, if you must know, this is a very hot topic in our household now that is randomly brought up day-to-day. One of those random times happened to be while we were at Fred Meyer last weekend and to my dismay (and delight, not sure?), all three were chanting daddy-penis, mommy-penis, rather loudly I might add, across the store. I could see the smiles and chuckles of passer-bys through their masks, as we headed for the checkout line at a bit faster pace! At some point they might accept that mommy does not have that equipment, similarly neither do they, but apparently that is not for my age two beauties. Silver lining of that shopping trip…we made it through the whole shopping experience without any diapers on or accidents!
The girls bring home random “art displays” a couple of days each week from school. Since they are in two different classes, they don’t always come home with the same thing or on the same days. I noticed the other day that all three happened to color the same sheet; it made me chuckle how different they all look. See for yourself:
They all ask to color more often now, with Reagan seemingly the most lately, followed by Emerie and Harper. And yet, with that methodology and looking at the pages above, you would think Harper would be asking the most, as she was definitely the most dedicated to coloring that animal and this is not the first time. It’s interesting to see the differences between the three; after all, they are all individuals!
Also, if you wanted to know, Harper is going through the color black phase, just like I apparently did as a toddler. She wants black bows in her hair, the black crayon; she keeps asking for black! When given the choice of silverware color at dinner, she always asks for the blue one (occasionally her pink color), but I am certain if I had a black option she would pick it. Emerie likes her purple more so than anything else and doesn’t like the others to wear her coats and hats; Reagan often wants to take the purple from Emerie! I’m pretty sure purple is her favorite color at this snapshot in time, although she also likes green and orange colored jellybeans.
As we continue subliminal binky weaning, which are now confined to the bedroom for sleep activities now, I feel as though I’ve been “stuffing” stuffed animals down their throats (see what I did there?) as a replacement. We are making great strides in this area, and the girls are allowed to take one animal of their choosing to daycare each day, mostly for snuggle time during their nap. Their preference varies each day for Harper and Reagan; Emerie brings the same one every time. For a couple of months this meant the stuffed pink bear for Harper and the white one for Reagan that I received at my work baby shower. The third animal was a soft elephant- not the one Emerie wanted because she wanted a bear like her sisters. This led to buying three new teddy bears that were a combination of pink/purple/teal, which lasted a little while, but the girls never loved on them as much as their original bears. Emerie then latched onto a pink “beany boo” piggie with big, purple eyes, so much that we had to buy a second one because Harper was quite insistent a pink pig should be hers. Fast forward a few more weeks and Emerie discovered her newest and most treasured companion, the purple tie-dye “beany boo” monkey. Monkey goes everywhere with her and has replaced any stuffed pig or teddy bear in her heart. It helps her flush the toilet, eat dinner, sit in the car, snuggle at bedtime and do all the other playtime toddler activities. I am currently trying to find two other similar, small stuffed animals to keep the other two from stealing her precious playmate.
Other preferred companions consist of the pig and chicken from Moana, a few soft, black teddy bears from Cousin Gabe, a stuffed sloth, and new Cabbage Patch dolls, whose names are CiCi, Stella, and Sadi according to their labels. It’s adorable to hear the girls yell where is Cici!? hi Cici. Sadi in time-out. Stella, no. They are working on potty training the dolls. I will often turn around to all three instructing their “kiddos” on the potty chairs in the living room, which sometimes results in cleaning them in the washer…
Reagan likes to snuggle with all of Emerie’s purple animals and has a very demanding regiment each night that often ends in toddler rage if she can’t get it exactly how she wants. It usually ends with a blanket wrapped fully around her body and over her head like a hood; then she HAS to either sit on the couch with Craig or I or sit at Craig’s feet on the floor. Harper is happy snuggling under a blanket with me and watching whatever movie is on, while Emerie rotates between her parents on who she feels like snuggling with that night. Everyone munches on apple pieces and explains whatever we are watching. It is by far the girls’ calmest moment of the day and one of my favorite parts.
Another memorable moment from this month- Emerie managed to lock herself in the upstairs bathroom as I was putting the other two in their cribs for bed. We learned in this moment that neither of us know how to pick this type of lock; after about five minutes of a stressed out and crying two year old on the other side of the door, she managed to flip the lock back herself. Thank God!! A little YouTubing by Craig and now we know how to unlock it. Even more than a week later, Harper and Reagan still comment that Emi locked the door, Emi pushed the “button”, and so on. Apparently it was quite memorable for them too.
Harper’s latest thing is sipping juice or taking a bite of food and then spitting it back out onto the table. Then, in true toddler style, she will sip that juice off the table and repeat the process. Have I mentioned lately that toddlers are gross?
We went swimming for the first time since March’s quarantine and took the girls for their first visit to H2Oasis. Going right at opening meant we had the place to ourselves, which was great. We discovered that Emerie is our main water baby now (it was Reagan when they were little in the bath), so much so she even floated the river on her own (with arm floaties on) without us holding onto her. Harper was holding onto an adult for dear life and Reagan was happy to sit in the inter-tube and collect the rubber duckies. they were all a bit hesitant to go down the small water slides unless sitting on your lap but all enjoyed walking around the shallow areas. We also made 200+ trips to the bathroom throughout the two hour visit, because they HAD to pee in the regular potty and not in their swim diapers. Overall it was a great visit that resulted in some happy toddlers; we will have to go again.
One night Nanny came over for dinner, playtime and some pumpkin carving. Reagan received a little one-on-one time while we took the other two for their flu shots (she already had hers). Extremely excited toddlers shrieked as much as the dog at her arrival and were mostly cooperative for the pumpkin crafting. We gave them markers to “draw” faces on their mini pumpkins, which really meant slightly marking the pumpkins and majorly drawing on themselves. It came off…eventually.
We put up a few fall decorations this year, which was more than I can say for the last two years. Craig put the Halloween pillowcases on and Reagan was quite impressed, telling us new pillows over and over for a couple of days. I believe the orange lights hung on the fireplace finally prompted the learning of the color orange, which is not a key color in this house so they’ve ignored it to date. Now Harper and Reagan always seem to want the orange jellybean when given a choice of color.
All in all, the pumpkins turned out pretty cute and the girls willingly participated in a photo on the porch. Most of that credit can be given to Craig and Nanny for their knife skills.
Dentist Take Over
We had our first triple dentist visit, figuring it would be more time efficient to take all three simultaneously than by individual appointments. We opted to take the double stroller in and carry kid number three; this way two were strapped in and accounted for while the third had teeth checked. We let them run on the way out of the office and they were more than excited for that.
The car ride over consisted of discussion about showing our teeth to the dentist, smiling and opening your mouth wide, but that wasn’t enough for them to cooperate and do that at the appointment. Emerie went first, figuring she would be cooperative because she’s a pro at her eye doctor visits. Unfortunately, she was not having it and screamed and fought it every moment. Her turn was very quick! Second up was Reagan, who remained chill and let him look in her mouth AND brush her teeth and everything. This is a pretty typical doctor visit attitude for her, unless you are messing with her ears. Harper went last, since she is typically the most anti-doctor (and goes to the doctor the least so that’s good) and because she hated the last dentist visit after chipping two teeth. Surprisingly she did great and smiled and let him brush her teeth without too much attitude. Kudos to the Libby Group for surviving a triplet appointment with minimal meltdowns from the children or adults!
We are looking forward to our last fall adventure for this year, Halloween, and jumping into the holiday season. While I already want to put Christmas lights up, rest assured I will at least hold out until Thanksgiving!
It’s a little terrifying to give up control as a parent. What do I mean by control? So many things are controlled for our every day routine, something that has been incredibly detailed and stringent for the past two years, with pretty much every second planned out strategically ahead of time (and a lot of hoping for the best!). Control, as in what habits (or words/actions) your children will pick up because they’re only with you or people you’ve hand-picked to be a part of your lives. This may also be genetically from their DNA- yes, that part might be payback for Craig and I. Control, meaning knowledge of each detail of their daily lives, knowing they are completely safe from the craziness of the outside world, safely tucked away in your house, your safe place, the place you call home.
The past two years were controlled, spending the majority of time in this safe place.
It also means relinquishing control by placing your children in the hands of other people and having new experiences that you won’t be there to witness. This is a hard concept to deal with. Because we’ve been so blessed to have in home care, we have been involved in so much of the first times. In reality, it’s really not that different from me and Craig being at work and the girls being home with the nanny, but soon there will be more kids around we don’t yet know and less involvement in daily activities and experiences. Miss Chris was always great at sending pictures and videos and making us feel connected to the girls, even when we at the office. And the last four months with the COVID quarantine and working full time from home, while I was not directly with the girls every second of the day, I could still hear them downstairs or outside the window, laughing in the backyard and playing in the water, or chasing each other across the living room and giggling over a song. I still heard them screaming about the food they disliked, or when they settled down for a nap and chatted in their cribs, knowing from the other room that they are happy and snoozing away from a busy day.
The question is, is this life adjustment harder on the parents or on the kids?! We all know the truth of that answer; it’s harder on the parents and I daresay hardest on the moms. Whether your kid is three months old, two and a half years (like us), or headed off to the first day of kindergarten, separation anxiety is a thing, for both parents and kiddos! It’s hard to let go, change routine and take the next step. Am I ready for them to go to daycare? Not remotely. Did I want to put this off a lot longer? Yes. Do I think they can handle it and be okay? Yes. Do I think I can handle it and be okay? Yesss. I know the transition is tough, whether that is a quiet house for my workday or a few no-nap weeks for them to come home super grumpy and clingy. I am sure it will be quite the transition for them, exciting and scary, but also quite the transition for us as well as we step into this new phase of our lives. A phase with a little less control.
We’ve done a lot of daycare prep the past few weeks. After touring the preschool and talking with several of the staff and toddler teachers, we shifted our daily routine a little bit. No major changes, just small incremental things that encouraged how they would be at school and wouldn’t cause further stress while we juggled everything. This included unbuckling the girls for breakfast and lunch, something we’ve done at all meals their whole lives, using the constrained time to finish food prep, cleanup, throw another load of laundry in or start the dishwasher, and run around and quickly do fifty random chores before they ransacked everything again. The toddler classrooms have kid sized tables and chairs and expect the kiddos to eat respectfully without buckling in. This is going okay at home so far, often the taking away of a full plate of food convinces them to sit back down. It definitely shortens meal times and doesn’t allow for us to sit and eat for long, but the change is going better than I expected it to right away.
We are also leaving the dining chairs on the floor now, instead of putting them back on top of the table. This is soooo much nicer on the parents, not having to constantly remember to put them back up, but still certainly results in climbing toddlers, standing on the table, smacking the television and playing with the remote and DVD player. I won’t call this a win yet; at some point each day someone is on the table (or multiple someones more often), but yesterday I only had to put them (all) in timeout once for climbing up and that is MAJOR progress. Hopefully we aren’t too far from this being a non-issue.
Another bigger change at daycare involves splitting them up. They don’t put three new toddlers together, regardless of sibling status, so we opted for Harper and Reagan to stay together and Emerie to be on her own. No, it’s not because the two team up against their smaller sister more often; it is because Emerie is great at independent play and likes to take the time to figure things out. We are hoping she will thrive from this. They will still be together for breakfast and recess each day, but not for some activities and nap time. I’m hoping once everyone settles in they can go back together, unless Emerie absolutely loves being on her own.
We joked on our walkthrough that daycare staff has until their third birthday to figure out who is who, because we will then dress them all completely alike and make them work for it. They thought that was pretty funny. Kidding not kidding…
We had to do physicals (and shots!) before their first day, and since we didn’t get an official two year height/weight update because COVID hit, here are your updated numbers for the munchkins!
29 Month Update
Height: 38.75” (99%) / Weight: 29 lb., 8 oz. (71%)
Favorite Food: dad’s Belgium waffle pancakes, bacon and blueberries
Favorite Song: Lola the Cow or Baby Shark
Favorite toy: she likes her pink bear or the singing bear
She is still ready to take the world on 100% of the time, is often the instigator for trouble making and encourages her sisters to join her, and is practically talking a mile a minute. She enjoys movies the most of the three and will sit and snuggle for 30+ minutes and watch one before bed time.
Height: 37.75” (96%) / Weight: 27 lb., 4 oz. (47%)
Clothing size: 2T onesies/dresses, 3T everything else but it’s a little big
ShoeSize: 7 / 8
Favorite Word: lullo (yellow)
Favorite Food: mango or blueberries
Favorite Song: Tay Tay’s Shake It Off and Twinkle Twinkle
Favorite toy: any type of container, her Piggy, and her toddler “cell phone”
Emerie is the curious thinker of the group and loves to color and play with puzzles. She loves holding your hand and insists upon it quite often, especially when jumping off things or going down most slides. She likes the Pan movie and Moana and randomly singing her ABCs.
Height: 38.25” (98%) / Weight: 30 lb., 1 oz. (76%)
Favorite toy: any binkie she can get her hands on, her white bear or toddler “cell phone”
Reagan is still the most timid of the three and a little more emotional. She’s shy in new places but then opens up and wants to share toys with friends. She enjoys holding your hand, sitting on your lap under a blanket and watching her sisters get into trouble. She also likes dancing to all music.
Right now no one is a fan of wearing pants, or their diapers if given the opportunity to remove them, and everyone is obsessed with the potty. The current favorite color is “yellowblue”. No, that is not green; it is yellow-blue. As true Alaskan babies, they are now okay playing in hose water or the sprinkle out back, even with the multiple cold! comments.
The first day went even better than expected! Craig and I were still reeling from several nights of actual sleep, which felt weird, with Harper sleeping back in her own bed and not having anxiety episodes that result in me sleeping next to her in the guest room.
We got up a few minutes early and ate a breakfast snack on the couch, I did everyone’s hair really quick and dressed up in cute, first day outfits that matched the beautiful summer day.
Craig and I took them over together at about 8 AM, expecting some tears as we handed them off. Due to COVID-19 rules, we are not allowed into the daycare and have to leave them at the front door, after temperature checks. While I am not a fan of this at all, especially since this is my first time handing them off to new people, I think down the line they will be fine. Harper didn’t even shed a tear, albeit she wasn’t excited, but stuck out her jaw and went with it. Emerie and Reagan? Bloody murder, screaming rage. Yes, as expected. We just walked to the car as they screamed inside.
The coordinator texted us later that they only cried for a few moments and then were okay. I’m sure it helped to have breakfast time together and a whole new set of toys and activities to entertain.
Believe it or not, everyone did some form of a nap, which greatly surprised me! I was expecting very overstimulated and sleepy toddlers by the end of the day, but apparently they were worn out enough to sleep a little. What a good sign! Emerie, who napped in a different room than her sisters, did great according to her teacher, waking up a little upset but quickly calming down with one-on-one time and a book.
We picked them up out on the playground, everyone happy and running around, no one exactly ready to get in the car and go home. The evening was a little grumpy but overall not as bad as expected.
Thank you everyone for the prayers for a calm week!
The #toddlerlife is becoming increasingly interesting in the Douglas household. Everyday produces new words, groupings and phrases as well as explicit commands. New comprehended actions are instructed to you, to siblings, the pets, and immobile objects like the table and door. Mimicking of actions and words increases all the time and they are clearly keeping an eye on all activities throughout the day. And with all that, we are starting to see our little people grow up. SO. FAST.
I’ve been writing notes to myself of the funny and cute, random things that scream toddler. Here are a few of the silly mimics to look back on when they are older. For example:
Sibling spankings – the girls now try to discipline one another, Reagan most of all. She will provide her sister with a light pat on their butt if they continue to do something as Craig or I are telling them no and asking if they’d like a spanking. It’s almost become a game and they will chase one another around the room and yell “spank!” with a giggle.
Picture taking – In true modern fashion, they will pick up objects and pretend they are cell phones. This consists of small conversations held to their ears and as of this week, holding it sideways and yelling “cheese!” as they try to take your picture. They get frustrated when Koda does not smile based off their demands. It is ironic that they understand how to talk on the phone with your ear and mouth, since they rarely witness us do anything but text or FaceTime; AND that they don’t seem to understand the concept of an actual camera. If I hold the fancy camera up for a picture, they don’t look or smile or comprehend what it is most of the time, even more so when they were tinier.
Books – the other day Harper took it upon herself to read the night-night book to her half awake sisters, as we started the morning. She sat on the toy ottoman with the book in her lap and essentially sang twinkle twinkle little star (sounds like inkle inkle ittle star and is super cute) while holding up the bedtime star book.
The dreaded diaper – Butt smelling is the latest and greatest thing. Someone will say they are poopy and one of the adults will ask, are you sure, do you stink? And another clean-butted baby will go take a whiff of the butt in question. It’s pretty hilarious. They will also hold their butt up to you to check and try to assist on the changes. It’s very considerate.
Trashcan – We’ve progressed to the point that the girls now open the kitchen trash compactor using the foot pedal; something they’ve witnessed us do constantly, especially after diaper changes. Not going to lie, it is somewhat nice that they can hand delivery the stinky diapers to the trash for me, saving me a trip into the kitchen (sometimes three trips).
Verb comprehension is through the roof in the past month. We are now told bite it! or do it! or hold it! (that one is a Harper favorite) all the time. They want a bite of anything we are eating, even if it is the same thing on their untouched dinner plate; they want to buckle their own car seat (a process that takes ETERNITY when you have to comply with all three of them), and we are often instructed to hold something like leftover snacks or dolls. For the record, my masterminded mom-ness (is that a thing?) for the car seat buckling is to allow them to mess with the chest harness buckle while I quickly buckle the lower portion. For the moment, that suffices as they are “doing it” themselves. My downfall of the week is the lastest phrase of kill it! which I did not intend to teach them. In my defense, the MASSIVE polka dotted spider on my back porch had me toddler-demanding Craig to kill it. So that’s just great.
They also say shit! When they drop things…but I choose to blame that one mostly on Craig.
Harper’s latest word explosion consists of enunciating her words, saying things like “ride-IN” or “Ko-DAH” or my favorite, Rea-GAN. One day she just stopped saying Ray Ray and now refers to her sister by her full name. It’s so cute. Emerie continues to call her Ray Ray. They call each other’s names when something of interest requires immediate attention, meaning there are a lot of Harper!! Emmi!! Reagan!! exclamations during walks and outdoor adventures. It typically includes excited pointing and a lot of yelling.
The girls, especially Emerie, now recognize enough of the neighborhood through the car windows to ask if we are going home as we pull onto our street. When we leave the house, everyone says bye-byehouse! They recognize our friends and 17-houses-away neighbor’s house and comment anytime we pass it in the car. Other notable neighborhood objects consist of the wind fans in people’s front yards, the lawn mowers (called momos in this house) parked in yards and driveways, and the ever popular trash or garbage cans. The girls will ask about Koda as we head home from somewhere. If we eat out somewhere or have a picnic snack at the park, they look for the dog to give their scraps too. Yes, we are working on that one and they are working on getting her to smile when they tell her cheeeese! with their pretend camera phone.
The baby timeout chair, aka the high chair we used in addition to the triple table, is now retired to the garage for resale. We are continuing to implement time-outs and this is not so simply with three at once. Surprisingly, they will mostly stay in the corner you put them in for punishment, and half the time it is Harper. The next door neighbor asked us the other day which one is always in trouble, is it Harper? I find it hilarious they pick up on that from our day-to-day, because she is definitely the one in the hair pulling, biting stage. Emerie’s biting habits are letting up now and in general Reagan responds to verbal discipline far more than her siblings do. It is interesting to see how they all respond differently to punishment, as I predicted they would (just because that is harder!). They also asked us who is the one that seems more upset than the other two…which Craig and I both responded with Reagan! She is currently living her best two-year-old life, which means acting typical for her age according to the nanny, while the other two are on better behavior (I guess?).
We made it through our first real movie with the girls over a few evenings this week, watching (in short chunks) Tangled and then Moana. I think they all sat for five minutes or so and watched intently, then one or two got up to play while number three snuggled and talked about it. And switch and repeat. While encouraging screen watching isn’t exactly what I want to do as a parent, I am realistic enough to know having them enjoy some television time occasionally is not a bad thing and is really nice!! The funniest part of watching Tangled is the girls’ new obsession with pan!! and yes, I am referring to the frying pan that our princess uses to beat up her tower intruder and other bad guys along the way. Now we get requests for the pan! movie. Hopefully they don’t take it to heart tooo much.