Is it me, or does becoming a parent make you see the world around you in a completely different light? It follows the same principles as someone who say, breaks their leg, and then experiences the world in a new way while they are hobbling around on crutches. Going from an easier way to get around, without thinking much about how the world is set up, to having to find the ramp to enter a building, or try to open a door with crutches…things you don’t see until life changes. The same goes for kids!
I’ve always been one to use the stairs when possible, not because I dislike elevators, but because stairs are generally easy to access to get you where you’d like to go without waiting. Throw kids into that mix, especially three with a big, triple stroller, and that luxury goes straight out the window.
This past weekend we went on a couple outings to break up the cabin fever that comes from a January in Alaska. With the coldest week we’ve seen in Anchorage in three years, outdoor playtime is canceled until it warms into the double digits again (double digits above zero!). The girls do not approve of instant red noses and having to wear so many layers; and who can blame them, we don’t like it either!
Our first stop was the museum downtown. The best part about this outing proved to be the drive from inside my garage to inside the underground, heated garage parking underneath the museum. Mission leave the house without going outside at all – check!
The last time I visited the museum, I was a freshman in high school headed to homecoming- skinny with braces and in a fancy dress and heels. So much has changed since then but the interior of the space looked much the same. We ventured over to the educational wing; the area filled with a ton of kid activities as well as the playroom for the younger visitors.
This wasn’t the most pleasant of outings and I’m glad we tried it out before deciding to buy an annual visitors pass. I expected the usual kids outnumbering the parents to bring the normal level of difficulty when visiting places, but the layout of the kids area really assisted in making it harder. While I know open, flowing spaces are encouraged throughout public space design, it is not prudent when there are three tiny, but quick toddlers wanting to explore and take in all the excitement.
They did fine in the play area, pending someone remained near the wide entrance to stop any wanderers, but the rest of the space housing all the activities was way too open. Most “rooms” had at least three, big access points. Design-wise the whole area is fine; parents versus triplets wise? Not so much. I see the bigger issue as a more basic principle: it’s a kid area…WHY aren’t there doors, or at least some creative gates, that hinder kids from running off? There wasn’t a single buffer in the entire area, not one.
This issue isn’t exclusive to the museum, but rather noticeable across many public and supposedly kid friendly places. The library has a great toddler and preschool aged area, but yet again, they don’t have anything blocking in the play area. This could easily be remedied and would allow someone with multiple littles to go solo and survive. I’ve found that the recreational centers across the city seem to tackle this issue the best and provide doors and walls, something much appreciated when I want to get out of the house on my solo kid days.
While the museum was a little more chaotic than preferable, it did get us a TWO hour nap at home, something uncommon in the Douglas household anymore (or ever really).
The girls are continuing to improve their climbing skills, a little too well if you ask me. Reagan has now copied her sister and climbed into Emerie’s crib with her for the anti-nap time the other day. Emerie is now the holdout for that skill, but that is likely because she’s a tad shorter than her sisters.
We have not resolved this issue yet…because…well life…but this weekend will tackle how to lower the crib mattresses farther than their original design…or something. We are not ready to convert to toddler beds and hoping we’d make it past two before that. The interim fix was to rearrange the cribs so they no longer touch.
Unfortunately that fix was not enough. With the nursery cam not operational for the nanny for one afternoon, angry, anti-napper Reagan finally had enough with her required nap time and dared to climb over her crib and down the side to the floor. The poor nanny found her standing in the living room. Luckily she didn’t entirely destroy our upstairs before she was spotted! Looking back at the footage for it, she lowered herself down waaaaaay too confidently and used that arm muscle like a pro.
Now we are keeping a close eye on things when in the crib. So far no one else has attempted a jailbreak. With the grumpiness of red eyes and goopy ears this week, we are stalling on fixing the issue.
On another fun note, pinkeye entered our house this week…pretty good that we made it 21 months without catching it! We believe Emerie contracted it from someone contagious at the museum; she had goopy eyes after nap time and the next morning that I didn’t realize was out of the ordinary until Monday. Emerie kindly shared that with Harper after another day, and Reagan later in the week. Craig and I are now frantically trying to keep our hands clean, not touch our eyes, and not let them jam those contagious fingers into ours!
Since we have pink eyed babies, why not go for green faced babies, or orange armed babies, or a variety of other colors on the rainbow spectrum. So after dinner the other night we stripped everyone down to diapers, broke out the old, not-recently-used painting drop cloths from the garage, and pulled out the kid paint for a little fun. Sadly their little pink eyes totally match the paint colors! Emerie immediately went in for a taste test, while Reagan remained clean a few more minutes, just barely touching it to the paper. In true Douglas style, Harper painted her first drawing of the night solely with her middle finger. I guess we haven’t quite broken that habit yet.
The rest of the weekend you will find me at home, hanging out with my pink eyed and contagious babies, breaking out every toy in the house to entertain the younguns until this cold weather/sick snap has passed. This includes our cool caterpillar tunnel, the pickler, indoor slide, and probably some more (edible) baby paint. We opened up more of the living room so the girls can climb up and down the main stairway and that seems to be quite the hit to burn off some of the cabin fever. Well that, and everyone trying to eat the Christmas lights when I’m not looking…which is apparently sooo hilarious (and not). We are working on that.
And lastly, our silly thing for the week. I amazingly completed a whole batch of chocolate chip cookies on my solo day off. While the girls refused to even taste them in the morning (when fresh and delicious-more for me!), they definitely enjoyed some morsels after a successful nap time (thank goodness!). So much, in fact, that Emerie stole the entire container off the counter, quietly carried it over into the entryway, managed to open it, and hand several cookies out to each of her sisters before I noticed. Their little chocolate covered faces gave them away.
Big plans for this weekend? Yep, survival. And maybe swimming since the water won’t share the germs. And not going outside until it warms up? Yeah that too.
Christmas break and the close to 2019 are here. That means a week off from the full-time, “paying” job to spend time with the family at my full-time, “non-paying” job. Does that mean an actual vacation or relaxing? Not really. At the start of Christmas break, the only festive things accomplished already were visiting Santa and assembling the tree and Christmas village. Ornaments are still tucked away to be used another year. I managed to miss all three Christmas parties originally on my schedule, thanks to a variety of unforeseen things relating to life and children, and I didn’t successfully cooked any of my usual Christmas goodies. And no, the presents were not all wrapped until the eve of Christmas, but they were at least purchased thanks to Amazon and Black Friday deals and ready to go. This is typical for parents at the holidays right?
Night’s sleep: solid C / Morning: A+!
We started out the work week in usual style. The girls didn’t have a great night of sleep, as is the current trend right now, so I let them sleep in until nine and had a nice two hours of silence, hot coffee and Netflix! Sometimes it is worth it to stay up at the crack of dawn, as I often do on weekends, to have a little me time to sit and relax. The girls usually fidget and quietly hang out in their cribs for a little while before I get them up, but not today. Sleepy, sleepy babies. After a breakfast of yogurt, bacon, and some blueberries, everyone was dressed in holiday attire and ready for action.
It typically takes me about an hour to get everyone ready and out of the house in the morning- that is if I am moving fast! We got ready and loaded up for a twinsies play date a nearby friends’ house, one that was much overdue. The girls were well mannered and shared, behaved for the most part, and ate the best mannered meal I’ve seen in a long time, with their own silverware and everything! Mac and cheese, green beans and oranges for the win at a dining room table. Apparently the trick to getting behaved, little eaters is to go to someone else’s house. That, or they saw how well behaved the twins were, who are about two months older, and wanted to mimic that behavior. Little did I know that would be the highlight of the day, and it was about to go waaaaay down.
Unknown to me, the girls held a secret club meeting on this first day of Christmas break, deciding as a group to have a “no nap” day. I think we’ve had one, maybe two of them ever; and let’s just say, these are the days that make you question survival as a triplet parent.
Reagan would NOT go down for a nap and proceeded to throw everything out of her crib at her sisters on either side, waking them up just as they started to settle. Separating her after forty minutes of goofing off did not help; she would not calm down in our room either and maintained her wide wake (but tired) status. As soon as I pulled Reagan out of her crib, Emerie angrily hollered since I didn’t free her with her sister and after a few minutes, woke up Harper from her ten minute doze and then everyone screamed bloody murder for a while. Can someone please remind my children the holiday spirit is about being kind to other (and the parents!) AND that means taking naps!!
Night’s sleep: solid C / Morning: A
The girls slept in again until about 8:45 and gave me enough time to get dressed and start breakfast for the day. Grandma was able to sleep in too! After a good and cooperative meal we prepped for the day and headed over to Spenard Rec Center for their toddler time. I figured it would likely be pretty quiet, with most folks doing last minute preparations with the holiday right around the corner; and I was right. The play room was completely empty of any savages and boasted a ton of toys just waiting to be played with.
After a little while others trickled in; but overall it was a sparse turnout in comparison to other winter days. I prefer this alternative; there is less likelihood of other sick kiddos contaminating us and sharing is not as big of a deal. Plus the room has so much space to run around and tire the toddlers out!
The girls climbed on everything, scooted around on the cars, burrowed through the long play tunnels, and interacted with the other kiddos. They also tried to play with the only trash can in the room, they stole random shoes and put them on, I caught Reagan chewing on the doorstop and Harper finding all the not baby proofed outlets to poke. It was a great hour that had no meltdowns, injuries, or poopy diapers. We’ll call this a definite win.
As predicted, the afternoon went downhill after such a great morning. Nap time was unsuccessful (again). This is day two of Miss Reagan completely boycotting her nap. We didn’t even attempt to crib nap her, figuring two out of three sleeping is better than zero out of three. Craig was off work early so he tried laying down separately with Reagan. Eventually they went for a short car drive nap, which led to the doctor for an ear check, proving she has an ear infection, only her second one ever. Fingers crossed this is the reason for the past two nap fiascos and not something else.
Emerie and Harper woke up after forty minutes. Harper stayed up and “helped” me make a batch of gingerbread cookie dough for Christmas; Emerie snuggled with grandma and eventually slept a couple more minutes in her crib, much to her dismay.
But here is the kicker of the evening. The ten second video says it all; surprisingly this is Harper. And we aren’t even two yet!
I swore I set her in her own crib while I dressed the other two post bath time. This one can’t be chalked up to mom brain. The crib camera confirms one of my biggest anxieties of the future. Hopefully this was just a fluke and she’ll forget the capability for at least a few more months! Otherwise our life is about to get a lot more interesting…and I’m okay with how interesting it is already…
In past years we try to at least do something for Christmas Eve dinner. This year? I think not. We fancily ordered Taco King and ate at the kitchen table with Grandma Anne and Papa Cliff. Surprisingly, everyone at pretty well and enjoyed a tiny candy cane for dessert.
And the best part about this day?! Well, that would be fulfilling the wish of a white Christmas. The snow continued to fall throughout the afternoon and into the night, bringing about the white Christmas we love and expect to have, living in Alaska!
Day THREE: Christmas
Night’s sleep: C
The girls slept okay for the night, excluding the fact everyone was awake at 2AM. Reagan slept with us again; hopefully her ear medicine will get her back to her own bed soon. Harper did a couple hours with Grandma Anne and Emerie and I had a twenty minute snuggle session and bottle and she immediately went back to sleep in the nursery. A relatively calm night overall.
It was a slow start to the morning, but no one seemed to mind. Craig started a delicious breakfast of avocado, crepes, bacon, and sausage with lots of coffee! The girls were up by about 8:45 and ready to take on the day in their matching Christmas pajamas. We released the beasts into the entire living room, taking down the playpen so we could easily open gifts. The girls were so excited to explore places they haven’t accessed in a while and climb on the furniture. I forgot how small the blockade made the room look, so without it everything looked so open!
I expected additional chaos with everyone roaming freely; but really, it wasn’t that bad. Apparently the furniture is less exciting once you are allowed on it and they didn’t bother the tree at all; plus we had lots of grandparents to sit and monitor the shenanigans.
The opening of presents went about as expected. No one was all that interested in sitting in one space for more than a second, although they did grab things out of their stockings. For the first part of this adventure, everyone just ran around and fought over the mini play doh containers from those stockings. Little do they know what is inside them (yet)!
Once the play doh was removed from eyesight, some participation occurred. Reagan enjoyed tearing the wrapping off the boxes if you started it for her, Harper was happy to sit and snuggle while you unwrapped it, Emerie was still out and about checking out all the new stuff. Oh and trying on all the different sized shoes in the entryway. She was especially perplexed by Papa Lon’s Xtra Tuffs…which were as tall as her entire leg but did not stop her from trying.
The main hits of the morning, besides play doh containers? Matching toddler purses, which included accessories like glasses and a hairbrush and comb. The glasses were willingly worn by all three (even Em put them on over the ones she was wearing) and I even caught one combing Papa Lon’s beard for him. How considerate! The potato heads were opened and compiled, although I don’t think they are quite obsessed over them yet. The mini car keys were also adored, fought over and hidden in their new purses.
We wasted no time getting outside after destroying the living room. In fact, I think I was more excited to take them on a sled ride than to open presents! We wrangled everyone into snowsuits, boots and gloves and went outside for a quick ride.
For this venture, Reagan is in pink, Harper in purple and Emerie in blue. Yes…how confusing but the purple is still too big for Emerie and she cannot reach anything with the long arms and legs of the bigger suit!
Everyone giggled and chatted in excitement as Craig, Cliff and I walked down the snow covered, un-plowed roadway. Holidays are the best because the streets are mostly empty and become a playground, especially when covered in winter. The girls immediately had rosy cheeks and red noses from the cold, and while they didn’t all look impressed, we managed to pull some giggles and smiles out of them.
Get this- after a week of painfully short naps, the girls slept TWO hours, with only one freak out about twenty minutes in. Thankfully they all settled without intervention. I guess presents and sled riding is the way to sleeping babies. Craig, the grandpas and I relaxed a bit while the grandmas finished prepping dinner. The smell of prime rib filled the whole house. After nap-time, the new toys re-emerged. The girls rotated between grandparents, Harper would sit and play with a toy for a few minutes with one, same with Em and Reagan. Once someone got up, they would swap and show that same toy to the next person. This went on for a little while.
The Etch a Sketches were also a hit! They all wanted to click the little stamps in and out more than actual coloring, but that’s okay because they were highly entertained for a while. Eventually they figured out that using the pen would make colorful designs on the board part. I’m just glad to have a toy they can write with that can’t get on my walls and floor! After a little while they started running around and banging them on everything, so they went back out of reach and a different toy was grabbed.
Dinner was delicious and this time the girls participated. We learned from Thanksgiving that changing feeding time schedule for the holiday meant they would not eat anything, so we did dinner at the usual time. Everyone ate green bean casserole, jello salad, rolls, and a little bit of the prime rib. As predicted, Reagan and Emerie liked the lime jello salad, while Harper spit it all back out in her hands.
The rest of the night consisted of toys, running around (ummm the children…us adults were SO full and just wanted a nap!), and happy babies. By bedtime everyone was completely exhausted, including the parents and grandparents!
It was a good day overall, with happy and rested babies. It passed much quicker than a normal day at home and created lots of fun, new memories to look back at.
Night’s sleep: C / Morning: A
The girls were a little grumpy here and there, but overall absolutely enjoyed their time throughout the day. More snow meant we went outside again, this time in the backyard, and checked out all this white stuff. Emerie’s snow suit kept riding up and putting snow in her boots, so she was less enthused to explore for long. Reagan enjoyed a sled ride around the yard and then wanted back inside, and Harper and I wanted to stay outside a little longer at her request.
We decorated the homemade gingerbread cookies I baked the day before. I wasn’t sure how well the girls would do with the idea and they surprised me. All three mimicked us putting sprinkles from a plate onto a cookie. Emerie really picked it up quick (and I don’t mean the plate!). Eventually they discovered the icing was pure sugar and proceeded to lick it all off the cookies. By the afternoon they were eating small bits of the plain cookies as well. Can you tell which ones were done by them?!
The whole fifteen minutes of fun didn’t even require a bath time. With the exception of Em’s cookie toss into her hair at the end, they stayed relatively clean! And yes, if you are wondering, the cookie with no icing left…that would be Reagan’s.
Afternoon: solid B
I held my breath for naps today and somehow managed to get about an hour out of Reagan and almost 1.5 from Harper and Emerie. Not too shabby!
Reagan and I played together and munched on the remains of her decorated cookie while we waited for the other two to wake up. Grandma Anne worked on a sewing project for Craig. For some reason, everyone was really grumpy for the rest of the evening, didn’t want to share their toys, and fought over everything. We played dress up and tried on a few of their Disney themed Christmas dresses, which are so cute. Overall not a bad day.
Night’s sleep: C
Not our best night of sleep, Reagan with us and wide awake after a full eight ounce bottle at 4 AM. We did a quick triple feed after that, getting Harper back from Grandma’s room, and everyone went back to sleep in their beds until 8:30.
Now a week off from work wouldn’t be complete without at least one (two) doctors visit…right? Craig noticed Harper had a yellow spot on two of her front teeth and was concerned it might be the start of a cavity. I’m not sure how he even noticed them in the first place but I’m glad he did! After a full investigation and some toddler screaming as we tried to get a closer peek, it appears they might be chipped but have no idea how or when that happened.
Harper and I went to the dentist in the morning, in the below zero temperatures that she did not enjoy once out of the car, and the whole experience went mostly great. We immediately went back without waiting, the nurse sat us down in the chair and Harper checked out all the cool dental tools. She especially liked the air compressor machine that spit out air or a water stream. She stayed shy, calmly sitting on my lap, throughout most of the visit and while the nurse asked me a thousand questions about being a triplet mom; at least until the doctor came in. Things were fine until he was ready to actually look at her mouth. She looked over to see him with his medical mask and the light band on his head, and she LOST her mind. It was like he was Santa. Poor thing wouldn’t let the scary stranger near her even after he took them off. After a little coaxing he was at least able to peek at the teeth in question.
He confirmed she cracked both teeth and the visible yellow spots are not cavities or plaque but the inside of her tooth. There isn’t much to be done until she’s older and more cooperative; so for now, since it’s not bothering her (thankfully!), we just need to keep it well brushed and monitor it for any color changes that might signify more damage or tooth decay.
She blew kisses and waved bye to the staff out front as I scheduled appointments for Emerie and Reagan. Off we went home for lunch time and to see how the grandparents survived with the other two. In good fashion, I was informed when I returned home that both gifted the grandparents wonderful, poopy diapers while I was gone. Sweet!
The girls napped for about an hour and a half, giving my mom some time to do some more sewing, me to pump and work on the blog, and Papa Cliff to run a couple errands. By the time they were up, Craig was headed home from work and the day was halfway over.
We packed everyone up after a few chores were finished and went to our favorite local spot, Arctic Roadrunner, for burgers, fries, PICKLES, and milkshakes. This restaurant has become our spot to visit when Papa Cliff is in town.
The girls gorged on pickles as we waited for the meals. It took three or four pickle refills before they wanted to eat anything else. They scarfed them down and tinkered with the tiny, paper ketchup cups.
The rest of the evening consisted of the usual playtime, bottles and snuggles; and just like that, we somehow survived an entire workweek off. It started out a bit rough, but with some activities and a few extra hands, it was altogether survivable. Not relaxing, but that’s expected. Now I will need a bit of a break before another week off at home.
It was enjoyable to see everyone’s excitement throughout the holiday season. The new toys, new foods, new activities; all things that become more fun than the prior year as babies. I know I will miss this stage of holiday when the kids are older- right now everything is so amazing to them and it won’t always be that way.
I expected the girls to be far grumpier on or right after Christmas Day, simply because we had lots of people in the house and lots of activity and new presents (distractions). Surprisingly, this wasn’t an issue and they still went down for their nap and at bedtime (bedtime okay, overnight not so great).
Another highlight to the week is the latest word in the Douglas household, “shut.” Mind you, it really doesn’t sound like they are cussing, and everyone comprehends the word (that’s the best part) correctly. Emerie started this whole thing and I’m not sure why, but it likely relates to us commenting to close things to other areas when the babies are on the move, which is 100% of the time.
Now there are tiny “shut” demands for everything. The dog door: shut! The baby gate: shut! The cabinet in the kitchen: shut! I mean really, I left the cabinet open for maybe ten seconds and walked away from it and Emerie informed me several times, pointing from her high chair, to shut it. Craig went out the front door and left it cracked open for a moment; Emerie and Reagan reminded him to “shut” it several times. Harper and Reagan are picking up after their sister and starting to point out when things are open as well, so I guess our household will be one with all closed doors!
The girls mastered putting on their Bogg boots on without assistance this week. I often see them swapping who is wearing which one, usually ending up with different colors on each foot. Overall, they seem to understand putting these shoes on the correct feet- something they don’t do with their slippers or tennis shoes- and are more than happy to wear them around the house. Putting on the slippers is a bit trickier, but sometimes doable without hollering for a parent.
Another new discovery: light switches. Harper dragged over her rocking airplane, which has uneventfully been in the play room for months, and decided this was the week to stand on it and test out how the light switches work. She was so very excited when the light flipped on and off, and looked at us before she would flick it. Once Reagan and Emerie caught on to this new shenanigan, both came over to check it out. Emerie pulled up a chair to watch the show, in true awe of her sister’s newfound power. After a good light “workout,” we pulled her back off the toy.
They now like to remove their shirts whenever they feel like it. In the dead of winter, I would have been fine with the skill learned next spring! We’ve taken to rolling their sleeves up high on their arms so that they at least stay covered and warm; this or we put them in one-piece pajamas at night. They are harder to remove!
Being home for a full week demonstrated the massive increase in word comprehensive by all three. They now understand full sentences from an adult, more than even a month ago, and will follow some commands even though they can’t speak back to it. The “let’s get ready for a bath” prompts them to try to take off their shirts and shoes, “time to eat” brings them over to the table, the “that was not-nice, give sissy a kiss” generally results in an attempted kiss to the upset sibling. In a way it is easier, because they are a little more independent, but it’s also harder at the same time. Why? Because they actively know when they are disobeying, like hitting a sister, climbing up a chair to the table, or pulling something off the countertop. They know exactly what they are doing and do it anyway…the toddler thing to do!
As we round out 2019 and head into 2020, I wonder what crazy, new things will happen over the course of the next year. Our final hours of 2019 consisted of very grumpy, very tired babies that went to bed early.
2019 had some major ups and downs for our family and I hope life will be a bit smoother, as much as possible with three, almost two-year-olds in it. We are definitely taking great strides as parents as we learn and grow alongside the girls.
We took the girls to visit Santa twice this month, to see if a different venue would improve the toddler attitudes toward the jolly bearded man. First we went to Cabela’s, where we had a super cute triple photo last year with everyone sitting fine on a random, bearded stranger’s lap, at least enough for a picture. This year? Baby RAGE. Emerie was the only one of the three that tolerated it enough for a photo, without screaming her head off. Harper and Reagan took the whole scene very personally; Harper was screaming before I even handed her off to the guy. If I even leaned in while holding her, she screamed and wailed even more. Reagan wasn’t a fan either. They forgave us afterwards when we looked at the fish and let them run free a bit. Luckily four adults versus three toddlers is pretty manageable. By the end of the outing, everyone was back to the rage and ready for dinner. But overall, the photo turned out pretty great.
Needless to say, some of the best holiday photos are ones with less-than-cooperative children in them and mine are no exception. I wish the photographer had captured it about two seconds earlier; by the time the photo was snapped Harper already slid off the lap and was trying desperately to escape the jolly red man.
The second Santa try was on my Friday off at the Midtown Mall Santa. As soon as we entered the lobby doors and Santa came in to view, Harper was already unsettled and upset. Apparently she and Santa are not going to be friends for a good while. We watched our twin friends do their photos before us, having about as much success with their toddlers as I knew we would have. But their angry photo turned out amazing too! And as expected, Reagan cries because Harper was freaking out and Emerie just looked at the view whilst on Santa’s lap, calm, collected, without any emotion either way. And here’s what we captured for the memory box this year!
It will be fun to see how they react next year and if the screaming collection will be added to or not. So mean, I can’t help it…
We also had our first adventure to Get Air’s toddler area. The girls were a little shy at first but after a few preferred to play in the trampoline part than anywhere else. They tolerated the foam block but did not love it.
We jumped with them a little in the main area; that brought a good bout of giggles and no one had a total meltdown when we left. Overall success! We will have to go again and hit them by storm with some of our twin buddies. And they gave us a triplet discount, bless them!
And yes, this mom went a little crazy on the matchy matchy clothes for Christmas, much more than last year. It’s not my fault, there were some super cute clothes that warranted all three wearing together. So sorry, not sorry!
I feel like the past few months (and blogs) have contained less than my normally optimistic self…when it comes to far less sleep than I’d like, picky eaters that throw most of their food on the floor, biting and hair pulling, ear infections and head colds, busy work days and a more monotonous, routined life with less relaxing or fun than I’d sometimes like to have. I fear we are branching into the “terrible twos” and have definitely had a number of days with grumpy and confrontational toddlers. All. Day. Long (well if we are being realistic that involves night too).
And while this age is hard in a different way than infancy, it also has some really great parts that are worth dwelling on more than the difficult parts. So what are some of the things that I love about this age of the #tripletlife? At this busy age of mobile #toddlerhood?! At this age of the girls figuring out how to better interact and react to new situations?
I’ve come up with a few things that I try to appreciate each day, even when I really just want to put my feet up, watch a Hallmark movie (or any movie really) and take a break in silence (or a nap?). At some point in the future that will once again be realistic, so for now let’s enjoy the sweeter side of toddler time…to name a few:
One of my favorite things about this age is something that could be seen as insignificant, but I really enjoy experiencing it. Getting down on the same level as the girls (i.e. sitting on the floor instead of a chair or the couch) during playtime allows additional interaction that generally involves a rotation of lap babies. They will bring toys, books, blankets and binkies over to you, turn around and plop their tiny butt right in your lap for a short cuddle session or to share their toy. This rotation lasts until they see other sister doing something more interesting or decide it’s time for more marathon running across the room- once they get up, the next one sees opportunity and immediately plops down. It is an endless cycle that is very sweet; I know this won’t last forever.
If I sit on the floor with a blanket over my lap, Emerie is always the first to show up with a toy and sit down to play with it. She likes to sit in the blanket or have it around her shoulders and will occupy herself for a good amount of time if uninterrupted. Harper and Reagan will venture over at some point, if I sit there long enough, but Emerie certainly favors playing with her toys and sitting with you. Reagan often brings a book over to read, but won’t sit for more than a page or two before she’s up and running again. This cycle will repeat several times; I’m hoping at some point the length of book patience will improve page by page. Harper, on the other hand, always full force runs at you, huge smile and all, and will hang out for a bit with whatever toy or book she’s found. She often likes to snuggle up in a blanket for this, while Reagan always has to have her feet out!
It sounds silly, but I love that they all do this and will miss when they are bigger and don’t anymore. It is a sweet gesture of love and trust that they show for the people in their lives they love. So for now, I try to appreciate such little gestures of love they display throughout the day.
This can be gross at times, but the adorable part easily overrides that. We are working on improving the slobber level and everyone does the “muah” sound. All three are still sloppy, slobbery kissers but starting to understand what “give me a kiss” means. In fact, in addition to sharing those sloppy kisses with Mom and Dad, Grandma or Grandpa, they are starting to share them with each other. It doesn’t always go very smoothly, ending with a head bonk and sometimes tears. But when they successfully plant one on each other, it usually involves some type of giggle; only for a brief moment and you’ll miss it if you aren’t paying attention!
Kisses are starting to fly across the house now…by that I mean the girls are starting to blow kisses at you and saying buh-bye. It results in a handful of “thrown” kisses and big smiles.
Every once in a while I will turn around to a mini, baby hug session. They are all starting to see if someone is upset, they can help remedy the situation by giving a hug or patting their head (petting really). This seems to apply even if they are the one that initiated the crying (biting, collision, stealing of a toy, to name a few). The moments are very brief before they switch gears to something else, but they exist nonetheless!
This one is a real “kicker.” As we all know, toddler temperament is like drawing an emotion out of a hat, every five seconds, and immediately reacting at 100% full force to whatever emotion is chosen. It can change in a split second- like holding a screaming rager one second to holding a giggling baby the next…just from flipping them upside down and dangling them by their ankles. I assume this is going to continue to worsen before it improves, so I try to find the humor in some of their reactions, because- to be honest- they can be pretty entertaining to watch. The triple temper tantrum hasn’t fully occurred yet; I am waiting in anticipation to film this and share it with all of you when it happens.
I did capture a short video of Harper throwing a ten second fit the other day. She throws her hands up and…well…see for yourself. Emerie is starting to mimic her sister, now similarly starting throw her hands up when upset too.
Another triplet parent told me it’ll be rare to have the tri-fecta (tri…get it!) of all three in full out rage tantrum. Why? Because they see the long term game plan…which means one kid throws the tantrum at a time and then continues to trade off. After a few years, that’ll certainly wear those pesky parents down, day by day…I feel like this shared knowledge will be far truer than I’m prepared to handle.
Another piece of advice, that I will really try to remind myself for the next several years…kids often save up all that pent up emotion for the whole day, so by the time the parents get home, the emotional rage is real. Why? Because Mom and Dad are their confidants, their safe place; so releasing all those feelings means they feel safest around you. The probably is, young children don’t always know how to express what they are feeling, good, bad and in-between, and that is the true form of the tantrum centralizes from. While I realize I am still a relatively new parent; this advice hits pretty close to home and is something I need to remind myself as they continue to grow.
This can be daunting at times when your arms are outnumbered by one, but if you really think about it, it wreaks of sweetness. The girls have complete and utter faith and trust in their parents, knowing they can dive off a slide or piece of furniture and there is no doubt in their minds you will move heaven and earth to catch them. Is that realistic? Well no, not when they are ten feet away and you are holding a sibling and have to superhero dive (in slow motion and over a plethora of toys and obstacles) across the room to reach that tiny diver before they hit the ground. Can’t you just picture that? I will tell you…it’s definitely not that graceful. There might be a bit too much trust when I’m trying to catch more than one at once, but the thought behind it is something to smile about: they have complete faith and love for you!
They have complete faith in you!
So until they fully understand that gravity really exists and can when challenged, it can lead to injuries (an idea not yet achieved but hopefully soon). I will remind myself that they trust us fully and count that we will be there, a sentiment I hope to keep throughout their lives.
This is a hard one, because I love actual sleep but it is but a vague memory at this point in my life! It’s probably better to block out that memory for another year or two; although Craig and I had a brief glimpse of it a few weeks ago when everyone slept the whole night without a peep. That was the first occurrence of seven straight hours of sleep for the parents in almost five months. So while a reminder everyone once in a while of how great sleep can be, getting up at night to comfort and calm a baby isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, why wouldn’t I want to get lots of snuggle time in while they still want to?
What I find utterly ridiculous is, on the rare occasions that everyone stays settled in their room, I actually miss them. Not enough to pick one up out of their bed, of course, but certainly to peek on the baby camera at their cute sleeping positions. So while not all bedtime cuddles actually involve them sleeping right away, I definitely enjoy the individual time…even when it means less sleep for me. But don’t you dare tell them any of that…they need to sleep in their beds sometime!!
This past month is full of lots of overnight snuggling. The girls all had a head cold and cough, making them restless at night. Coughing fits will wake up someone at some point during the night, and involve a repetitive calming each time another one presents. Emerie even had a couple nice snuggle naps with me or Craig after her coughing prevented her from settling down. Luckily we didn’t experience coughing babies until they were twenty months old! I definitely would not have enjoyed this same type of cold when they were much smaller and am glad our prior colds last winter only involved the buckets and buckets of snot. I can say that colds are not quite as brutal now that they are a little bit older, but I have to say that while wearing my rose colored “life glasses.”
Everyone is steadily learning new words at an exponential pace; but what amazes me more than that is their comprehension of other words and phrases. While they won’t necessarily answer you verbally on things, they definitely understand what you are saying on much more than they can express themselves.
For example, if you say “let’s go get your shoes on,” someone will run over to the shoe bin in the living room and try to pull them out. Sometimes they will even grab a shoe, sit down and attempt to put it on (not successfully yet but they try!). Other phrases that they fully understand now:
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! (and they clap…the patty cake song works well for this too)
Let’s brush our teeth! (they point and say teeth!)
It’s bath time! Go see Dad! (and they will run upstairs to the bathroom and usually arrive in the correct location)
Where is the kitty?! (they will turn around and search until they see him and shriek in excitement)
Go throw away your diaper (which results in a run across the living room to the trash in the kitchen)
Not nice…more normally spoken NOT NICE (commonly used now and they know it means they were being unkind or are in trouble)
Say bye-bye (this results in a bye bye and wave when they are feeling like it…)
Multiple body parts…nose, belly, ears, teeth, mouth, eyes…
Each other’s names
Do you want more?
And the exciting, are you poopy!? (We are working on this one and sometimes they understand!)
One other cute comprehension- the past week or so everyone has started pointing out to you if they get an “owie.” They don’t use the word yet, but will run over to you (usually crying or upset), finger pointed straight out, and expect you to fix whatever is wrong. What I recently noticed about the finger pointing…it’s not that finger that is hurt like we initially thought. It is a variety of body parts, but they all stick their pointer finger out straightforward as the indication. So not 100% figured out yet, but progress.
I haven’t heard any phrasing from them yet, but do enjoy watching their word and phrasing comprehension continue to grow. I also anxiously await their conversations to one another; so far it’s pretty limited but I know it’s around the corner and I’m excited! Much of their communication so far results in giggles and inaudible sounds.
New Experiences and Skills
Kids are all about learning new things right? That’s part of growing up. This is something we take for granted as adults. For example, Craig found a cool new adventuring toy called a Pickler. This ladder like toy is meant to improve coordination in young children. I was shocked how quickly the girls could climb it like professionals; and enjoyed that sentiment along with the mild heart attack of them climbing high up.
I’m still enjoying their daily advancement of physical and mental life skills, such as climbing a ladder, going up and down the stairs like pros, figuring out how to build their block tower taller without any assistance, pretend stirring one of their teacups, things like that. Switching out old toys and for ones that spent some time in “toy jail” also allows their creative juices to flow.
They continue to learn new life skills as well. For example, I purchased a clip/clasp pillow a month or so ago that is quite the hit with all three. It lets them practice clipping different, colorful styles of clasps together and is in constant use. No, we are not teaching them how to unclip anything; just how to put them together. I am not ready for them to escape out of their strapped chairs quite yet!
The girls are also learning about shoes and socks. They now try to put their matching slippers on and almost have it down! They try to put socks on as well; every once in a while they succeed but more commonly they plop down in front of you and demand assistance. Emerie was the first to put on adult shoes and slippers and now all three can do it and slowly try to walk around. Such grown up girls!
In addition to new experiences, they’re learning how to interact with new things. Like after an ouch, they sometimes bring sister a toy or a binkie to be nice. Each morning they give the dog a cute greeting, and she’s learned that if she leans into the crib they will pet her (nicely).
So What Else?!
I’m sure there are more things I could appreciate in the day-to-day that I just don’t pay attention to. Looking back I’m sure I will see a few, especially as they get older! I know lots of you have kiddos similar in age, and I’m betting my eyes still aren’t seeing all of the great things that are happening before me…it’s all a matter of perspective. Some days I’m great at looking at things with my happy glasses- other days? Not so much.
Thanksgiving always tops my list of favorite holidays. While enjoying a “fancy” meal with family is definitely one of the reasons to enjoy it (one that tastes better when not made by me); I love having a simplistic day, just hanging out with loved ones and avoiding the normally busy activities of everyday life. This feeling has only expanded as my family has grown, both from my own offspring and my in-laws.
Thanksgiving weekend means putting up the Christmas decorations on the main floor of the house (AFTER Thanksgiving mind you), something to look forward to during the darkest month of winter. This year the girls will better enjoy the lights and decor…as long as they can’t reach it (haha).
This holiday remained relatively quiet for us- partially because the girls all have head colds with terrible coughs and runny noses and partially because it was nice to take a day off from being out and about. Grandma Sue and Papa Lon came over, played with the girls and cooked us a great dinner, and Uncle Will and Cousin Tyler visited as well. Dinner consisted of prime rib and a swan, green bean casserole, homemade spinach dip, a rosemary vegetable medley, traditional sweet potatoes, and of course pie! The girls can’t confirm how tasty dinner was because they ate nearly nothing, but I can tell you it was delicious. We sat down to eat shortly after waking everyone up from an extremely long nap (2 plus hours!), which showed that everyone felt under the weather from their colds. This went about as well as trying to get a couple nice photos for this year’s Christmas card…
At the dinner table Emerie was quite entertained by the black olive on her thumb and eventually ate it, while Harper didn’t care that much either way and Reagan would NOT let us put that food on her hand. Of the three, only Emerie enjoyed some of the prime rib while Harper didn’t want any meat, but entertained a few bites here and there of other things. Reagan hung out at the table and threw all food on the floor. Later that night they all ate a little pumpkin pie and some vegetable pouches. We are hoping these colds end here soon so everyone will get their appetites back!
So after all of that- what am I thankful for most this year? There are so many things, but a few that top my list are:
Enjoying a nice holiday with family
Healthy (minus the cold), happy toddlers that learn and grow each day and spending the weekend with them (even when sick…which isn’t super fun, but still I’m trying to enjoy it…)
A rock star husband who is always taking care of his family
A flexible and supportive job
A nanny who adores our babies and that comes to us…meaning we can sneak out to work each morning while everyone else is asleep (so thankful to you Miss Chris!)
Great friends who stuck with us through this big life change and supported us along the way
For everyone who prays for our family and checks in to see how we are doing. It’s much appreciated!
And of course…Black Friday shopping online! This is the first year in a long time I didn’t go out and catch some deals in person. The dreaded flu that is taking over the city has me a little more hesitant than usual to go out and about, especially with the girls.
One other thing I’m thankful for…not having puking babies very often. We aren’t used to it! I think Craig and I have been thrown up on more in the past week than the entire last 20 months with the girls. Yesterday it was Reagan coughing and spewing all over the dog bed at 1 AM; the prior day it was Harper all over her crib during the night and the night before that it was Emerie unloading in our bed. It’s very interesting to see how evenly they are spreading out their holiday spirit to us haha.
No, it’s not the flu (thank God); it’s simply bad coughing fits causing it. And again last night, in normal form, Reagan threw up her entire dinner and 8 ounces of milk on who? I’ll give you one guess…and it wasn’t her dad. She took that mess far better than I did…or the couch…or the carpet. Her sisters didn’t seem to mind either and tried to go touch it. Such fun over here. Luckily afterwards she was back to her happy self, and we put them to bed without any issues.
I hope everyone else had a great day and enjoys the long weekend. Fingers crossed some snow is headed this way that we can enjoy…the windstorm could at least bring us that…for now, we’ll be over here wiping up snotty noses and Tylenol dosing for double ear infections… ❤
Driving across town on Saturday, I excitedly imagined the girls finally getting their first real snow experience (they were too little last year). The snow was heavily falling at that point and covering the city in white. I spent the next two hours hanging out at a kid-free, cake decorating, girls time with Janelle; something very long overdue!
By the time I returned home, I was quite dismayed to see that South Anchorage was only producing rainfall and the snow flurries had disappeared. Even more disappointing, our front yard was not a freshly coated white but still a depressing, winter green.
I have a love hate relationship with winter. Growing up I loved playing outside, going sledding, all of it. Into my teenage years, I really didn’t like to drive in it and was less appreciative of the conditions. But as an adult, I’m now at a place that I enjoy the blanket of white around my house; I enjoy the winter holidays and the fun that comes with it (although clear roads are nice). The holidays just don’t feel right without some snow. It makes our houses feel cozier, more festive even, and makes people that are less than thrilled about winter enjoy summer even more. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I can’t wait to get everyone together for a meal and enjoy the holiday with some winter activities.
Anyway, we waited until after dinner and into the typical Alaska darkness, but finally had enough snow on the back deck to suit up the girls and check it out first hand. This is the first time we’ve worn the snowsuits from Papa Cliff, mostly because due to the lack of actual winter weather; outside playtime only required fleece pants, coats, hats and boots.
I can already tell getting snowsuits and boots on three mobile toddlers will be an adventure for the whole season. Getting them off might be even harder, with cold fingers, wet boots and three girls that want to do it themselves. Since the dressing process is relatively similar to putting on a sleep sack, they cooperated pretty well to laying on their suit while we put each extremity in the right place. Emerie’s snowsuit is a bit big; she looked like a purple sumo wrestler waddling around (so we switched and she is now in the blue one) and Harper’s is a bit too long-we will need to find a smaller size for her this winter.
After a couple minutes outside, we opened the backdoor so everyone could wander back into the warm house. This was promptly ignored by everyone…so we stayed out a little longer. I’m not surprised at the enthusiasm; they are Alaskan babies after all and there is so much to see! We checked out the snow, made some snowballs, inspected the snow covered Christmas lights and watched them have an ice dance off.
In typical dad style, Craig tossed a few snowballs their way. I use the word tossed lightly…because he nailed Emerie right in the face. She did not appreciate that, but she didn’t cry either! Reagan tried to throw them back at him. Harper stayed safely away in the log cabin or castle.
On Sunday we decided to hold on additional snow play and took the girls swimming, meeting up with some friends and checking out the local YMCA (at the mall!). The warm water pool was met with far more enthusiasm than the cold one we visited a few weeks back. This pool also has a massive locker room and a tiny room that we could easily contain our runners while we dressed and undressed. I am also thrilled to report that we finally completed a swimming even without any poop mishaps. Don’t judge, that is a milestone.
After a late, post swimming and lunch nap time, but before the sun completely set and depressed the outdoors back into the daily darkness, we suited everyone up and loaded into the sleds for an adventure around the block.
The girls all inspected the sleds beforehand, climbing in and out and pulling them around by the cords. I’m pretty excited that I found them for $5.00 each at the consignment sale last month, and while we will outgrow them pretty quickly, it will provide a ton of entertainment this winter!
The adventure was a success and both Craig and I were sweating by the time we returned to the house while the girls had cold hands and red noses. The neighborhood streets are pretty icy, but the more we more bumps the better according to the little ones. They chatted and giggled all the way around the block and lost their minds at the end when we took them out of the sleds to play in the backyard. We couldn’t convince anyone to wear their mittens, Reagan wouldn’t wear her hood so she was given a hat, and by the end of the loop Emerie was hood free as well. Everyone slid down a bit in the seats and we kept sitting them back up; I think the “gangster slouch” was pretty cute.
As the sun started to set we played outside a bit longer. The girls ate their fill of snow and once the whining started we ventured back inside. I look forward to many more snow days like this, especially over the holidays, and hope we see a lot of snowfall this year (I’m being optimistic). At least the first couple days of snow were a success in the toddler playbook!
On a completely unrelated note and one for the memory book, potty training may be right away the corner, at least for one of the three! Reagan came over to me the other night, sat down on the couch cushion and tugged at the back of her diaper, saying “poopy.” First off, I didn’t know she knew that word; secondly that she would actually associate it to the action! Optimistically, we would love to start the potty training by their second birthday…realistically, I don’t know if they will be ready for it yet. But! Reagan is giving me hope it’s right around the bend.