How Lucky Are We?

It’s 12pm. We are six hours into our week at home with HSJ and Mom, and several days into winter vacation. We just got back from two rounds of Christmas (first at Nana’s, then at Grammie’s), and now we have only partially unpacked. Add to the usual mountain of toys and clothes this year’s Christmas haul, and to say our two-bedroom apartment is a bit overwhelmed would be a bit of an understatement.

I have a thousand things to do: load the dishwasher, finish unpacking, wipe the paint of the floor (and the bathroom sink, and the walls, and my childrens’ hands), put away the ingredients from lunch, tackle the pile of mail in the entryway…my to do list is literally three pages long (SIDE NOTE: Sophie asked, “Why is it only three pages?” when she found it. Answer? Because I have surely forgotten at least three dozen things I need to do). So as the kids sat and ate their lunch, I thought to myself, “What should I tackle? What’s the priority here?” as I surveyed the mess in the kitchen (and the dining room, and the hallway). “I should take advantage of the fact that they are entertaining themselves,” I thought. And then, I peeked around the corner to see just how lunch was going, and it hit me like a ton of bricks: HOW LUCKY ARE WE?

How lucky are we, that we have three kids who ADORE each other? Who make each other laugh? Who WANT to spend time together? How lucky are we that the thing that keeps them occupied and entertained is their sibling bond? How lucky are we that they have built in best friends and that they look out for each other EVERYWHERE? How lucky are we to have two boys and a girl who fit so seamlessly together, they are, more often than not, a singular unit rather than brothers and sister, but who, at the same time, have had their own, wonderful personalities from the minute they were born (twelve weeks early, no less)?

I am not so naive that I can be certain these bonds will last forever (though I am optimistic enough that I hope they will). And believe me, we have our fair share of sibling rivalries and fights. By 9AM this morning, we were discussing the pros (built in friends and playmates!) and cons (hard to find alone time) of being a triplet, and shortly before I wrote this post, one Strumolo scratched another, because she told him not to eat his grilled cheese, and then he did anyway. We are constantly worried that they depend too much on each other, or that they don’t get enough individual attention, or that we are unwittingly comparing them to one another.

But at the end of the day (or, in this case, I suppose in the middle of it), I am struck by their closeness. I am amazed by how well they get along, and I am delighted by how much fun they have together. I am grateful, yes, but it is more than that. I am truly in awe of their special relationship, and even though I know we all had very little influence on how they came to be in this world–two identical boys and their triplet sister–and even though there are plenty of moments when the fact that we have triplets thoroughly exhausts me, I am so incredibly glad (and sort of in disbelief) that this is the family we landed.

I am sitting on the kitchen floor as I write this. Dishes still undone, mess (and paint) EVERYWHERE. And the kids have moved on from their grilled cheese to an episode of “Paw Patrol.” Because they DO adore each other, and they DO entertain each other, but then they remember that Mom is home, and they’re pretty interested in what she is doing too. So, the pups from “Paw Patrol” are babysitting for twenty minutes so I can sit and write. Hoping that as the rest of the day, the week, the month, our lives, unfold, I might remember this moment, or at least this idea of how very lucky we are.

The Miracles of Modern Medicine

The past ten days have been rough. It started last Tuesday night with a midnight trip to the ER, a dose of racemic epinephrine, and a round of steroids. Jack had wandered into our room, gasping for breath, a nasty bout of croup with stridor having developed in the few hours since he’d fallen asleep.

By Monday, we’d added a trip to Urgent Care plus four rapid strep tests (all negative, thank goodness!), and one pretty sick mama.

Wednesday brought with it three fevers (and no school), and one sleepless night for Sophie, Mom, and Dad. By Thursday, I’d lost my voice (and pretty much all of my energy), and we rounded out the day with a trip to the pediatrician to rule out strep (again) and an ear infection.

There is still a lot of snot and a lot of coughing in our household, and not a lot of sleep. The fevers keep coming and going, and I don’t think anyone has eaten a square meal in over a week.

BUT (and this is a VERY big but), if coughs, and colds, and fevers, and runny noses, and yes, even a trip to the ER for croup is our worst week…then I cannot help but count us all very lucky.

Our road to parenthood was not an easy one. The before, during, and after of my pregnancy involved a lot of doctors, a lot of medicine, and a lot of hope. The photos below are a constant reminder of how far these little people have come, and the fact that their little bodies are strong enough to fend off these viruses makes me one very grateful mama.

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On the top left there is Henry, still eleven weeks before a baby is supposed to be out in this world on his own, barely two pounds, and working to breathe with a collapsed lung.

And then there’s Jack, working hard just to open his eyes a few days after being born.

And finally Sophie. Rocking her shades from the from her phototherapy treatment for jaundice.

It would be days before we held Henry, weeks before the three of them were reunited with each other, and months before they came home.

So I’ll take the sniffles, the sleepless nights, and the multiple trips to the doctor if it means I get to have these three happy humans in my arms, at home, every night. It was a long time coming, and I am just so very grateful that they are here.

 

Halloween 2017

I started a new tradition in our family last Valentine’s Day, and it’s to celebrate the smaller holidays. I know this sounds silly (or perhaps obvious?) but here’s what it means in our house: themed plates, decorations, and possibly, just possibly, a special holiday-related treat. All before 6:30am.

Breakfast isn’t usually a big deal in our household, and the morning drama starts early, so decorations and pumpkin plates go a long way. I may have also let them have cookies with their waffles…

Mom (cookie bunnies?) for the win.

But when it came time to decide on Halloween costumes for this year, I just couldn’t do it. There were two possible approaches:

1) Choose something for them (“Play the triplet card one more time!” I thought. “Make them dress up as Ron, Harry, and Hermione while you still can!” my heart screamed).

OR

2) Let them choose for themselves.

Because I know my children and because the toddler version of them pretty much wants nothing to do with what the things that I think are great ideas, I went with OPTION TWO.

One small problem: They COULD NOT decide what they wanted to be.

At first they were going to be a firefighter, a veterinarian, and a teacher. “Great!” I thought, “We have all of those costumes already.” Done, done, and done.

And then, they started saying they’d like to be ghosts. We had some ghost stickers, I think. They also started saying they’d be a firefighter, a veterinarian, and a teacher for Christmas. Just when I thought they’d finally wrapped their heads around Halloween.

And then at some point, they settled on coconuts. I don’t know where this came from. I am not even sure they know what coconuts are. But anytime anybody asked them what they were going to be in the ten days leading up to Halloween, they would say, “A coconut.” Craftier moms might have made this happen. I just decided we would open up the costume box on Halloween and see what they decided to be.

That’s what we did, and you know what they decided to be? The same thing they were last year. And luckily for us, their costumes still fit.

I may have committed a major Halloween faux pas, but the kids didn’t seem to notice. BONUS: They were warm.

And they did seem to really enjoy it this year. And, as always, we all learned some important things: Jack learned that “Some people don’t do trick-or-treating” when we arrived at a building where there wasn’t any candy. Sophie learned to say, “I’m allergic to nuts!” every time someone presented her with a bowl of candy (we’re still working on the “Trick or treat!”) And Henry learned that sometimes even dogs get dressed up on Halloween. He bonded with several fellow pups as we strolled up and down 73rd street. Mom and Dad learned that nut allergies on Halloween are a REAL PAIN, lollipop wrappers are NOT toddler proof, and bedtime on Halloween is pretty much bound to be a disaster.

But for a couple of hours, they were So. Dang. Happy. Recycled costumes and all. Until next year…

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Skating Party 2017 – Sophie and Henry’s first time on ice skates

Another skating party in the books. Arguably the hardest one to date, but also the most memorable…first time on skates for these kiddos (2 out of 3 at least)!

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Every day I am reminded that as they grow up, some things get easier and some things get harder.

We made it there (and back) in the wagon thanks to some navigational assistance from Google Maps and a trusted colleague.

We only spilled one cup of hot chocolate, and it mostly missed Maggie’s purse.

We ate brownies.

We stayed up way past our bedtime.

And of course, we have no photos of the skating because the child-to-adult-ratio is still a little mismatched for these very wobbly beginners.

On our way home, Henry, Jack, and Sophie marveled at what it was like to be outside “in the middle of the night.”

They shared their observations about the colors of the sky:

“Why is it sort of brown here?…It’s black when we’re at Nana’s and Grammie’s.”

“Look at it now. It’s more blue and purple here.”

They asked a thousand questions:

My favorite was, “Where did the city go?” as we wandered through Central Park.

And they reflected on the best parts of their evening:

“My favorite part was the brownie, and when [Daddy] carried me around.”

“My favorite part was the hot chocolate and the brownie.”

“My favorite part was all of it. Because I loved all of it.”

And because we’re sharing favorite moments, I’ll share mine. As we were making our way out, into Central Park in the “middle of the night,” and we ran into a parent of some former students of mine. “Oh, what a wonderful thing!” she exclaimed. “It’s a wagon full of Strumolos!” And she snapped this quick photo, our only “memory” of the night.

I don’t know how much longer Will and I will be carting along a wagon full of Strumolos, but I know I’ll be glad to look back at this photo and remember what it was like to pile our kids into the back of our Radio Flyer wagon and wander through Central Park in “the middle of the night.”

It was an epic adventure for just a few minutes on the ice, and I was reminded that I can, when necessary (and it was necessary), still carry two of these rascals at a time, ice skates, helmets, and all.

 

#thedaysarelongbuttheyearsareshort