Hello! If you are one of Henry, Jack, and Sophie’s avid fans, and you already managed to see today’s post, “Fun in the Sun” before 8:30AM, check it again! Due to some technical difficulties, my drafts appear to be posting before they are finished. Lest you thought I was losing my touch (or my energy to edit!) check out the updated version. The pictures are mostly the same, but you’ll find a bit more context and organization. Happy reading!
First, this has absolutely nothing to do with our trip to Southampton, but it is worth mentioning because it was an exciting day in the Strumolo household: Henry Samson outweighed his sister AND his brother this evening. Our smallest bub is now our biggest bub! It’s no surprise with the way he wolfs down his meals. And before you get all preachy on me and scold me for encouraging competition among my offspring, just know that Henry is 11 lbs, 1.5 oz, and Jack is 10 lbs,14.5 oz. For those who don’t know their conversions, that’s a difference of three ounces. It barely counts! But it’s fun for Henry to be our biggest little guy for a while. He’s waited almost five months!
Ok, so what did the trips do in Southampton (besides become Christiansl)?
1. Out and About
Well, they took a few spins around the neighborhood in their Runabout Triple Stroller. It hasn’t proven quite as easy now that we’re back in Manhattan (very little about having triplets in Manhattan is easy), but the potential for one adult and three babies to get out on the town (or around the suburbs) is huge. Plus, it looks like a surrey with the fringe on top.
Out and about in the neighborhood.
When she can stay awake long enough to enjoy the ride, Sophie enjoys her view from the front!
There are a lot of things about being Sophie that are pretty exhausting.
2. Fun in the Shade
Henry had some outside time in the tent.
3. Our First Trip to East Hampton
We went to visit Nana at work and see some of my old teachers. Then it was off to Great Aunt Bumbie’s for some time by the pool.
4. English Premier League Soccer
The trips cheered for Chelsea. Twice. (Sorry, Cousin Hil)!
5. School Spirit!
They also got ready for boarding school. It’s never too early!
6. Fashion Show!
Jack Modeled his Sunwear from Godmother Elizabeth.
7. Fun with Nana and Grumples
Will and I enjoyed a few more beach lunches, a night away in Sag Harbor, and dinner and a movie, all thanks to Nana’s willingness to babysit and Grumples’s willingness to let Nana babysit. 🙂
8. The Littlest Helpers
When it was time to go, everybody lent a hand in the packing. Jack helped fold the laundry.
Sophie helped pack.
The trips also met some new friends (Georgina, Maya, Jessica, Emily, and Taylor, Mrs. Sykes, Mrs. Howard…the list goes on and on) and saw some old ones (Aunt Annie, Olga, and Baba). And we didn’t have to go the doctor (or the hospital or urgent care) even once! All in all, our third road trip was a success. Next up? Maryland for Jen and Peter’s wedding!
First things first: This photo never made it intp my Norfolk post, and it should have!
Ok. Down to business. The trips are nearly 21 weeks old and more than eight weeks past their due date. A typical eight-week-old might be developing his or her social smile, sucking on his or her fist, recognizing people and objects from 18 inches away, and responding to the sound of our voices physically or even verbally with cooing sounds. A typical 20-week-old might be able to roll from his stomach to his back, to push up on her elbows, to reach for toys, and to grab things with some intent. He or she will have good(ish) head control while sitting supported and will probably hold his or her head and chest upright during tummy time. 20-week-olds can usually see across the room (though we’ve already established that this was never the case for Will!), can move their eyes together smoothly to follow objects and people around the room, and can recognize more subtle distinctions in color. So where do our in-betweeners fall?
1) Smiles abound! Sophie is our resident smiler and has been for some time. She is pretty non-discriminating in her smiles, although she shares her biggest ones for her dad and for whichever one of us has the pleasure of greeting her first in her crib each morning. This is my absolute favorite time of day! Jack’s daily smile quota is increasing steadily, and he’s also establishing that early morning, “Hey! I know you!” smile. We get TWO (eventually three!) of those each morning? How lucky are we? Henry is our holdout. He smiles all right, but he still favors the quizzical, furrowed brow face, especially in the morning. I suppose he comes by that one naturally, so we can’t complain!
Jack’s greeting this morning:
2) The fist-sucking is in full swing. Everybody’s hands are in the mouths so often, it’s increasingly difficult to get the bottle in their mouths. It’s like, “Hello! If you would just move that hand out of the way I could give you some real food!” It also makes swaddling that much like straight-jacketing (not a verb, I know). The more desperate they are to find those hands, the more they wiggle and wag inside their swaddle sacks, which is equal parts amusing and sad.
Sophie found her hands in Norfolk and we now have this never-ending battle with her over scratching at her face. Hence, the mittens.
The truth is, they don’t really care whether it’s their hand or somebody else’s. If your hand (or wrist or shoulder) finds its way in front of Jack or Henry’s mouth, get ready to be slobbered on. And sometimes, Henry’s hand finds Jack’s mouth and vice versa, and for a split second the hand owner is a bit startled to find someone ELSE sucking on his hand, but the sucker is none the wiser. My hand? Your hand? Whose hand? Who cares! So we’ve found our hands, but we’re not yet fully aware that they are extensions of our own bodies and that we have control over where they go (sort of).
3) Those silly baby sounds! We now have a range of gurgles, giggles, oohs and ahs, and if you’re patient enough, you can usually get a conversation started with one of the trips. We have yet to capture this well on video, but we’ll keep trying! It’s just so much fun when it happens, no one wants to run and get the camera.
4) These guys (and gal) are definitely moving their eyes together smoothly to follow things around the room. One of my favorite games is walking back and forth in front of them all and watching their eyes move left to right and back again as if each promenade across the room was somehow different from the last. Sophie’s also begun to notice the boys, though I wouldn’t say she recognizes them yet.
5) Head control? We’re getting there! The boys have a bigger challenge here because proportionally-speaking, their heads are much bigger. Still, everyone is getting pretty darn good at holding their head up when sitting up and supported. In fact, this is the preferred position for Henry, and Jack is pretty keen on it too. Tummy time is still a struggle. Not in the sense that they dislike it all that much, but in the sense that it is far easier to just lie there with your head to one side than to bother lifting and rotating it! In fact, when the boys finally get up the nerve to turn their head to the other side, it usually involves brushing their faces back and forth across the mat repeatedly. They’re not much for efficiency yet.
6) There is some reaching/grabbing going on, but it’s difficult to say whether it is with intent or not. We’re certainly not in the “grab everything” phase, and more often than not, everybody keeps his or her hands clenched. But every once in a while, somebody gets a hold of something and starts to realize that that thing will move if they wave their hands around enough.
So we’re not really pushing up on our elbows or lifting our heads when placed on our chest, and we’re definitely not rolling yet. And we haven’t started reaching for toys with any real purpose, but we are definitely starting to notice them! You all realize that when I use the collective “we” here, I am referring to the babies, yes? Will and I can push up on our elbows and lift our heads when we have the energy to do so, although we both need a little help seeing things across the room! Anyway, you might be wondering why we care about all of these milestones so much. Of course every baby is different, preemie or not, and it is too exhausting to let yourself get worked up over every milestone not yet reached. But it is just so much fun to watch it happen! And we get to see it three times over–this is especially helpful in case one of us misses the first one! Given all our little trio has been through in their very short lives, it feels like a huge triumph each time one of them does something new. How great must it be to discover your hands for the FIRST time?! I used to feel this way when I was teaching second graders to read or spell or add or subtract. I so wish I could remember what it felt like that first time I understood what other people (grown-ups) have known for years and years. Watching someone else make that discovery is almost as satisfying.
We also spent so long just watching Henry, Jack, and Sophie eat, sleep, and grow, it’s so much more entertaining to watch them suck on their hands or smile at something you said. So we’ll keep marking their milestones, keeping in mind that they’re like to fall in between their adjusted age and their chronological age, and savoring each new development as it comes.
Sounds like a Stephen King thriller, doesn’t it?
On August 15th, 2009, Will and I gathered with our friends and families at the St. Andrew’s Dune Church in Southampton and officially became “The Strumolos.”
Five years later, some things haven’t changed much: the church is still there and still beautiful (if a bit of a brighter shade of red), the cast of characters is largely the same, and the mood as we gathered together to celebrate family members was just as joyous as it had been half a decade ago.
The biggest difference? The three little ones we brought there to be baptized.
Nana tends to the babies while we read through the service, and later, Henry gets a feel for holy water as Reverend Larsen baptized him.
Newly baptized (the babies, not the godparents)!
The Strumolo clan, from our five-person crew to the twelve-person we very nearly are (can’t wait for the wedding in October)!
The Gillespie (Strumolo/Wenger) clan!
When it came to naming our trio, believe it or not, but we had the names long before we knew we were having triplets! In fact, we had first names picked out long before we knew we were having even one baby, and we were just lucky enough to have agreed upon four names: two boys’ names and two girls’ names. Our luck further increased when we found out we were having two boys and one girl–no need to pick a third name in either gender! The first names–Henry, Jack, and Sophie, but you know that already–were really just chosen because we like them and we like the way they sound together. We were happy that they had some ties to our families, but it was with the middle names that we sought to make the connection to our families. As a result, Henry’s middle name (Samson) belonged to me, my grandfather before me, and my great-grandmother before him. Jack’s middle name (Waldron) belongs to Will, his grandfather before him, and many others before him, I am sure. I am also sure Grammie or Gee can fill us in on the lineage! Sophie’s middle name (Ann) is what the rest of you would call her dear Grammie :).
The christening was made extra-special not only by the fact that Reverend Larsen had married us five years ago in the very same church, but also by the fact that this was one of Reverend Larsen’s last christenings at the Dune Church. We will all miss him dearly when he retires, and we are so glad we snuck our trio in before he leaves in September. Perhaps it was a good thing these babies came early!
And that’s a wrap! Thank you to all who helped us celebrate, and a special thanks to Nana who 1) babysat the triplets OVERNIGHT on Thursday so that Will and I could celebrate our anniversary, 2) organized the christening, 3) hosted the luncheon for 30+ people afterwards! A special shout-out to Godmother Elizabeth for helping with the Thursday night babysitting as well. Did I mention it was OVERNIGHT? Middle-of-the-night feeds? That goes way beyond godmotherly duties!