I shouldn’t be posting right now. I’ve been meaning to post for a couple of days now, but I haven’t, and now we’re coming up on the trips’ 6-month birthday, so I should be saving my post for Thursday, but the shenanigans that unfolded during bedtime tonight deserve a post. So you can look forward to TWO posts this week. You’re welcome.
Every time someone comes to our apartment for the first time, they walk in, look around, and say with surprise, “Wow. It’s so calm in here. I was expecting to find babies screaming and hanging from the chandeliers.” First of all, we have no chandeliers. Second of all, just because they’re not screaming when you arrive, doesn’t mean these babies don’t know how to yell. Let me assure you all that Henry, Jack, and Sophie DO cry. Sometimes all at the same time. Especially if that time is bedtime. But when all is said and done, we are pretty darn lucky in the fussiness department. Still, sometimes things go awry. So this post is for all of you out there dying to hear about the (sometimes) insanity that is having three infants at once.
Here’s how this evening began. I left work a little early to enjoy some time with my trio before bedtime, and when I arrived at home, all was quiet. The babies were rolling around on the activity mat, so I unpacked my bags, changed my clothes, and joined in the play. Diana left at 5:30, and all was calm on the Upper East Side front. Until…
5:38 pm: I receive this text from Will: “Stuck at game. Going to miss the feed.” Through a series of unfortunate events, the varsity soccer game didn’t begin until 5pm. No biggie.
5:42 pm: I reply: “Ok. Didn’t know you had a game! We’ll be ok.” And I mean it. Really, I do. I’ve handled the last feed and bedtime by myself before, and so has Will. I survived the past weekend without him (although I did have Aunt Addie helping, significantly improving the grown up-to-baby ratio, and there is no downplaying that). And now that Sophie no longer cries for 65 minutes straight before falling asleep, I actually like bedtime.
5:48 pm: I decide to pump. After all, everyone is happy, and if I don’t do it now, I might not be able to do it until 7:15, and that’s stretching it a bit far.
5:55 pm: Jack starts fussing in his Rock ‘n Play. I figure I’ll hold out for another three minutes and then I’ll start getting everyone ready for bed.
5:58 pm: I stop pumping, head to the nursery with Jack, and repeat the process with Sophie and Henry. Jack’s the only one who’s really cranky, so I turn on some Wee Sing Silly Songs, start and start dancing and singing with the trio while I change Jack’s diaper. Smiles abound. Diaper, change, repeat. Twice.
6:05 pm: I head to the kitchen, put the bottles in the warmer, return to the nursery, and this is what I find:
We’re on to “The Ants Go Marching,” by now, which is an all-time favorite. With seven minutes remaining on the bottle warmers, Henry, Jack, and Sophie enjoy a concert starring yours truly (and the seventeen little kids that now sing on all of the Wee Sing recordings).
6:08 pm: By the time the ants are marching seven by seven, Jack is growing weary of my antics. Still, I’m not worried. We’re right on schedule. I’ll get them into their jammies, get the bottles, and start feeding two at a time while the third one waits. Wait a minute. I forgot with just one adult the third one has to wait. Who is going to wait? Who is going to last? Well, Henry will probably last. He’s pretty patient these days. Maybe even Sophie. She’s acting particularly jolly at the moment.
6:09 pm: I return to the kitchen to swirl the bottles. Shoot. I have to separate an ounce for Sophie and one for Henry and add the Zantac. From the nursery, Henry is sounding a little less patient. Sophie a little less jolly. Ugh. These dumb Dr. Brown’s! I have to assemble the bottles. All the nipples are dirty. Even the clean nipples on the drying rack. Even the ones in the drawer. How are all 18 nipples grimy? Whose fault is this? Man, somebody is getting pretty cranky in the nursery.
6:13 pm: Back in the nursery with the bottles (all five of them –three regular and two Zantac appetizers for H and S). Why didn’t I put them in the pajamas before? What was I waiting for? After attempting to get Jack into his adorable snap-up footies for all of five seconds, I throw them back in the proper bin in the closet and grab nightgowns for everyone. It’s just easier. And no one is getting LESS hungry.
6:15 pm: I decide Henry can wait it out, even though he’s got the Zantac appetizer. Into the Boppys with J and S we go. Jack is immediately quiet once bottle hits his lips. Sophie is not. Sophie won’t take the Zantac. Is it too cold? Too disgusting? The wrong nipple? Who knows. But she is putting up quite a fight. Meanwhile, from Jack’s crib (don’t ask), Henry is NOT feeling patient. We also have two mobiles going (each playing it’s own song because that’s the way most mobiles work).
6:17 pm: I have to pick up Sophie to see if I can get her to take the one ounce with Zantac. Jack will have to wait.
6:19 pm: Sophie is putting up a serious fight and Jack is NOT thrilled that his meal was interrupted.
6:41 pm: I send this text to Will: “Close at all?” He is not. By now, all three babies are really wailing, and NO one is eating. I have tried Sophie in the carseat with her bottle sling, but she screamed even louder, and almost managed to fling herself OUT of the carseat. Henry has gone from Jack’s crib to bouncer to Boppy in his crib, and he’s now in my arms. I’m pretty sure I’ve started to cry. Or yell. Or both.
6:42 pm: It seems a bit quieter. I look up and see Jack has tired himself out with all the crying and he is asleep in the Boppy. He’s had half an ounce. I manage to get Henry set up in the car seat with the Bebe Bottle Sling, and he is ready and willing to drink his bottle on his own. Love this kid.
Sophie is screaming bloody murder, and she couldn’t possibly eat even if she wanted to. Her mouth is too busy making all that noise. I actually start trying to reason with the babies. I tell them, “I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do. I can’t feed you all at once.” Sophie screams louder.
6:43 pm: I pick Jack up to feed him because I’m worried if he continues to sleep he’ll never get his dinner. Once he is out, he is OUT. All the while, I’m watching Henry to make sure he’s 1) breathing, 2) not choking, 3) drinking, and 4) awake. He is all of these things, but every 30 seconds or so the bottle falls out of his mouth, and you can guess how he feels about that.
6:48 pm: An unidentified 212 number calls my cell. Three times in a row. I pick up on the third time, and the super from our former apartment on 88th street begins to scold me about the radiator Lauren and I (Ariel–?!?) broke this past weekend. You can use your imagination to decide how I responded to him.
6:50 pm: Henry is almost done. Jack is not, mostly because every time the bottle falls out of Henry’s mouth, I have to take the bottle out of Jack’s so I have a hand free to return the bottle to Henry’s mouth. Jack spits up all over his bib.
6:52 pm: Henry is done, so I put Jack down, get Henry out of the car seat, burp him (barely), and take off his bib. He is soaking wet. Off comes his nightgown, into the closet I go, and Henry gets a new shirt. I zip him into his sleep sack and tell him I’m sorry he probably still needs to burp. Sophie is quieting down. You probably think I appreciate this (and my ears do), but I know this means she is falling asleep and she hasn’t even STARTED her real bottle. It doesn’t matter. I HAVE to finish with Jack.
6:54 pm: Jack won’t take any more even though he’s only had four ounces. I’m pretty sure the milk is just too cold by now, so I bring him with me to the kitchen to heat it up again. Sophie is asleep in her Boppy. While Jack’s bottle heats, I put him down and realize HE is all wet. Off his nightgown comes and into a shirt he goes. The bib is already off, so I zip him into his sleep sack. He squirms in discomfort.
6:56 pm: I pick Sophie up (to wake her), and start in with her bottle. She is also displeased with the temperature. Jack’s bottle timer goes off, I go in to get it and to warm up Sophie’s. Upon my return to the nursery, Jack is quieting down, so I decide to forgo his last two ounces. I am completely over my frustration with wasting milk.
6:58 pm: Back to the kitchen with Sophie (I’ve turned the lights off in there now) to fetch her re-warmed bottle. She is finally willing to drink it. I bring her into the nursery, dim the lights all the way, and settle into the chair with Sophie and her bottle.
By 7:03, the boys are both asleep, and Sophie is happily (and quietly!) taking her bottle in my arms. Will walks in about two minutes later, and it is hard to believe that the whole nightmare really only lasted 50 minutes, and everyone (including me) is feeling perfectly calm and collected right now.
This was the scene when Will arrived home:
If you zoom in, you’ll find a dirty nightgown, a bottle in a bottle sling, a car seat, a phone, and several bibs strewn about the floor. If you’ve ever seen our nursery, you’ll know this is a MESS compared to what it usually looks like. Please don’t think I’m being boastful. I’m glad Milo’s aggressive nature keeps you all out of our bedroom, because I would be mortified if any of you saw the mess that has accumulated in there. But with three babies in one two-bedroom Manhattan apartment, the only thing keeping us sane is to put everything back in its place when we are done with it. In case you were wondering, the floor of the nursery is generally not where we keep our dirty nightgowns, empty bottles, car seats, bibs, and iPhones. By 7:15 pm, all those things had been put away (thank you, Will!), Sophie was finished eating and down in her crib, and I had almost forgotten we had three babies “swinging from the chandeliers” only moments before.
So there you have it. Sometimes it is BANANAS over here. But (and I think this might be the case with most families, multiple babies or not), it is over almost as quickly as it began. And even though in the moment I am thinking, “This is ridiculous. I can’t handle this. When is this going to stop?!?! Why am I the worst parent ever?!? Are my neighbors going to complain? What happens if they come knocking? Do you think they’d come in and offer to help? Should I go ASK for their help?” less than an hour later I am snuggling with one of my sweet babies and we have all forgotten (well, maybe not TOTALLY forgotten) the chaos that reigned just moments before.
Ok, on Thursday, more photos. I promise. For now, I hope you enjoyed a chuckle at my expense. I’m sure there will more where that came from!