January 2017

January 1 · 

Celebrating the new year like only three toddlers can: this is the “party” they just hosted. They weren’t sure they were going to invite me, but they set a timer and decided I would be an eligible guest after the timer expired. But then they warned me not to touch anything. Just to look. It looks like their party would have been a bit too much for me anyway.

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January 8 · 

Because the twenty minute trek to the park (and the hour it took to get us all dressed and out the door) is totally worth it for three tiny snow angels; a snow dog, a snow cat, and a snow baby; and ten minutes actually out in the snow #snow#triplets#toddlers#cityliving#thisisnotanallterrainvehicle

 

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This child was up UNTIL 1AM last night. And then again at 4. In the throes of our never ending bedtime routine last night, it was hard to remember just how adorable and lovable she can be. And so I am grateful for snapshots of these moments. Maybe she’s just training to pull the night shift at the hospital? Or preparing to be on call when she’ll need to wake up at a moment’s notice?

In an ironic turn of events, she and her brothers spent the entire morning “putting Daddy to bed.” Reading him stories, tucking him in, going to do chores, and coming back to check on him. So in case you were wondering, she knows exactly how bedtime is supposed to work 😜.

 

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A little Sunday morning work sesh. #familybusiness#rodanandfields#thisishappening

 

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January 16
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Sometimes they are willing to clean up after themselves. Sometimes. What did your long weekend look like? #toddlers #triplets #longweekend

 

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Reflections, Part 2: #TripletProblems

DISCLAIMER: I drafted this post in April 2015. A year ago. It’s one of seven drafts that never made it to publication. I’m not sure why it never made it to the publishable phase. Actually, I’m quite sure life got in the way. In any event, I found the draft here (while perusing for material for my most a somewhat recent post), and I decided to finish it as we near the trio’s second birthday.

April 2015:

The other day, during nap time, Will and I asked each other, “What do parents do when one of their babies is napping, one is loudly (although pretty happily) protesting and stomping around in his crib, and the third is quietly rolling around in her crib but also refusing to sleep?” The obvious observation here is that most people probably don’t have THREE babies who should be napping all at the same time.

Fast forward an hour, and Baby #1 is still napping (love him), Baby #2 has just decided to START napping (at the time they usually FINISH napping), and Baby #3 is still happily playing but has located the monitor cord through the slats of her crib, ripped the tape of the wall, and is making an awful lot of noise while she does this (not to mention she is playing with a wire which is a definite safety hazard). So, we go in and stop Baby #3. Of course this wakes up a very cranky Baby #1, because, “Seriously! I was napping, Mom!” (Never mind that he previously slept through two diaper changes–his siblings’, not his own). Baby #2 is (finally) out for the count.

In summary, nap time looked like this:

  • Baby #1 slept for a little over an hour at a mostly appropriate hour (2pm – 3pm).
  • Baby #2 started sleeping moments before Baby #1 woke up. He then slept for over an hour, at a less appropriate hour, and had to be woken up at 4:15pm.
  • Baby #3 did not sleep.
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4:15 pm with one sleepy baby and one adorable rump in the air!

 

Two out of three (albeit at different times)…not bad, eh?

But, like every other parent of every other baby knows, the quality of the nap usually has  repercussions on bed time. Only, in our case, there were three DIFFERENT sets of repercussions. Sophie (Baby #3–had you not figured that out by now?) was exhausted come 6pm. She fell asleep with little fuss and in fifteen minutes flat. A new record for her. Check plus.

Henry (Baby #2), wasn’t tired yet. We’d woken him up at 4:15, for heaven’s sakes! Why would he want to go back to bed at 6? So he laughed and yelled and stomped around his crib seeking company (again) for a good hour. Check/Check minus.

And Jack. Baby #1. Jack has his moments. And he doesn’t ALWAYS do what he’s told. But he is mostly a rule-follower. So when bedtime rolled around, he chatted with Henry for a little bit, then laid down, rolled over, and went to sleep. This further frustrated Henry (see above), but as for Jack? Check plus.

By 7:20pm, all three were asleep in their cribs, and there they stayed until the next morning. Score one for Team Strumolo!

Reflecting on naps, bed time, and life with triplets in general, I decided to summarize some of the things we’ve leaned so far. If you’re expecting triplets (or twins), maybe you’ll find this helpful. If you’ve raised triplets, maybe you’ll find this relatable. And if you’re just friends and family of Henry, Jack, and Sophie, you’ll either find this hilarious or horrifying, or perhaps some combination of the two. There are very few pictures that follow, so if you’re in it for the updates, you can skip this post. If you ever find yourself uttering, “How do they do it?” then read on!

Lessons on Raising Triplets 

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year  two years (ok, I’ve learned A LOT), it’s that some widely touted “parenting rules” don’t apply to triplets. That whole, “Never wake a sleeping baby!” thing? Yeah, that didn’t work for us. The ONE night we let every sleep to the beat of his or her own drum, we were up ALL night feeding. Literally. If you want a schedule with multiple babies, you sometimes have to wake a sleeping baby.

I’ve also learned that there is an argument (and a book, and a blog, and a forum, and a website) for just about every parenting method out there. Cry it out. Don’t cry it out. Kind of cry it out. Feed on demand. Stick to a strict schedule. Set the schedule for your baby. Let your baby make the schedule (ok, but which baby?). Breastfeed until 6 months. Breastfeed for a year. Breastfeed as long as you can. Start with rice cereal. Start with oatmeal. Don’t bother with cereal. Try baby-led weaning. Co-sleep. Don’t co-sleep. Pacifiers help prevent SIDS. Pacifiers lead to dental problems, attachment issues, and speech impediments.

I would never claim to be an expert on any of the above. I know what worked for us and what didn’t. And I know there are a whole lot of things we still haven’t figured out 363 726 days later. I also know that so much of what works for you and your family has to do with just that: you and your family. Often times I think Will and I get a pass: “Oh, well you have triplets, so you should just do whatever works!” I am ALWAYS grateful for this get out of jail free card. But shouldn’t we all just be doing whatever works? I mean, isn’t that what parenting is? Doing what works for your kids and your family? If it doesn’t work, why (and how) would you keep on doing it?

So, while I’m no expert, I will comment on a few aspects of parenting that have consumed a big part of our lives this past year (okay, two). I’ll tell you what worked, what didn’t, and what we are still struggling with. Some of this might apply to you. Some of it probably won’t, unless you also have triplets. #TripletProblems.

Sleeping

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There were some things we did not negotiate on. For example, our babies all sleep in the same room, and it is NOT (and never was) our room. This is almost entirely logistical. We do not have the space to keep three babies in our room. When we moved, we made absolutely sure we could fit three cribs (that convert into toddler beds) in the second bedroom. On the one hand, this made it easier to sleep train (see “CIO” section below). On the other hand, there are three babies trying to sleep in one room, and as you’ve already read, they don’t always want to sleep at the same time.

Another non-negotiation? One up, all up. This premise really only applies to multiples, but it was the key to our sanity in the first few months. It didn’t always work. There were nights when someone (ahem, Sophie) was up every two hours, and it seemed unnecessary (and unkind) to wake the others every two hours. It was particularly hard to stick with when we were aiming for longer stretches overnight, and not everyone was willing to hold out for quite as long. So there were some really exhausting weeks around 4-6 months. And there were plenty of nights when the debate about, “Do we feed? Do we wake? Do we rock? Do we ignore?” went on for just as long (if not longer) as the actual feeding, waking, rocking, or ignoring lasted. It helped to have a plan going into the night. Like, “If they wake up before 3am, we won’t feed.” Or, “If anyone wakes up after 4:30 am, we will wake them all up to feed.” But it also helped to remember that no matter how strictly we tried to schedule things, these babies are human beings with biological needs and emotional wants, and sometimes, they had their own schedule. But usually, we were in charge of it.

We were always strict about bedtime and nap time (2016 edit: we still are, at 23+ months), and that routine definitely helped out in the long run, though establishing it, especially during nap time, took a long time. A REALLY long time. And then, when we finally got into the groove, it was time to drop down to one nap. More about that later.

There were other things we were more flexible about. Eventually, we moved everyone to the cribs for all periods of sleeping (and that was always a goal), but for many months, Henry, Jack, and Sophie took their morning nap in their Rock ‘N Plays. And Sophie often took her afternoon nap in the swing. And sometimes, at around 10pm, Sophie was hanging out in the living room in her Rock ‘N Play. Or Henry was there on my belly. We kept our goal (everyone will sleep in his or her own bed in his or her own room), and eventually we got there. But there were days when we realized a nap in the swing was better than no nap at all, and we did what we had to do.

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Below, a few thoughts on some of the methods we tried.

  • Sleep Training

I definitely don’t think we have the sleep thing sorted out yet. (2016 editI think we’ve got the sleep thing pretty much nailed with the occasional exception). But I will tell you that for us, there was no other option other than to “sleep train.” The prospect of feeding three babies throughout the night for months (or years) on end, was logistically impossible. Feeding three babies already required both adults waking up multiple times throughout the night. And it takes a long time to feed three babies. Especially three babies who couldn’t breastfeed and who generally struggled to eat (and to keep it down) in the early months. It is, more often than not, impossible to feed three newborns at the same time. So, when we got the green light from our pediatrician, we committed to sleep training.

  • Cry It Out

So, like I said, I’m no expert on this. But, I did read quite a few books on the topic, and though it’s been a while since we implemented this method, my understanding is that CIO is pretty much what it sounds like. You put the baby down to sleep (for bed or for nap), and if (when?) he or she cries, you let him. Or her. Obviously you want to make sure nothing is seriously wrong (video monitors help in this regard), and you make sure the baby is fed and dry before laying him down. Eventually, the baby falls asleep (often because he or she is so exhausted from all the crying). The crying shouldn’t last more than an hour, and if it does, there are experts who would tell you to call it at the 60 minute mark.

If you want to do this, BOTH parents and ALL caregivers have to be on board, and you have to be willing to listen to your kid cry. It’s pretty tough. They say it shouldn’t take more than two weeks (and most people claim it took much less time for their kids to learn to “self-soothe”).

Our Reality: The boys were already good sleepers, so we only had to handle one crying baby. We weren’t quite ready to let our littlest wail (and she can wail!) it out for an hour on day one, so we opted for a slightly less torturous option. See below.

  • Graduated Extinction

This is like a modified CIO method. Instead of going cold turkey, you gradually wean your child off of your interventions, letting her cry for five minutes before soothing the first night, then ten minutes the second night, fifteen the third (or twenty) and so on, until they learn to go to sleep without all that racket. When you do go in to soothe them, you don’t pick them up, you just rub their back, speak gently to them, etc. The torture is still the same–you have to listen to your baby cry without intervening–but it’s in smaller doses at the beginning, so you can all ease into it. With any luck, your baby will learn how to put herself to sleep after a few days, so you won’t have to brace yourself for an hour of crying.

Again, they say this shouldn’t take more than two weeks (usually less), and that you should cap it at the hour mark.

Our Reality: This took MUCH longer than two weeks. Our sleep records are a bit incomplete, but there was a LOT of crying recorded. We started with 5 minutes of crying on October 1, and it progressed as follows: 10 min, 15 min, 20 min, 25 min, 30 min, 11 min (hooray!), 25 min (false alarm)…October 13: 38 min…October 20: 53 min, and so on. We usually capped it at 1 hour, but we had more 50+ minute nights than I think any parent would care to ignore. And this was all at bedtime. It lasted closer to six weeks than two, and it was ROUGH.

There were plenty of bouts in the middle of the night, and surprisingly, those were sometimes easier to handle. They rarely lasted as long, and by some miracle, Henry and Jack learned early on how to sleep through these midnight scream sessions. THIS WAS (and still is) OUR SAVING GRACE.

  • Bedtime

Even before we started sleep training, we worked to establish a bedtime routine. It’s evolved a little bit over the last two years, but the main components are still the same. It’s short and sweet (minimizing the chance that one of the three will get upset mid-routine and based in part on the logistics of snuggling three babies at once), and by about eighteen months old, our kiddos knew exactly what to expect, and they began asking for it by name (“Tendah Shepah?”).

Our Routine:

  • pajamas and stories in the nursery
  • brush teeth in the bathroom
  • gather animals (Milos, Dog and New Dog, Baby and Monkey)
  • curtains closed/lights off
  • fan on/sound machine on “ocean”
  • boys with Dad in the rocker, Sophie with Mom
  • “Tender Shepherd” sung in a round*

*It’s still a two-part Mom/Dad round, but Sophie, Jack, and Henry are beginning to catch on, so they chime in every so often now.

Obviously the routine changes a bit when one of us misses bedtime, and it’s usually lacking “Tender Shepherd” when we’re both out, but bedtime is pretty sacred in our household, so those nights are few and far between, and as long as we stick with the basics, Henry, Jack, and Sophie almost always go down without a fight.

We are also committed to an early bedtime, and we always have been. Even for Miss Sophie, who established early on that she didn’t need as much sleep. At 12 months, they were hitting the hay at 6pm, by 18 months we’d pushed it back to 6:30pm, and by 24 months we’ve settled in at 7pm.

This wouldn’t work for everyone. For working parents with a long commute, it would mean you might not see your kids at all in the evening, and that’s not something a lot of parents want to give up. We are lucky to live near work, and even when I leave work at 5:15pm, I am still home in time for our early bedtime routine. It often doesn’t feel like I get enough time with the kids during the week, but they are happier people when they get to bed early, and we are a happier family when we stick to the routine that works for us. We have early jobs which means everyone in the house has to be up early…another reason for the early bedtime ritual. I won’t say we didn’t appreciate when the Trips transitioned from their 5:30am wake-up call to their 6:30am wake-up call, but it means I miss out on the hour and a half I used to have to play with them in the morning. Now our morning is all diapers and getting everyone dressed and fed before I’m out the door. But at least it’s (mostly) predictable.

  • Napping

Like I mentioned earlier, these were harder to regulate. It takes longer for infants to settle into a daytime sleep routine, and we had three different infants we were dealing with. The boys’ sleep patterns were pretty similar (typically true of identical siblings), and Sophie just didn’t need (and still doesn’t) as much sleep as her brothers. There were a lot of early naps in various napping contraptions (Rock ‘N Plays, bouncers, swings), and when we eventually transitioned to the cribs for naps (around 9 months?) it was no picnic. But we picked times that worked with their general sleep patterns and feeding routines, we set a goal of two 1.5 to 2 hour naps a day in the crib, and we worked towards it. They got there eventually, and nap time became another predictable routine in our lives.

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To be clear, they don’t all sleep identical hours. Even with our routines and schedule that’s asking a bit too much of their biological clocks. But, everyone goes in the crib at the same time, and almost always, everyone comes out of their crib at the same time. Sophie needs less sleep than the boys, so she sings, she chats, or she shouts until she is sure no one else is awake to play with her. Then she sleeps, wakes up, and begins the sing/chat/shout routine again until nap time is officially over.

When it came time to whittle our naps down from two to one, we struggled again, but we had success by gradually shaving off 10 minutes at the end of their nap until, POOF! Their morning nap was gone. (We tried pushing the morning nap later and later, but that didn’t work for us).

When the fall rolled around and I went back to work (oh, and they became full-fledged toddlers who could walk, talk, pout, and shout) weekend naps became a bit of a power struggle. They’re still hit-or-miss when Mom and Dad are around, but our amazing nanny, Diana, has them napping like clockwork M-F. And on the weekends? We try to mimic her routine as best we can and keep our fingers crossed. Oh, and let them cry it out if necessary.

In Summary: We have three 23-month-olds who sleep through the night (and have since they were 7 months (4 months adjusted)), and who “nap” all at the same time in the same room. We have a strict 7-7 closed door policy in the nursery, and we rarely break it. Naps are 12:30-3, though actual napping hours range from 1pm-3pm most days. Except for the weekends. Those are anybody’s guess.

 

Eating

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  • Breast Feeding vs. Bottle Feeding

Ok, here’s where I really got to play my triplet card. And my preemie card. Henry, Jack, and Sophie were born at 28 weeks, before they were physically capable of breastfeeding (or bottle-feeding, for that matter), so they had three-four weeks of tube feeding before they could even attempt nursing. To make a long story (one I’ve written about elsewhere on this blog) short, we never figured out the nursing thing. It often takes a lot of time and energy with one baby, let alone three tiny preemies who all want to be fed at the same time.

That said, breast milk was a big part of our feeding game from the get-go. We understood that it was the best nourishment our tiny children could get, and it was one of the only ways I could really mother them in those early stages in the NICU. So I pumped. A LOT. But despite my grand plans to teach them all to nurse when we got home two and a half months later, we couldn’t make it work. It was too hard to stay on schedule, it was overwhelming with three, and I knew I would be headed back to work soon enough.

Bottle feeding had some clear advantages: we could feed all three babies at one time (this took some practice and some maneuvering, but it was physically possible); we could prepare meals a day in advance; we could stay on schedule; and we had a stockpile of frozen milk in our deep freezer.

  • Tools and Logistics

We used Boppy Pillows and our Twin-Z Feeding Pillow to help, and as the trio got older, we introduced other gizmos and gadgets to help make feeding three infants simultaneously an easier task.

This was especially important because by the time they were five months (two adjusted), the adult-to-baby ratio in our household was usually 1:3.

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Honestly, if I could do it all over, I would probably try harder/longer to make nursing work for our family. Their are triplet mamas all over the world who do it. And I’m still a bit sad that I missed out on that bond (among many of the other things a preemie mom misses out on at the beginning). But, in the end, we came up with a system that worked for us, and our preemies kept growing and thriving, (and eating and sleeping on a predictable schedule) and that was most important.

Scheduling

Speaking of the schedule, that has, and continues to be, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. For us. Their are triplet parents who feed on demand, who let everyone sleep on their own schedule, or practice attachment parenting and co-sleeping. To each his own! But for us control freaks, we need some predictability, and with three newborns/infants/toddlers, predictability does not always come naturally. So, we established it. With a schedule. At every new stage. They are typed up, mapped out, and can be printed out for anyone who comes to help. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner happen at the same time every day. Naps start at the same time every day. Snack happens at the same times. Every. Day.

Sometimes having such a strict schedule is a total pain. Activities are limited to early mornings and late afternoons, and when they were taking two naps, forget about it! Between feeding and sleeping there was barely time to do anything. We think long and hard about doing something that will mean getting home late, being up past their bedtime, or missing an 11:30 lunch. And when the routine changes, Henry, Jack, and Sophie can have a hard time with it. But, our kids follow directions pretty well, they know what to expect and what is expected of them (within reason…they are only two, after all), and our tantrum count is (so far) pretty low considering we have three contenders.

So again, I don’t claim to be an expert on any of this, but I can tell you that the schedule SAVES us (and our sanity) in so many ways. And it makes it much easier to hand our trio over to someone else for an hour, or a day, or a weekend. Taking on triplets is not for the faint of heart, and I know our helpers appreciate the predictability!

  • Keeping Track

I started by using a chart a friend created for her twins, and I adjusted it for the triplets. We had a binder, and each day we had columns for eating (as well as sleeping and diaper changes) to help us keep track.

We moved to these ItzBeen Timers which seemed like a cooler (and maybe less time-consuming) way to keep track of everything, although I have to admit that I kept forgetting to stop the timers when the feeding or sleeping was over, so it wasn’t the best system for me.

Finally, we settled on an app called “BabyConnect.” It allowed us to track all three babies, add simultaneous events with one click (this worked well with our “one up, all up” approach), and multiple users could input and receive the data, so even when we went back to work our nanny could keep us posted on the day’s events. It also has more options for tracking weight, height, and doctor’s visits (which we still use) as well as solid foods, milestones, and mood. Finally, it generates graphs of the data, which, let’s face it, the math teacher in me loves. Oh, and I’m pretty sure it is free!

General Organization

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  • Color Coding

Ok, this first came about because we were seriously concerned about telling Jack and Henry apart at the beginning. This was actually a pre-birth decision. Everyone would have their own color, so everyone else would know that the baby dressed in blue was Henry, that the bottle with the green label was Jack’s, and that the pink stuff was…well, that one’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?

It’s continued for two years, and it did get to the point where before Henry, Jack, and Sophie could actually name their colors accurately, they could identify blue as “Hemy,” green as “Jack-o,” and pink as “Dee-dee” (their name for Sophie at the time). They know “blue,” “green,” and “pink” now, among many other colors, but they still identify those items as belonging to Henry, Jack, or Sophie, respectively. This can sometimes be problematic now that their older (What if Henry wants to drink from a green cup? Will he grow up thinking he isn’t allowed to wear green?), but it does still help in some ways. Everyone still knows whose cup is whose. So, that helps minimize germs, I guess?

  • Other

The color coding really is the biggie here. I have lots of other grand plans for organization that I sometimes follow through with, but it’s safe to say that the more organized we are, the easier life with multiples feels. We have laminated packing lists, color-coded (of course) packing cubes to organize the bazillion pairs of pajamas we have to bring every time we go anywhere overnight, a shelf in the fridge devoted to triplet food, bins and baskets for everything we can think of, and a label maker. We still never feel as organized as I’d like us to be, but I suspect that’s just part of living life with toddlers. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

The most important lesson we’ve learned raising these three amazing people over the last two years is just how incredibly lucky we are to be their parents. When I dreamed about becoming a mom, I certainly never imagined it would turn out this way, but I can’t believe how lucky I am to have three times the smiles, three times the hugs, and three times the “I love you Mama”‘s every night at bedtime. And so even on the rare occasion when we have three times the crying, I am grateful that those crying kiddos are mine. Ok, maybe not WHILE they are all crying at the same time, but definitely shortly thereafter. Definitely. Happy almost (actual) birthday, HJS!

REAL birthday post forthcoming, I promise.

DISCLAIMER: I am now a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Hence the new product links in my post(s).

 

Summer Fun and 15-Month Check-Ups!

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It is incredible to me how much Henry, Jack, and Sophie have learned in the last few weeks. They are turning into walking, talking machines, and they are loving the backyard and beach life at Nana and Grumples’. We just had our fifteen-month check up (a couple weeks late), and our pediatrician is thrilled with everyone’s progress. Jack and Henry are creeping their way onto the non-preemie growth charts, and while Sophie hasn’t made it there yet, she’s pretty happy being our pint-size little lady.

New this month: Words! So many words! They just keep popping out of everyone’s mouth. And walking! We have some real walking happening here! As in, somebody decides they’d like to have that toy over there, and they stand up, walk over, crouch down, and pick it up! Sophie is more of a walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, run, dive! kind of gal, but with every day that passes, she’s taking more steps. She’s up to about eight steps now.

Climbing stairs! We didn’t even have to teach them how to do this. It doesn’t seem like stair-climbing would be on the list of evolutionary survival skills, but Nana and Grumples have an upstairs and a downstairs, and Henry, Jack, and Sophie are climbing them. I didn’t really believe they had it mastered until Henry decided to head for the stairs instead of the kitchen at dinner time today. Jack and I were hot on his heels, but he was so fast that he made it up to the first landing before I snagged him. Will, if you’re reading this, please don’t kill me. I promise, I was right there. But, FYI, if you think maybe when they go in the direction of the stairs they won’t actually be able to climb up them, you are wrong. No photos, because I was trying to catch a runaway toddler.

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The beach! It’s taken a little while for everyone to get used to the feel of the sand, and we still have a love-hate relationship with the baby pool (love splashing around in it with Mom and Dad, hate that we’re not allowed to splash around in it all by ourselves), and the beach still feels like a three-person job (three adults, that is) most days, but we’ve been there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so we’re doing all right!

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The backyard! I absolutely LOVE Central Park. But there is something so wonderful (and convenient) about being able to explore in the backyard at a moment’s notice. Before lunch, after lunch, after breakfast, anytime we please, really! One mama and three teetering toddlers still requires some planning to get out to the lawn (I can’t just open the door and send them on their way), but everyone is beginning to like the feel of the grass between their toes, so while they used to simply circle around the water table, they are now off and exploring.

STATS:

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JACK

Nicknames: We’re sticking with Jack-O. And J. And he still gets, “Bubba” a lot from me.

Weight: 20 lbs, 3 oz

Height: 29.75 inches

Head Circumference: 49.5 cm

Words: car, Nana, ‘nana (this is the improper noun, otherwise known as “banana,”) Dor-Dor (for Dorothy, my parents’ dog), Meow (or maybe it’s “Milo?”) for Milo, baby, door, dog, hat, wagon “wah-wah” and water (“wuh-wuh”), more, night-night, bubbles, & ball. “Ball” is used very generally to describe anything even semi-spherical in form. This includes rocks, pom poms, and peas. “Brum-Brum” means Grumples, Dada finally means “Dada,” but it might also mean, “What’s that?” and he says “dirty” all the time. This is one of my favorites, because he is definitely calling shoes “dirty.” Obviously we’ve said, “dirty” so many times in relationship to shoes–as in, “Those are dirty, please don’t eat them.”–and while he’s grasped the word, “dirty,” he has not grasped the concept. He is never more excited than when he sees a pair of shoes, and he races over there, grabs them, holds them in the air, and exclaims, “Dirty!”

   

Meal times: He is a bit of a picky eater, or at least he thinks he’s a picky eater. If he can be tricked into trying something (say, a banana that he’s had only a hundred times before and has just decided today he absolutely hates), he will generally gobble it up. But if he thinks he doesn’t like something, you’re likely to find it hidden in his high chair (or someone else’s), or covering the floor underneath him. And not because he accidentally dropped it. He is currently protesting most fruits and vegetables.

Other news: As a truly sweet older brother, Jack has been known to find Sophie’s monkey and return it to her. He’s also been known to get stuck in the exersaucer. He loves to sleep, but we’ve persuaded him to get on board with the one nap a day project. Jack is a project guy, and when he’s got an idea for something, he is intensely focused. This might be throwing toys over the fence, putting things into the bucket, or pushing the wagon back and forth. But whatever it is, Jack is into it. I love this kid!

Henry

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Nickname: H-O, H

Weight: 21.5 pounds

Height: 30 inches

Head Circumference: 50.75 cm (still off the charts, and growing)*

Words: Dada, Mama (hooray!), baby, car, ball, bubbles, meow, dog, Nana, ‘nana, milk, and”piggie!” Fhis is my favorite of Henry’s, because he says it after he, or anyone else burps. There are few things more adorable than your one-year-old looking up at his grandfather after a belch and saying, “Piggie!” with all the glee he can muster, and then melting into a fit of giggles.

Meal time: Henry is still our champion eater. This comes with its pros and cons. Pro: Henry will eat anything. Con: Henry will eat anything. Including books. Ok, they all do that. But Henry is likely to shove anything he can fit into his mouth, and I am certain he is competing with someone for the “Who can shove the most puffs in their mouth?” award. The only time he gives us a hard time is if he can’t feed himself. I’m pretty sure he just thinks the rest of us are too slow.

Other news: Henry has discovered stuffed animals, and he LOVES them. Especially his new dog friend. He also knows to fetch Sophie’s monkey when she’s feeling sad. These boys are the sweetest. He is eager to start running, and he’ll climb (or attempt to climb) anything. He loves the beach, and he’s turned into quite the dancer! He is particularly fond of “Your Lips Are Moving!” (KidzBop 28). Love this kid.

Sophie:

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Nicknames: Soph, Noodle, Sophita

Weight: 16 lbs, 5 oz

Height: 27.75 inches

Head Circumference: 45 cm

Words: hi, up, all done, uh-oh, bubbles, ball, Nana, dog, cat, milk, what’s that?, meow, night-night, and “wah-wah” which means, “I want that,” not “water” or “milk” like I originally thought. Sophie also has a knack for repeating just about anything you say. So she’s working on “octopus,” at the moment 🙂

Meal time: Sophie is a bit of a picky eater, but it’s more that she wants to eat on her own schedule and at her own pace. Sometimes (most times) with triplets, that’s not the way we roll, but because she’s so teeny, we’ll pretty much let her eat whatever she wants whenever she wants it. She shies away from new foods and new textures, and it takes a lot of convincing to get her to believe she likes something. She’s more of a, “stick it in my mouth and then spit it out with a grimace” kind of eater.

Other Things We’ve Been Up To:

Visiting with Baba

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Wagon Rides

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Lounging Around (Inside and Out)

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Look closely at their shirts…  

Finding New Ways to Play in the Exersaucer

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Our First Trip to Central Park Zoo

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Playing With Dorothy

 

They are all OBSESSED with Dorothy and Milo. Every morning when they wake up, the first thing they do is ask for “Dada.” The second thing they do is ask for Milo. Exclamations of “Meow! Meow! Meow!” and “Milo!” ring through the house at 6:30AM, and at any other time that they think they’ve caught a glimpse of her sleeping upstairs or lurking around the corner. Dorothy joins us at meal times, and all three kiddos squeal with excitement and shouts of “Dor! Dor!” morning, noon, and night. We are working on gentle touching with Dorothy and no touching with Milo 🙂 Henry has adopted a stuffed dog as his new sleeping (and dining and swimming) buddy, while Jack cuddles with his new STUFFED kitty.

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Piles of Pillows

Most of us probably take pillows for granted. We have them on our beds, on our couches, and some of us even have decorative pillows adorning our arm chairs, love seats, and chez lounges. Henry, Jack, and Sophie have never had pillows. This is what happens when you throw a pillow (or three) on the floor for them:

Trips to the Playground

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Hanging Out In Our New Play Area at Nana and Grumples’

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Can you spot the baby in the baby jail?

Celebrating Baba’s 92nd Birthday!

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Other Assorted Mischief

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Happy July 14th!

2015-07-02 12.51.51I’m not sure what made me think I would be a better blogger this summer. True, I am not going to work every day, but I am feeding/bathing/diapering/entertaining/corralling/cuddling/cleaning up after three toddlers all day. And training for the NYC marathon during nap time. Don’t ask! In any event, I have lots of photos of what’s been going on recently, but I’m going to try to keep this one short and sweet, since it’s already way past my bedtime!

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July 3, 2015

As is our Fourth of July tradition, we spent the holiday this year in Islip, visiting with the Havemeyer clan and the Strumolo aunts and uncles. It is hard to believe that the last time we were there, one year ago, Henry, Jack, and Sophie had never really experienced the sun (much less the great outdoors), and they spent most of their time sleeping inside. They were only a week past their due date, after all! This year, they were busy exploring, indoors and out!

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Islip is the perfect place for rides in our Choo Choo Wagon.

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There is lots of space to practice walking….

And three little chairs to sit and relax in…

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She forgave me.

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We have discovered dogs. And we LOVE them. It’s a, “We can barely contain our excitement!” kinda love.

 

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Jack is especially smitten.

And of course we made an effort at a festive family photo.
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And Henry perfected his “Blue Steel” look. Nailed it!

In other news (there is so much other news!) this happened:

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We’re on the move, people!