We may not be doing everything right, but I am pretty sure we are doing some things right.

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What do you see when you look at this photo?

I see a mom (me) who had a long and stressful day at work yesterday and was too tired to cook.

I see three kids I would call (though I shouldn’t, because I know you’re not supposed to label your kids) “extremely picky eaters.” Especially if I tipped the bag and revealed the two barely eaten burgers because…well, I don’t actually have any clue why, but apparently last night’s Shake Shack burgers were in some teeny, tiny, infinitesimal and unidentifiable way, “different.”
I see a mom (again, me) who lets her kids eat French Fries for dinner sometimes. A mom who didn’t even order a third source of protein because she knew Miss S wouldn’t eat it. And a mom who didn’t even try to convince any of her children to add a vegetable.
I see a parent (or two) for whom nutritious eating is unfortunately ranked pretty low on her list of priorities.
I see a fast food chain (@Shake Shack) that follows good food allergy practices and is a place we feel safe eating out with our highly nut-allergic child.
I see the rotten bananas I haven’t thrown away because we keep thinking we’ll make banana bread, and then we don’t.
I see our messy apartment that I swear was clean yesterday, or five minutes ago. It’s all the same. It will be messy again in no time, so why bother keeping track?
In case you ARE keeping track, you might have realized that I see, in that picture, several ways in which I am falling short of my parenting goals.
And I see, in that paper bag, all the guilt and shame and frustration I feel due to what I have deemed my greatest failing as a parent: the fact that our children do not have a healthy and well-rounded diet because we do not prioritize one.

But that’s not all I see. Because this bag tells two stories: the more blatant, obvious, surface-level one that I fed my children Shake Shack last night and all that entails (including, perhaps, the assumption that I feed them Shake Shack often…which is not exactly untrue even if there’s hardly enough evidence here to support that conclusion) and another, far less obvious one about who these kids we are raising really are.

Spoiler Alert: they aren’t what they eat.

Because this bag also tells the story of my three kids who, as we were leaving the restaurant, said, “Mom, can we buy a burger for the homeless man outside and then give it to him?”

So you see, this bag is simultaneously a source of my greatest self-criticism and my greatest pride as a parent.

It’s true, we need to work on their nutrition. And please know that I do am not pretending that what they put in their bodies is trivial. But their hearts? That’s what really matters to me. And these hearts? These not-yet-six-year-old hearts are very full. So full of love and kindness that it’s overflowing. And they are looking for a place to send that love, and they are not only willing, but eagerto send it out into the world for strangers.

And that’s why I pick my battles. I cave about food ALL. THE. TIME. But the messages about love and kindness and generosity? I don’t ever get tired of teaching them that. And it never ceases to amaze me how much we grownups have to learn from them.

The homeless man had moved on by the time we got outside with his burger. But wouldn’t you know that this trio was ready to wander around the UES looking for the next person in need. It didn’t matter that it was nearly their bedtime. It didn’t matter that they’d put in a full (I’m talking ten hour) day at school and after school programs. It didn’t matter that it was freezing, and they were tired, and we’d missed the bus so we’d already walked a mile to get where we were. And you know what else didn’t matter? For those few minutes while my children led with love? How tired and stressed and sick this mama felt.

She was fairly easy to find. One of our three has been keeping a catalogue of the men and women in our neighborhood as we pass them on our way to and from school each day. We knew exactly where to look because our kids, our quiet, don’t-look-you-in-the-eye kids, may not say much, but they see everything. And everyone.
Anyone who has ever met our kids knows they don’t like talking to strangers. In fact, they’re often not too keen on talking to people they recognize. But they didn’t need to speak to this woman last night to let her know they cared.
It’s true what they say, you know: actions speak louder than words. Their actions spoke loudly last night. And I couldn’t have been more proud of the message they were delivering.

So this greasy paper bag on our messy kitchen counter? It’s a reminder that we may not be doing everything right, but I am pretty sure we are doing some things right. And I am pretty sure you are too.

And then they were three…

They had a party with a bubble machine, cupcakes, and all of their friends from school. They aged out of Early Intervention services. Turning three was a big deal.

April 2 · 

When you try to make a surprise birthday breakfast for three kids who regularly request (demand?) pancakes at 5:30AM. BARELY made it.

#cookinginthedark #turnsouttheydontevenlikecinammonrolls#baconforthewin

 

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When they share a birthday but not an opinion. #tripletproblems

 

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A very happy birthday to this adorable, thoughtful, clever little man. Whether he grows up to be a veterinarian, a mad scientist, a teacher, a dancer, or the president of the United States, he will never stop amazing me with all that he can do. Love this little man.

Happy birthday to this sweet, sensitive, and generous little man. Whether he grows up to be a mathematician, a musician, a soccer player, or a cowboy, I know he will find joy in every minute. I am so grateful for his constant love and affection. Love this little man.

A very happy birthday to this spunky, hilarious, snuggly little girl. Whether she grows up to be a soccer player, a princess, a firefighter, a doctor, or a ballerina, I have no doubt this girl is going to make things happen. I’m so lucky to have her light in my life!

Sunday Funday with the Family. An impromptu tire swing date with a friend, discovering the “BIG slide,” a trip to the zoo, bubbles, and Shake Shack. Simply the best.

April 16 · 

Because everything is color coded. Always.

And because the only picture we could get with the three kids was this one.

#theirnewfavoriteholidayiseaster#thisiswhathappenswhenthreepeopleplayeasterbunny #thanksnana#thanksgrammie #easterwithoutchocolate

 

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April 18 · 

You know you’re in for a long night when at 8:48 one of your toddlers is already asking, “Is it time to wake up yet?” And she hasn’t even fallen asleep yet 🤣

April 21 · 

Some days (like yesterday), you’re repeatedly reminded of all the things you haven’t done: there’s no food in the house, the bill you meant to pay last week is still sitting in your purse, the kids have no clean underwear. Literally.

Then other days you shower (that’s a big accomplishment, folks), and make it out the door to the donut shop in the rain with all three kids before work, and you feel like a rockstar. Did I mention Will was out of town?

And then, you go to leave for work and have to come back THREE separate times because you forgot your debit card, your cell phone, and your employee ID. Oh, and you also threw an envelope of cash in the TRASH last night while you were cleaning up, and you’re just lucky someone else thought to look for it before that trash was taken out for the day. At least we all got our donuts…? 😳🍩🍩🍩

 

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Flying Solo

April 24 · 

Guys, I survived 72 hours alone with the triplets. Well, to be fair, I was at work for 8 of those hours, but really it was 75 hours if we’re counting, so…close enough. There were some stressful moments (what to do at 9pm and 11pm and 12am and 2am and 4am when all they want is Daddy and he’s the one thing you can’t provide at the moment?) and some joyous moments (give these kids a few sticks and a pile of mulch, and they are in heaven. They may not be clean, but they’re happy).

And have I mentioned how much they LOVE the subway? We had a subway adventure (yes, I brought three toddlers on the subway by myself, and yes, I’m slightly crazy), and on it, we got LOTS of stares. We got the “Are you crazy?” stares and the “Wait…are those triplets?!” stares, and the “I feel for you” stares, and the “You REALLY shouldn’t have three toddlers on the escalator/sidewalk/subway platform by yourself” stares.

And then, on the ride back, we sat down next to a family with five adults and ONE toddler, and they looked at us and said, “Wow…are they twins?” We get this a lot. “Triplets,” I replied. “OH! Wow! That’s wonderful! You are lucky! You are blessed.” they said. And they were serious. And you know what? We hear that almost every time we are out with the kids. And sure, it’s one out of the sixty comments/stares we get that day (someone actually took a photo of them in the wagon at the bagel store the other day just because she’d “never seen anything like it”), but it happens, without fail. And you know what? It’s 100% true.

Having three kids is EXHAUSTING. And having three toddlers is BEYOND exhausting. Especially three who have decided sleeping is not one of their favorite past times. But we are SO FREAKIN’ LUCKY that this is our family. And I know that. Sometimes I forget it after two hours of bedtime shenanigans, or when one toddler starts off running in the middle of the sidewalk and I have to decide to leave two to chase the third (remind me to tell you about our “Strangers” talk sometime). But when we are all standing on our chairs rocking out to Coldplay at 7am (and in fits of giggles over the “Ah ooooooooooh” part) or when they write their own song with the lyrics, “I love you, Mommy, oh yes I do!!” it pretty much just melts your heart. And with three of them, I’m lucky enough to get thrice the serenades. Love these crazy kids. And now, to bed.

#loveandlight #choosejoy #tripletproblems

 

April 26 · 

We discovered SnapChat. Thanks, Sarah McTurk MacLeod, for the recommendation. You’re right. LOTS of toddler entertainment. And Mom thought it was pretty funny too. Missing our weekend together already (yes, the sleepless/showerless one).

 

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 New York Transit Museum

Story time on an old subway car!

 

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It Takes a Village…

Some days as a working mom of triplets, I feel like I can’t do anything right. I can’t get my kids to nap, to eat, to brush their teeth, to get dressed, to put away their toys, you name it. And I can’t finish grading/prepping/emailing/organizing at work before racing home for the trio’s dinner. And on these days, when two kids are screaming, only one is in his high chair, one won’t let me put her down, no one is eating,  and there is now turkey bolognese sauce splattered across our rug, it’s all I can do to keep it together until bedtime.

Other days? I feel like Supermom. Today was one of those days.

Let me be clear.

Jack woke up screaming for Daddy and refused to let me pick him up out of his crib. Eventually he caved.

Sophie had a meltdown at the playground and I couldn’t put her down, so we had to leave. And the only reason we were able to GET to the playground is because I had a second set of adult eyes, ears, and hands (thanks, Kare)!

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Protein count for the day? A WHOLE LOT OF cheese and yogurt. WAY too much cheese and yogurt. Oh! And eggs! Well, 2/3 of them had eggs anyway. But I got them to eat eggs this morning! Another point for Supermom. Veggie count for the day? Approximately three peas between them, and one piece of a carrot that Jack thought was a sweet potato, and when he realized it wasn’t, he was pretty disappointed. Minus one for Supermom. So as far as food goes, it’s a wash.

There are stickers EVERYWHERE.

Sophie ate a piece of blue chalk.

Jack cried/whined/moaned for Daddy and then Mommy for about thirty minutes during his nap, and I let him. Because Sophie had only fallen asleep ten minutes earlier.

They watched one episode of Sesame Street and two of Curious George.

They flooded the bathroom during their bath and I kind of let them.

Jack refused to brush his teeth.

Henry wore the same shirt today that he wore all day yesterday AND slept in.

Sophie didn’t eat any dinner, partly because she threw a tantrum for two yogurt pouches about an hour before (and then found Jack’s leftover snack cup and ate the rest of his crackers), and partly because she almost never eats dinner. She will surely wake up starving and CRANKY.

They pretty much trashed the apartment seventeen times today.

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The aftermath. I cleaned up those Elmos and coloring books no fewer than five times today.

But…

By 7:00, the kids were all in bathed, diapered, fed, happy, and in their beds. By 7:30, the kitchen was clean. By 8:30, the living room was clean, the art supplies were organized, and I was (am) sitting on the couch.

And over the course of the day, I…

  • Made (does microwaving mac ‘n cheese count as “making food?”) three meals for my kids and myself, and we ate them together

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  • Got all the kids dressed and out the door before 9am (in coats, socks, and shoes)! We went to CVS.

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  • Did a LOT of “drawing” with H, J, and S in their new Sesame Street coloring books
  • Made a ladybug with H, S, and J. Ok, made the ladybug, and they stuck a couple of stickers on. But they were really excited about the whole thing!

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  • Made a “chalkboard” on our hallway wall

  • Enjoyed a visit from Karen and Emi
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I think Sophie has a thing or two to learn from Emi about eating yogurt with a spoon.

  • Mopped the kitchen floor and the hallway (this was kind of necessary after all the chalk)
  • Cleaned our bathroom
  • Updated my math pages for school
  • Snuck two crying boys out of the nursery without Sophie waking up
  • Prevented said boys from reentering the nursery to find Sophie no fewer than five times

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  • Completed 11/12 of a 7-minute workout
  • Vacuumed! Again with the chalk. And the sand…
  • Cleaned out the refrigerator
  • Survived FaceTime with the kiddos and Will without a meltdown
  • Found a place to hide the chalk so they don’t (maybe?) ask for it every five seconds
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Shhh…don’t tell the kids!

  • Smiled a lot

That last one is the main reason I feel like Supermom today. Maybe it’s because I didn’t spend 10 hours at my “other” job today. Maybe it’s because the day started and ended without any rush to get everyone ready or everyone into bed so that I can finallly take off my work clothes (or race out the door to tutoring). Maybe it’s because Henry, Jack, and Sophie finally decided to nap for me again (even if the simultaneous napping was relatively short-lived).

I was terrified this weekend without Will would be the DEATH of me. All crying and no napping. And while we sure missed Daddy (everytime we woke up, in fact…), it wasn’t nearly as awful as I thought it would be. In fact, it wasn’t even close. Will, if you’re reading this, we love you. We miss you. We need you! And I promise tomorrow morning is going to feel MISERABLE without you. But I survived, and I even mostly enjoyed myself, and THAT’s why I feel like Supermom today.

I’m sure it was because I had help from friends. I’m quite certain yesterday would have been a no-nap kinda Saturday if Grace hadn’t swooped in. I would have been much crankier without yesterday’s run in the park (thanks again to Grace). I know we wouldn’t have gotten out to the playground either day without Grace and then Karen. I’m not sure anyone would have eaten anything all weekend if not for Linden and Esme’s mac ‘n cheese. Today would have felt much longer and less exciting without Karen and Emi’s visit. And this weekend would have felt much lonelier without the company of friends not once, not twice, but three times including last night. And even though there was a part of me that sort of wanted to tackle the entire weekend entirely on my own (just to prove I could, in a Type A, perfectionistic, competitive kind of way…all my greatest qualities shining through), I’m really glad I didn’t have to.

 

Smash Cakes

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Last Saturday, we celebrated the trips’ first birthday.

Jack was pretty excited about the prospect of a party.

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Sophie could barely contain her excitement.

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Even Henry cracked a smile.

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Just kidding, Henry! We know you smile all the time. Especially when Dad is around!

We had fifteen adults, four one-year-olds (okay, 75% of those were ours, but still…), one two-and-a-half-year-old, and one three-month-old in our apartment. Scratch that. In our living room/kitchen. It was packed!

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See?

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Of course Sophie wanted to make sure she didn’t miss out on any of the action.

Question: How many people can you fit in our baby jail?

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Answer: A LOT!

Of course we took advantage of having so many family members in one place, and with Henry, Jack, and Sophie dressed up in their birthday best, we had to try for some family photos!

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Nonno, Grammie, and the trio!

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Cousins! And Emi 🙂

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Sophie Ann and Lily Ann meet face-to-face for the first time. I have no doubt that these little ladies will hold their own up against the boys!

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I guess it’s a lot to ask to have all FIVE of us looking at the camera!2015-04-04 12.47.19

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SMASH CAKES!

If you’re new to first birthday bashes (or if it’s been a while since you celebrated one), you may not know about the “smash cake” tradition. I’m not sure where or when it started, but the idea is that your little bumpkin gets a cake of his or her own to explore, eat, play with…SMASH!

It is probably no surprise to any of you who know us, but it is now confirmed. Henry, Jack, AND Sophie like sugar.

     All in all, it was a smashing success! Pun intended.

The Choo Choo Wagon in action…watch out, world!