Three’s (Almost) Never a Crowd

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I LOVE having multiples. Sure, there are times when it’s difficult. Like when I have to get all three from the upstairs to the downstairs at my parents’ house, and nobody wants to be left alone upstairs, and nobody wants to be left alone downstairs, and they can’t walk the stairs by themselves (or sometimes they just won’t), so you try to make a break for it with one before the others notice, but they’re too fast and they get out the door before you can close it, so you end up carrying all three down the stairs at once because you can’t leave them alone at the top of the stairs. Yeah, that was hard.

As some of you might know, I’ve been a member of several “Moms of Triplets” groups online (there aren’t actually enough moms of triplets in my area to be in a group that meets in person), and someone asked a few weeks ago, “If you could have all three of your triplets as singletons instead, would you?” The resounding response was, “No!” And I have to agree. Would I have chosen to have triplets? That would also be a no, since I would never willingly put myself, my husband, my family, and my three little fighters through any of the risks and worries that come along with a triplet pregnancy. We are reminded nearly every day of how lucky we are that we made it through a high risk pregnancy, a 28-week birth, and a two-and-a-half month NICU stay without much drama.

But I really do love having multiples. Logistically, it can be challenging (see the upstairs/downstairs conundrum above). There is no easy errand to run with three toddlers in tow. Traveling takes an INTENSE amount of planning and then those plans fail, and it takes a lot more patience and flexibility (my patience meter generally runs a bit lower than average, I think, so these moments are especially challenging). I am convinced there is far more mischief during nap time than there ever would be sans triplets. And let’s not forget: They outnumber us. Every day.

 

But I LOVE that I have three smiling faces to greet me every morning when they wake up, and three rounds of kisses to send me off to work each day. I love the moments when we hear three sets of giggles, each one making the others laugh louder and longer, and it seems like it will never stop. I love that they have each other to chat with when they’re up early or can’t fall asleep at night (yes, I have my selfish reasons for loving this, but the built in friendship is really what makes me happy). And I love that they’ll bring each other their special animals if ever one of the other two is upset. Or even if they just happen to find Sophie’s monkey, “Monk,” lying around. I know I’ll need to worry about them not being treated as individuals as they get older, and I know there are times when none of them get the attention they are seeking (it’s getting harder and harder to snuggle three at a time), but I also know they will always have two best friends looking out for them, four other shoulders to lean on, and two extra sets of arms for that hug when they are feeling sad.

There is no question that it is utterly exhausting parenting three two-year-olds at once. Potty training three at a time? Don’t get me started. And the days when they don’t nap? Oof. But at the end of the day (well, most days), I really love it. And I couldn’t imagine our family any other way.

We’ve recently begun reading “Babar and His Children,” (also sometimes published as “Babar At Home”). Did you know that Babar and Celeste had triplets?*

Babar and His Children

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Anyway, the story is filled with the drama and mischief you might expect that comes with raising triplets–Flora nearly chokes on her rattle,their pram (probably too heavy with the weight of three baby elephants!) begins to slide down the hill the instant Arthur is slightly distracted, Alexander uses Cornelius’ hat as a boat and begins to float away–and while our story has thus far been free of any angry crocodiles, I do think Babar sums it up perfectly at the end:

“Truly it is not easy to bring up children, but aren’t they worth it! I can’t imagine how I’d get along without them now.”

How right you are, Babar. How right you are.

 

 

*There are several sets of famous triplet characters in children’s literature:

Father’s Day 2016

 

IMG_0192This year, I got a bit fancier with my Father’s Day photos. I ordered wooden letters instead of making my own paper-and-Sharpie version which was better 1) because it just looks nicer, 2) because they should last longer (can we say, “Father’s Day Photo Tradition?”), and 3) because the children cannot eat them.

Last year’s photos:

This year’s photos:

 

Fancier, yes. Easier? I’m not sure. Getting a decent photo requires that all three kids are actually in the frame, they are all fully-clothed, no one looks miserable, no one is moving, and they are sort of looking in the general direction of the camera. Oh, yeah, and they’re holding these big wooden letters in the correct order: D-A-D. Getting a frame-worthy Father’s Day photo requires all of the above PLUS smiles. Three of them. In the same picture. The odds were stacked against me.

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Right order? Check. Three smiles? Check. Looking at the camera? One out of three. Proper orientation of the letters? Negative.

It doesn’t help that the three subjects of this photo can now move wherever they want without any help from me, and that often, where they want to be is precisely any place that isn’t the place I want them to be. And exercising their ability to say, “No!” is a favorite pastime around here too. Oh, toddlers. I do sometimes reminisce about the days when they didn’t understand they had free will worth asserting. Just kidding. Sort of.

A few more outtakes:

There was a fair amount of bribery involved in this photo shoot. We dealt in cookies, mostly, and we had to split things up between two sessions because 1) the camera battery was dead, and 2) the attention span of a two-year-old is quite short. The attention span of three two-year-olds, in case you are wondering, is decidedly shorter.

After all that, we never quite managed three camera-facing smiles, but we did end up with a few fun shots. It only took 94 tries.

 

 

 

Happy 2nd Birthday!

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On Saturday, Henry, Jack, and Sophie celebrated their second birthday surrounded by friends and family, and of course, their good pal, George (as in Curious George). Their birthday was a pretty big hit since it included so many of their favorite things: George, CAKE, balloons CAKE, stickers, CAKE, drawing, CAKE, and of course, so many of their favorite people. They also finally realized they like presents. Especially Sophie.

Their first gift of the day was an easel. These kiddos LOVE “drawing!”

Trying to get them to all smile AND look at the camera at the same time is quite a feat. Here, Jack is working on his “Cheese!” face:

Their second gift of the day arrived with Nana: balloons!

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Again with the not looking at the camera. 

And not just ANY balloons. Curious George balloons, of course. Thanks, Polly!

Then came the stickers. Curious George was everywhere!

And finally, of course, CAKE!!!

They received many other wonderful gifts, and we can’t thank everyone enough for thinking of us on their birthday.

And now, a recap of their second year of life.

Since their last birthday, Henry, Jack, and Sophie:

  • learned to walk
  • learned to talk
  • learned a gazillion words (that IS the official count now)
  • learned to climb
  • learned to kick (a ball, not each other)
  • learned to throw
  • learned to draw
  • went for their first hikes in Maine
  • survived their first 10-hour road trip to Maine (and so did their parents)
  • had three ER trips between them (NOT evenly split between them…thanks, H)
  • made new friends (we’re talking to you, Ellie!)
  • continued to develop their hilarious, adorable, wonderful personalities

The transition from one-year-olds to two-year-olds is huge!

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Jack

Stats: 23.5 lbs, 33 inches tall

Favorite things: chalk, markers, crayons, Curious George, Elmo (and friends), balloons, raisins (?!), BATHS, dinosaurs, music, Daddy, his green shirt

Least favorite things: strangers

Favorite past times: drawing, splashing, picking out his clothes, picking out other people’s clothes, dressing up in Daddy’s clothes,”reading,” cleaning

Special talent: Climbing out of his crib

Sophie

Stats: 18.3 lbs, 30 inches

Favorite things: sunglasses, Curious George, baby dolls, books, cake, cookies, yogurt (can you say, “Sweeth Tooth?”), phones, Elmo and friends

Least favorite things: depends on her mood!

Favorite past times: chatting, drawing, splashing in the tub, walking down the sidewalk, pushing her baby stroller, FaceTiming

Special talent: singing her ABC’s*

*among many other nursery rhyme favorites

Henry

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Stats: 24.5 lbs, 33 inches

Favorite things: balloons, dinos, Elmo, George, monkey jammies, Goldfish, outside

Least favorite things: raisins

Favorite past times: cleaning, mixing, splashing in the tub, reading, getting dressed up in Daddy’s clothes, wagon rides

Special talent: talking in complete sentences (My recent favorite it, “Go back in the bedroom, Milo.” You have to know our cat Milo to really appreciate this)

More spring adventures to come! Thanks to everyone who helped make their birthday a smashing success!

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.