The Talent Show

The plan was that they would all sing together. The first I heard of this was yesterday morning. ‘There’s a talent show at camp,’ they told me. ‘We’re going to sing “Let It Go,”’ they said.

He woke up this morning at 6:15 and told me he didn’t want to do it. He told me every twenty minutes for the next three hours that he “didn’t want to do the talent show.” I kept saying, “Just wait and see how you feel when the time comes.”

When the time came, he reminded me again. I arrived at camp at 2pm, and he turned to me and said, “I don’t want to do it.” “Okay, I said.”

Their group performed The Macarena (see below). All three got up there and did the moves like any obliging rule follower would.

As the show wore on (and on), several potential performers bowed out. Their nerves mounting (if I had to guess), as they watched their fellow campers do cartwheels across the makeshift stage, tell knock-knock jokes, or perform skits. One of our three drew closer and closer to me where I sat and finally said for the first time, “I don’t want to go up there.”

And then it was finally their turn. “Are you going to do it?” the counselors asked the one who had been saying all day he didn’t want to. He shook his head. “Ok, so just you two?” they said to the others. And the second one said “No, not me.”

“He’s not going to do it,” Sophie said, confirming for the counselors what she had only just learned three seconds ago: this would not be a trio or even a duet.

“Do you want to do it by yourself?” they asked.

She nodded. Resolute. So brave. The tiniest camper of all, no doubt, and as nervous as ever. But yes, she would do it.

He REALLY didn’t want to do it. But when it turned out she was headed up there all alone (as brave as she was nervous), he (quite literally) jumped up to join.

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around a five-year-old having that much empathy. Having so much love in his heart for someone else that he will jump up and do the thing he REALLY doesn’t want to do even when all the grownups are telling him he doesn’t have to. And despite the fact that she didn’t ask. She didn’t have to.

You can hardly hear the two of them, but his love for her rang out loud and clear during this, their first talent show performance. They did it together. And I couldn’t have been prouder had they belted it out in two-part harmony and performed a choreographed dance. This triplet bond is real, people. And it runs deeper than any nerves or apprehension or introversion. It’s the kind of thing that makes a boy who might otherwise prefer to avoid the spotlight jump up and sing in front of a crowd of nearly a hundred people, just so his spotlight-seeking sister can breathe a little easier.

Every Night a Slumber Party

This. This was somewhere in the realm of 8:45pm. An hour (or more) past bedtime and smack dab in the middle of the “grown-up dinner” we were all trying to enjoy. Our first night at Nana and Grumples’ for the summer.

I am often exasperated by their bedtime shenanigans. The mess that they make. The noise that they make. The fact that I KNOW they are tired. The fact that I know they will be up and ready for tomorrow before 6 a.m. (and before their clock “turns green”).

In fact, facing bedtime alone more often than usual is the thing I dread most about the summer. (I don’t dread a whole lot about summer, but solo bedtimes can honestly be often panic-inducing).

So last night, when I stood up from my dinner and trudged upstairs for what felt like the fifteenth time, I was ready to yell (even though I know that just makes Sophie laugh and the boys cry and is rarely effective).

But then, I opened the door, and I found this. Amidst fits of giggles, there they all were, snuggled together for “camping” on the floor in between their beds. And I couldn’t help but snap a photo and smile.

I closed the door, and of course, ten minutes later there were shouts and tears and cries of, “They’re kicking me!!” And “She’s scratching me!”

But for a few minutes, the thing that exhausts me most about having multiples was also the thing that made my heart swell. How lucky they are to have each other, and how lucky we are to have them. Even when they’re not sleeping. Even when they’re making a mess. And yes, even when they’re bickering (though it is MUCH harder to find gratitude in those moments). So here’s to longer days, later nights, and a summer full of slumber parties.

P.S. If you are eager to see more Henry, Jack, and Sophie she shenanigans, you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram (@estrumolo)…many more adventures await there, and I’m a little more regular about posting.

It Wasn’t Perfect, But It Was Pretty Darn Cute.

The negotiations started weeks ago. One of our children needed ZERO encouragement to don a pretty outfit and perform in front of family and friends (I’ll let you decide which one). One of our children was pretty adamant about NOT participating in the wedding festivities. And one of our children fell somewhere in the middle: willing to fulfill his duties as flower boy, sort of excited about the outfit, but not quite as enthusiastic as the first.

Two participatory flower children would be a step up from the last family wedding they played a part in, but really, we were aiming for three. Their traditional Vietnamese wedding outfits (ao dais) has been custom made, and considering the flower child holdout was the godchild of the groom, getting him (or her) down the aisle felt like a high priority.

The negotiation went something like this:

Me: What if I gave you some Hershey kisses if you do your job at the wedding?

Child: 500 Hershey kisses!

Me: That’s too many.

Child: 100!

Me: How about 20?

Child: Woah. Ok! Twenty’s a lot!”

The math teacher in me cringed a bit at her offspring’s poor number sense, but the mother in me was thrilled to be emerging victorious (if bribing your child with twenty Hershey kisses can be considered a victory) from this negotiation.

The rehearsal did not go very well. Despite the promise of a score of Hershey kisses, two-thirds of our crew followed through with their flower child obligations, and one barely made it down the aisle with a lot of (literal) hand-holding from Mom. This was not the plan.

Considerations for alternative scenarios commenced immediately, and we spent the next twenty-two hours preparing ourselves for Plan B: three flower children and one Mom or Plan C: two flower children.

And then, at 1:30pm yesterday, without any mention of Hershey kisses, our holdout asked to suit up. Nevermind that it was a little too early to get dressed. Nevermind that there was a pretty big chance the ao dai would get wrinkled or stained before the ceremony. This kid wanted to get in his wedding outfit, and we were not going to stop him.

Two and a half hours later, they did what they had been asked to do. Quite literally. They threw the petals on the walkway (our efforts to distinguish between “throwing” and “sprinkling” came a bit late in the game) and went (RAN) to find Daddy at the end of the aisle. And while there may have been some Hershey kisses involved (only five!), those were really just a reward for a job well done.

I am so proud of my three little people for being so brave and for doing their job so well (which included sitting quietly–if not inconspicuously–throughout the ceremony). It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty darn cute.

And what a special, special day it was celebrating Uncle Andrew and Aunt Evelynn. We are so glad they got to be a part of it.

Their Eyes Are Full of Wonder

D17EA437-5CB2-49BB-B4D4-C62F7D74183F.jpegThis isn’t a great photo. At first glance, it is mostly just a reminder to me that we need to wash our windows 😳! But it is also a reminder to me to look up, to pay attention, and to marvel at the beauty in everyday moments. Like this sunrise. And how lucky I am to have three little beings, so young and full of wonder, to remind me. Today, it was Sophie, who after a long and sleepless night, burst into the living room and made a beeline for her stool. “To see what’s happening!” she told me.

And then, moments later, the excited shouts of, “Mom! Come look at this!” rang out, and she hurriedly waved me over to the window. “Come quick! Take a photo!” she said, “I don’t want you to miss the sunrise. It’s only here for a little while. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.”

How lucky we are that the sun rises every morning. How lucky we are that the little people are here to notice it. How lucky we are to be up early enough to see all of our favorite colors fill the sky. Even if it is through dingy windows.