Time Flies When You’re Having Fun!

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And we have been having so much fun this fall with Henry, Jack, and Sophie. Below, a few of our favorite things:

The Natural History Museum:

The Zoo: 

Bronx or Central, the Children’s Zoo is a particular favorite. We love feeding the sheep and the goats!

The Swings:

Bath time:

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Water (for drinking, dumping, splashing in, and general revelry):

Reading:

Selfies:

Bubbles:

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Their New Couch: 

I promise they sit on it sometimes too.

Monk, Baby, Dog, and Milo(s).

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It’s hard to believe there was a time, not long ago, that these creatures (the stuffed animals, not our children) were not a part of our family.

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Sophie, bringing Baby home for the first time.

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Baby at breakfast.

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H and Dog.

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Of course, with the baby comes a baby carriage…

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No, the milk bottle doesn’t fit in the stroller.

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But Lampard does!

Singing! Come on, now. Are you really that surprised?

 

Our current favorites include “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” (live action optional, but preferable), “Hush Little Baby,” “Six Little Ducks,” and “The Alphabet Song.”

Other Updates:

Henry and Jack had their follow-up neurology appointments, and all is well.

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Dog and Milo passed with flying colors too 🙂

Sophie is officially allergic to peanuts. And all tree nuts. Ugh.

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The trip to the allergist was NO fun.

We’ve learned about drawing…(Rule #1: Don’t eat the crayons):

…legos…

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 …and algebra

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    We went to our first skating party:

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And dressed as the Three Little Pigs for Halloween.

And when I ran the NYC Marathon on November 1, Henry, Jack, and Sophie were my three littlest fans.

Our favorite books at the moment include: “Good Night, Gorilla,” “Wynken and Blynken and Nod,” “Babar,” “The Snowy Day,” “LMNO Peas,” and “Madeline.”

Our favorite foods are: mac ‘n cheese, beets, sweet potatoes, chicken nuggets, pasta, peas, waffles, and pancakes.

We know too many words to count, but some of our new favorites are: Jack, Henry, and Dee-dee (that’s Sophie)! “Dinner” (this refers to all meals of the day, so you can often hear Henry shouting, “Dinner!!” at 7am as he tries to climb into his high chair), “open” and “please!” (the combination of which frees them from the baby jail), “dino,” “stripes,” “pizza,” “pasta,” and “potatoes.”

It’s been so busy that I’m sure I’m forgetting some of our adventures here, but I have no doubt there will be many more to come!

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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! 

   

A Day in the Life of Henry, Jack, and Sophie

So, what does a day in the life of Henry, Jack, and Sophie really look like? Well, here’s a brief (ha!) overview. This post should keep you satisfied for a while. It might even take you a few days to get through it. It took me at least five to write it.

Let’s consider that the morning starts at 6am (although we all know it really starts somewhere around 1:30 or 2).

  • 6AM: Triple feed! We currently treat this feed as a “middle-of-the-night” feed, because that’s how it feels when we’ve only been sleeping since 3:15. Everybody is unswaddled, lined up in their Boppies, and, with any luck, awake enough to eat but not so awake that they won’t fall back asleep. This is a delicate balance! There are no photos of this, because we are all (all five of us) pretty much asleep for the entire thing. Or at least the first thirty minutes!
  • 9AM: Morning! Everybody gets up and out of their jammies (or nighties as the case usually is…sorry, boys), and ready for the breakfast redux. Then it’s time to get to work.
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Before

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After

Some of us try to sleep through the 9AM feed too…

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Ok, fine. I guess I’ll wake up for breakfast.

And so it begins.

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Dishes done! (For the first time that day).

  • There was a time not long ago when we didn’t have a dishwasher. There was a time not long ago when we didn’t have three babies! Either way, I’m glad we have both now. I obviously appreciate the babies more than the dishwasher, but I have never appreciated a dishwasher as much as I do now that I have three babies. We run it at least twice a day. What you see above is JUST what transpired overnight.
  • While the grown-ups are dealing with the dishes, the trips are usually hanging out in a somewhat upright position in an effort to keep the 9AM feed in their tummies and off of our floor (or couch, or leg, or chest). This is what that looks like:

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If we’re lucky, it looks like this for a while:

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Often it looks like this:

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Lately, it looks like (or sounds like) three babies crying pretty much all at the same time unless they are being held. Obviously there are no pictures of this, because with two grown-ups and three babies, we are outnumbered. We are just lucky that USUALLY one of these peanuts can soothe him or herself after whimpering for a while. As of this moment in time, I would say Henry is the best at this (thank goodness for the Cradle ‘N Swing!). I am praying I didn’t just jinx myself there. On Tuesdays, we’re lucky because Grammie is here. And even though we are still sometimes outnumbered three to two, she’s really getting the hang of holding two babies at once. Check it out!

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  • 12PM Before you know it, the dishes are done, and it’s time for lunch. No, not for us, for the babies. Eating lunch is becoming exceedingly difficult for the adults since we seem to be holding babies most of the afternoon (see above). But it is relatively easy to eat pita chips and hummus with one hand, so no one is starving. 12PM is round one of the doctor-ordered, extra calorie, special Preemie formula. Henry, Jack, and Sophie all agree on one thing: they HATE it. Because we’re evil, we throw their vitamins in their too. Let’s just say that I can no longer stomach protein drinks with whey powder. When you’ve smelt that stuff (or been covered in it!) on the way back up, yikes. You don’t want to see photos of this. There’s a lot of holding babies during this window too. Keeping them upright(ish) helps minimize the spit-up (or so we hear!) and it is, of course, a comfort.

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Holding babies all day isn’t so bad except that you don’t get much else done. But who wouldn’t want to cuddle these cuties? Calling all cuddlers! If you’d like to cuddle a baby we’ve almost always got one to spare. Just let me know! Post-feeds are prime cuddle times.

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Who could say no to this face?

  • 3PM: Formula-feed round two. These poor babies! They hate it just as much at 3pm as at 12. Essentially we repeat the 12-3 cycle all over again. Once we think it’s safe (i.e. the coast is clear of spit-up), we’ll try for tummy time. This is usually a two-at-a-time activity.

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But three CAN fit on the activity mat for now.

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I’ll also probably try to tackle dishes round two at this point. This is made easier by the use of one of our carriers. We have four carriers. I know this seems excessive since we only have three babies, but hear me out. We started with the Ergo Baby because everyone says it’s great for your back, yada yada yada. It’s a structured carrier which makes it ideal for outings, and though we haven’t gotten to this point yet, the hope is that one adult could shuttle three babies around with the Ergo and our double stroller. I also wanted a cloth carrier, one that I could wear around the house and that would be a little more comfortable for all of us. Enter the K’tan.

Well, wouldn’t you know that neither carrier is approved for babies under 7 pounds? And the K’tan isn’t really meant for babies under 8 pounds. Even though we’ve all hit the 7-pound milestone by now, there was a while there where neither carrier would suit. So, after a bit of research, we got the Boba. And the Nuroo. The Boba is a wrap carrier (no photos yet, but I’ll get some), and it is suitable for babies five pounds and up. The Nuroo is a shirt designed specifically for Kangaroo Care. Where was this when I was in the NICU? Thanks to Nana for this find!

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Henry and me in the Nuroo.

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And doing dishes!

  • 5:30PM If it’s a bath day, we’ll get going on baths before the 6PM feed. We have yet to figure out the best tub placement, but the strategy is pretty much the same. Baths are a one-at-a-time activity, obviously, so I am usually manning the tub while Will runs interference with the other two babies, getting them dried, lotioned, and dressed for bed. Jack and Henry have their “hair” combed (I use the term “hair” lightly here), but Will prefers a messy, just-ran-my-fingers-through-my-hair look for Sophie.

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  • 6PM is another milk feed, and boy are we happy when that rolls around.

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When we’re done, we tend to forgo the hour of upright digestion (sorry guys, but some of the rest of us have to eat), and we try to get everyone settled into their crib for sleep.

Will reads a little “Harry Potter” while I try to get the living room and kitchen back in working order. We turn on the sound machine (ocean waves is the nighttime favorite), the projector (some sort of circus animal scene), and the Cloud B turtle (stars and moons EVERYWHERE), and we cross our fingers, hold our breath, and shut the nursery door. IMG_1285

The next four hours are unpredictable. It is rare that all three will settle down for this evening snooze, but it’s no use taking bets on who will refuse to sleep. It’s a different scene every night. Sometimes it looks like this:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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And yes, every once in a while, it looks like this:

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At some point during all this, we get the milk ready for the overnight feed.

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  • By 10PM: We are all ready for bed (for real this time). In fact, it’s usually around 9 or 9:30 that the rogue non-sleeper decides to finally conk out (see Henry’s first photo above, or the one with Sophie in the pink). Just in time for us to wake them at 10 to feed them again! Post-feed, we get the dishwasher going again, make sure everything is ready for the next three feeds, and get ourselves to bed. By 11:30, we can usually count on everyone to be asleep. It’s a good thing, because IF everyone behaves, in just two short hours (two and a half if we’re lucky) somebody is bound to be hungry again!

 

Nana and Grumples

Nana and Grumples came to visit today.

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Grumples say hello to  Henry

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See what a happy little camper Henry was?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice anything different about him?

 

 

 

 

No? Try this close-up:

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Did you figure it out yet? No CPAP! And look how much he seems to be enjoying the freedom. Even in his sleep! They began cycling Henry on and off CPAP for six hours at a time on Friday at 11:30am. As of 9:30 last night, Henry was doing so well on his own, that they were going to let him shoot for the 24-hour goal. We’ll see!

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Henry’s also been working on finding his thumb. He loves having those hands in his face!

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Will says he gets this from me. Grumples agrees. Can we take a poll? Do I really talk with my hands in front of my face? Awkward.

As for Sophie…

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I don’t know who she gets this face from.

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But that smile? I’ll take it 🙂

 

Feeding – It’s Hard Work!

If you really want to get to know Sophie’s personality, you should watch her faces while she feeds.

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She looks perfectly content and coordinated here, but she’s not fooling me. About halfway through this bottle (most bottles, really),  Sophie likely clenched her jaw, stuck out her lower lip and full-on POUTED refusing to let it back in. Lest you think this was just something she tried with Mom and Dad, I’ve seen her do it to the speech therapist and to some of her nurses as well. Sometimes, we give up, Sophie wins–yikes! She is getting her way with that pouty lip already!–and she takes the rest of the feed by gavage (the feeding tube). Sometimes, we fight back end eventually get her to take the whole bottle. Other times (midnight yesterday) she gulps it all up in five minutes flat. In any event, her expressions are priceless. She had the speech therapist and her nurse in stitches the other day. We are all equal parts amused and terrified. Who is running the show here?

Will is learning to bottle feed the babies as well, also with varying degrees of success. Right now, feeding (even by bottle) requires uninterrupted attention from both parties, since mastering the suck, swallow, breathe sequence is proving difficult. Remember that these little munchkins are, in theory, still supposed to be hanging out inside the womb for another four and half weeks! Jack is in the lead in terms of bottle feeds, but even he can be stubborn when he’s tired. After bath time? Forget about it! It is pretty hard to bottle feed a sleeping baby.

IMG_1185 IMG_1186Exhausted post-bottle.

Physical Therapy

Speaking of tired, Jack can often be found yawning (silently, for now). If you have ever been in the presence of a Gillespie yawn, you know that these wide open mouths will begin to emit a long, loud sound during the yawn, not unlike a whale call, or so I imagine. Few of you readers will appreciate this reference since I, like most of the other Gillespies I know, have learned not to let my yawn out in public. If these kiddos start making sounds when they yawn, there will be no doubt that they learned it from me.

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That’s Jack there working on picking his head up (avoiding “head lag” when he is pulled up to sitting) and on bringing everything to his midline. He’s doing pretty well! When Lisa flipped him over for “tummy time,” Jack was unfazed, relishing the opportunity to lie on his belly with no intention of trying to push himself up or roll over. Oh well. He’s working on it! If you haven’t already, you should zoom in on some of these photos. Jack’s faces are hilarious too.

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Here we have Henry getting an infant massage. We should all be so lucky!

Bath Time — More Happy Faces!

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Please don’t feel Jack was neglected. He gets his nightly bath too, but because he’s first on the docket for feeding, he’s up first for bath time as well. With the change of shift from 6:30 – 7:30, we usually miss his bath since he needs to be ready to eat by 8. We’ll have plenty of time for baths with Jack in the future, to be sure!

Bed Time

Sleeping peacefully at the end of a long day

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