Oh sweet Jesus! Day one done and that is a day I don’t want to repeat. I can’t even say it was a full day because the girls were in playgroup all morning but training three is no walk in the park.
They say bring them to the potty every 45min and that would be fine if all three had bladders in sync but they don’t!! Each wees at there own pace (like every normal person!!). So once the ‘let’s go potty’ at 45 minute intervals was broken that was the end of it – game over. However I do have one daughter (thankfully) who seems to be relishing the potty training challenge. Abigail has had very few accidents today and seems to embrace this new rite of passage. My other two don’t enjoy this at all! Stella had a few ‘star sticker’ moments on the chart (I frantically made up today as motivation). Francesca is just having none of it. In fact I think it’s been all too overwhelming. Lots and lots and lots of tears later and we are now compromising with pull ups. I feel we both won!
In the meantime my son is furious with this carry on, taking all mummy’s attention away from him. How dare they!! So there has been plenty of aggressive moments and expressive sighing.
Now the next part I already know is entirely my own fault!! Why I picked tonight to broaden their taste buds – I honestly put it down to a slight moment of insanity! I decided tonight was the night to make a chicken curry with rice. All three elements are hated by all four. The rice, the curry and especially the chicken created an explosion! It was above and beyond any previous gastronomic disaster. Red threw a grand tantrum – spat out food, threw things at me and across the room. The girls just continually broke into unison crying. In the end I had to send Red to bed for what can only be described as momental roars and fits. He didn’t really complain too much when sent to bed which makes me think – he’d had enough too. Today needed to end. After 60 minutes of patiently coaxing I managed to get the girls to eat their dinner.
So day two is tomorrow. A few lessons I have learnt from today:
1. Not everyone pees in sync
2. Each girl is independently strong willed
3. I need to compromise with Francesca. She’ll get there when she’s ready!
4. Comfort food (pasta, lasagna and sausage) are on the menu for the rest of the week
5. Reward charts only create a minefield of competition and disappointments
6. Best to not have toddlers wear Disney ballgowns while potty training.
There are so many drafts sitting in unpublished so I can’t guarantee this one will get published either but at least I have some sort of documentation of what’s been going on.
Myself and the kids have had a busy summer and everyone is growing up fast. My son is now 4 going on 14! And the girls are ‘big girl’ two and a half.
Summer is a time when routine gets thrown up and can be extremely tough at times. I have learnt a lot about myself these last couple of months. The house is FULL to the brim with toys, clothing and added furniture so order is really important. Summer holidays have meant that this order slips. I can handle the world if I have a tidy house so I have been known to just sweep anything still lying on the floor at the end of the day and just deposit it into the bin. I am trying to instill work ethic into my children’s routine but their idea of tiding up their toys and my idea of clearing LEGO, cars, dolls, jigsaws and bits of plastic are very different. As for routine, holidays has meant later to bed, lax daily routine, treats slipping in. I now realize that I need routine, never mind my kids! My stress and anxiety goes through the roof with an untidy house and no normalcy. It is not that kids change or that their behavior all of a sudden becomes a nightmare it’s that they need normal too! So in the last few weeks I have tried to put in a good routine and stick to it (sort of). This has really helped me.
But being a mother of toddlers is naturally going to be tricky at times. They are determined to express their independence and want to push boundaries to discover for themselves what is safe and what’s too far. I recently visited the supermarket with one of my girls. She didn’t want to sit in the trolley (none of them do anymore). So I said that was fine, but stay beside me. The trip started fine. She was being a great helper. Then she started to get bored so ran down the aisles on her own and then would reappear thinking this was a great game! All fine – until she didn’t reappear! In those moments you try to stay calm, try to say she’s only hiding, but time passes so slowly and security we’re searching, I was frantically calling her name. After a few minutes, there was real fear. I could hear a child screaming – in a logical state I would know this wasn’t her but in this case I couldn’t ignore it – was that Abigail? Had someone taken her? Where was she? Oh god who has her?! Security! Security!
Thankfully in this situation she reappeared. But as I say being a mother of toddlers is tricky. I definitely had a few more grey hairs. Children disappearing on me seems to be a running theme in my life at the moment. Each of them have done a runner at one point or another and all come back with a grin, thinking this is a great game. I just hope it remains a ‘game’ and nothing serious happens. I have been thinking though … stranger danger is a very real thing! All of mine love saying hello to everyone they pass, telling these people all their news. When they were still staying close to mummy and not running off this seemed very cute but now I feel this will need to change. That lovely innocence will have to end, their world is becoming bigger now and I am not always going to be right beside them to move them on. At the moment if someone offered them some jellies I have no doubt they would hop into the black van waiting to speed them off! Horrific thought!!!
It is the week before Christmas and everyone in this house is getting very excited. It’s the first year that all four can enjoy and absorb all the festivities and build up. They don’t quite understand Christmas ‘day’ but for them it’s a month long celebration of lights, songs, parties, Santa etc… This frenzy of excitement has meant our daily routine has gone slightly. Daytime snoozes were never great in my house and this time of year isn’t helping.
My girls share a room and as a result nap time tends to become a bit of a party. The sound of singing and chats streams down the stairs while they’re supposed to be having ‘quiet time’. I am not giving up though – they’re only 2 years old so still need sleep and some days it happens.
Anyway, at the moment there’s too many distractions. As a result they are tired by the end of the day and devilment kicks in. Of course, by now I should know this and should learn! Seems I forget easily these days. So on Monday, for our afternoon activity, I thought a trip to our local shopping center to get shoes for everyone would be a great idea. Under normal circumstances, when everyone’s slept well and it’s not Christmas shopping madness, this could work. However, that’s not how it played out….. the girls saw this as a great opportunity to play chase and show mummy how fast they can run through crowds. While opening the car door in the very busy car park one of my girls bolted just as a car was headed our direction. Obviously the chances of this happening with one of the four is high but I never believed it could happen. My minder was with me and we were both on high alert but even with that she ran. All it takes is one split second and your life could change forever. In this case my daughter lives to tell the tale but how easily it could have gone so so differently.
After the initial shock we all got, it was absolutely gratitude that I felt. Here we are another year is closing and I am blessed with four perfect, healthy children. Each is full of their personality, creativity and curiosity.
I thought I’d end this post with a picture of all of us meeting Santa. I love this picture. It’s not perfect and certainly doesn’t paint everyone in a great light but it does show all of us in our individual glory.
I am blessed with a brilliant gaggle of kids. They each have so much that they bring to the house and our family. It’s not a quiet house and there is plenty of drama. Noise levels are generally raised and occasionally (a lot of the time!) there is a battle over a toy. This stage requires a whole new level of patience. I thought being a parent of three babies and a toddler was going to be the tough part but what I’m learning about parenting is nothing prepares you for the next stage and the next and the next. When you’re in the middle of it it’s hard to imagine anything tougher than what your experiencing at that time. Many times I think it’s never going to change but it does and that brings its own new challenge. So when my triplets were born there were plenty of things I grappled with – lack of sleep (still no sleep!), lack of time, being all to all four, learning the be a mother and so on. But here we are two years and two months later and it is a whole new level of challenge and fun!
About two months ago I went to the park for the last time on my own with the four of them. Up to then it was still possible to go to the park keep them close and rely on the buggy to hold them when need be. But now we have scooters! Which, it’s important to note, are brilliant and generally they know to follow a couple of rules – don’t go too far ahead when walking to park, always get off the scooter when crossing the road etc… But!!! It also means they can disappear easily when they want to. So there I was – the ‘perfect mother’ on a beautiful Saturday morning believing I’ve got this! Well my children had a completely different plan.
There are plenty of times when I think it’s great to have such independent, strong willed children. This wasn’t one of them. While I frantically ran from one end of the park to the other my little ones continued to be very strong willed and independent. I could see other parents look in horror as I tried to round them up like cattle. ‘Oh god, look at her!’, ‘oh god, glad my little Henry isn’t like that!’. Then to top it off with a cherry on top my son wet his pants (he’s only 3!). Being the oh so organized mother I forgot a change for him. The only way to save the poor child’s dignity for the walk home was to put one of the girls nappies on. So now I had four screaming snotty kids, one double buggy, four scooters, one bare legged child.
But here’s the thing – children’s behaviour doesn’t change. What changes is how you respond to it. In other words, me being tired, feeling I’m struggling is going to effect how I react to something. Thinking that I am more than what I am is going to have impact. So thinking that going to the park with four toddlers under the circumstances was ridiculous and certainly not being kind to myself. I think that’s the biggest lesson for me, if I’m in a happy place nothing and no one can phase me. I do this by minding my self! And not bringing my toddlers to wide open spaces. (For the moment)
I think that’s so important because otherwise you would miss the magic of parenting.
As the saying goes every day is a school day. So there is a little known fact that many children can regress when a baby comes into the house. This is something I did not know until it happened to me. Three little ladies have meant my son is now behaving more baby like. As a result, the nappy is back on, he was wants me to spoon feed him with a baby spoon and have baby bottles.
After a couple of weekends of constant cleaning poo and wee I had to put the nappy back on. My little boy didn’t even bat an eyelid! Quite happy to go back to nappies (no long term damage there then!) for the moment so we will have start again in another while. It seems he has no interest in being a ‘big’ boy just yet, so until it looks like he’s ready I will continue to keep Pampers in business and hope they don’t decide to stop making size 6+ any time soon.
The girls are now into everything!! Climbing is their new past time. Each of them gets a great kick out of climbing into nooks and crannies but frustrated when they get stuck. When I had the girls many recommended getting a playpen. Although I can see some merit in it, I am trying to see can we mange without. I just don’t like the idea of containing when all they want to do is explore at this age.
Keeping everything afloat at the moment is requiring stealth and determination. My beautiful brood have revved up a notch and testing mummy is a new past time. However, this is where my stubbornness has come into great use.
So they say that it is the ‘terrible twos’ and to expect lots of drama and emotion. Well of course I am not a fool to think my little one will be any different but wow! This is like having a teenager (or what I think having a teenager) in the house is like. Up down, up down, up down. To add fuel to the fire, I agreed to potty train him during this very complicated stage. I say agree as it was the ‘gentle’ persuasion of his play school. Most days have at least one battle included – stop throwing toys, don’t kick your sister, let’s go to the potty, no you can not have a stamp, come over here please, no, I said no, do you want to go to the thinking step, you need to eat your breakfast, please don’t do that, stop that, I could go on ……. All of this is speckled with you are the best boy, well done, here’s a stamp for doing that, yes, you’re brilliant etc etc. The thing is I genuinely believe he is brilliant and the best boy but just wish we could skip the negotiations and arguements. I know that it is important to stand strong so that he learns boundaries, just hate the battle. So hormones are at an all time high and it’s a very confusing time for a little boy. We get absolute hysteria if a song finishes that he likes or his favourite cartoon (dinotime- now watched over 2500 times) ends. I limit TV to Saturday and Sunday only – which, for all is a blessing, especially considering the tears and drama when the ads come on.
So we have managed to potty train despite all of this and everything else (more about that later). The approach that seemed to work for us is the slow and steady approach. Bit by bit the nappy time has been reduced. It started with just school, then afternoons and evenings at home. Now we have no nappy on all day – including park, walking or shopping etc. It’s a huge step and has taken a while to get there. He has slowly become nappy free over about 4 weeks. The accidents are few and far now but I still have to remember to bring him to the toilet every hour and we haven’t done a poo in the toilet yet. I am extremely proud of him but also pretty pleased with myself. So one out of four is now nappy free (mostly).
Big changes have happened for the girls too. They are now in their own bedroom and sleeping (almost) all night. To get to this has been a lot of heart ache and tears. Lots of tears!!! In fact crying it out has been the only successful method. There are lots of people who would be horrified at the thought of leaving a baby to cry but when you have three babies and nothing else has worked, needs must. Desperation for sleep is a horrible place to be. One of my girls is still not fully there, last night she woke at 3am and settled at 6am by which time her sisters decided it was morning. There have been some nights where I am functioning on about 3 hours sleep but since getting advice from a sleep specialist this is becoming less and less. Things have changed quite a it for all. Now breakfast happens before the morning bottle and everyone goes down for 2 hours mid afternoon. Due to strict schedule we have become pretty limited in where we go, when we go out and for how long but all worth it for sleep.
My mantra ‘it’s just a phase’ is on constant repeat in the my mind.
So this is more a milestone post than anything.
The big news this week – Francesca and Abigail have broken their first tooth. Hard to believe that 8 and a half months have passed since their arrival!
All of the girls are now shuffling across the floor. This means you need to watch them constantly. Before you know it, one is under the table, another is behind the tv stand and last but not least one has managed to squeeze under the couch.
They’re getting much more independent and very happy to play amongst themselves for a little while. My son is still the most exciting person in the world as far as their concerned.
Red is getting very proficient with a ball and entertains each night with his kicking skill.
Since being away, his language has really come on and he now has a good grasp of sentences.
Stella is showing great coordination and concentration. She likes to observe first whereas the others love to dive in! I suspect she may be first to walk. Slow and steady!
The girls are now on a new schedule that seems to be working really well. Last night Stella slept all the way through till 6am. Woohoo!!!!
Here’s the routine:
Up at 6ish – bottle
8am – breakfast
9am – sleep (40 min approx)
11.30 – lunch
12.15 – bottle
12.30 – 2.30pm sleep/quiet time
2.30pm snack and bottle