Back to School

red and me

I now have a totally new perspective on holiday season and see it all in a new light. I also have a new appreciation for January – who would have thought that a month that sees such depression numbers rocket could give me such joy!  But Christmas this year was unique and certainly not comparable to my normal flurry of joy.  I normally have my house decorated to an inch of its life, have cranberry sauce bubbling on the stove, bows and wrapping paper everywhere, the biggest Christmas tree I can find and to do lists galore.  This year I had triplets.

When juggling four children military timing is key.  Once you keep everything on a tight timeline, everyone is happy.  Deviate from this and it can tumble into chaos quite easily.  I knew the holidays was going to be a challenge.  Creche was closing, my minder was going home to her family and my own family were skipping off to the sun.  I had arranged a patchwork of help that was slightly fractured but very possible.  Unfortunately, I didn’t factor in a sick baby in hospital.

Isn’t it always the case, one thing goes wrong then everything goes wrong!  Its all a bit of a blur now but those two weeks were hell.  Poor little Abigail was in hospital with a bad dose of RSV Bronchilitis.  This has been a bad year for sick babies and Ireland’s wet, damp weather has not helped.  All my girls have had RSV and unfortunately it won’t go until winter passes and they are a bit stronger.  I have been in and out of doctors for weeks now and pretty much know all the signs.  Three things to watch out for:

  1. How is their breathing?  Are they panting?  When you look at them – does it look like they are using their rib cage to breath?
  2. Are they feeding?  Can they keep a feed down?  If vomiting, they can get dehydrated pretty quickly.
  3. Do they have a temperature?  When very small this can be quite serious and usually means they are trying to fight something.


So January is here and I have never jumped out of bed with such a spring in my step.  2016 is full of promise.  The girls are just going to keep getting stronger and brighter every day (and maybe learn to sleep through the night!!!).  My little boy is full of wonder and vigor for life.  And I am reaching a very big milestone number this year- 40!! So yes it wasn’t the best Christmas in the traditional sense but wow – look where I am now.  Mum of four great kids who keep me on my toes and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Roll on 2016!

This month is all about sleep and stretching the night sleep.  The girls are doing fantastic so far and all the hard work is paying off.  It definitely pays to keep day as day! In other words, our house is not a silent place during the day, the girls get play time on their mat, change of outfit and nap in their bouncers.  I keep the cot for night sleep and have started diming lights from about 7.30pm to get the idea across that its sleep time.  We have a feeding frenzy every evening which is exausting and they can be very cranky.  However, once down, they get a dream feed at 11ish and sleep till 5.30/6am.  In the longterm this will be well worth it……


Guilty and struggling

  So many times throughout the last ten weeks people have said – you’re doing such an amazing job!, you’re superwoman or wow I don’t know how you do it!  Generally, I am grateful for the lovely compliments and proud of the fact the I have made it this far and everyone is healthy and for the most part happy.  But this week it was tested.

I have had 3 weeks of sick babies and a toddler who needs my attention.  Thats when it wears me down.  Now, I am a very capable person with a good head on my shoulders.  In my work life I have managed many pressures and extreme stresses but nothing prepares for when it all starts getting too much in the home!  I have four dependents who weren’t here two years ago and that can bring a lot of pressure.  There have been times when I wonder am I suffering from post natal depression? And then feel guilty for even thinking that when so many others have a real diagnosis. Why don’t I have the same elation I did with my first pregnancy?  And then guilty for thinking I don’t have the same bond with each girl.  Am I spending enough time with each?  And then guilty for spending too much time with one and not another.  Guilty, guilty, guilty!  Then if someone asks how one is doing over the other – can I answer this? Its sometimes quite scary and overwhelming.  I love my children with all my heart but scare that the bond I have with my little boy wont be there with the three girls.  This is purely down to the fact that I am fire fighting a lot of the day and I’m trying to spread myself so that all fires are put out.

It is not easy and even the most together and organised would struggle to keep this all a float.  I am realising that I am not perfect and sometimes I just need to ask for help – or a break!  This is where being a single mum of four gets really tricky.  Guilt is a terrible trait and I will do my best to not let it get to me.  Every once and a while you get a smile, a kiss or a hug from your kids and you realise all is not lost you’re doing a great job!

When tantrums and tears collide!

  Normally I can be very proud of the fact that our daily routine runs pretty smoothly. (Order, structure and sticking to time sheets) but that’s all well and good when no ones tired, cranky or snuffly (all of which is to be expected). So last night my son was having a bit of a melt down. Everything was wrong in the world! Moma was mean and he just wanted ‘this’, ‘this’, ‘no this!’ Followed by wails and tears. Amazing emotion was being expressed. Meanwhile two ladies decided to join in and show support of their brother. More wails and tears. Of course the normally ordered house was like a bomb had exploded so what happened next was written in the stars! My third daughter felt like she needed to join in so as I was running to comfort her I tripped, stubbed my toe and broke it. I actually just had to stop and smile. While I’m trying ice my foot, hold one of the girls, give another a soother, my little boy looks all concerned for me and says ‘medicine’. You can’t but love him. Even when he rants and screams he knows exactly how to melt my heart. 

So the evening ended with lots of hugs and kisses and today I hobble but all is calm again. 

Atchoo Bless you! 

Three sick little ladies, one sick moma and a teething boy make for one yucky house. Coughs and colds are the curse of winter. It only takes one of us to catch something before we all start coughing and spluttering. 

Naturally my biggest concern is my two month old babies who are not well. When a tiny baby starts getting the snuffles all hell can break loose. At the moment it’s all in their head area and hopefully won’t reach their chests. 

They’re not feeding too well and we have had a few projectile vomits. I had never seen anything like it before. It is like a horror movie!! It shoots out of their mouth and nose. Poor things as it gives them a real fright. Yesterday, in order to keep vomiting at a minimum, it’s been little and often. A tricky feat with three but determined to keep them out of hospital with dehydration. 

My once aversion to others snot is a thing of the past after having children. You find yourself cleaning noses on a constant basis. I have also got my new best friend – a nasal aspirator (snot sucker)! Brilliant invention for small babies who use their nose to breath. There are two types (who knew!). One with a bulb at the end that you squeeze to suck the snot out bs another which requires you sucking the snot out. Now I love my children very much but the thought of sucking snot out with my mouth is just going too far! 

Humidifier is another great purchase this winter! I’m nearly tempted to have one for every room but that might be extreme mothering! 

So I’m sure this is the first of many colds, coughs and splutters. Each winter brings something and babies are like magnets to all germs. As long as we can all stay home and no visits to the hospital. 

This is not a race, its a marathon…

Its one of those classic cliches that is used many different occasions. ‘Don’t run yourself into the ground’ is another.  But no one can prepare you for how overwhelming triplets and a toddler can be.  The last weekend was my first real test and I like to think I coped okay.  Just don’t think any further than a day ahead!!!

My wonderful family situation works like clockwork…….. As long as everything and everyone is okay, its a pretty smooth operation but any hiccup and oh sweet jesus!

So the week was always going to be tricky.  My minder was away and i had arranged a patchwork of helpers for the week.  I thought i was doing great, all problems solved until Saturday morning and all let loose again.  Weekends are the hardest part of the week for me.  I am generally on my own with all four children both mornings.  Feeding the girls takes about 2 hours so coupled with my son this can be quite a stressful time.

My mum had agreed to take my son for the night and I knew that he’d have a ball.  I was looking forward to some quality time with my ladies.  By lunchtime I noticed that Francesca was struggling to breath.  At about 4pm she had started to pant.  Straight away I knew this was not good.  Her temperature was fine, she was alert and was feeding well but the breathing was now very labored.  Your maternal instinct kicks in.  Brought her to the hospital where she was admitted with Bronchilitis.  Apparently this is very common at this time of year but obviously dangerous when baby is under 7 weeks old.  The doctors were being over cautious but i was happier with that than going home and something serious happened!

So, single mum of four required an army of help!  I have to say sleep depravation was the worst because it meant I wasn’t thinking straight.  I had a lot of great offers to step in but I really wasn’t able to focus.  As result of our night in A&E I was a bit of basket case.  Post pregnancy my health has not been 100%.  I have struggled with high blood pressure, migraines, swollen gums, etc etc.  I am in need of a good dose of multi vitamins and iron! As the title of this post goes…. this is not a race, its a marathon.

I have recently started trying to spend one on one time with each of my kids.  This is actually quite time consuming but wonderful.  Each has their own personality and ways.  Its great when I get to know them individually.  Its also really important that my son knows i haven’t disappeared on him.  He is like a different child when we hang out on our own.  Although the girls are very young, already they are full of personality and need one on one time.  Having help around me has allowed this alone time, I am lucky to have it but would have it no other way.  When my son doesn’t get this attention he acts out.  He has occasionally hit and bitten me.  All classic signs of wanting you.  I try not to make too big an issue of it and am just very firm about not allowing it.  We have a time out step in the house.  He has had to sit there on a couple of occasions.  Usually for a minute to let him calm down.  Once the minute is up, he quickly says sorry and gets back to playing.  Its turned out to be really effective and I am conscious of not over using it.  Children like to test boundaries every once and a while but I’m consistent.

Its a juggle parenting four with plenty to keep you busy!  My next challenge is to structure my week better.  Just like babies, I thrive on routine.


Wind is the enemy!

  My beautiful ladies are now 5 weeks old and getting more gorgeous every day.  Each girl has their own way and personalities are already shining through.  For the most part I am so blessed.  Considering they were 8 weeks early, none of them have any premi problems and are now like any new born with all that entails.  When my son was 5 weeks old he had signs of colic and I panicked!  How was I going to cope with a crying baby?! Well that was nothing compared to the panic of three crying babies.

When they were in ICU, I was led into a false sense of security.  Most of the time they were fed through a tube that went down to their tummy.  This tube remained while bottles were introduced.  This wonderful little tube meant that if there was even a remote sign of wind the nurse could simply suck the air out with a syringe – oh how easy!!!!!!  Well role on a couple of weeks later and now at home with no tummy tube……… Wind is the enemy!

So unfortunately, here we are – grunting and gurning is our new melody.  Sometimes can be heard in crescendo but mostly in succession.  Their little tummys are struggling to cope with the air sucked in from the bottles and the formula doesn’t help!  I started on Aptamil 1 and have now moved onto Aptamil Comfort.  The change has helped slightly but it still isn’t perfect.  Young babies just struggle!  Before you question – no I am not breastfeeding – I am not superwoman!!!  They are feeding for 18 hours out of 24 hours and the rest is dispersed throughout the day.  I also have a 17 month old.  I think I’m doing great but would be a basket case if had a baby permanently attached to me.

The next step is to try gripe water, infocol etc….  these are little drops given during, before or after a feed to assist in winding.  I hope these become the miracle!!!

My son turned a corner after 3 months and I have no doubt the same will happen with the girls.  In the meantime, I will continue to pat on the back, rotate in circles, keep up right, elevate while sleeping, feed with drops, prop after feed etc etc…


Okay so now I get it.  I have been waiting all week for this madness that people expect with one toddler and three newborn babies.  Now I get it!  Saturdays and Sundays might just be my nightmare days.  I have planned for all eventualities but Saturday and Sunday mornings are just not going to be too smooth.  I have great help and support for the week.  The girls are on a great schedule, my son is in creche and I have extra help in the house.  All of this happens Monday to Friday.  By Saturday it all changes.

This morning it was just me and my four little goonies.  Rise and shine its 6am!  First breakfast for my son, get a wash on, get him changed and dressed, clean up the kitchen, empty the dishwasher.  Now this is nothing new!  Except from now on, on top of this there are three new mouths to feed.  So bottles to be sterilized, more nappies to be changed and two more hours of feeding.  Also playing lego, building train tracks, making pillow forts and driving cars all over the room.

I remember back to when my son was born and how calm it all was.  This lovely bundle of joy snuggling in my arms!  And how I never felt like I had a minute, how even boiling a kettle or having a shower was an achievement.  Now I am running a marathon!  While playing with my son down on all fours, I was also juggling at least one baby in a hope to get the wind up.  Feeding is now done with great speed and finesse.  With my boy, I have a stop watch – 20 minutes on each breast.  Burping was a leisurely pass time.  They say it changes with y0ur second  – this is so true and the third and the fourth!

So now I get it!

Home Sweet Home

My three little ladies have arrived home and now our ‘normal’ can begin!

Our house is now full of muslin squares, blankets, baby grows, nappies, bottles and wipes.  There is a lot of paraphernalia when you have three babies but i am loving the chaos.  As someone who generally loves order this chaos could send me into a tail spin but god bless those love hormones.  It just doesn’t matter at the moment.  The most important thing is how all four children are doing.

Thankfully all are doing great.

My little boy headed off in his red dragon costume this morning, the girls have been fed and I have just had a cup of coffee.

Its the simple things.

Now that they are born I so much feel more human and have energy again.  That was a bloody tough pregnancy so it is great to be able to run up the stairs, jump out of a chair and run after my boy.  Christmas is only around the corner and I definitely think by then I will be ready to step out that door with my heels on, hair down and make up done. (Not yet though!!!!! – jelly belly from three babies and the hair doesn’t usually see a hairdryer these days)

Few tips that have helped me:

Feeding chart! – brilliant as long as you stick to writing everything down.  This includes times, amount and nappy changes.

Downsize! – Make one room your new home (for the moment) – we are literally living in the kitchen/play room.  The girls are in a cot, the changing station is here, their clothes are in a basket in the corner and the kitchen allows feeding of all! This allows us to live quite easily and no one is left on their own.

Swaddle! – premature babies are difficult to wind and are more used to being inside you.  There isn’t much room in your belly so like are used to being tucked up and cosy.  They tire easily and need a lot of sleep so wrap them up, put them down and let them sleep!  Don’t keep picking them up as tempting as it is.

Get help! – there is no point in being a martyr.  You will not receive any gold medals for doing it on your own.  All you get is absolutely exhausted!  I am feeling pretty calm these days because I have help.  Help is offered and I have learnt to accept it.  You need to find time for yourself, for your toddler and for your triplets – that is not possible without help!

While they are this size, life is pretty calm.  In no time we will be dealing with rollers and crawlers.  I am going to enjoy this phase first.