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There are so many drafts sitting in unpublished so I can’t guarantee this one will get published either but at least I have some sort of documentation of what’s been going on.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.
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.
My children have been testing me. How will I cope under pressure?! Can I survive on four hours sleep?! Can I cope with three hours of crying?! They have no idea how they are pushing me as this is all very normal (no child is perfect all the time!) but they are! It is all about growing up.
I’ll start with the girls (bit more straight forward). We have hit a big milestone in the house. They are now 6 months old. All are rolling, chatting, giggling and learning their voice. Thankfully each is a very contented little girl and I don’t have too many tantrums or dramas to contend with. However, our night time routine recently started wearing me down until I cracked the code. Since the girls were very young we have stuck to a four hourly routine. They wake between 5 and 6.30am which means their evening bottle is at 5pm to 6.30pm. Then bed at 7 and dream feed anytime from 9.30pm. Up to a month ago this was fine. It’s only recently I noticed things started to change with solid feeds. So now they are on two feeds a day and have started dropping a bottle. Like my little boy, they now take a bottle going to bed. This has transformed night time! It is bliss!!
Here’s the schedule:
7am Naptime (45min)
10.30am Naptime (30-60min)
12 noon lunchtime
6pm-7pm bath/ready for bed
7pm bottle and bed
Some of you may find this useful. There is very little out there for triplet scheduling. This will have to be changed again when breakfast is introduced. But I know that multiples versus single baby is tricky to master.
Now the testing of a toddler…… Oh the terrible twos. This is not a myth! Although I am getting off lightly with my son (for now – not quite two yet). There are still testing times. ‘No!’ And ‘I don’t like’ are constantly used. There is a real want for independence. Even though he doesn’t mean ‘no’ he is saying it to voice this independence. It’s hard to not get frustrated with this defiance. Recently he started to push boundaries and see what he can get away with. Weekends are usually the toughest times as the routine is a bit all over the place. Play dates, baby feeds and no crèche can be hard for a little one to cope with and not have the odd outburst. I am trying to do more and more as a family so that he feels part of the team. This makes a huge difference. Not always easy to do as it means being more patient but the benefits pay. So now, everyday we all go to pick up Red from school. We all go to the park. And if meeting family or friends for coffee etc it isn’t just Red who comes along. Red still has time with me, as do the girls separately, but we come together as much as possible.
‘Push mummy?’ ‘No!’
‘Push sisters?’ ‘No!’
‘Hit mummy?’ ‘No!’
‘Hit sisters?’ ‘No!’
‘Kick mummy?’ ‘No!’
‘Kick ball?’ ‘Yes!’
‘Throw mummy?’ ‘No!’ (I love that one! God bless his belief in his strength.)
‘Throw ball?’ ‘Yes!’
You get the idea. This is a daily conversation and my son generally knows the answer to each of these questions. However, sometimes instead of just having a conversation we get action. It usually is a frustration acted out on me. Sometimes it can happen with other kids in the play school.
Trying to reason with a 20 month old is pretty impossible but our ‘thinking step’ is also not working. He usually heads there himself when he needs a break from the mayhem anyway. So this evening I decided another tack. Instead of taking him and putting him in a place alone I stayed very close to him but didn’t converse. So this is how it worked:
My boy was eating his dinner and we were having a great time until one of the girls started to cry. This meant that I had to divert my attention. He then decided to throw the yoghurt pot which meant mess all over the floor. I then went over to him and explained in a firm voice you are not allowed do that. Of course that made no difference and he then hit me twice. So in other words – I’m pissed off with you mummy! Instead of taking him to the thinking step, I told him I was very angry with him and how you never hit mummy. I then quietly cleaned up around him. Once done I took him upstairs for bath and pyjamas with no chat. Gave him a quick bath, again no happy chat. And then for the first time without prompting a sorry I got one!!! Now I don’t know if this is something that will happen next time but it got me thinking.
Tantrums are a very normal part of childhood and we have our fair share. Yes, absolutely take the child away from what’s frustrating them (if possible) but maybe isolating them isn’t always the answer. This is only one instance do I’m not saying I have cracked the code! But maybe there is another way.
The girls are now 4 months old and my boy is 20 months. Time is flying by and our little unit seems to be knitting together. Every week it gets better. We are now all starting to have fun together and play includes the girls a lot more. Can S join in? Can she have a car too? Will we all play pizza puzzle together? And although they’re not fully participating yet I can see my son really wanting to play with them and they follow him everywhere he goes with their eyes.
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.