I can remember so many changes and milestones when my son was born but when the girls came along it seemed to blur. I always thought it was so important to remember key dates and put pressure on myself to be that parent who would be able to recall key seminal moments. However, once another child comes into the family (or three!) this quickly becomes a thing of the past. In reality I have come to realize it’s not actually important.
It’s not about remembering the exact date and at what time your child spoke a three word sentence or even their first step. For me it’s about being present to them when I am with them. Yes gradually over time they have developed speech, run the legs off me and can have conversations with me and each other. Every once and a while I sit back and watch them becoming independent people. Today I noticed that they had there own separate conversation without me, came to their own conclusion and continued on without needing me. I’m sure this isn’t the first time this has happened but it’s the first time I noticed.
So although I don’t remember all the little steps, every once and a while (if I step back and watch) I see the people that are emerging.
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.
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
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.
So we are just coming off a really tough week. A week where at times I wasn’t sure if I could cope. There was a feeling of hopelessness which scared me. My little ladies are now over five months old and my son is 21 months. All four are incredible, thriving, cheeky monkeys. However, it is winter and along with the grey skies, we have suffered with continuous sickness. This seems to be the running theme in my life at the moment. Every evening from about 4pm the crying or tantrums will start. Could be all four or just one but that ringing in your ear every night is not easy to endure. It eventually ends when all settle at about 10pm but could go on for hours after that. For over 20 weeks there has been some sort of cough, cold, chest infection to contend with. I feel like all I do is complain and I’m bored with it. I would say I am a positive person and just get on with things – but this week it got to me.Being depressed or feeling low is not something I am usually and it scares me when it happens. Thankfully I am able to get myself out of it. But I feel for those who can’t. My exasperation can be fixed and my days can get better. A day of no rain or simple routine and I can bounce back. I think my optimism can get me through but this was one tough week! Everyone says enjoy it when they’re little however I can’t help but wish I could fast forward some of it.
Then on Saturday it was all put into perspective when my little boy nearly drowned. We had gone to the park to feed the ducks. Red was in his buggy, strapped in and feeding the ducks (and himself) with bits of bread. I turned to look out into the water for a split second and by the time I turned around all I could see were the wheels of the buggy. He had toppled into the water. I jumped in to get him out and because he was strapped in, he was trapped underneath. The buggy has a fleece cover to keep him warm and this along with the whole buggy got sodden in water which meant I couldn’t lift it. I managed to turn the buggy sideways so he could breath and all I saw was a pair of hands reach in to lift him out. The water was about 3 feet deep so he had been completely underwater. At the time autopilot kicked in – get him out, strip him down and wrap him up. Get him home! That night I just kept replaying it over and over. What if?………. No can’t even go there!
Thats when I realised that this too shall pass. It will get easier. They will put the heart across me on a regular basis. All I need is a smile, a giggle to make me realise that I am blessed and thankfully I get loads of those.
So it’s been a while since I last posted. Seems that every time I sit to write an update I get distracted. Today I feel lucky to have some time to write. Myself and Abu were on route to swimming when it was agreed between us that coffee and a bagel in a warm cafe sounded better (pouring rain). We were very late anyway so we have mitched off. I’m just waiting for her to wake up. Oh she’s stirring…….
Since my last update a lot has happened. We had another round of Bronchilitis in the house, vomiting bugs appeared and everyone has started teething. All of which isn’t much fun but on the plus side the girls are all so bright and alert. All of them are starting to roll. Won’t be long now before they’re all on the move. Now that WILL be interesting! They have the most wonderful smiles and light up when you chat to them.
I have decided to take all four of them off dairy in a hope to clear up their chests. I went to my doctor last week and we agreed that it’s the best option. All of them seem to be prone to snotty episodes and it can help. Fingers are crossed! Once they’re off it for a few months, it can be reintroduced gradually. Red doesn’t seem to have any trouble with drinking Almond milk and the girls should get used to the new formula in time.
Red’s conversation has come on leaps and bounds. He has now discovered to art of a joke. It’s so wonderful when your son can make you genuinely laugh. He’s also great with the girls. Here he is with Frankie, reading her a story.
In the last couple of weeks I have also had to say goodbye to a very special person, my grandfather. Unfortunately he was sick for quite some time with cancer. He fought it every step of the way, not wanting to leave my grandmother, but the beast won. It’s tough to say goodbye to someone who was so significant in my upbringing. I have a bank of wonderful memories of being a kid with him. I can only hope to keep up some of his traditions. He was an amazing storyteller and brought us on magical adventures up the mountains. By the time I was pregnant with my first boy he was already suffering from dementia. This meant the same conversation needed to be repeated. I would visit him with my boy and he would say ‘what a beautiful baby!’ And quickly follow with ‘who’s the father?!’ So I would explain on a regular basis what I had done. He loved babies and really was amazing with Red and the girls. In latter months he was scared of holding them, in case he dropped them, but you could rest them on his lap. A couple of days before he died I went to visit him the hospital. We had a lovely sing song of Pardon Me Boy and I told him about my four children. We will miss but hopefully I can keep some of his traditions going.