Taste buds are an amazing thing. I feel a big responsibility to ensure that my children get a balanced diet. As someone who has struggled with dieting for all my life I feel that it is my job to try and help my children get the right start. Obesity is a really serious issue and it is a complicated problem. While my children are babies with no health issues, I think there are things I can do to help. I control how much excercise we get, what food we eat and I am the first voice they hear. I am the one who must ensure they are fed and clothed. These are the fundamentals but I also hold responsibility on how they see their beauty, intelligence, safety and confidence. Most of the time I don’t even pass a thought about these things but as a single mother it is all on me.
I influence what my children think of themselves. I grew up with very low self esteem and self worth. I have spent years working on this and will probably be working on this all my life. (like most women!) I know many will think I am being over dramatic and what they’re fed now doesn’t have such an impact but it is my belief that from the moment that child is conceived you have a responsibility to give it the best chance you can. So although I am skipping forward the years – that first spoonful of mush means something. The same could be argued about breastfeeding or avoiding rubbish in your diet while pregnant. I am far from a saint and have made plenty of mistakes. I have also done lots of things others would question. No, my girls did not get breastfed, yes, I did eat plenty of ice cream and pizza while pregnant and I don’t adhere to the ‘Baby Whisperer’ style of parenting. So I don’t have a saintly approach to life or motherhood but think there are some things I can do.
With my first boy everything was organic, homemade and time was spent planning each meal. This time round time is a real issue. Trying to fit everything into one day is not easy! Plus the level of consumption means nothing lasts too long in the fridge. I do have a cupboard full of ready made packs of baby food and have had to dip into there on occasion. It will be much easier when we are all eating the same thing! But unfortunately we have another few months to get through. I love to cook but the constant pealing of carrots, apples, pears etc can be hard to fit into the day.
Having said that, there are some staples that we couldn’t live without.
- Organic Baby Rice
- Nutri bullet – best invention ever!!! Days of old this was used for my personal diet regime. Now a quick, easy baby food blender.
- Avocado and banana – packed with good nutrients
- Sweet potato, squash
Because they were premature, their swallow is difficult. This is something they don’t tell you when leaving the hospital but is the most significant thing I have had to tackle, getting the girls to first take bottles and now food!
I just keep trying and in the end that is all I can do. When time becomes such an issue, all you can do is the best for your kids. As my mother said – they will all be on the couch in years to come blaming me – so with this in mind I am learning to not sweat the small stuff. In time their taste buds will develop and they will all grow up. This is a tiny moment in our lives but right now the world revolves around my four little beautiful, intelligent, creative, bright eyed children!
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.
‘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.
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:
- How is their breathing? Are they panting? When you look at them – does it look like they are using their rib cage to breath?
- Are they feeding? Can they keep a feed down? If vomiting, they can get dehydrated pretty quickly.
- 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……
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.
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.
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…