Monday, June 26, 2017

Day to day life with threenagers

NOTE: Mari wrote this in February and it is now June.  I was needing a little inspiration this morning, so I was looking at the blog and saw this sitting in drafts.  It seems complete enough to me, so I'm publishing! -- Michelle

Ah, it's been months and months since I've actually sat down to blog.  I miss it!  When our kiddos were little babies we used to read other triplet blogs and they always fizzled out when the kids got older and I thought it was sad and didn't understand I do!  It seems impossible that life is busier these days than when they were infants, but in some ways it sure feels like it is!

In December it really felt like they were on the verge of dropping their nap, but then when we traveled for the holidays we got them in a nap routine to help them settle in and they got back in the habit I guess and have been back to napping fairly consistently again since then thankfully.  Most days it's still not easy to get all three to nap, but it happens more often then not and if only one (usually Ellie) doesn't nap, we typically enjoy a little one on one time.  We have been playing around a bit to find the "sweet spot" for naps because if they take a long nap bedtime is hard and they might not fall asleep until 8:30 or 9.  Right now it seems like if we wake them up after 45-60 minutes it works out the best, but waking them up, particularly Isaiah is hard! I sure am thankful for those 45 minutes of quiet in the middle of the day!  But instead of sitting down to put up a quick blog post I'm usually doing some frantic cleaning or prepping dinner.
napping with our little foster kitten Hamilton =)

me trying to wake the girls up from nap this week!
We had some fair warning from other triplet moms in our big Triplets Born in 2013 Facebook group that 3-3.5 was a rough time, with most of them starting to turn the corner around 3.5-4.  It is true...having three "threenagers" is tough stuff!  Emotions run very high these days and the sibling battles can get pretty intense.  We have been working on a family "problem solving plan" for the past 6-8 months to try to get them talking before battling it out, but it's a struggle!  Step 1 of the plan is to use their words with each other to solve the problem, step 2 is to get a grownup or someone to help mediate, and step 3, if the other two steps fail, is to resort to hitting, etc to take care of themselves (knowing that in theory, they should never need step 3).  We miss Step 2 a lot! =)  Knock on wood, but I think as we are nearing the 3.5 year mark, things do seem to be getting a little better as far as the physical conflicts, or at least it seems like the resurgence of biting has fizzled.  The extremes of emotions can be rather amusing, but only if, as the parent, you are in a place where you can detach a bit...otherwise, whew, they are exhausting!  We have been listening to a RIE parenting podcast called "unruffled," which focuses on acknowledging these big emotions while staying calm and confident and unruffled, which is a great goal, but man is it hard to do in the moment!
Ellie pouting about her too perfect Valentines Day
heart pancakes with strawberry syrup...because, you know
she didn't want strawberry syrup! ;)

We are certainly seeing another round of that strong need to be independent, which has it's pros and cons.  On the "pro" side of things, Isaiah has been wanting to wear underwear the majority of the time (this is also a con because he's still not consistent about initiating getting himself to the bathroom...but at least he has a pretty recognizable "potty dance" if we are paying attention).  The girls, particularly Avery, are really big on going to the bathroom "all by myself" particularly when we are out and about.  This backfired a few weeks ago when someone locked the stall door and then couldn't get it unlocked!  Michelle tried sending the other two under to get it, but I guess it was stuck so she ended up having to crawl under...EW!!!  Isaiah and Ellie have both been pretty independent lately with getting dressed.  Avery can do it herself too, but she would stay in PJs all day or be naked so she lacks the motivation! =)  For the past month Isaiah has been on a navy long sleeve kick and has just 2 or 3 long sleeve shirts that he wants to wear, with leggings of course.  So sometimes in the morning he will disappear for a good 15 minutes and then come out with sometimes rather interesting outfits on. =) Here's an example in case you missed it on Facebook!   Ellie reminds me of my sister Kate when she was little because she probably changes clothes a minimum of 3 times in a day.  I don't mind for the most part, but we are working on getting the clothes she is changing out of back in the closet/drawers.  Ellie was so disappointed with our selection of long sleeve dresses in December that one day I managed to convince her to try a sparkly grey tutu with a long sleeve xmas shirt by calling it her sparkly snow skirt...and boy oh boy did it work.  I think she wears her "sparkle skirt" at least 5 days a week now!  Avery still loves to cook and again really wants to be independent, which can be tricky!  But she is really a good little helper and can pretty reliably crack eggs, stir things on the stove, and of course sample anything and everything.  Of course this independent streak has it's downside when you are trying to get out the door with three three year olds who all want to put on their own shoes, climb in the car by themselves and do their own top car seat buckle!

I think the other thing making it harder for me to sit down and blog is that I've been working more lately. I'm seeing more early intervention kiddos, still doing a bit of work for the research project I was helping with at Penn State, and now helping with an early intervention parent coaching research project at FSU.  I am still trying to figure out the right balance with all of this and still safeguarding my time with the kiddos.  I know this semester has been tough for Michelle because she has been working more and still feeling behind so she feels like she's been missing out on time with the kids. Sometimes it feels like she's back in school and having to give up weekend time with us, which is a bummer for all of us. =(  Other than spending too much time working lately, for the most part Michelle seems to be generally enjoying her work so that is good.  Hopefully next year, when she doesn't have as much class prep work to do, she'll be able to find a little better work-life balance.  We have also been working on house projects since July and the list of things to do still feels pretty long!  But we have done a lot, cosmetically re-doing both bathrooms and the kitchen as well as painting the kids room and the main living area since we moved in.  Still need to work on our bedroom and the guest room.  My next big project is getting a wall mounted shelf/desk combo up on the guest room so that Michelle and I can work in there sometimes.

Well, I should probably wrap up here so I can get some breakfast going and take a shower before the kids wake up.  Today's blog post is courtesy of Isaiah waking up around 4:45 and me feeling too awake and deciding to just stay up.  I haven't done this in a long long time and I might pay for it later when my energy starts to flag, but these two hours of "me time" this morning have been lovely! =)

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