Rainy days can be challenging for children and parents. Rainy days with twins, triplets or beyond, as in all things with multiples, can present another level to some parents challenges.
Friday was such a day for myself. Currently there are cyclones sandwiching Australia. We are mindful and praying for those who are effected by the devastation that cyclones bring, especially those in Yeppoon who bore the brunt of Marcia’s Category 5 force. We are not affected by the cyclones at this stage, but Cyclone Marcia may graze us as a Category One cyclone before it heads out to sea. What we have been experiencing is A LOT of rain.
This has resulted in cyclonic conditions WITHIN our house. Three year old triplets are indeed a destructive force and being cooped up indoors on multiple rainy day has increased the level of mischief they are getting into.
On Friday, after the rush of getting the big boys off to school, our day at home started with the slam of a screen door. The triplets are supposed to ask before going outside, so I instantly went to investigate. We had a sudden downpour of heavy rain, and the triplets were all standing on the edge of the carport watching the rain. Being a fan of rain watching myself, I was happy for them to continue watching the rain, so they stood there chattering excitedly and reaching out their hands to feel the drops plonk onto their little hands. While they were doing this, I took a phone call. As I was talking, I decided to start cleaning the back door with a rag that was in my hand. When I turned around. This is what I saw.
Of course, this meant only one thing. Sure enough, it didn’t take long to locate two small boys in muddy puddle.
During that time, the small girl had returned inside and I could see her nose pushed up against the screen window and she was yelling at the boys to get out of the rain. I told her they were fine and would she like to jump in muddy puddles? She said, “No thank you”, but must have changed her mind because after a little while she appeared in her swimming togs and gumboots. She didn’t really jump in the puddles very much because the boys were making far too many dirty splashes! The boys continued to have a marvellous time, including sitting in the puddles. Ugh.
As I carried the boys into the bath, the mischief reached another level and for the rest of the day I felt like I was chasing my tail. I never caught that darn tail.
While I was carrying boy number 2 in, boy number one went to the toilet and sprayed wee everywhere. As I cleaned the toilet, the splashing in the bath became too enthusiastic and the floor got wet. As I dressed the boys, the girl got into glue and flooded it over the table. As I cleaned up the glue, the boys tipped buckets of toys out in piles. As we cleaned the toys I noticed the small girl had disappeared. I found her in the pantry helping herself to a second breakfast.
This became a theme for the rest of the day for Little Miss. I found her several times hidden behind locked doors eating. Cake. Cucumber (at least that was a healthy choice), her father’s box of chocolates. She also has a fondness for playing with liquid soap at the moment and has been so engrossed with pump packs. We have had many containers completely emptied by her (the boys also have been culprits at various times). The kids now only have a cake of soap to wash their hands with. Obviously this wasn’t enough fun and I discovered that Miss Im had deposited a bottle of baby massage oil down the basin. So naughty.
Throughout the day if I tried to get anything done, I was constantly being interrupted to break up fights and patch up broken hearts and bodies that had suffered the wrath executed by their sibling. (Three year old triplets can be particularly vicious to one another.) One of the triplets had an enormous bruise on his forehead by the end of the day and I had no idea how it happened.
We did have some lovely calm moments when I decided to get them to make puppets and try and calm everything down. They’ve been preoccupied with The Big Bad Wolf at the moment, so I thought we could perform Little Red Riding Hood in their little puppet theatre. The kids didn’t want to use textas but requested paint. I was sitting with them, so thought there would be no harm.
It was a valiant attempt of mine to halt the mischief. Toby, who is not as academic as the other two, (Painting counts as academia when you are three), abandoned the project, but was playing peacefully in the playroom.
It was all so calm. However, then Miss Im. needed help going to the toilet and while we were gone, Master J spilt the paint water everywhere and rolled his picture into a sodden ball.
We had 10 adults and 13 children coming around for dinner that night. It was such a scurry by the end of the day trying to get the house in order. Thankfully dinner had been prepared in the slow cooker the day before so I just needed to heat it up. The end of the day also included the challenge of getting the five children bathed. I don’t know why I turned my back on her, but the desperation to get the stinky toilet clean (Again. Boys are gross.) before guests arrived had me my preoccupied with disinfectant. When I came back into the shower the small girl had emptied two large containers of bubble bath down the drain. I have locked away all liquid soap, but because the triplets normally have baths, I had forgotten I had let the big boys leave their special Christmas soap in the shower. Unluckily the big boys discovered the misdemeanour at the same time as I did. This (and rightly so) because a great source of consternation. Eventually the girl was firmly scolded, the big boys and settled down and I finished cleaning the toilet to the tune of another basket of toys being upturned in the playroom as the first guests arrived. Smile and wave Caitlin. Smile and wave. (I don’t think I masked my exhaustion well.)
Even when I thought I could finally relax after the children were all in bed and the adults sat down together, it was not to be. The triplets are delaying their bedtime every night by turning on their light and playing with one another. It finally seemed like they had settled down when one of the parents told me that my girl was up still and had turned the light on again. When I went down to the bedroom, I was frowning at her as I walked in the room, switching off the light and demanding she get into bed. She seemed to be frozen and refused to move. In the dark, I patted the bed as I told her to get into bed. There was something soft and squishy. I thought it was vomit. I was starting to feel sorry for my little girl thinking I was getting mad at her and she was actually sick. I yelped and switched on the light. (Woke one of the sleeping boys by doing so.) No, it wasn’t vomit thankfully. But it was a large pile of moisturiser deposited on her quilt and over her sheets. My little darling had gone into a room (occupied by another child), had opened a drawer, cleverly bypassing a child lock on the drawer, (ah, that’s how she obtained the baby massage oil earlier…) and had helped herself to a lotion. Of course I was delighted, (insert sarcasm) to miss out on adult conversation and change a set of sheets at the end of a long day.
Did I sleep well that night? Sadly no. How on earth did I have insomnia after a day like that?
It wasn’t even over the next day. I was trying to write this post Saturday morning while Daddy was around. Well Daddy disappear, didn’t her and while writing this, my identical boys filled a bath tub with two litres of moisturiser. (I had hidden all the soap, so they have moved onto the next liquid. Why did I not think of this!!!) I broke up numerous fights. While breaking up one fight, a child squeezed into a small spot behind me and smashed my full cup of tea. While I was sweeping up this mess, one of the triplets did a wee all over the kitchen floor. It just continued…
I’m eight and half years into this parenting gig now. I’ve learned that these busy times that are full of disobedience, mischief and mayhem surface regularly. The thing is to keep your calm, well actually, I fail regularly at keeping my calm, my temper is fast and furious. It is ideal to remain completely calm, but more than that, I mean you need to remain steadfast. Know that these seasons will pass. The weird thing is that once they do, there will be a tiny part of you that misses certain aspects of the hard parts of life. For instance the baby years have passed in our family. The baby years are difficult, but even though I don’t miss interrupted sleep, I do miss late night snuggles with my beautiful little babies. I miss that my breasts no longer nourish a small life. I miss the utter dependance on precious little human relies on you for even though I am grateful for the new levels of independence my children keep demonstrating at each stage of development.
I find that survival during these early years of parenting (and I suspect that this is in fact a life long survival technique) comes from remaining consistent keeping in mind the bigger picture that one day these little children will be adults changing the world and in the meantime finding the silver linings and cherishing your blessings. Yes there was mess and dirty little bodies to clean and pandemonium to recover from. I deal with the troubles one by one and guide the child’s heart to be repentant of their errors and build a desire in them to do the right thing. During my own tiredness, I choose to delight in the innocence of their exploration of life and how despite the work they are creating, how these little people I love so dearly and just so darn cute! If you are a Mum who has been struggling with rainy days, take a deep breath in, look at your little ones dimples and soft skin. Drink in their big eyes and their chubby cheeks and keep on soldiering on.
Linking with Essentially Jess for I Blog on Tuesdays.
I have an annual tradition since we have been married. At Christmas time I have sent out Christmas cards accompanied by a newsletter about our year as a couple, and then in later years, as a family. I actually love Christmas cards. I love buying attractive cards, I like writing on them and as much as possible adding a personal little note. I also love receiving them and stringing them up on display. I like drafting and printing the newsletter also. There’s something nice about reflecting on all the nicest parts of your year and laughing at a few of the more embarrassing moments or the catastrophes that you made it through. Alex and I always discuss what goes into the newsletter, but I’m always the one who writes it and adds the pictures. Alex’s job is normally to print it.
That was until 2013. And then 2014. For two years in a row I have had massive Christmas card fail. No cards were sent out from our family. In 2013 I just couldn’t find the energy to find the time and complete the project. I must say I was very disheartened by the fact that we hardly receive any Christmas cards. It seems to be a dying tradition in Australia. Within our circle of family and friends anyway. Either that or they just like us less then I thought… There’s also the fact that I have this blog, so throughout the year, you can now keep up with our family antics, so it seems funny to write it out in condensed version again.
Anyway, for all those reasons, and plus a few more, I didn’t get a card and newsletter out in 2013. But then we did receive some cards, I was so ashamed that I hadn’t reciprocated. I also just missed the whole process. So I decided that I would certainly do better in 2014. I didn’t. I must say, we were just so extraordinarily busy most of 2014, and the year just galloped to a close. I could see how busy the year was, so I blocked out one Saturday to write the Christmas newsletter. I lined up Alex to be on kid duties, I turned down invitations. I was going to get them done. Then the night before.
I didn’t feel so well.
The next day.
I spent three days in bed. When I emerged, I jumped right back on silly season carousel finishing up the school and kindy year (I hang my head and admit that my child was the only child to not give out Christmas cards to his Kindy friends also. But, I had to let it go, because seriously, the kids can’t read to begin with…) and plunging into the school holidays while wrapping up employment odd jobs. I just couldn’t find the time to write. Do you know it’s really busy with five kids? Do you know that two and three year old triplets can suck energy from your very being and the aura surrounding you?
Once again, the cards arrived. I hung my head in shame again and crossed my fingers in hope that I was not struck off the few Christmas card lists we have remained on!
I’ve already told you about my expectations for 2015. So I thought perhaps I would send out a New Year greeting to some of our friends, and I count you, my wonderful blog readers, among that number.
So here, in the style of a family newsletter, is 2014 in review.
Happy New Year, from our family to yours!
We trust that you had a blessed Christmas full of special moments. We celebrated Christmas this year with Caitlin’s family at her parents and sister’s home on their property, “Bantry” one hour from our house. We decided to maximise the festivities on the day we would stay over Christmas Eve and Christmas night. The kids happily stayed an extra day beforehand with Grandma, they love their special “Grandma days”. They don’t get them as often now my parents live further away, which probably makes them even more special.
2014 was a year when our children continued to grow and flourish. It’s amazing when you look at photos from the beginning of the year and realise just how much they have grown and how they have developed. Alex and I have also grown spiritually and emotionally this year. It has been a year that has been often challenging for us, but challenges are often the events that make your roots dig deeper and develop character and strength.
Highlights of 2014 for our Family.
1. Family holidays in Bargara.
As much as we are able, we take advantage and use my parent’s beach house in Bargara. It is a base for them and my sister to use when they visit the Bundaberg farms, but we make the most of using them for recreation. The children are very well acquainted with beaches in Bargara. Their particular favourite (and Alex’s!) is Kelly’s Beach because it has waves that they can surf. The big boys are becoming very good at catching waves on their boogie boards and the triplets delight in playing in the shallow waters. Another big attraction about Kelly’s Beach is the food van parked there every day. The lady now knows our family and she is popular with the kids thanks to her yummy hot chips and ice blocks!
2. Alex, Trent and Jonty travelling to PNG.
In July Alex took Jonty and Trent to Papua New Guinea. It was a return trip for Alex to the village of Kiru where they stayed with missionaries and former mission pastors of TCC, Walo and Namana Ani. They were originally travelling with another family, but pleasantly their visit coincided with a team from Crosshands and they assisted where possible erecting wind turbines to generate electricity for the village. In the Crosshands team was Adrian and Brenton, so the boys loved hanging out with their cousin during the day. It was a wonderful way for the boys to develop global awareness and particularly to be exposed to a Polynesian culture and the joys and limitations of living a village life with less services and facilities compared to our western culture. The boys gained such valuable perspectives and constantly talk about their trip to PNG.
3. Alex’s 40th Birthday at Peregian Beach
Alex turned 40 in April! What a blessing this man is! We were honoured to celebrate all the wisdom, integrity, faithfulness and humour of Alex at this 40 year mark. We were very grateful for Alex’s family and friends who travelled to the Coast to celebrate the event with him. We rented an enormous house at Peregian Beach and enjoyed going to the beach each day and relaxing. Alex’s father, his wife and step-daughter stayed with us, so it was good to spend time together, something that is difficult to do as Alex’s Dad is still living in UAE. We also had friends stay in the house over the birthday weekend. The birthday party was a wonderful evening at Peregian Springs golf club enjoying a BBQ buffet in relaxed surroundings.
4. Aunty Julienne’s Wedding.
Caitlin’s sister Julienne was married in a sultry hot day in October to her beloved Matt. We all think they are a wonderful match and it’s been refreshing to see Matt fit into our family just as easily as Adrian and Alex once did. Matt has four children, so when they are with their Dad, our family functions are huge! 14 kids in total combined with Katrina and my own children! Julienne and Matt’s wedding day was at Bantry. A true bush wedding, they married under the shade of trees in God’s cathedral. Afterwards there was a fun fair with roving entertainers as well as stalls laden with delectables. This was followed by an evening meal. Caitlin was honoured to be a bridesmaid, which left Alex with the arduous task of dressing the five children and getting them to the ceremony on his own. He did an amazing job, although we won’t mention the child who wore shoes four sizes too large!
Sadness in 2014
Earlier in the week before Julienne was married, we farewelled my grandfather, Clarence Joseph Youngberry. (Trent shares his Great Grandad’s middle name.) Caitlin’s paternal grandfather passed away at 96 years of age after declining health following a stroke earlier in the year. We feel blessed that Grandad was such an active part of our lives and we loved him dearly.
Family Members Updates
Alex has completed another year as Senior Accountant at Arch Roggeveen & Assoc. Alex has really enjoyed working with this firm and is flourishing as he helps individuals and business with tax.
Alex received a Yamaha WR450 motorbike for his birthday. The children love riding on the motorbike with Daddy and is a favourite Saturday afternoon activity. He has really enjoyed how smoothly it rides, although it has been difficult for him to find the time to go out and enjoy it with a busy family life and an increase in church and school commitments this year.
Alex is now a member of our church’s management committee. This has not been an easy job to walk into and Alex is prayerfully working with the committee to solve some issues that have surfaced in the past 18 months. It has been a very challenging journey, and if you look with natural eyes, the task seems insurmountable. However, we have a strong sense of calling to this church family and believe that God is at work despite the hardship and that his name will continue to be glorified in this House and from here to our city and world. Alex also has begun service on the school board of the school Jonty attends. This has also been a lot of work learning how schools function, government policies and effective administration of a school community. Despite the workload, Alex is enjoying his role in creating a secure place for quality Christian education of the next generation.
As a Daddy, Alex enjoys reading bedtime stories to the children every evening. It is such a special time that the children look forward to each night. With our extensive gardens and land surrounding our house, Alex spends a great deal of time on Saturdays doing yard work. He constantly has shadows as he works as the children traipse after him. He almost always is accompanied by small helpers and they particularly enjoy rides on the lawn mower. Alex also keeps our pool in order and has enjoyed the challenge working out the PH and balance of the water and keeping it maintained. The pool has looked a lot better in the latter half of the year once he purchased a new sand filtration unit.
Altogether Alex has an enormous year and well and truly enjoyed our beach holiday at the conclusion of the year.
Caitlin has been busy this year continuing to be a SAH for the five children. She has really enjoyed finding moments to have one on one time with each moment. These special moments of connecting has been some of the highlights of her year!
She has enjoyed continuing to work for USQ as a Professional Experience Liaison as it’s a flexible job that allows her to use her education skills.
Caitlin continues to take much joy investing a lot of time and energy into her blog. It was her aim to increase readership, move from blogger to wordpress and to have her own domain name, she just scraped in achieving her goals with her blog rolling over to www.caitlinshappyheart.com on Christmas Eve. She is really praying that the blog will become more well known and that stories and tips from her happy heart is infectious and that she brings joy to others who read it.
As a step in the direction of making her blog more professional, Caitlin attended one of the largest blogging conferences in Australia in August. Problogger was a highlight of her year and very inspiring time for her, even if it was a little bit overwhelming also. It was held at the very funky QT hotel at the Gold Coast. Apart from the great information during the conference she particular enjoyed eating a lot of delicious food – the included meals were amazing and as for the in-house restaurant Bazaar – yummo!
As much as Caitlin loves time with the children, she also adores getaways with Alex. They were able to getaway twice this year. Once to Brisbane, dinner at Eagle St. Wharf and staying at Stamford for their anniversary in January. A bit later in the year they also had a quick trip with an overnight stay to celebrate a friends 40th birthday.
In September Caitlin had her first speaking gig. She spoke to a group of ladies about “Pursuing Your Passion and Being Purposeful” at a craft retreat at Ravensbourne. She also loved hanging out with some friends at the retreat and doing a lot of crocheting. She almost finished a UFO (unfinished object) of a single bed blanket. Unfortunately on returning home she hasn’t picked it up again… Maybe a resolution to finish it in 2015 is in order?
Jonty completed Year 2 this year and had a wonderful year at school. He was truly blessed to have had a wonderful teacher who understood him and his little personality quirks and worked with him gently guiding and inspiring him throughout the year. He started learning the piano this year. Practice is a bit of a bore for him, but he is actually persisting with it so he can play another instrument, but we have said he needs to prove that he can stick with the piano first!
For Jonty’s birthday this year we gave him a trip to Australia Zoo with the family. Just to make it extra special for him he got to choose an animal to have an experience with. It was so special seeing Jonty bond with an echidna. It was a lovely 8th birthday tradition to start, but the day was very difficult with three over tired two year olds. Luckily at the end of the day, after we had retrieved a lost child from the gift shop, Jonty remarked what a wonderful day it was. It seemed the public meltdowns didn’t phase him at all. Crocs rule over cranky triplets apparently!
During the winter months Jonty played soccer for our local team. He has had the same coach for three years now, and it’s good to see his skill continue to improve. Jonty is extremely talkative and will constantly plaster us with questions or explain in great detail little schemes and inventions he is planning. His favourite activities are climbing trees, playing with Hot Wheels cars, and riding his Yamaha 50cc motorbike. He has become passionate about becoming a farmer. Almost every library book he loans is about farms or tractors and when he goes out to Bantry and during a trip to Moolin Downs out west, he is Grandad’s shadow ‘doing farm work’ as much possible. It has been beautiful to watch Jonty’s hunger for Spiritual elements of life as well.
Trent’s formal education began this year with an amazing year of Kindy. His delightful teacher (who also taught Jonty) ensured that his year was one full of play, learning and just a little fairy magic. (Trent was infatuated with the Kindy fairies Sunshine and Martin!) He would come home covered in dirt and full of stories, quoting little rhymes and catchphrases and singing little ditties. Trent is our little superhero and is obsessed with all things heroic. Most days he is donned in superhero clothes and costumes. He is full of energy and testosterone, often running around roaring for no apparent reason. He has also developed an obsession for Lego after receiving several boxes for his birthday. He can follow the instructions and put the pieces together remarkably well for his five years of age. Trent flourishes with kind words and encouragement and in return will also come out with many loving words of his own. He has been a great big brother to the triplets and they will miss him greatly next year as he heads off to school. During the days he was at home, he would have them organised in creative play and be doting and encouraging to them. (Breaking for regular fights, as is the custom of sibling relationships.) Trent’s favourite colour is green, and will normally wear (if it’s not superhero related) paint, write and eat all things green. Have you picked up that he has a slightly obsessive personality when he likes something? He is a true little extrovert he loves connecting with people and spending time with his friends.
It’s hard to believe the triplets turned three in October. They had a small ice-cream party with the extended family and a friend. Unfortunately we survived the “terrible twos” and all the mischief that their united forces showered upon us, but as soon as the triplets turned three they descended into the dark hole of three year old tantrums and have taken their in-house bickering and sibling combat up a ferocious notch! At any one time one of the trio is normally sporting a bruise or a bite mark they have received from the other. Throughout the year they have also (almost) conquered potty training! If you are imagining that this would be a mess, tiring and sometimes down what gross job. You would be absolutely correct. There are still accidents during the day on occasions and they are not quite there during the nights, but we are very proud of their progress. It is just a delightful gift watching multiples grow up together. Despite the fights, they are one another’s best mates. They always hang out together and it is amusing to listen in as they chatter with one another. They are wonderful talkers and their conversations are a constant source of joy and amusement.
Toby is a little dynamo. He talks the least of the triplets and is the most introverted. Jayden and Toby seem to have a connection, perhaps it is the identical factor. However Toby will happily play on his own for extended periods of time. He also talks the least of the children, but to make up for it he has perfected a posed smile leaning his head to his shoulders, squinting his eyes and doing a contorted smile. It’s very funny. While he might be introverted, he is by no means reclusive. In fact he is quite the bully of the trio and is quick to manhandle others to get his own way. Teaching him gracefulness is still a work in progress! Toby loves to cuddle and when he wraps his arms around you and snuggles into your neck, it’s just about one of the best feelings in the world!
Jayden is the strongest extrovert of all our children. He is constantly looking to gain eye contact with others and engage in conversation and have a laugh with. He is consistently the mischief maker and can create havoc in ten seconds flat. He is normally the common denominator when things are ‘triplet trashed’, probably because of his inquisitive nature and his reluctance to play on his own. He also has a beautiful sensitive nature. He is quick to respond to correction and apologises quickly and (mostly) sincerely. It’s been amazing to see his personality develop and along with it his love and concern for people. He is a true ‘people person’.
People often say Imogen will be very protected having four brothers. While we think that is true and we are training our young men to be gentleman and caring to girls and women, it is also safe to assume that Immy is well adept in protecting herself in most situations to begin with. With four brothers, she is one tough chick! Nevertheless, she is completely female from her higher pitched girly voice, to her love of salad (which may well be a saving grace considering her insatiable desire for chocolate and cheese) and her absolute passion for shopping. She is a bright little thing, and if she senses that a shopping trip may be on the cards, her handbag will be ready and she will watch any movements toward the car like a hawk and beg to go shopping. Once she is on the expedition, she will repeatedly plead, “Just one more shop?”
Imogen is also mad keen at drawing and crafting. She will happily sit for extended periods of time with her paints, textas or pencils – something our boys have never been as keen to do.
Imogen talks with absolute clarity and uses her words to boss the boys around continually. (To her chagrin, they normally ignore her) She knows she is as cute as a button and has a giggle designed to charm and literally knows how to bat her eyelashes. Perhaps our boys will need to be on her guard after all!
Our labrador Bronco continues to be a beloved part of our family. Although his roaming had stopped in his previous days, when he returned to the house we now lived he remembered roaming free and wild in the days of his youth and began the project of introducing us to our neighbours. Unfortunately this project meant that he consistently would cross the busy highway opposite our house. In the last several months he has ceased playing in traffic and now when he has the chance will head several kilometres down the back paddock and visits his doggy mates living at a house backing onto the our property. If he tires of this friends, he will trot up the road to another house with dogs. This has turned out to be a great convenience for us as Caitlin always knows where to find him when he goes missing now. Luckily for Bronco, his mate’s humans are wonderfully nice people and have our phone number on speed dial and are quite indulgent in letting him stay for a play.
The children adore Bronco and he is as good natured as ever with them, although he is quite happy to gently steal food from the children and for the most part they now have protective behaviour when eating food outdoors. (The triplets generally put their food on their heads in between bites if Bronco is around.) Alex bought a trailer this year, so now Bronco is included on family holidays, it appears that he thinks the bumpy trip is worth the extra time with the family.
So that was 2014 for our family in a nutshell. What were some of the highlights of your 2014? Tell me! I’d love to know!
Two year olds like their routine. Triplet two year olds are no exception and for Mummy, routine and multiples can be quite the necessity. Routines and toddlers is can often result in more settled children because there is a comfort and security in them being able to predict what is happening in their little lives.
Since the triplets are ‘the youngest’, their lives also need to be flexible enough to fit in with the older boys routines. I am fortunate that because of In Home Care I am able to get somebody in to stay at home with the triplets when I am out and about running errands, helping out or doing drop offs/pick ups at Kindy or school and doing soccer practises and swimming lessons.
So at the moment my 34 month old triplet’s routine is:
7am – Their bedroom door remains shut until Mummy or Daddy comes in to say Good Morning. Beds are made and then they come out for breakfast.
8am – Say Goodbye to Daddy and Jonty.
Somewhere in between 8:00-9:30, depending on what day it is, the triplets get dressed. When we need to be out and about, getting dressed if often rushed and frantic and they need to be dressed before 8:30, even if we need to be out of the house by 9:00 it’s very busy. (The worst is that they are all dressed and then we need to go shoe hunting? What is it with shoes going missing out and odd socks?) On days we don’t need to be out of the house in the morning, (my favourite type of days!) We take it slowly and if the children are playing nicely, I don’t rush the dressing process.
8:30-10:30 – On home days, the children will often play independently and very happily with one another in the morning while I get jobs done.
10:30 – Morning Tea
10:45 – 12:30 – Craft time and Outdoor Time.
Painting is a favourite craft activity.
Sometimes outdoor play will include a visit to a park.
12:30pm – Lunch
Lunchtime! Vegemite sandwiches are the most frequent demand request.
1:00 – Nap – if I’m lucky. The triplets are not having naps every day anymore. It’s very sad and makes for a more exhausting day for all of us. If they don’t nap, I try to do quieter activities like reading or puzzles. Although often they will elect to do puzzles during free play in the mornings. Puzzles are a big hit around here at the moment. Sometimes I still put them in their rooms and just let them play. They actually just have a really great time in there together, and if they aren’t tired, there’s no point pushing the issue, otherwise they won’t sleep in the evening.
2:30 – Start waking. Do a quiet activity as they wake up. This is also a good time to do cooking with them if it’s not a kindy Pick up day. If it’s a day the triplet’s need to come with me to the Kindy, (thankfully most of the time I have it covered) I may have to wake some toddlers up. Last week I had to wake three up out of a deep sleep. It was heart breaking.
3:15 – Jonty home from school. Afternoon Tea. Outdoor Play. Imogen has started only having a short play outside lately and comes inside and does a colouring-in. While they are happily playing I also supervise Jonty’s piano practise and homework.
Eating afternoon tea defensively. They put their apples on their heads in between bites so the dog doesn’t eat it!
4:30 – Bathtime. Because it’s winter and the days start getting cold as the afternoon progresses, we have been bathing the triplets earlier. In the summer it’s 5:00/5:30.
5:00 – Tidy Up and Play as I get dinner ready. If I’m lucky. Some days they will pester me in the kitchen more then others! I try not to turn on the TV because Immy has established an addiction and absolutely melts down when it is turned off and refuses to eat dinner. However some days I just need to turn on ABC2 and cross my fingers when it’s time to turn it off.
6:00 – Daddy arrives home from work. Is greeted enthusiastically. Unless the TV is turned on. Another good reason to not turn it on.
6:15/6:30 – Family dinner around the dining table.
7:00/7:30 – Take dishes to the sink, clean teeth and read stories before tucked in bedtime prayers are said.
Almost ready for bed!
That’s the rough plan for each day. A rigid plan would not work for me, and I also think that it is good for children to be adaptable enough to cope if there are differences in their day.
Part of our routine is Playgroup on Monday and Wednesday mornings. On Fridays we will often get out of the house with Trent (it’s not his
Kindy day on Friday) and go and visit great grandparents. The children are lucky enough to have two great grandparents in town and we normally alternate visiting Great Nana and Great Grandad. On the odd occasion we have travelled to a nearby country town where my grandfather is in a nursing home and visit their 3rd Great Papa. Some mornings we may do the Kindy drop off and I will go for a walk with the triplet’s in a pram and then we end the journey with them spending an hour or so at a park, or we might travel into town and go to a park. I need to be very careful of the parks I choose to go with three toddlers to, but we have a few that they are now familiar with.
Balancing on the bricks on their way to visit Great Grandad
Mummy’s routine of course is to relax/collapse/drink wine once lights are out at 7:30. Fortunately they are fairly good at going straight to sleep. When they don’t, I need to pray for extra grace and patience because by 8:00 I do not want to be dealing with kids!
What are regular routines in your house that make things tick smoothly? Do you have regular outings also? Linking with
I have recently discovered a very sweet children’s store online called Sweet Elephants. Over the weekend my children have had lots of fun playing with two products from Sweet Elephants. The Mother’s Corn Bubbles and an Eye Spy pack that we were sent for us to review. I am delighted to share about these products with you since my kids have really loved using them.
Do you love it when your child is sitting still and deeply engrossed in a screen free activity? I certainly do, which is why I have immediately become a big fan of this toy. (I have to say, I have been far more impressed by these little bags than I thought I would be.)
When we received our parcel from Sweet Elephants the Eye Spy Bag was wrapped up in brown paper and string. (How quaint!) The triplets loved opening ‘the present’, even if there was a little anxiety when one of the others had their turn as each waited anxiously to open it.
They were instantly captivated by holding the bag full of beads and searching for the little surprises that would appear in front of the clear panel.
It is actually a great manipulative for their age group, and they really had to concentrate, think, problem solve and use fine motor skills to work out how to get new objects to appear in the window.
I also had peace of mind that the triple stitching was safe and the little ‘beanbags’ wouldn’t escape.
Because it is a quiet activity, it’s a great tool to have for trips in the car and is also easy to throw in the handbag for periods when children need to be quiet like in waiting rooms or shopping. It also has the extra benefit of no meltdown when you take it off them, (unlike electronic games, iPads and phones)!On the weekend, I took it with me when we went to church. My 7 year old niece particularly loved it. She had never seen it before and picked it up. Because of the handy tag clipped onto the bag, she immediately knew she had to search for the things listed on the tag and she studiously became engrossed in making sure she found everything.
We went out to a restaurant afterwards and once again the eye spy bag became handy to give to children to keep them occupied. Mind you, it’s not necessarily a quiet activity if you have a two year old enthusiastically calling out the names of the objects he sees! Great for language development though! When the kids were finished with the bag, it was actually passed around the table and all the adults had a play! Even the men! One man commented that he would like to play with it in church, but commented that he would have to sit down the back so the pastor couldn’t see!
Some iPhone snaps my sister took yesterday as the kids were playing. Can you see how interested Toby is as Jayden discovers the hidden objects?
I’m definitely thinking of getting another one or two for my children, the only hesitation I have is that some of the things inside the various bags overlap, so there won’t be as much interest for them when they swap bags. I think it will be an excellent stocking stuffer and maybe even getting some to put away for gifts for others. I think I might buy some to put away for gifts also. They are a great first birthday present or gift for a toddler. I think the Mummy will be very grateful for this gift as well as the child! Older children like it as well, but I don’t think I’d give it as a present. Just have it available for them to use at the right time. My sister commented yesterday that she thought it would be a great product to have as a calming activity for ASD children or children that might be tense.
Wow, these are really bubbles with a difference! You blow them and when the glistening rainbow colour starts to fade into a pearly white, you can catch the bubbles in your hand!
It actually makes the bubbles ideal for older and younger age groups. We didn’t get any nice photos catching the bubbles in our hand, it was all a bit fast paced with the triplets around! I will definitely get these out again when the older necies and nephews are around, I think they will all love playing with them. It was funny that a host of bubbles got trapped in the trampoline net like bugs on a windshield!
We also found that the white bubbles would rest on the grass, get caught and be suspended in silvery spider webs and delicately sit on the branches of trees or on bushes of flowers.
The bubble blower is exceptionally well designed with a tray included and a place to stand the blower when not in use. The blower was easy for children to use and they couldn’t backwash into the pipe. It was also comforting to know that they are safe and eco friendly.
The blower great design also meant that when the children blew through it, there was an enormous supply a bubbles that they blew! There were a few squabbles over whose turn it was. Quite understandable really, because normally the children are too little to be able to blow bubbles properly, but with this product they were making hundreds of bubbles!
Mostly the children blew small bubbles. Jonty started to learn that the more slowly you blew, the bigger the bubble would be.
We played with the bubbles on Saturday afternoon
and also Sunday afternoon. Daddy was giving rides on the motorbike, so the children were happy to blow and catch bubbles as they waited for their turn.
For those who saw my Facebook post during the week about The Accountant’s pride and joy, please note new tyres.
Learning how to get my camera off auto and onto manual is a goal of mine, just as so as I can find the time to learn! Photographing bubbles, even on auto was a lot of fun! When I do learn, I can’t wait to have a play photographing bubbles. I think there is a lot of room for creativity with bubbles and cameras. Mother’s Corn Bubbles are actually a really good choice for photographing bubbles also because the bubbles last longer than ordinary bubbles. I think I will recommend them to my sister to use at her wedding in a few months time. The refill prices were quite reasonable also.
This is not a sponsored post, Sweet Elephants gave us these two products to review. Of course I was more then happy to do so after my children so obviously enjoyed them so much. They get a big thumbs up from us all!
As a special bonus for Caitlin’s Happy Heart readers, you will receive a 10% discount if you buy an Eye Spy Bag or Mother’s Corn Stackable Bubbles at Sweet Elephants if you enter the code iheart10 at the checkout.
We are linking with Eva today at Multi-Tasking Mummy
I have very loosely been following my friend Juanita’s Play Each Day Challenge. If you scroll down you’ll find the challenge on her Facebook Page, you should follow her Facebook page or Instagram page, her ideas for playing with kids are inspired, and her little boy is pretty cute as well!
On Saturday the prompt was messy play. I filled my largest saucepan and made a completely full saucepan full of porridge. Which incidentally, is very handy if you’ve had a busy day and didn’t have time for lunch. You can eat the kids craft before you give it to them! (Not that I had time to finish eating, if you look closely there’s a little bit of milk in the tray because I ended up tipping my bowl full back in the mix!)
I thought that an oatmeal swamp would be nice and gooey for plastic dinosaurs to have a good old stomp around in. It turned out I was right, dinosaurs love wallowing in porridge!
I cleared a hole before they started and tipped some colour water into the middle so they had a water hole to drink from. As soon as the children were allowed to play, (Bloggers children learn that they need to wait for photos to be taken before they are allowed to play. It’s a good lesson for them in self control!) those dinosaurs headed straight for the water hole. But oh no, they didn’t want to drink there! Swimming is what dinosaurs like to do in ponds.
Before long those dinosaurs were splashing and dive bombing with gay abandon.
The price was heavy, the pond disappeared and the swamp turned blue. Imogen was distraught and wept over the dinosaurs unruly behaviour.
The beauty of letting children play with oatmeal in winter is it is absolutely delightful for dry skin and leaves it ever so soft.
It is also very safe for taste testing. Funnily enough Jayden will not eat porridge for breakfast, but somehow he thought it was delicious when eaten off dinosaur feet. He started using the dino like a spoon at one stage.
At first the dog was happy to just chill next to the kids while they played. But he is a labrador, and before long he too noticed it was edible! At this point, every stray flick of porridge was promptly cleaned up by the canine cleaning crew. Excellent service.
Before long it was time to go inside. It was straight to the bath.
Once they were undressed, they had one last sensory experience. I let them stand and smooth the oatmeal with their feet and between their toes. The boys loved doing it. Immy, not so much.
I even had a try!
The dinosaurs were sent to the bath to be cleaned also. They tried to get back into the swamp. The swamp needed to be relocated.
It was a really fun activity on a Saturday afternoon! Thanks for the inspiration Wife Mumma Life!
Potty training triplets is not for the faint hearted. It seems that my mantra during these days is, “You can wash your hands with soap.” I say this to myself constantly as I encounter all types of undesirable outcomes and my hands often come into contact with all sorts of elements and germs. Oh my, the germs. Best not to think about them for too long. Although it is very necessary to think about them because the triplets certainly do not think about the wealth of virus, germs and diseases that can be associated with toilets and all areas within its vicinity. I am not a germaphobic my heart is so often quivering as I see them enthusiastically embrace the toilet bowl and put their hands in regions that hands should not be.
When I started potty training I thought I would follow the triplets progress here on the blog. Then my blog got broken and I lost the momentum. So, I will give you an update of what has been happening in the month or two since.
Firstly. My success story. The girl.
I’m so proud of Imogen. She was pretty well potty trained during the day within the first month. A lot of people had said that she would be easier to potty train. I made no assumptions. My sister has three daughters and two sons, and her sons have been far easier to potty train then the daughters. I’m very happy for her that she fulfilled the stereotypical prophecy and is confident going to the potty, and in fact now she favours the big toilet. Go girl power!
It was obvious right from the start that she had excellent bladder control. Initially Immy found the whole concept of the toilet abhorrent. Therefore, she was holding on for hours at a time until she had a nappy put on her or until she just couldn’t hold on anymore and then the currents would gush. I had stopped her sleeping in nappies during the day so she wouldn’t be waiting for them, but she was still holding on.
The first time we had a waterfall in the potty she looked at me, completely disgusted as it happened and then gave me the cold shoulder for about an hour afterwards. I had been sitting watching a TV show with her while she sat on the pot, stroking her back because she desperately needed to go, but didn’t want to do it and didn’t want to sit still enough for it to happen. When it did happen her looks and actions communicated very clearly, “That was so disgusting. I can’t believe you made me do that. Peeing into a nappy is so much more civilised.”
During the ‘Make Imogen Relax So She Does a Wee’ period. Big brother Trent was very caring. He’s stroking her back for her while she grudgingly watched TV.
The breakthrough moment came when I started dishing up bribes. We now have potty lollies situated in our pantry. They are housed in this particularly stunning one of it’s kind art on a jar. Made by eldest when he was in Kindy. Despite it’s looks, it isn’t anything sinister. It’s a self portrait, and at the time, he was keen on including bones in all drawings of people. The poor love also worked out at a later stage of his development that his arms don’t grow out the sides of his head.
It turns out that children will do amazing things for an M&M, not the least of which includes peeing in a potty. After the first day of potty lollies, Imogen was up bright and early, parked her potty at my feet while I worked on the computer and sat there for almost an hour until a wee was produced!
OK, so it was first thing in the morning, she still had bed hair and breakfast on her face.
Within a day or so, she had worked out what the feeling was and knew when to head to the potty. By the end of the week she was taking herself to the toilet to wee and poo. Champion child. She still does love her nappies which she wears at nights. She is known to immediately do a wee in them when she gets it on after bath time, which is a little disappointing, but hey, I haven’t had to clean up any dirty pants for over a month now of hers, so I can easily forgive her transgressions.
Proud big brother again.
The boys on the other hand. Well, it is discouraging work to say the least. They also love receiving potty lollies. They will go to the toilet most of the time when asked, and are very good at peeing on demand in order to receive chocolate. However they hardly ever take themselves to the toilet and will happily wee all over their clothes and remain that way until discovered sopping wet and smelly. Never, ever have they done a poo in the potty. Which means that I have cleaned countless dirty pants. And my boys are great at dirtying said pants many times a day. And to gross you out further, they mostly don’t produce the lumps that you just drop into the toilet. There pants are more likely the take into the backyard, put in a garden bed and hose down with a high power hose. Come springtime, our garden is going to be positively blooming with all the organic fertiliser I am dosing it with.
On Saturday I declared that I was giving up and putting them back in nappies. They have worn nappies the previous two days, but really it didn’t have anything to do with my declaration, we were just out of the house both days, and I only take the boys out of the house in pants for short trips. For obvious reasons. Imogen always leaves the house in pants now, because when she needs to go she asks. The boys don’t and while I clean them up, there needs to be someone else around to watch the other two. Also, ever since they were newborns, the identical boys mostly toilet in sync. So while I’m cleaning one up, the other is normally waiting dirty or wet, so it’s a very time consuming process while out and leaves me spending far too much in public bathrooms, which are one of the least desirable places to hang out in.
The reason why I am hesitating, is the can go to the toilet for wees. They just need the prompting. It seems a shame to go back on all our hard work. Also, my in home carer, Miss Stacey, has been doing a great job with toi
let training, and it feels like I would be giving up on her work too. (Sidenote: I’m grateful that she has also cleaned up her fair share of dirty pants also. One of the yuckiest jobs in the world.) To be truthful she’s a lot better and reminding them to go to the toilet. Normally I am so busy doing other things I will forget. Either that, they will be really focussed on an activity, so I give them a bit longer before insisting on them doing the trip to the bathroom and the inevitable happens during that time.
Another reason for persisting with the pants and just putting up with cleaning dirty and wet pants is that triplets are all about equality. This is one of the reasons we have been potty training together. They are very good at looking at each other and demanding the same treatment. I’m afraid that if I start putting nappies on the others Immy could regress, because like I’ve said, she still loves her nappies. She may have meltdowns and stop going to the toilet in defiance to being the only kid in pants.
I have a feeling that come the warm weather the boys will go a lot better having no pants on. I think it will give them a better awareness of when they were going. That’s the way it was with my 2nd son anyway. He would go to the toilet (he never used the potty, which was fine with me) if he had no pants on, but if he had pants on then he would always wet them.
And so, here I am today. They are still in the jammies and I’m trying to decide which way to go pants – nappies. Let me know what you think!
I thought I should include a photo of the triplets fully clothed. It does illustrate the triplets are all for equality though. Look at Immy checking out she had the same lunch as Jayden!
We have been allowing them to spend as much time with ‘big girl/boy’ pants or no pants at all as much as possible. I had been putting nappies on them to sleep. It soon became apparent that Imogen was holding on for as long as possible to do a wee in the nappy. I then started to put her to bed with no nappy whatsoever. I was very surprised that she was waking up dry from her daytime nap! In the evening if she hadn’t been to the toilet I also put her down without a nappy, which did mean wet sheets on one night. The second night she fell asleep without wetting the bed and I put a nappy on her after she was asleep. Most of the time she pretty well refuses to wear pants. It is getting colder, so I’m hoping she’ll start wearing them soon!
The boys are showing some interest, more enthusiasm from Imogen, but it hasn’t entirely clicked in either of their heads yet. Toby seems to have more awareness though then last week when he virtually had none!
All of them have done number 1’s in the potty, but have not done this with any regularity. They quite liked sitting on the potty together at times. Miss Stacey has been doing a great job with helping them on their journey to pants!
I’m still not certain that we will continue or give it another shot when the weather warms up. We’ve had some successes, but there is still a lot of resistance coming from them. If it gets too much, I will try again when they are going to be a bit more enthusiastic. At least when the weather is warmer it’s easier to run around naked!
But without further ado, I’ll show you some pictures of the potty training triplets journey for Wordless Wednesday. Which is kind of Words are Less, rather then no words type of Wordless for me!
With so many little individuals fascinated about toilets right now, why wouldn’t you spot this as you walk past a hallway?
And then disappearing around the corner.
Miss Stacey patiently encouraging patient sitting.
They had a pleasant communal evening potty session.
This time a tandem potty sesh.
They both needed to go at the same time. I turned around to pick something up and before I knew it the toilet paper was being loaded into the loo.
I might have stopped it from happening the first time, but later in the day I went into the toilet to find the roll had been ‘used’. (And of course the empty roll was still on the hanger. We’ll get to that lesson later…
Last night Toby and Jayden and I read a really cute little story, “Snail and Turtle are Friends”.
Snail and Turtle are friends and love to spend time together. They like to run, walk and enjoy being quiet together. Snail and Turtle like hiding, but never from each other.
It is such a sweet book about friendship. I loved how it showed that Snail and Turtle liked being quiet together. Not everyone wants to spend time ‘doing’ stuff together all the time. It’s nice for children to know it’s OK to just enjoy being together sometimes. I would imagine this would be a particularly good book for children who are a little introverted. In fact, it could be a good conversation starter for extroverted children to understand how different people need different things.
Award-winning author and illustrator Stephen Michael King has written the story and illustrated it delightful. I love the page where snail and turtle ‘run’, you can see they both don’t get very far! The boys loved seeing them in their shells and searching for them when Snail and Turtle hid. I hadn’t realised that Mutt Dog was Stephen Michael King’s book also, it is one of my kids favourite books to borrow from the library. Other publications include The Magnificent Tree, Henry and Amy, The Man Who Loved Boxes and Pocket Dogs.
Poor little Immy missed out on the story. After almost falling to sleep at dinner, she crashed as soon as her head hit the pillow. At 2am we discovered why when she started vomitting. Jayden soon followed, so far Toby is holding out strong. Fingers crossed it doesn’t spread, but with multiples it normally does. I’m feeling a bit quesy myself so we’re having a nice quiet day today. Potty training will be suspended until further notice, especially since I took Jayden’s nappy off this morning and then he had diarrhoea. Ick. (I’ll update you on Potty Training Week 2 tomorrow, OK?)
So, do you have extrovert or introverted children? I’d say Trent and Jayden are definitely extroverts. Toby and Jonty are most likely to be introverts. (Although they aren’t shy, as some introverts can be. They just like spending time on their own.) I’m not sure about Immy, she swings with however she is feeling! She can be such a show-off at times, but she does often play on her own, but sometimes I’m not sure if it’s because she doesn’t have the ‘identical bond’ that the other two triplets have. Isn’t it interesting watching children’s character and personalities develop?
A blog written as a reminder to my future self. (If my children are also reading this in the future. Please come and hug me and say thank you for keeping us alive after you are finished reading. Incidentally older children of the future. Very proud you can read. At the moment it seems like that day will never happen.)
Remember these days self? When the triplets were only two. Self, so glad you have made it into the future, I knew we could do it. But oh my, days like these, remember how it was simply putting one foot in front of the other.
The morning starts as usual. Flurry of activity. Lots of crying as Daddy gets breakfast and children object to certain coloured bowls or the cereal they are given. We have been to a parenting course that says this should never happen. But it does happen. We don’t want it too, but it does.
I avoid the kitchen until I surface showered and make-up on, because I know once I emerge there will be no time left to do things for me.
Eat cereal child. Sit down boy. Stop crying girl. Put your uniform on oldest. Mean Mummy starts barking out the orders. What you need to wear a red t-shirt because it’s cross country today? Your red t-shirt is dirty. Here roll the sleeves up on this long sleeved shirt. Stop crying toddler. Stop touching your brothers things little sibling.
The experts say I shouldn’t be giving so many instructions as a negative. I should be phrasing them in a positive way. Stop being so bossy, experts. Don’t you know you are giving us all guilt trips? Constantly.
All in red. Go Graham Go! (Graham feels like such an odd house name to cheer.) We all look like tomatoes.
Find shoes. Gosh I hate finding shoes. Find several red shoes. Yay me! Cannot convince blue triplet to wear red shoes. Somehow blue triplet doesn’t realise that he is in fact in red shorts and a red top with a red hat. And now blue shoes. Never mind, you can still tell what house he represents!
Load into the car. Triplet 1, Triplet 2, Triplet 3.
Zip across to school. The race is about to start soon. Hurry, hurry, hurry. No time to get a big heavy, cumbersome triplet pram out. Hold three hands at once, walk slowly up to the oval. Still quicker than the stroller. I’m sure.
Cheer big boy on! Go, go, go! Race is all over. Kiss goodbye. Back in the car. It’s slow walking with two year olds. It’s OK I reassure myself, there is no big agenda today. There is no time schedule to keep. It’s OK to go slow.
Four children buckled in. Off we go. It is time to visit my grandfather. Haven’t seen him for a few weeks. In we go. Holding three hands at one time, fourth child holds a triplet hand. Walk up path together. It’s OK to go slow. Model children. Old folk glance out from them units and most of them smile. Proud Mummy moment. Arrive at Great Grandad’s. He beams. A little bit of sunshine for him during those long lonely days. The children sit down and have their obligatory great grandparent treat of a chocolate and juice. Great-Grandad gets concerned that so many chocolates are disappearing. A child gives him one of the chocolates like the children needs help opening the wrapper. They all eat happily.
Back to the car. Model children once again. Patting self on the back. I did this too soon.
Last errand. I want to start potty training in earnest next week. Pants need to be obtained which weren’t bought when I planned earlier in the week because annoying things happened like car batteries dying. I also want to buy shoes. Feet keep growing and there is much wailing as I keep on forcing shoes that are too small onto growing feet.
The last time I went to Big W and put the trio in the trolley. It was a disaster. Much crying. Standing in seats, hanging out the ends, chucking in unapproved items. Surely the triplet stroller is a wiser choice. Except they all like to sit in the top seat. She gets to sit there today. She is happy. Blue shoe him is not happy. A conciliatory cuddle, a word of explanation, he stops crying and is gracious. Allows himself to be seated in the pram. He is my easy going child, although I have seen easy going children in other families, and they don’t bite and bully. You can’t be a push over if you the only laid back personality in a family full of feisty individuals.
Red boots emerge from the car demanding to be seated up top on the seat of glory. Request denied. There is no gracious submission. There is loud screams, indignant wails, kicking and general thrashing about, only contained by an amazing little device called “The Houdini Stop“. I only wish I knew about these straps when I was trying to get the triplets to sit still in highchairs…
I walk towards the shops. Tantrum in progress. All seated waiting for the bus turn and stare. As if the bulk of the triplet stroller doesn’t already attract enough attention. I cross the road, head towards the door, then turn around. It’s OK to go slow. (One day I will be convinced when I say this to myself.) I don’t need to go into the shop straight away. If I walk around to the other side of the centre. Maybe he will have cooled down by then. No. I walk out to the road. Perhaps a walk around the block? Keep walking. Still crying. Crying settles down a little, we’re at Aldi. Aldi sells cheap sultanas. This could be a good thing for getting through the rest of the expedition.
You can’t zip into anywhere with a triplet stroller. I should know that. The ramp is long and has corners. It doesn’t look like I can fit, I wait until the trolleys come down. Old lady stops and talks. She had triplets too. Her boys are 38 now. She survived. And she didn’t have triple prams. Third child squeezed in behind another in a double stroller. Mine is having a breakdown because he can’t sit in his chosen seat.
There are no photos of today. Obviously. Small girl is not up the top. Today was survival mode. We don’t have time to take photos when we are in survival mode. But in case you would like a mental image of what the triplet stroller looks like, here it is.
Up the ramp. Uh oh. Someone came down the ramp. Phew could squeeze pram past the trolley, only just. In! Grab sultanas. And some pop top juice. Tantrum starts again. People staring. Line up. Man in front whirls around and starts talking to Red Boots. Red Boots is startled. The old fellow is a larrakin, reminds me of my own grandfather. Non-Aussies. (Larrakin=mischievous, funny and lively old fellow.) Takes Red Boot’s mind off his woes. Relieved mother. Until old larrikan takes forever loading his 14 cans of peaches onto the conveyor belt. What does an old guy use 14 cans of peaches for? Half a dozen cans of baked beans. Ok then. Next are plum queries. He has bagged every variety and now wants them weighed and priced before he decides which ones to buy. The troops are starting to get restless. Finally, he has paid. Shoot. I can’t fit through the aisle. Everyone needs to back out of the aisle and I need to go through another one to pay for my juice and sultanas. Old larrikan decides he wants to give the
kids change each. They all get a $2 coin each. Old larrikan starts panicking that they will eat it. Takes coins off children and gives to me. Tantrum starts again. Quick! Sultanas. Sultanas rejected. Now littered over Aldi floor. I’m scrambling around on hands and knees picking them up. Old lady looks down, “I wouldn’t mind love, I’m sure worse has happened.” Yes I’m sure, but if they are going to talk to me after they leave, at least they won’t be complaining that I didn’t even pick up the mess…
Back down the ramp. Phew. No people. Red Boots starts eating sultanas. Peace is restored. Best and Less. Where are the training pants? Finally located. Where are the size two? Why isn’t there size two? Why? Find something. Tantrum resumed. Pay. Tantrum subsides. Risk going into Big W. Probably not good move, except I accrue more toddler underwear. Red Boots throws a fit because Small Girl gets pink Dora pants. He is insistent that he wants pink Dora pants. The little bugger gets out of the Houdini strap. What the hell? Red boots is now trying to climb upstairs to sit in the top seat. In process kicking Blue Shoes. Blue Shoes starts crying loudly. Head toward exit.
Out of the corner of my eye see a Lego Notebook. Plastered across the front is the phrase, “Everything is Awesome”. Not in my world. Kindy Boy also spots same Lego book. Picks it up and insists he needs it. I insist he does not need it. Kindy Boy now drops to the ground and starts wailing. I have three wailing boys. They are not quiet. God bless Small Girl. I don’t want to serve myself. The last time I went to the Self Serve at Big W Red Boots somehow reached out of the trolley, grabbed the scanner and scanned his eyes. The line is long. There is only one staff member on. The children are screaming. Red boot has taken his boots off and thrown them. Everything is not awesome. I move onto self serve. Positioning my body to block scanner. Scan, drop in bag, scramble, for other items stashed quickly under the pram. Scramble. Scan. Finish. Holy Dooley? It costs that much? The Accountant will query this shop when the credit card statement comes in.
“Scuse me” I hear, “Can you keep your kids under control?” Shamefacedly I turn around to face the accuser. My cousin stands there smiling. I sigh, relieved yet still embarrassed. Make a few wry comments. Pay. Get the heck out of there.
Red Bootless, must sense we are leaving. He transforms. Suddenly he is cute as a button. Hanging out over the side of the pram beaming enormous smiles at everyone, waving as he is wheeled past as though the triplet stroller is his royal carriage.
That is until the royal carriage wheels past the automated car ride. His majesty wants a ride. We exit and the sound of screams once more is injected into the shopping centre and its surrounds.
The day continues. There is more drama. More dirty nappies. Missed sleeps. Blue triplet finally realises he is wearing red. More crying. Daddy arrives home, Mummy runs out the door to meet sister for fabric shopping for bridesmaid dresses. Of course nothing is suitable and the night has been unproductive. Except for the bit where I raced in the shop next door and bought myself some cute flannie PJ’s. The Accountant frowns when he sees me carrying a bag in the door.
Bed beckons. I cannot go. Yet. Places to go tomorrow. Bags need to be packed and ready. There will be a morning rush. I need to prepare. And it will not be enough. Tomorrow I will be scrambling. Of that I can be sure. But something prepared is better than nothing.
Future self, can you remember these days? Aren’t you glad they are over?
But somehow, I can feel that even though future self is relieved the toddler tantrums are no longer, future self misses the toddler cuddles, the future no longer has Red Boots grasping her face, pulling it to his so he can talk to her. Future self misses the snuggles as books are read. Misses the sound of children’s laughter echoing through the house. She wishes she could sneak up and secretly watch the toddlers playing with one another and she recollects the smiles that come to her face as she listens to them communicate in toddler gibberish. She wishes she could see the chubby legs running around naked except for their nappies. She wishes those little arms would once again throw themselves around her neck and hug hard.
You just have to take the good with the bad. Future self tells me that this fact never changes.
Once again, not today, but this is what today looked like at times.
It’s Multiple Birth Awareness week, so I thought I would suggest ways you can help Multiple Mums. Since my triplets are two years old, I’m sure there are more ways you can still help as they get older as well. If you have older multiples, please leave further comments below, I would love this to be a resource for those who are hoping to help out but don’t know where to start.
Mothers who have multiples, or higher order multiples are very busy people. If we weren’t aware of the fact, we would soon become aware, because most people you meet say, “Oh, you must be very busy.” And I flash them my widest smile, (if I’m not in the middle of trying to keep my child alive and away for the traffic,) and say, “Yes, yes I am!”
Since we are so busy, and most of the time, we are very grateful for all forms of help, I thought I would share 8 ways you can help a multiple mum. You know, just in case you were wondering how to. If you weren’t wondering how to and you know parents with twins, triplets, or God help them, quads, quints or beyond, keep reading and be inspired. (Although many of these suggestions would be appreciated by any mother!)
1. Hold A Baby I know that it’s simple, but seriously, it can be such a big help! Of course, proceed on this one with caution, because like any parent, multiples are cautious and often reticent to let strangers hold their babies. So please, don’t swoop in and grab. But if there are more babies crying then a mother has arms, ask sweetly if you can help. If you are good friends with the multiple Mum you might be surprised how often you can be of assistance by doing the very easy and delightful task of holding a bub. Examples of times that I have found this useful have been at church on Sunday’s. When there are people I know around me, I am more than happy for them to scoop up a little one who is making too much noise and hold and distract them. When the babies were very young and unsettled with reflux my wonderful book club used to hold them all evening while they slept. It was like a little holiday, especially for my husband who would retreat with relief for a child-free evening.
Book club after the babies were born.
2. Hold A Child’s Hand Of course, a variation of the above topic. Once the multiples are a bit older, if a mother looks like she’s struggling to keep children in one spot, volunteer to hold a hand or walk with a toddler. Now the triplets are two, they are getting better, but it can just be so challenging walking them to places.
Walking into kindy is super challenging, sometimes I would really appreciate a little assistance as I shuffle past holding three hands at once and keeping an eye on the Kindy boy. At the moment, when we are out, I hold two hands in one hand and one in the other. Unfortunately Jayden is insistent that he holds hands on his own. I’m trying to work on this, because it’s not very fair, but it’s so hard when he doesn’t get his way and has dropped to the ground in carparks and other public places having a tantrum!
3. Take the Multiples Older Sibling(s) on a Playdate If you are doing something with your children, and think you could squeeze in one or two more, offer to the multiple Mum to take the big kid(s). Sometimes, life just seems so easy when only the multiples are present, because big kids can really make like difficult sometimes with their own set of needs. Plus, especially while the multiples are young, the siblings of multiples really do miss out on activities just because Mum is so busy. So just going to a park can be a rare outing for multiples and their siblings, so don’t underestimate how much it will be appreciated by the Mum and the kids!
I have a friend who regularly offers to take Trent for playdates with her son. Trent relishes these times. He also goes over to his friends Nana’s house on other occasions. He now calls her Nana also and talks non-stop about the things they got up to in her backyard! Even if you are an older person who is able to take a Multiple’s sibling away for a few hours, they will have fun!
4. Cook Meals or Bake I’ve mentioned before that cooked meals are so appreciated in our house. We regularly had people rostered and cooking meals every night before and after the triplets were born. It was such a relief when I was too big to stand for very long and then in those early days when all I was doing was breastfeeding day and night. In those days it was hard enough to get time to eat myself let alone find the time to feed my family.
Multiples are tiring for Daddys too. The early days. Look how tired The Accountant is. The price of being a great (and hands on) Dad.
5. Clean/Iron/Garden When you have young multiples, finding time to do even the mundane jobs can be complicated. I’ve spoken about my Ironing Lady, our pastor’s wife who has been doing our ironing for over two years now. Seriously, not having to worry about that chore, makes so much time for other things and for spending more time with the children. If you have a few hours spare, why not drop by a multiple Mum’s house and volunteer a few hours to clean. Or head out to the garden, (or send an able bodied man around), because especially in the early days, the garden will most likely be in a state of neglect. I’m getting to the stage now where I’m wanting to plant vegetables again. I already had one attempt, got everything weeded and planted. Then killed it all. It’s been a few months since that attempt, it must be time to try again!
6. Invite a Family with Multiples Around to Your Home I am on quite a few Facebook pages with Triplet Mums around the world. It regularly comes up that people are hurt because people no longer invite them to their homes for meals or even the children miss out on being invited to parties because there is so many of them. Parents who have multiples still need to socialise, and it’s good for children to get out and about also. I know that it is daunting having a large family around, but if you ask, most families would be happy to bring various elements of the meal with them. Or, meet each other at a park for a BBQ if you fear that your home just won’t cope with too many little children.
Plus dining out gives the multiples an excellent chance to learn appropriate etiquette! And in this instance, what better way to
learn it over a milkshake and sprinkle bun!
7. Don’t Pity Us Don’t tell a Multiple Parent, “I’d shoot myself if I had triplets.” Seriously. I’ve had someone say it to me. Don’t say, “Poor You”, “Should I send you a commiseration card?” or “I’m so glad I don’t have triplets”, (Insert twin, quad, etc. …), “I’m glad I’m not you.” Once again, all been said to me. Us Multiple Mums love each of our children dearly. Our multiple children make our life richer. So if you do pity us, be helpful and say nothing.
If I wasn’t a Multiple Mum, I wouldn’t have this moment. And it’s priceless.
8. Give Them A Spa Voucher – Or Offer Babysitting Services I haven’t had this happen to me, but I can’t tell you how many times I fantasized about it happening in the first year. I was seriously sooooooo tired. I had visions of being whisked off to a luxurious 5 star day spa and wearing a fancy bathrobe before having a full body massage, facial and a spectacular makeover. Of course these fantasy getaways were handed over with full babysitting services provided for the children. I also dreamed of having a weekend away with my hubby, and happily that happened February last year. (Beautiful two days. Thanks honey. And Grandma’s babysitting services. xxx) Now I know that most of us can’t afford to give away packages for a whole day away, but maybe if you have a friend who is a multiple Mum, (especially with babies) you could get a group of you together, throw some money in a hat and then babysit the kids together. (You know, safety in numbers!)
Mummy and Daddy out for dinner.
Another variation of this would be to just offer babysitting services so Mum and Dad could go out to dinner or watch a movie together or some other sort of date. Especially the Multiple parents that don’t have extended family nearby. (Or if you are extended family and haven’t been called on, try offering!) Having multiples is stressful, so more than ever cultivating a marriage brings stability to the family.
For the record, I will still accept vouchers for a pedicure at someplace like this… image credit here
So, do you think you could do any of the above for a multiple Mum? Are you a multiple Mum yourself? What have you found (or fantasised about) really helpful from others during your multiple journey?