Christmas Capers

Hoping that everyone had a Merry Christmas!

If you had some less then merry moments, take heart. Your Christmas may have been similar to ours.

I commented in this post that one of things I want people to get out of my blog, is to be able to identify with someone being ‘real’ about the highs and lows of life and parenting. It is in that spirit that I will honestly share with you about our Christmas. Because if you are going to have a happy heart, it’s sometimes how you handle the less then happy moments. If you can’t keep smiling after a bad day, you smiles will soon dry up after the good days.

On Christmas Eve I was rather cranky. Not entirely a Christmas Grinch, but pretty darn close. It started when I found out I was missing out on my mother’s Christmas pudding. (I had thought we had switched our families tradition of hot meal at night to lunch so that we could participate.) I don’t know if I got grumpy because the Christmas eating plans were changed, or if I was already in a grumpy state of mind which made me suffer severe disappointment when I found out that Christmas day was slightly different to what I was thinking. In short, I think sleep deprivation would be a major participant in the upheaval of my emotions.

So, I was short tempered. The problem with the mummy being short tempered is that it sets the tone for the family. So, it’s possible that even after I was trying hard to maintain my composure, nerves had already been strained.

Anyway, I’m going to have to speed up this summary of our Christmas, otherwise it will never get posted. I already started this Christmas Night and haven’t got far.

So in short:

Christmas Eve morning: Babies crying, mother cranky about change in Christmas plans, husband recognised bad mood, trying to settle down wife by dealing with babies as much as possible, then sending wife to do grocery shop to get needed supplies for Christmas. Sends wife with two year old. After shopping with two year old in a grocery store on Christmas Eve, wife/mother still stressed. Grocery shop completed, despite many various items being sat on and stumbled over by the Christmas Elf. I managed to evict the groceries that had been added by little Mr. Helpful and retrieve the groceries that he had evicted. Hopefully T-Star made some shoppers a little bit more merry during their shopping, he was being incredibly cute hanging off the end of the trolley greeting them with a cheery, “Hello”!

Christmas Eve afternoon: Returned started trying to unpack, gave up and had to start breastfeeding. Sister arrived to help out. Praise the Lord. Brought back J Boy who had been helping out with his cousin’s on Grandad’s farm. J Boy utlra excited about the secrecy surrounding Christmas, walked around the house trying to peek at things. Had to warn him about looking outside. Alex had begun to erect the Christmas trampoline. Fed babies, sister burped babies. Tried to put babies down. Babies cried. Picked babies up, looked around disaster of my house in despair. Tried to tidy up holding baby in one arm, very slow, not so successful. Discovered J Boy peeked outside and saw half finished tramp. Denied his request to jump on it. Behaviuor went south. J Boy declared he hated the trampoline. He wanted it wrecked. He wanted the old (awfully unsafe, awfully small) trampoline. He was going to break it. I tried to respond in the best way possible, succeeding only part of the time. Friends arrived. We were supposed to be walking up to the park together so Alex and his mate could build the trampoline in secrecy. Since this was now a pointless excercise, the kids played outside. J Boy recovered enough to play with the children, and be a little bit more civil. Once the trampoline was constructed, it was christened. After feeding again, I took advantage of having an extra set of hands and handed a baby to my friend and started buzzing around trying to tidy up. Friend, after getting baby to sleep, made dinner. Sister looked after remaining awake babies, before helping also. Felt a bit bad that a social visit results in working everyone, but grateful for the opportunity to get some things done. Wished I could have just sat down had a nice chat and a white wine, but that’s not possible at the moment.

Christmas Eve night: Had a yummy roast meal with friends. Kids had been playing in water outside, and despite my friend sweeping the floor a few times, by the time they left there was grass and mud walked through the house everywhere. Wanted to get a clean by Christmas Day, but wasn’t possible, so our Christmas visitors were greeted to a very dirty floor! Shared presents with friends. Was mortified when my ungrateful child didn’t like what he was given and threw his present. After Santa appeared at the Carols by Candlelight on TV, the friends went home. We went to put boys to bed, J Boy, still in a bad mood, decided to chuck a big tantrum. No putting out milk and bikkies in this family. Santa could get his own grub. Was thinking that the eldest member of the family had just made the naughty list. Child finally in bed, in between feeding, finished wrapping presents and filling stockings. At midnight I tumbled into bed. 10 minutes later a wailing was issued from the nursery. Feed time again. An hour and a half later, I finally got to sleep.

Christmas morning: Up at 4:00 to feed babies. When I went back to bed at 6:00 I thought it wouldn’t be too long until the children were up and discovering what Santa had left them. Alex and I found it a pleasant surprise to be woken at 8:00 by T-Star running in with an unopened present. The sleep in was the best gift of the day.

J Boy had fun opening his Santa sack.

He then removing all the goodies for the triplets from their stockings. And then, because T-Star was only interested in the initial ball that he first pulled out of his Santa sack, J Boy unpacked his presents as well.

Older boys were playing with toys and I began breastfeeding the babies again. We started opening presents under the tree while the triplets had their milk. At some point hereafter, for some reason I can’t remember, J Boy had a fit of the ungratefuls again. It became comletely horrid with him having a full blown tantrum. I was in tears and regretting that I had not put him on the naughty list the previous night. It was just awful. After all my planning and surprises and desire just to bring a smile on your child’s face on Christmas morning to have such a commotion. Completely deflated any Christmas joy. It is awfully hard to deal with a child’s bad behaviour also while caring for three babies and an active toddler, (who was delightful, and didn’t copy his big brother’s bad behaviour at all. He just was getting into things.) Alex and I did our best, but tempers were fraying. It seemed that my bad mood from the day before had transferred to Alex on Christmas Day. The result of weeks of sleep deprivation was all manifesting at the wrong time.

Finally settled things down after The Accountant took the boys out for a bike r

ide. We then hastily ate a croissant. I had planned eggs benedict served with ham and croissant. There was no way that plan was going to happen!

We were planning to get to my parent’s house at 11:00. By 12:00 I had just finished feeding again, and we decided that I would come after I had a shower and packed all the presents for the extended family in the other car. Alex bundled the boys in Buster the Santa Fe and left.

The bubs all snuggled up with their new Christmas toys.

It was actually quite nice having the house to myself for a bit, even if I was running around madly the whole time. I haven’t been in the house alone since the babies were born.

There was no way that I could even make the simple coleslaw that I was meant to bring. I suddenly became very happy that Christmas lunch plans had remained simple. Sometimes things not running to plan is a blessing.

Christmas afternoon: I arrived at my parents house at 1:00. By the time lunch was finally served it was time to feed again. I ended up eating after everyone had finished. We opened presents to and from my grandfather.

Then my father had to take him back to his nursing home, so the festivities were paused. I took this opportunity to rush home and do a few preparations for the dinner that night. I dearly would have liked to tidy up some more, but I knew I didn’t have time to do this, so rushed back to the family.

Dad arrived home and we opened presents to one another. Lots of fun as usual. Once again it was feed time again, so I had a baby attached to my breast most of the time.

Oh, have I mentioned that through all this, the babies were crying constantly and needed to be held?

By Boxing Day my arms were stiff and sore. Which didn’t matter to the babies in the slightest, they still insisited on being held then too. They still have refulx and colic badly. It seems like it’s getting worse during the day. At least they are normally doing a bit better at night.

At least there were plenty of people to hold babies.

We had to rush off before the presents were finished being opened to get ready for my mother-in-law coming over to our house for dinner. I always hate rushing away from my parents house on Christmas day. It feels like I miss out on so much. (Like Christmas pudding on this particular occassion!) However there are two sides of the family in town, so it’s not exactly fair to only see my family on the big day!

Christmas evening: I baked a Christmas ham. It had a peach and rum glaze which was very delicious. It was a pressure to get the glaze made on Christmas day, I wished I had time to do it earlier, but it just hadn’t been possible. I really wanted to bake the ham though. Ham tastes so much better after being baked, so if you are going to do it, one ought to eat the baked ham on Christmas day after all.  A couple of days earlier I had also prepared a steamed pudding. It was a Mango, Date and Macadamia Pudding and I was really proud of it.

We tried to get the boys to bed as early as possible to avoid further tantrums. Toddler T in particular had missed his sleep and was getting very grumpy. The triplets were still all crying and Christmas dinner had to be eaten while holding them. (Hence one of the reasons there were no photos taken during the evening, it was too full on! Plus I had no sister present to take charge of my camera and snap away!)

More presents. More feeding. The in laws did the great Christmas wash up, while I watched on, unable to participate. Alex was putting children to bed and also didn’t help. It just feels awful sometimes being so reliant on others to do everything for you. But for now, I need the help, so gratefully accept it when it’s offered.

In laws left. Babies continued to cry. Alex and I were late for bed. Then up again in a few hours feeding at 2am when all three woke up at once.

Boxing Day morning: At 5am all 3 babies woke at once again, so I needed Alex’s help. He was overtired and wanted to be in bed. We had a big fight. It was awful. But then right in the middle of heated moments Joey came off the breast and had a HUGE vomit. He practically lost his whole feed. I just started crying and all of a sudden we stopped fighting and started doing whatever we could to make the little baby comfortable. We didn’t continue to fight at all and in an hour or two we spoke calmly and resolved to keep our marriage strong and work together. Since then it has been wonderful. J Boy’s bad mood also dissolved after having a chat with his Daddy before bed time on Christmas Day.

Now the only thing that needs improving is the triplet’s reflux and colic. We have held them constantly since Christmas day. It’s soooo exhausting for them and us. I have a paed. appointment booked for the 10th of Jan. It was the soonest I could get in, but I’m going to ring and see if I can get in sooner if there’s a cancellation. The poor little bubs are just in pain so much of the time. They are also still tiny. The boys are in the 10th  percentile for their age for premmie babies. Missy is in the 20th. They are still on the chart which is good, and they haven’t gone backwards, but it would be good for them to put on a bit more weight and not vomit it up all the time.

So anyway, this was our Christmas. Hectic, mad, total mayhem. I suppose it’s not all surprising considering that our family of 7 includes 11 week triplets.

The main thing is that we still celebrated the birth of Jesus, and are eternally grateful to what his coming to earth has meant to us and our family.

So, how was your Christmas? Have you ever had a less then perfect Christmas that was memorable for all the wrong reasons?

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  1. Oh Caitlin what an exhausting time for you, I also had an ungrateful child for Christmas for many years, he has only now finally come good (thank goodness) he is 12!! Next year will be such a better year for you. I am 100% sure none of your friends mind helping you out while they are there, never feel bad about that! Even though it’s not the best Christmas it’s definitely a memorable one!!! I feel like I need to go back to bed after reading it!!! It’s only going to get better!

  2. Its so hard to sit back and let people help sometimes, but its great that you can see that you need it, and gratefully accept it!
    I’m sure your friends and family are all happy to help you out where they can! You certainly have your hands full!

    Our 4yr old also decided to be completely ungrateful and throw many a tantrum over the Christmas period, which is new to her! Maybe they get themselves so excited and worked up that they just can’t handle it?

    Anyway, Kudos to you for hosting a meal at all, let alone with 3 babies!!!

    Prayers that the colic and reflux will get sorted soon!!

  3. I love your honesty…it’s so easy to preatend everything is perfect in this blog-world and I appreciate your honesty! Praying for your little ones’ colic and just know that next yeaar’s Christmas will look incredibly different! The most important thing is that you all celebrated the birth of Jesus and it sounds like y’all did to the fullest!

  4. Dearest Caitlin,
    you are so gr8 at putting into word the honest truth about your life/lives at the moment. God bless you as you are honest, real about the things that happen to all of us in one form or another AND triumphantly get through it together. Adrian and I have had those arguments when we were sleep deprived and since at the end you can say we decided to stick together and make it work – YOU WILL go from strength to strength!!
    When these kiddies are 10 or 21 you will look back on this somewhat nightmarish time and know that God has indeed carried you through. Go! the helpers and one day I hope to get out there to help too. I too have had a bit of a nightmarish Christmas this year with a vomiting bug in the family (see my posts)so you will be glad I didn’t come to help out. Love you guys from a distance and praying God’s blessings on you all. Does alex have holidays till New Year? Hope you can have some relax time.

  5. Wow. That sounds so completely exhausting that I am amazed you managed to do anything other than show up to places – and even that sounds like a massive ordeal right now. But you wrapped presents and cooked and spent time (albeit rushed) with the older boys too… don’t underestimate what an achievement that is.

    And if I lived nearby I would totally be around there cleaning your house for you. It’s what I do. 🙂

  6. my most memorable christmas was when I was suffering from post natal depression and I was in the middle of pretty big nervous breakdown!! I couldn’t even pull myself together to peel the potatoes. The worse thing was I tried to stay bright and positive because I didn’t want other people to see the state I was in – we got through the day but I am glad 10 years later I don’t have the same problems, it was awful!

  7. oh wow….i really feel for you and am grateful at the same time as i just posted similar feelings re Christmas and i was thinking everyone had had the perfect day and it was just me!
    I only have twins and a teenager and i was exhausted…can only begin to imagine your level of exhaustion!
    My girls all ahd reflux too, it’s awful isn’t it?Do you have them on any medication? Losec made a huge difference to their pain and they came off it at 14 months and all good so far…i promise there is an end in sight.
    It also helped to let them sleep where they felt comfortable which for mine was a beanbag upright and a swing…i stopped worrying about where they ‘should’ be sleeping and just took sleep anyway we could!
    Thank you for being honest and i hope you have managed to get a break…and don’t worry about the cleaning!
    Wishes for a smoother new year for you!xx

  8. Phew….what a crazy time its been and I think we (me probably more than others!) think that Christmas will be this perfect day with everyone on good manners and life is all so glorious!! Reality says otherwise and yes my children by the end of the day were tired and cranky and we had a good tantrum or two and its just all exhausting let alone if you have 3 little babies to attend to as well! I hope the colic/reflux settles down soon and you get an earlier appointment too. xx

  9. What a crazy hectic Christmas you had! I agree, your honestly is absolutely refreshing. I am a little sad for you that you didn’t get your Christmas pudding =) and that you spent SO much time nursing and holding instead of enjoying and eating, but I echo the other ladies who have said that next year will be SO much better. Last Christmas (2010) my girls (granted only twins, not trips) were about 6 weeks old, underweight, and breastfed (it felt like constantly) and the whole season was just a big blur. Between nursing every 5 seconds and massive sleep deprivation (in hind sight probably would have been lessened had I not breastfed, but I wouldn’t change that for the world!) I can totally relate. I constantly felt like the house was a mess, like I wasn’t fully engaged in anything (other than nursing), and didn’t get to enjoy Christmas at all! And I didn’t have any other kids! I am so impressed by you and your husbands abilities to handle 5 kiddos! Next year will most definitely be better!!!
    I hope you can get the trips in to the Dr. sooner than the 10th…I only had one reflux baby, but it was a mess…took several meds to finally find one that worked. It’s heartbreaking not only to see them in so much pain, but to see them vomit up the breastmilk you are so committed to providing to them (but can only make so much of). You are doing and AMAZING job Caitlin, AMAZING! Keep up the good work!!!

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