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Archive for the ‘motherhood … at last’ Category

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All of my kids love to get smooches these days, and they are so fun to love.  They are huggable and snuggable and kissable and lovable.  They are perfect little angels (um, most of the time). 

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Julian gives lots of hugs and kisses and will even just randomly say "Eema?  I love you so much!"  He is so loving and kind.  He never hesitates to stop and give big bear hugs to the people he loves, and he hasn't yet gotten to an age where giving mommy a kiss is icky (though he won't share a plate with me, because he might get my "cuties" if he does!) 

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Abby loves to be held and will giggle if you give her kisses.  Occasionally, she'll turn her cheek toward you if she realizes you're trying to give her a kiss.  She gets extremely excited when either Seth or I walk into a room, and she'll come bounding over to be picked right up.  Alternatively, she'll lift up her shirt to expose her little belly to be tickled and then she'll giggle wildly when you do tickle her.  If you don't oblige her in the tickle-fest, she gets quite upset.  She's the most prone to sudden bouts of anger and a temper tantrum, but also easily consoled, because you can swiftly pick her up, give her some kisses and she's off and giggling again. 

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Sam is my mama's boy, and a real snuggle-bunny.  If he sees me walk into the room, nothing can stop him.  He will be on a mission to get across the room to get to Mommy!  He'll come running over, arms wide, ready to be scooped up into the air.  His belly-laugh makes my heart skip a beat, and his smile could light up a whole city.  He takes longer to warm up to other people than the girls do, and he is more likely to run to me if there are other people around than he is likely to run to them, but he does eventually warm up to people without too much of a problem.  He's a sweet thing.  When I ask him for kisses, he puts his forehead toward me to get a kiss – proof that he does understand some things!

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Yeah, I know I already had a picture of Ellie, but I'll be honest, I couldn't pick one.  This picture is the "after" picture, so to speak.  This is what happens to her hair after a nap, if it's been up in a ponytail like in the previous picture!  Ellie has really caught on to the whole smoochapalooza idea.  Yesterday, I gave Ellie a kiss and she made a "mwah" sound while I was kissing her.  I thought it was a fluke, but I was delighted!  I said, "Will you give me a kiss, Ellie?" and she leaned over, puckered her little lips and gave me a kiss, complete with "mwah" sound.  And then she giggled, and so did I!  For half an hour, we played the smooches game and she giggled as we showed off her new trick to Abba when he came home.  And this new skill was not a fluke – she still does it today!  Hooray!

There's a whole lotta lovin' goin' on in Chez Perky!

 

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Escape Artist

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Check out that mug shot.  She looks so sweet and innocent, doesn't she?  She doesn't look like a criminal who can escape from a sophisticated prison.  But this adorable little girl… don't let her fool you, she's tricky.  She may be little.  She may be quiet.  She may be cute and cuddly.  But she is an escape artist.

I came home around lunchtime on April 3rd and SuperNanny told me that she wasn't able to let the triplets nap that morning because shortly after she had put them down for their nap, she heard Abby screaming bloody murder.  She went in and discovered that Abby had climbed out of her crib and was hanging on the outside of her crib absolutely terrified to let go, but unable to get back in. 

Gosh, and I had always thought Sam would be the first one out.

I immediately called my friend Michelle, mother extraordinaire to the "trio of terror" as she calls them – adorable triplets who will turn three this summer.  They're gorgeous and sweet, and just recently moved into "big kid beds" after having been in cribs with crib tents for a good long while. 

"Tell me everything there is to know about crib tents."
"They saved my life.  What do you need to know?"
"Are there different kinds?  What should I get? Etc?  I need to go buy one.  NOW.  Abby climbed out of her crib."
"I have one left. Come get it."
"You're an angel.  I'll bring the Starbucks."

Michelle warned me that eventually her kids learned how to unzipper the crib tents.  "But don't worry, it'll take a long time before Abby figures it out!"  It took Abby about three days.  I do not think that's what Michelle meant by "a long time."  Fortunately, Michelle also told me the solution to unzippering – safety-pinning it closed.

And so, this is what Abby's new prison cell crib looks like:

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PICT0196-1 So we've all heard the debates about nature vs. nurture and we all have our own opinions about them.  Some people believe that everything is totally ingrained and nothing we do on the nurturing side can change nature's ingrained tendencies.  Some people believe that nothing is written in stone and nurturing is absolutely 100% responsible for the way people turn out in life.  Clearly, most of the time, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  But I am learning that there are definitely some things that are honestly just programmed into our code from the very beginning. 

Take my Abby, for example.  She's my little music snob.  She hasn't had time to have had this ingrained through the nurturing process.  But she comes by it honestly.  I was  a flutist for 15 years and also played oboe for 8 years.  I majored in music in college until I had an injury in my junior year that kept me from finishing my last several performance credits for the degree (I do have a minor in music, but fat lot of good that does me).  I studied under some of the best musicians in the world and had some fantastic opportunities to tour with orchestras in the US and Europe.  I always expected music to be an integral part of my life and I'm shocked to discover that it's not nearly as much in the forefront of my daily life as I expected it to be. 

Back to Abby – that was all just background.

A couple weeks ago, as the babies were finishing up dinner, I put on Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony.  If you know Tchaikovsky at all, you know that he wrote a lot of ballet, and much of what he wrote that ISN'T ballet still lends itself to ballet.  Now, I am clearly no ballerina.  But my kids were in their high chairs looking amused, and Tchaikovsky was floating out of the CD player and there was this big, wide open space in the living room/dining room, so I started pirouetting around and doing really bad arabesques.  Sam and Ellie clapped and smiled, but Abby – oh Abby was cracking up.   I mean, seriously, she was totally CRACKING UP.  She could not stop giggling and laughing and reaching out toward me.  She was completely, totally CRACKING UP.  It's so funny, because she's normally so serious, so watching her crack up was so amusing to me.

I didn't think much of it, because I figured that she was just laughing at her crazy mama making a fool out of herself in the living room, right?    The next day, the babies were playing with toys on the living room floor, and I put the same CD back in and Abby immediately smiled and looked up at me.  I started pirouetting around again, and she started CRACKING UP!  The fun didn't last long, though, because I was getting ready to change their diapers and put them down for a nap.  Seth wandered upstairs and noticed the music on and said, "Oh no!  Did I miss pirouettes AGAIN?"  No way am I ever going to let anyone else ever see me doing pirouettes, not even my husband.  He'd probably fall over laughing.  So I scooped Abby up into my arms and started spinning around with her with the music still on.  Once again, she started cracking up, laughing hysterically.  When I stopped spinning she looked around at the world like it was a new and fascinating place. 

Still, I didn't think much of it, because what kid WOULDN'T love to be scooped up into mommy's arms and spun around for some fun?

Later in the week, my mom was over and I wanted to show her how Abby cracks up when you spin her around, so I scooped her up and spun her around.  She smiled.  And she let out one tiny chuckle.  But no cracking up.  I was completely perplexed.  I tried again.  Still, nothing.  Just a smile.  No cracking up.  How could this be?  How could my daughter be sitting there in my arms purposely making a liar out of me?

And then I realized how quiet it was in the house.  Could that be the problem?  Could my daughter be so discerning that she wanted the music on?  Nah.  Couldn't be.   But, just in case, I turned Tchaikovsky back on, and sure enough, Abby grinned immediately, and as soon as I started spinning her around, she CRACKED UP.

Interestingly, Abby does not respond nearly so strongly to Mozart, Brahms, Moussorgsky, Beethoven, Bach, Prokofiev or Rachmaninoff.  But Ellie totally digs Rachmaninoff – more than anything else.  Isn't it neat that they both have a favorite?  Ellie gets up and dances for Rachmaninoff.  Sam dances for all of it.  He's just a dancing fool.

I love it.

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The J-man never had a "lovey" or any specific toy or blanket or anything that he was totally attached to.  We even tried to get him attached to different things to help him with transitions, but he would have nothing to do with it.  So I've never directly experienced a child's attachment to a lovey before. 

When the babies were born, one of Seth's coworkers gave us the cutest little baby blankies with these little stuffed animals on them.  A blue elephant for Sam, and pink bunnies for the girls.  They were an Avon product, which Seth knew because his coworker is an Avon Rep, and has been for years.  They were adorable, but I didn't think much of them other than the fact that they were cute.  After all, we received a lot of cute little things like that when the babies were born, and you never know which things your kids will become attached to later, do you?  There's this adorable little dog that Sam was given that I've been trying to get him attached to, because it's so cute, but no dice.

As it happens, now, a year later, Sam will not put that elephant down.  He carries it everywhere.  He will not let go of it for anything.  I loves that blankie.  The girls like their bunnies just fine, but they aren't attached to them in nearly the same way, they just like them the same way they like any of the other lovey-type toys they have.  But Sam – he loves that blankie.  He won't go to sleep without it.  He wakes up looking for it.  He walks around with it.  He holds it close.  He wants it whereever he is. 

Well, you know this has left me petrified that he will lose it.  Or wear it out (it's rather disgusting right now and I can't wrestle it away from him to wash it).  And I just am so worried that he will accept no substitute!  (Truthfully, he'll take the bunnies as substitutes perfectly fine, but he DOES prefer the elephant)

So I started searching Avon's website, and while I do like Avon a lot, I have to say, their search engine on their site sucks and their categories of products aren't so helpful.  But!  Miraculously!  I found the blankies!  They are called Rock-A-Bye Baby Blankies:

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You can not imagine my glee upon finally finding these blankies!  Because, boy are we going to need a couple extra elephants!  (We're good on bunnies, but elephants?  I don't know, would it be overreacting to buy a dozen?)

I've already sent off an email to Seth's coworker asking if we can order a couple extra elephants from her, and letting her know exactly how in love with it Sam is.  Otherwise, I'll happily order them directly from Avon's website.  Because although a parent can never predict which of the myriad of gifts we receive will become THE toy that our children get so attached to, we certainly can stock up once the attachment happens!

And now for your Lovey 101:

Don't make the same mistake that many parents make and just keep a brand new back-up lovey in the closet for when the inevitable happens.  As soon as I receive my back up loveys, I'm going to give one to Sam and wash the old one.  Then when it comes time to wash the one he's got, I'll give him the other new one, and wash the one that he'd had.  Then I'll start evenly rotating them in and out so that they are all equally good and worn – because otherwise, he will come to favor one over the others, and THAT completely defeats the purpose! 

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So, we went to Target today.  All six of us.  Brilliant idea, right?  Ahem.

Most of you reading this don't know me in real life.  So most of you have never seen me out and about in the real world.  But those of you who have can vouch for the fact that I'm generally pretty put-together.  I'm not all harried and stressed out looking – most of the time.  My kids are usually very well behaved – all of them.  (In public, anyway)  I usually have a smile on my face when we're out in public, because, really?  What else can you do when you're getting all those stares than just plaster a smile on your face and accept that you're a bit of a freak show?

So *most* of the time, we get sweet comments, or just simple nods of acknowledgment at our notable family.  We get a lot of "God Bless You" comments.  We get a lot of people saying, "Oh my gosh, are they twins!?" and they nearly pass out when I say, "no, actually, they're triplets!"  We have many people who tell us how cute or beautiful the babies are, or how lucky we are (we know).  We get the occasional "You sure do have your hands full" comment or "Better you than me" comment (darned right!  I wouldn't trust you with my babies!).  I obviously get hundreds of "are they natural?" remarks.   This is one that every HOM mom needs to decide for herself how to answer.  I suggest having a catalogue of several stock answers to use depending on context and what kind of mood you're in – everything from the truth (either, "yes, they were spontaneous" – if that's the case for you, or "yes, we had some fertility assistance" – if that's the case) to humour ("well, they're not made of a space-age polymer, if that's what you mean") to evasion ("all babies are natural") to pointing out the etiquette error ("We prefer not to discuss the means we used to conceive our babies, just as I'm sure you'd prefer not to discuss your sex life with me").

Most of the time, people's comments do not bother me.  I know that – for the most part – people mean well and don't realize when they've overstepped a personal boundary.  Few people have encountered triplets in their lives.  Personally, before I became pregnant with triplets, I had never encountered a set of triplets, though I now know about 50 sets of triplets.  So it's not surprising that sometimes people don't know how to respond appropriately when they see triplets gallavanting around in public.  We do create quite a spectacle, especially when you add in the fact that we have a fourth child as well.  And let's face it, our kids are so freakin' cute that it's hard not to notice them.  I understand this, and I understand we have a certain obligation to our adoring public. 

So there we are in Target, minding our own business.  We've already gotten a few nods and smiles and "Oh my's" as we've made our way about 50 feet into the store.  I was pushing the double stroller with the girls strapped in and I was wearing Sam in the mei tai.  J was walking next to me and Seth was pushing the cart in front of us.  J was distracted by the gift wrap aisle all of a sudden because he noticed that one of the gift bags had a Transformer on it, so the triplets and I stopped to "ooh" and "aah" at it with him while Seth waited ahead of us.  I told J that a boy would be very lucky to receive a present in that gift bag, but we weren't going to buy it today.  We were in the aisle for about 15 seconds, before I turned to get back out of it. 

Standing behind me, obviously annoyed that we were blocking the aisle was a woman and her (presumably) husband probably in their late 50's or early 60's, blocking me in.  I excused myself and asked if we could get by so that we could let her get through.  No sooner was my back turned and I was probably no more than a foot away from her, did she turn to her husband and say, "Well that's just a few too many!"

Excuse me?  Huh Wha?    My four perfectly well behaved children were doing exactly what to grate on your nerves?  Because really, I woke up one morning and thought to myself, "Golly, I think I'd like to have an extremely high risk pregnancy and have three babies all at once just so that a year later I can annoy a lady in Target."  How dare she?  Couldn't she at least have waited until I was out of earshot?  Or at least until my five year old was out of earshot?  What a witch!

But all was not lost.  We got the things we went in for, and bless Target for having enormous elevators that can accommodate 2 adults, a five year old, a shopping cart, a double stroller, and another baby strapped to mama.  We got lots of smiles and coos and happy comments.  And on our way out, one woman with a single infant passed by me and said, "Congratulations!  It must be so hard for you!"  I smiled and said, "Oh no!  They are easy, and so much fun!"  And I meant it.

A few too many, indeed.

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Not five minutes after Seth called to say his plane had arrived safely in Baltimore, the J-man came down looking pretty miserable.  So miserable, in fact, it was hard to be annoyed with him for being out of bed after bed time. 

"Eema, I barfed."

Of course he did.  All over his pillow and sheets.  Because, you know, it would have killed him to wait an hour so that it would have been Seth’s problem, right?  That’s three vomits for me during Seth’s two and a half days away. 

That man seriously OWES me, right?

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Some time ago Bea, previously of Infertile Fantasies fame, wrote eloquently of wanting "credit for time served."  That is, we (infertiles, you know) spent so much time preparing for parenthood… we worked at it for so long, and yet when we finally get there, our friends who started on that journey after we did, yet reached the goal long ahead of us somehow manage to treat US like the "newbies" when we finally reach pregnancy and, finally, parenthood.  Finally we’re part of that exclusive club, and treated like we don’t know anything about what it’s like to be a parent though we’ve spent the last year, two years, five years working to get there and yet, we get no "credit for time served," do we? 

I admit Bea wrote far more eloquently on this topic, but that’s not my point.  My point is that Bea writing about this reminded me of a story.  My own desire for credit for time served. 

One day, when the triplets were, maybe four or five months old, Seth was out of town, I had recently returned to working full time, and I was dropping J off at school.  On my way back out of the school, I ran into an acquaintance of mine.   We’ll call her… "Sheila".  Sheila has two children, ages 6 and 4.  Her husband is one of the most laid-back, sweet guys I’ve ever met, but I admit, Sheila rubs me the wrong way nearly every time I encounter her, so I don’t want to bias you or anything, but hey, it’s MY blog, so I’ll cry if I want to.

Right.  Where was I?

Sheila walked in as I was walking out of the school and asked how I was doing. 

"Okay," I said, "A little tired."
"Oh well," she shrugged, "Welcome to Motherhood!"

I’m sorry, WHAT?  Did she seriously just tell me to suck it up?  Because that’s what it sounded like to me.  Now I recognize that all mothers are tired.  And I recognize that I’m not special or anythi- oh wait, I am special, but that’s another story. 

Now, really, she might have been doing this motherhood thing for a while, but, um, first of all when was the last time that Sheila spent the night up with not one, not two, but THREE babies?  Second of all, "welcome to motherhood?"  WHAT?  Like this was something new to me?  What about the last four years that I’ve been a mother to J?  Do I get no credit for that?  And nevermind Bea’s point, the credit for time served.   How about the five years I spent working to get to this point of motherhood?  It’s not like I was just dropped in at this point with no warning, no forethought, no experience, planning, research, consideration. 

Do I get no credit whatsoever?  None? 

And seriously?  Every single time I’ve seen Sheila since she’s made some patronizing remark about my parenting, and I’m really geting tired of it.  Hello?  I have four kids.  FOUR.  And three of them are under a year old.  And I’ve been parenting almost as long as her and actively working to become a parent for as long as I’ve known her.  Credit for time served, indeed.    

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