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Archive for the ‘triplet mania’ Category

Something I’m not very good at in my life is knowing when to say “No.”  It’s one of my greatest flaws, and, in some ways, one of my greatest strengths – depending on who you ask (and when you ask).   It means that I take a great deal on in my life – usually too much.  It’s a trait I hope not to pass on to my children.  Learning to judiciously use the word “No” is an important character trait, in my opinion, and one I wish I possessed.

At the same time, I work hard not to let “No” be a prevailing word in the world of my children.  I try to find other ways to let them know when something they’re doing isn’t acceptable.  “Zeh Lo Tov” (Hebrew for “That’s Not Good”) and “Not Okay” are two of my first two choices to let them know that what they’re doing isn’t appropriate.  “Stop” or “Freeze” also work.  “No” is my last resort.  Nevertheless, there’s no getting around the fact that “No” is a phrase they hear a lot, whether it’s from me or other people in their lives. 

A couple of weeks ago, Abigail started saying “No” very clearly.  It was not a surprise that Abby was the first to say no – she’s our most contrary child and she’s been saying no quite clearly since her early days in the NICU – she’s only just now found a way to articulate the word.  She’s very cute when she says it because she gets this “otherworldly” tone to her voice when she says it and she gets to be quite emphatic.  She says “no” when her siblings get near her, eye her toys, touch her things, or, you know, breathe the air near her.  She’s getting to be quite pushy and grabby, too.  If one of the others is holding a toy that she wants to play with, she’ll stomp over and swipe the toy out of their hands while declaring: “NO!”  It seems that “No” is a fine substitute for “Mine” (which she hasn’t learned yet). 

Speech delays or not, it was inevitable that they’d learn this word eventually, right?

I did get my shining moment shortly after Abby learned the word “no”, however, when her speech therapist was working with her and Abby was digging through the therapist’s bag of toys.  She pulled out a toy she wanted and she said, “Yes, yes, yes!”  It was the first, and only, time I’ve ever heard her say “yes” ever, but I’ll take it!

Even sweet, compliant Ellie has learned to embrace the word “No” in a way that her mama is nearly jealous of.  On Shabbos, she was playing with some mega blocks on the floor, and Abby and Sam had both given me some smooches, so I looked over at Ellie, who is always willing to give me smooches (!) andI said, “Ellie!  Will you give mommy kisses?”

Ellie didn’t even look at me as she continued to play with her blocks and she said, quite clearly, “Nooooooooooo!”

Wait, what!?  My compliant, angel of a daughter just refused me smooches!?  Really?  What?  I must have heard her incorrectly.  Right?  RIGHT?  Of course right.

“Ellie?  Can Mommy have kisses?”

“Noooooo!!” she responded immediately without looking up from the two blocks she was intently trying to stick together.

My heart broke.  I was simultaneously proud of my daughter for making this enormous leap in receptive and expressive language skill all at once, and yet… a little hurt (okay, a lot hurt!).  But really, hey!  My daughter heard a question, understood it, and responded with a brand new word and in context!  How cool is that?

Even Sam – sweet Sam – the most delayed of the three.  Sam has only 3 clear words, and one… maybe word.  But even Sam is starting to catch on to the “No” concept.  He shakes his head “no” if he doesn’t want something, and he’s started to make the “N” sound if he doesn’t want something.  “Na-na-na,” he’ll say, while shaking his head.  Clearly an attempt at saying “No” despite not quite having the word in his personal lexicon yet. 

My babies are… growing up.  They really are.  *sniff*  How did this happen so fast?

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Nineteen Months

I typed a beautiful and eloquent post about my kids at 18 months in Word… copied it to my clipboard and saved it… and *poof* it disappeared from everywhere.  No traces of it, not even on my clipboard.  No doubt, this post will be a sloppy attempt at recreating that post, and will not have nearly the finesse of the original.  I hope you'll forgive my clumsiness.

It's hard to believe that so much time has passed since our family expanded.  It was just over two years ago that I learned the news that there were three passengers on board.  It was nineteen months ago that those three passengers made their entrance into the world with their first tiny cries.  I thought the first year would be the hardest.  I had envisioned a life of absolute misery and beyond our ability to cope.  But, although our first year was full of challenges and a lot of hard work, it was nothing compared to the nightmare I had envisioned.  Why, it was downright easy compared to the nightmare I had envisioned!    We not only survived our first year, our family thrived. 

I look at our family today and I am astounded at how far we have come.  From three tiny babies to three toddlers on the go.  From one big brother timidly approaching his little brother in an incubator, to a vroombunctious five year old fearlessly tumbling with his toddler siblings, and complaining when they touch his toys.  I am thrilled with the way our family dynamic has evolved and in awe that it has stayed together through all of the challenges that we face each day.

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The most common question I get these days is, "Well, is it a lot easier now that they're older?"  Wait, what?  In whose world could this possibly be easier?  A year ago these babies weren't even crawling!  They weren't eating real food.  They slept much of the time.  They had simple demands on the world still – eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep poop… with a little time on the playmat thrown in for good measure.  Now?  They are into everything (especially Ellie).  Now they are running in three different directions at all times.  They have wants and needs and they make sure we know it!  They eat real food, which means preparing three home-cooked meals for them each and every day (something I don't even do for myself!).  They want to be engaged at all times.  They are transitioning from two naps per day to one nap per day, which means their sleeping schedule is erratic. 

Really.  In whose world is this easier?  But it is also incredibly rewarding.

Each of their personalities is truly beginning to shine and they are healthy, thriving toddlers now.  Abby was our last holdout, but she, too, is toddling away along with the others.  At 17 months, she finally gave up on crawling and starting walking.  Six weeks later, she's still so proud of her accomplishment.  The most amazing thing about her walking is that once she started walking there was a drastic reduction in the number of temper tantrums that she was throwing each day.  She used to throw several per hour, but now she's a much happier baby.  She giggles all the time, lifts her shirt to have her belly tickled, flashes her great big grin and brings you toys to play with her.  She works through things that used to frustrate her into a huge temper tantrum and is so much more pleasant to be around.  Walking was her key to happiness!  Obviously she still has temper tantrums, but not with nearly the frequency she used to.  It's awesome.

All three babies were declared healthy at their eighteen month check up.  The pediatrician told me that we can start to shift our frame of thought from thinking of the triplets in terms of their adjusted age as we've been doing up until this point to now thinking of them as mostly typical eighteen month olds with only a few remaining developmental delays.  But they have caught up on the growth charts.  They have caught up with gross motor skills to their actual age milestones for the most part. They are almost to actual age milestones for fine motor skills.  

The only area in which there remain significant delays are expressive and receptive language skills – all three of them are behind even their adjusted age, which the pediatrician noted at their fifteen month appointment and recommended that we have them evaluated by early intervention from the county for speech therapy services, which we did, and they have been receiving speech therapy once a week ever since and they have made such great improvement, especially the girls!  Sam still doesn't say a word, but he's at least starting to respond to his name – which is a great relief.  He had actually been the greatest concern because he responded to his name when he was about a year old – he would look back and make a cute little grunty noise every time he heard his name, but then he abruptly regressed for months.  Last month he started to turn his head consistently to his name again, which makes us all very happy. 

They all have such distinct little personalities and they are really starting to learn how to interact with each other.  Abby, in particular, seems quite in tune with the others' emotional states, even though for the most part she wants nothing to do with them.  If Ellie or Sam is crying, she will go find their loveys (Ellie's are a green bear and a fuzzy blanket and Sam's are the elephant blankets and lately also a lovely knit blanket from a friend of ours) and she will bring the lovey(s) to whomever is crying.  Sometimes Ellie will do the same.  But as in tune as she is to that – she's the one who most consistently steals Sam's pacifier, thus guaranteeing to devastate poor Sammy and leave him screaming in shock and despair!  She is also the most likely to pick a fight with Sam.   But, then, Sam is the most likely to pick a fight with her, too.  They are always fighting.  They are always in each other's space and Abby can't stand when other babies are in her space.   She's going to have a really tough time in life.

Ellie is still, by and large, very laid back, but she's starting to assert herself more, and she does NOT like it when another child takes a toy of hers, or if she always has to wait to be the last for something.  She is also starting to become my pickiest eater.  Until recently, all of the kiddeos would eat absolutely anything, but they are beginning to be more discriminating than that, particularly Ellie.  She is the least likely to try new foods and the most likely to reject foods, even if she's eaten them in the past.  Still, she does love her food, and when she wants food, she makes it known.  Her first word was "cracker" and she makes it very clear when she wants her beloved crackers!  Also she asks for cups (either water or milk cups) when she's thirsty.  She is quite clear about her desires and gets upset if you're eating something that she wants and you're not sharing.  It's nice to see her asserting herself more; I would have hated to see her getting walked all over forever.  Still, she is still her loving, giving self.  She loves to share – she will bring you her toys and share them, or even her crackers and cups.  She expects you to share right back, of course, but she's all about the sharing.

Sam is still a bit of a brute – but it's not malicious, he's just completely unaware of physical space and the fact that there are other babies in that physical space.  He is, by far, the cuddliest of the three babies, though, so I know he's got a loving soul.  Though Abby is the one that likes to be held the most, I'm certain this is largely because she's trying to get away from having other little people in her space.  With Sam, he likes to snuggle right into your space and be held.   But he's also very busy, so after he gets his snuggles, he wriggles right back out and goes back to the business of playing.  It's serious business, you know. 

Sam just started liking cars and trucks and the girls just started noticing baby dolls and purses.  It's really cute that they're starting to notice that there's a difference between boys and girls, but it does make things more complicated for mommy!

The J-man is still an exceptionally good big brother, and about as patient as you can expect a 5 1/2 year old to be with three intrustive toddlers.  But the strain of being a big brother to three 19 month olds is definitely starting to get to him.  He's starting to notice that they like to get into his stuff and they like touching his things.  Which, you know, is kind of his fault.  I mean, they can't get into his room (there's a baby gate blocking their entrance into his room), so if he'd stop leaving his toys all over the living room, they'd stop touching his toys.  But I know it seems unfair to him that they touch his things.  So we try to find ways to let him keep things private.  He also seems to think that the babies have a lot more stuff than him.  Which, um, I have to say, isn't quite true.  First of all, a lot of the stuff they have is hand me downs from him.  And second of all, um, hello?  Have you SEEN how much stuff he has?  Plus, there's three of them and one of him.  But if he gets 10 toys for, oh, say, Passover, and they each get one, he thinks they get one, he thinks they got more than he did.  It's a hard life.  Poor kid.

I'm sure this isn't the end of them annoying him, but I'm also sure there will be more stages of happiness and joy.  I can't wait to see how their personalities emerge.  Seth said he hopes that Sam's and Ellie's personalities stay much the same and that Abby learns to chill out a bit.  Just as he said that, she started to shriek because one of the others looked at her funny.  Or something.  I wouldn't count on her chilling out anytime soon.

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 Ellie and me at Jessica's house.

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Abby

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Sammy

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We moved the nursery upstairs about a week and a half ago.  My three precious babies aren't just three steps away from my bedroom anymore.  Seth is in heaven; I am traumatized.  I thought I'd be over it by now, but I'm really not.  I admit it's nice having all four kids upstairs together.  It's nice having our own space downstairs, as we'd intended all along.  It's nice that J isn't all alone anymore.  Certainly, the babies haven't noticed any difference.  But…  it's so different at night – I'm so accustomed to hearing Sam's little sighs through the night, Ellie's cute little coos, and Abby's cries (Abby?  Not such a fan of sleeping). 

Our morning routine is completely different now, too.   It used to be that pretty soon after the first sounds we heard in the morning, Seth would get up and start changing diapers.  He'd change Sam first, and bring him to me to nurse.  Then he'd change Ellie and Abby, and bring me Ellie to nurse, and put Sam in the nursery to play while he offered Abby a cup of milk which she usually refused.  Now we hear them wake up, but we usually let them talk to each other for a while (and sometimes they even fall back to sleep!).  After J comes down to tell us he's awake, we tell him to go get dressed for school, and we go upstairs to get moving with the day.  Depending on whether Seth is still home (he often has to be at the hospital at an ungodly hour of the morning), we either split baby and J-man duties or I take care of it.  '

But first thing's first:  I open up the nursery door, and three beautiful, smiling, gorgeous heads pop up from their cribs.  These bright-eyed, bushy tailed, amazing babies never fail me.  They greet me with such joy and unconditional, overflowing love every single morning that I can't help but wonder why I ever questioned how I could handle triplets.  I wish, in those first few days or weeks of my pregnancy, when I was completely panicked about the prospect of getting through a triplet pregnancy and triplet parenthood, that someone could have adequately expressed to me how incredible a feeling it is a year later to have those three enormous grins shining at you when you open their door in the morning.  Or how unique an experience it is to sit down on the living room floor and have three enthusiastic babies giggling and crawling as fast as they can, racing to be the first one into your lap and climbing up to be the first one to get kisses.  I'm sure those experiences are incredible with one baby.  But they are nearly indescribable with three babies. 

Back to the nursery.

So you can see, this transition to the nursery is not entirely bad, it's just… different.  Once all the diapers are changed, we let the babies roam free for a while.  No more baby pit, you see.  The whole first floor (sans the kitchen, bathroom, and J's room) are baby proofed (for the most part).  I get J his morning medicine and then I nurse Sam and Ellie before I get the babies into high chairs for breakfast, about which time my nanny usually arrives (if it's a weekday) and takes over.   With the big difference in morning routine, it does making nursing the babies harder to squeeze in, and sometimes, it just gets skipped – I think we're getting closer and closer to weaning.   

So it's not an entirely bad transition, it's just a change.  And we all know how well I deal with change.

Hah.

In other news, Sam is completely walking.  He rarely crawls, but when he does, it's incredibly cute, and I keep thinking I should get it on video before I lose my chance.  I probably never will, and I'll regret it.  Ellie has become quite a good walker, as well, though not nearly as steady as Sam.  She's catching up though.  Abby, who had steadfastly refused to even STAND, let alone walk, took three steps on Monday without me there to even see, the little traitor.  How dare she?  She promised me she wouldn't walk yet!  How could she do this to me?  Who gave her permission to walk?  Certainly not me!  Anyway, I think it was a fluke, because she hasn't done it since, and she hasn't even stood up without support, so I don't think it's something she's keen on repeating any time soon.

All three babies have been varying degrees of sick the past couple weeks.  They all had a cold that wouldn't quit for about 3 1/2 weeks.  The girls got ear infections and sinusitis.  Sam skipped that, but then developed a four day 102 degree fever.  He was so sad – he wouldn't eat or play, he just sat in our laps sucking his pacifier and holding his beloved elephant blankie.  I normally don't let him suck on a pacifier except during naptime or bedtime, but that's all he wanted, and I thought it was only fair.  Poor baby.  But everyone is all better now, or so it seems, so here's hoping.  J also had a cold and his normal reactive airway/asthma type stuff along with that, but fortunately, even though he won't take his ADHD medicine without a fight, he LOVES taking his inhaler, so at least THAT isn't a fight! Whew!

J is doing really well.  I'm really proud of what a great big brother he is and how well he's doing in school and with speech therapy.  He's such a loving, creative soul and wants to do well.  I'll write more about it in a separate post, but we're taking a parenting class on "Parenting the Challenging Child" given by our Developmental Pediatrician, and we realized that so many of the things that made J challenging are already less of a challenge just in the couple of months that we've been working with the developmental pediatrician – and I'm just so proud of J for the progress that he's made.  The class is still incredibly helpful and it's good to see the material presented in a very methodical way, instead of the more bandaid approach we'd been getting it in our appointments with the pediatrician, but I feel so much less like we need this DESPERATELY than I did two months ago when we first registered for the class (though it only started 3 weeks ago).

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Abby has this adorable new behavior, she throws these cute little temper tantrums when she's not getting her way.  She throws herself flat down on the ground, screams, pounds her little fists, looks up to see if you're watching her, and then goes back to screaming.  If you're not watching her (or you don't appear to be), she sits back up, wimpers, and goes back to playing, but sulks about it.  It is the cutest thing ever, though I'm sure when she's 5 it will seem less cute.

It's official – Sam is no longer just a baby  – he's a toddler.  But don't go trying to suggest to me that he's not a baby anymore, because he's still my baby, even if he is toddling.  Yes, it's true, he's not just taking one or two steps at a time, he's not just cruising along furniture, he's actually walking 10-12 steps at a time.  And it's not just a fluke, either.  He does this several times a day, then loses his balance and falls on his butt and giggles.  Fortunately, God made little boys with hard heads and soft bottoms for a reason.  Also, diapers are conveniently padded to help in that area.

For that matter, Ellie's not far behind Sam in the toddling department.  She also can take 8-10 steps at a time if she wants to.  She just doesn't want to do it nearly as often as Sam.  More often, she'll take 3-4 steps at a time, fall down and crawl after whatever she's after. Let's face it, my babies are smart, and crawling, for the moment, is more efficient.  They are fast little crawlers, so they're going to get at whatever they have their eye on as fast as they can!  Still, it won't be long before Ellie and Sam are walking, running, and jumping.

And climbing.  Did I mention climbing?  Oh yes.  Sam is a climber.  Abby, too.  They both climb the gates, even the ones that have bars, not holes.  And yesterday, Sam climbed his highchair.  He wasn't in it at the time.  Not good.  The J-man was never a climber, you see.  He was a bundle of energy.  He never stopped moving.  You had to keep moving to keep up with him, but ne never climbed, he never opened drawers, he never pulled things off of shelves or tables, so baby-proofing was a *snap*.  But with these triplets?  They are giving us a run for our money.  Ellie is into EVERYTHING and EVERYTHING is into her mouth.  Sam is climbing EVERYTHING. And Abby will open anything she can.  And they are all super-fast and in three different directions at once.  Still, it's fun.  And cute.  And not nearly as bad as I expected it to be.  We just have a little more work ahead of us to be one step ahead of them!

We know this because yesterday we did something very brave.  We opened up "the baby pit."  We have a living room and dining room that are essentially connected and basically one room.  But we've had the living room surrounded by a baby corral (the SuperYard XT, for those in the know), which has been a great way to contain the babies so that we can turn our backs to clean up after dinner, answer the phone, or even just play with them without worrying about which direction they're all running off into.  It also contained the toys into one discreet space.  The living room/dining room in combination is obviously a much larger space and is easily closed off because the kitchen has a gate, the basement stairwell has a door, the hall leading to the bedrooms has a door, and the doorway leading to the sunroom has both a baby gate and a door that can be closed.  So it can be one big baby pit if we want it to be, which is what we tried yesterday.  And much hilarity ensued.  The babies were SO excited at their newfound freedom.  They could hardly contain their enthusiasm.  In fact, they didn't even try.  They immediately put their minds to discovering all the little things we hadn't yet thought to baby proof.  This was good for us, actually because it gave us a good lesson in what we needed to get done.  No better trial than trial by fire, I say! 

So, I think we may be done with the baby pit.  I'm a little sad to see it go, actually.  But the truth is, they're getting a little too big and a little too active to be contained in it.  They fight over their toys and their space.  My house is really too small to have them contained in there.  And if I need to contain them somewhere, I DO have the sunroom where I can contain them (it's a nice child-friendly space with a foam floor and lots of baby toys, meant for child-containment purposes). 

So, um, anyone need a SuperYard XT?  Actually, I think it was 2 of them that we had  – one of them wouldn't have been big enough.  Sigh.  We spend so much money on this stuff and it's all so temporary, isn't it?  Maybe we'll use it again if I ever get to have that singleton I'm still dreaming of?  But that seems silly.  I mean, we never contained the J-man in a baby pit.  Do people actually contain singletons in baby pits?  Or are they just things that multiples parents use?

Finally, I love Sunday mornings because we get to be a little bit lazy with the timing on breakfast so I always (usually) make pancakes or omelettes or something yummy.  This morning was omelettes, which the babies LOVE (the J-man does too, which is shocking, since he's such a picky eater).  The babies ate TWO omelettes (total of 5 eggs), plus hash browns, plus three bananas.  They are hungry little monsters! 

Afterward, we gave them a bath, because, well, they needed it.  Even though I'm letting them each eat with a fork these days, they still mostly eat with their fingers and there was egg and cheese everywhere.  Sundays are also nice because Seth is home to help me, so I can give them a bath all together instead of three individual baths.  The babies love this, but I have to ask the moms of older triplets – how on EARTH do you manage this??  Were you really able to handle giving a group bath to your one year old triplets regularly?  Could you do it by yourself?  Because my babies are toddling all over the bathtub, in an absolutely hazardous manner and it's nearly impossible to handle them.  Even if I could manage them IN the tub (which I could ALMOST do), getting them all OUT of the tub safely would terrify me.  Can it really be done?  If so, can you tell me HOW?  This is the one thing I've never really managed to figure out how to do.  Are my kids just more excitable in the bathtub than most triplets?  They get SO riled up in the bathtub and go absolutely bonkers.  Is this normal? 

Anywhozit, here endeth my Tales o' fun, because the babies are waking up from their nap.  I hope you all are well – I'm off to snuggle with my precious babies until Seth and the J-man get home from soccer.  Then we've promised to do something SPONTANEOUS today.  I don't know what it's going to be (then it wouldn't be spontaneous, now would it??), but it's going to be SOMETHING, darnit!

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I’ve had too much going on to ever catch up on everything I want to say, but here are some of the highlights:

First, The triplets’ 12 month appointment went very well. They are developing quite well, and accounting for their prematurity, they are right where we’d like to see them developmentally. They’re not doing everything you’d expect a 12 month to be doing, but they’re doing most of the things you’d expect a 10 month old to be doing. Their gross motor skills are just where you’d expect a 12 month old to be, though, so they’re right on the curve in that respect. The doctor is really pleased with how far they’ve come.

The best part is I asked about how vigilant I need to be this year during flu and RSV season and he said that none of my kids has ever shown any sign of respiratory problems (except J) or asthma, and that it’s impossible to quarantine a baby, particularly with a school-aged kid in the house. He said we should lead normal lives this winter and not quarantine ourselves again. He told us what to look out for if the kids do get a cold and seem to be laboring more than they should be or seem to be in distress, but otherwise said to start acting like normal parents – or at least as normal as we can be with triplets. That being said, I think we WILL limit trips to the mall and such (not that we make any of those), but we won’t limit trips to synagogue (not that we make so many of those) and while we’ll ask people who come into the house to wash their hands, last year we wouldn’t let anyone in the house who had so much as a sniffle – this year we’re not going to such great lengths. The threat of three very sick babies was much scarier than the vague possibility of three moderately ill toddlers.

The only thing I mentioned to the doctor (and I prefaced it with a strong warning of "I’m NOT worried") that I wondered if I should be taking note of was the fact that Abby really isn’t babbling much particularly in comparison to Sam and Ellie. Frankly, none of the babies babble much compared to other one year olds, but Abby is by far the quietest of the bunch. He actually took more note of it than I expected he would, but said it was something he would just keep an eye on for now. But he wants to be reminded of it if we still see her lagging behind by her 15 month appointment. On an unrelated topic, he also noted that Abby has a heart murmur, which we’d never picked up on before. He thinks it’s just a normal murmur, but wanted us to know about it anyway, in case we were ever asked about it. Also it’s a good thing to keep track of. While I know that this is a perfectly normal thing to pick up on, I admit to being somewhat alarmed – I have a heart murmur myself, but mine is s pecifically related to the patent foramen ovale that I have. While a PFO is generally innocuous, it does lead to a higher risk of stroke (I had a TIA when I was 23) and an increased risk of chronic migraines (hello? that’s me!). So I’m trying to remember that lots of people have boring normal murmurs, but my heart did skip a beat when he told me he was hearing a murmur listening to Abby’s heart.

The other bit of news is that on Sunday we went out and bought a bunch of new sippy cups. That doesn’t sound like news, does it? The triplets have been drinking water out of sippy cups for a month or so, but on Sunday, they also drank their very last bottle, and moved on to sippy cups. This has meant they’ve been far less interested in drinking milk all together, but the doctor had said that the 10-15 ounces of milk that they’d been drinking each day was way more than enough anyway, and that it was totally fine if they drank less than that. Their calories should really be coming from solid food for the most part anyway. I thought this was interesting since I’ve seen elsewhere that babies this age should be drinking 16-24 ounces of milk, and I was freaking out because I knew my kids weren’t coming close to that, but he was discouraging me from giving them even as much as I was. So we’re good. No more bottles. Sam and Ellie are still nursing. I’m still pumping once a day on average for Abby, but I’m about to stop that. Mostly I’m doing it for my own comfort’s sake – I get too engorged otherwise, but I’m going to have to just stop and deal with a few days of discomfort at some point, I think. How do people actually deal with the discomfort of weaning? I’m assuming dropping the pumping is just the same as if I were dropping a feeding, so it must be the same principle.

Sunday was all about the milestones, because not only did we buy sippy cups and rid ourselves of bottles – we also did another monumental thing… We took the babies out for lunch. Seriously! We went to a local pizza restaurant and they were little champs! They ate pizza and pasta and mozzarella sticks. They made a big huge mess, but they didn’t melt down. We were lucky that when we pulled up to the restaurant, friends of ours coincidentally pulled up to the restaurant at the same time, so we had an extra couple of sets of hands to help us. Poor suckers didn’t know what they were getting into! 🙂 Don’t worry, we cleaned up our mess before we left.

Finally, Rosh Hashana was lovely and probably deserves a post unto itself, not because there was anything so notable about it, but because of the comparison to last year. Last year Rosh Hashana was spent in the hospital trying to keep my babies in. Last year, I spent Rosh Hashana in the hospital, lucky to be in a hospital within walking distance of my house and community and lucky to have people in my community willing to walk the mile or so to come visit me. Last year, I had a nun come into my room to bring Yeshiva students to blow shofar for me, just feet from the NICU in a Catholic Hospital. Last year, the Catholic Hospital Pastoral Care Services was kind enough to put apples and honey on my lunch and dinner trays each day of Rosh Hashana. Last year, on Rosh Hashana, my doctor was setting up my c-section against my wishes for the following week and I threw a fit. She scheduled it for erev Yom Kippur which was flat out unacceptable (never mind that I frankly did NOT want a c -section). It became a moot point by my next ultrasound, though, because baby C had stopped growing and needed to come out, pronto, so my c-section happened the next morning. This year, on Rosh Hashana, I was surrounded by my four beautiful children. This year, I did not need apples and honey to remind me to have a Sweet New Year. This year is filled with the sweetness of baby giggles, the joy of a five year old’s discovery of legos and bionicles, of new words and new skills. This year is filled with the light and happiness of milestones and love and the overabundance of family that I never expected to be blessed with. This year was so markedly different from last year. Last year I didn’t make it to synagogue because I was strapped to monitors, IVs and terbutaline pumps. This year, I made it, but only briefly because I was laden with children, but my prayers were heartfelt and my eyes brimmed with tears of gratitude. I know that I’ve not been perfect, I know that I’m not worthy, but I’m grateful for every second that I have with my family.

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*Sniffle*

I’d like to tell you about the triplets’ first birthday, but I’ve been so busy this week.  I’d like to tell you how cute they were when they dove into their birthday cupcakes Friday after dinner, each with their own unique personalities, but I’ve been too tired at the end of each day to compose a post.   I’d like to write an eloquent post about the triplets first birthday party on Sunday, but the babies have been sick all week, which has been keeping me busy.  I’d like to tell you about their 12 month appointment with the doctor, but now I’m sick. 

So, in the absence of eloquence, I’ll leave you with a few stats and a couple quick pictures, and then… I’m off to bed:

Sam: 21 lbs, 4oz (23rd percentile), 29 inches long (19th percentile) Ellie: 20 lbs, 2 oz (30th percentile), 28 inches long (13th percentile) Abby: 19 lbs (14th percentile), 28 1/2 inches long (24th percentile)

I’ve had people tell me that my babies are really fat; that I’m feeding them too much… but I think it’s clear that they are not.  Even Ellie, my chunkiest, beautiful girl is only in the 30th percentile.  My babies are perfect.  I’ll tell you more about their visit to the doctor when I’m feeling better.

Now for a couple pictures before bed:

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Ellie loved her cake!

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Abby was snarly and threw her cake around, but she loved it!

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Sam got cake EVERYWHERE.

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We Did It!

We did it!  A year ago, three little tiny lives entered this world. When I was waiting for the delivery to begin, I kept telling myself to remember what the neonatologist told me when I was first admitted to the hospital: they like it if the babies cry when they’re first born, but it’s okay if they don’t; it doesn’t mean something’s wrong. It’s okay if they don’t cry. I just kept repeating that to myself. There was so much noise in the delivery room, with so many people bustling around.  But all I could hear was the deafening silence waiting for my babies to be born. It’s okay if they don’t cry. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong. What would I do if they didn’t cry? Would I panic? Would I be okay? And then, suddenly, the doctor said, “Baby Boy!” I held my breath. It’s okay if he doesn’t cry. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong. 9:43am. And then, a tiny cry, a flurry of activity. Baby Boy Perky was whisked off to another room to be assessed and stabilized. There wasn’t enough room in my delivery room for three babies, you see. Seconds later, the next baby came out. “Hi Baby!” said the doctor. Baby What? ”Baby Girl!” It’s okay if she doesn’t cry. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong. A tiny cry. 9:44am. A flurry of activity. Time for Baby C’s arrival – It’s okay if the baby doesn’t cry. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong. “Baby Girl!” Before I could even think it again, the tiniest of cries, to match the tiniest of babies. 9:44am. Three healthy babies. Three beautiful tiny cries. One grateful mommy.

A year has passed. A year in which I’ve pumped 91 gallons of milk for my babies. A year in which we’ve changed over 6500 diapers. A year in which we’ve lost hundreds of hours of sleep that we’ll never re-claim. A year has passed in which we’ve learned just how huge our capacity to love our children is. A year in which we’ve discovered that it IS possible to juggle three babies, a four year old, two full time jobs (one for each of us) and still come out happy on the other side. Also a year in which we’ve discovered that yes, you can actually fall asleep standing up. Seth discovered that it IS possible to triple your caffeine intake. I discovered that there’s only so long that I can handle sleep deprivation, but the good news is that all the babies DID learn to sleep through the night about halfway through their first year.

I’m not sure how we got through those early weeks, to be honest. It’s a bit of a blur. Once the babies came home from the NICU, it was a lot of feed-a-baby, change-a-baby, feed-a-baby, change-a-baby, feed-a-baby, change-a-baby, pump, lather-rinse-repeat. But we did it!  We did it together. People ask me if I think that our marriage has suffered from the strain of having higher order multiples, but I think our marriage is much stronger because of it. Having triplets has just taught us that we are a team and we can make anything work together. It’s an amazing journey we’ve taken together.

These babies are absolute little miracles – all of them. There was a time that I didn’t know if I would ever have a baby to hold in my arms and today, when I sit down on the living room floor, my babies swarm over to me to be held. They fight to be the first one in my arms to get their hugs and kisses. They have come so far in the last year and I just can’t believe it.

A year ago Sam and Ellie were 3 pounds, 12 ounces each.  They each dropped below 3.5 pounds and were just over 4 pounds when they were discharged from the NICU 24 days after they were born.   Ellie struggled fro months with a failure to thrive diagnosis, refusing to eat, unable to gain any weight, worrying us all sick, until finally she started growing again.  Today, they are both just about 20 pounds.   A year ago, Abby was a mere 2 pounds, 11 ounces and she dropped to 2 pounds 4 ounces in the NICU.  When she was discharged from the NICU, she was still under 4 pounds.  Today, she’s over 17 pounds. 

A year ago my babies had to be taught how to eat; they didn’t have the "suck/swallow/breathe" reflex that full-term babies have, so they received a good deal of their nutrition via a TPN, and later, via gavage tubes, as they slowly learned how to bottle and breastfeed.  Today, they eat all the same things that we eat and they gobble them right up.  Ellie and Abby have really good pincer grasps, and Sam just rakes everything right up into his mouth.  They are all showing signs that they might like to try using a spoon all by themselves at some point, but Mommy isn’t quite brave enough to try that out just yet. 

A year ago they never cried and the only sounds they ever made sounded like tiny mewing kittens.  Now they babble and giggle, though less than most babies I hear.  I’m told that multiples babble and talk later than singletons and that this is totally normal development.  Ellie is the most interested in exploring the world of syllables and definitely is trying out her vocal chords.  Abby is the most quiet and reserved of the bunch, but is definitely giggly and happy.  Sam seems finally to be letting go of his enormously loud happy screech, which, while endearing, was quite ear-piercing. 

A year ago, the babies barely had the energy to move their tiny hands and feet.  Now they are crawling everywhere and our house is filled with baby gates and baby corrals.  They are all cruising, and Ellie has even taken a few steps.  Seth spotted Sam taking one step, but Abby has no interest whatsoever in walking. I think she thinks that if she walks, she won’t get picked up as often.

Each of my babies has come so far in the past year and I’m so proud of them.  Seth really said it best when he was looking at a picture the other day.  He said, simply, "I just love them so much!"

Me too.  I just love them so, so much.

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