Friday, November 07, 2008

Want To Know Your Future?

I got a little glimpse into mine :) Here's an article that myself and two fellow triplet mammas wrote for our moms of multiples club newsletter (little long but you'll enjoy it - especially if you happen to have triplets my girl's age or younger):

In the Prince William Moms of Multiples Club there are only a few sets of triplets. Three sets are all girls and all three sets were born on or near the other sets birthday. On November 16th, 2001 the Guber family welcome three beautiful little girls. Three years and two days later (November 18th, 2004) the Sleczkowski family welcomed three beautiful little girls. Two years after that and exactly five years to the day after the Guber family (November 16th, 2006), the Nelson family welcomed three beautiful little girls. A special bond is often formed among triplet moms but for us we have the unique experience to have our girls share birthdays and therefore we give each other a unique glance in to our futures. Take a sneak peek into what we have learned and what we still have to come!

On November 16th, 2006 at just under 36 weeks I gave birth to three little girls. Julianna, Rachel and Alyssa all weighed right around five pounds. Big girls for triplets and they did very well; coming home with me after just two days in the NICU. I thought those little girls were a handful then but I had no idea what was to come!
Then they slept a lot and stayed where I put them. While I struggled to feed three babies at once, hold three babies at once and care for three babies at once amidst constant tears (some of them my own) they were much more manageable and containable.
Now it is such a different story. Yesterday it took me almost an hour to write one short e-mail because I had an endless stream of girls climbing into and out of my lap. Each of them wanting me to read a book or color with them or play with them. I don’t have enough hands!
While I am thoroughly enjoying watching the girls grow into their own personalities I find juggling these personalities is a huge challenge. Alyssa is independent for the most part which currently makes her the easiest of the three. Not that she always has been. At one point her nickname was “Loud” and we wondered if she would ever get easier. Now I wonder if she will always be easy!
Rachel is a much more emotional child. She needs to eat and sleep as soon as she needs to eat and sleep but this isn’t always possible with two sisters the same age. So, instead of verbalizing her needs she prefers to throw herself on the ground and scream.
What is Julianna doing? If Julianna gets wind of anyone else crying she invents a need to cry and throws herself at me so that I pick her up instead of her sisters! On the good side, Julianna is a chatterbox and loves to talk to us all the time. Right now this is sweet since she’s the only one really talking. But what will it be like when all three of them are chattering at me? Will there be any peace?
And the diapers! The diapers are never ending. We go through almost 15 diapers a day. Not a lot right now but add it up per month and that’s almost 450 diapers a month! That’s quite a load. I wonder if I will ever be out of this stage?
But more then all that is the fighting. If one girl has something the other one wants it and they will fight until someone wins or I break it up. What is the biggest thing they fight over? Me. So, I often find myself holding two and having to look down at the third and apologizing that I don’t have more hands! How can a mom’s heart not break when she can’t comfort all her kids? When I drop all three off or pick all three up from nursery I can’t welcome or comfort all of them at once.
Two years ago I wondered what it would be like when they were walking and talking. Now they are walking, running and climbing everywhere. Now they are “talking”, screaming and crying at any time of the day. If there’s a good reason to fall down and cry they will find it.
Now I wonder what will life look like in two more years? Will it be any easier? Will they get along as sisters? As friends? Will they ever stop wearing diapers? Well, I know the answer to the last one, eventually, but right now it seems as far away as today was in November of 2006…

I feel your pain, Dorinda. Let me tell you what challenge awaits you by age four. On November 18, 2004, my identical triplet girls were born. Potty training has been difficult these six months. I decided to let them tell me when they were ready. So at age 3 ½, I noticed signs of interest. I thought I could train them at the same time.
I went out and bought three potty-training chairs and let my girls play with them but they refused to sit on them. Instead, they fought over sitting on the toilet because big sister uses it. Then I attempted potty training individually. But while I am with one triplet in the bathroom, the other two were getting into mischief. My middle triplet, Marie, started the whole process of wanting to sit on the toilet. This gave me hope. But my hope was dashed one day, when she smeared poop on the potty seat as she got up from the toilet and big sister saying it needed to be cleaned pulled it away. Marie, not realizing that it was missing, sat down again and fell in. That was a two-month setback. Then I tried to save our toilet by instituting the 2 square counting method to wiping. That didn’t work for us either. Poor Marie still learning to count and rip things would tear off more than 2 squares or rip a corner, see it as wrong then throw it in the toilet and unravel another strip. By the time she got 2 squares perfectly ripped to wipe, half the roll would be in the toilet. Then she flushed. We almost flooded our bathroom by this method so we had to change the rule to a small wad.
During that time, my youngest triplet, Natalie, became interested in the toilet and would tell me when she pooped and wet. One afternoon, as I was trying to get my girls down for a nap after reading some books, I heard the phone ring. I left the bedroom to get the phone. While on the phone, I heard Natalie call in a frantic voice that she had pooped. I hung up and entered the bedroom in horror to see poopy heel prints on the floor, the mattresses and on Marie and Natalie’s hands and feet. Then I noticed poop inside and in between a stack of two reading books. Marie and Natalie had taken their poopy diapers off in that short time and managed to create this stinky mess.
My first thought was how to go about cleaning up this mess. I started with cleaning Marie and Natalie up. My smallest triplet, Amber, was miraculously clean. I put all of them in timeout in the small unaffected areas of the room just to keep them from further mischief and proceeded to clean the carpet, inspect books, and strip the bedding off mattresses. I fought back tears as I cleaned.
One month later, I finally got Natalie to graduate to cotton training panties so I thought I was saving money on diapers. What money I thought I was saving was going toward the water bill for now I was doing more laundry. Natalie has a habit of changing into a new pair of panties every time she went into the bathroom. She would even throw the dirty pair out of the bathroom. After a week, I was in an adjacent room and suddenly saw a pair of panties flying past the door. Natalie must be in the bathroom, I thought. Two months after Natalie started little Amber gives the toilet a try. She gets frustrated when she sees her other sisters wet in the toilet and get a reward, but she can’t do it yet. My heart went out to her. But after another month, she started to figure it out.
Except that Amber has to watch it happen. So she sits without a potty seat and wets like a fountain. Half of the time it lands on the floor. The first time Amber did this, she slipped on the floor as she got off the toilet. As a result, I had to buy a bath mat, which I once thought was just a bathroom decoration to now preventing future slipping.
I am tired of being in reactive mode. When will the potty training ever be over? Will I ever have my house and bathrooms back to normal? I just can’t imagine what it would be like at age 6.

Ah yes, those early years. . My girls were born on November 16th, 2001. It was the best of times and yet the worst of times Actually, much of those first few years are a blur to me now which I guess could be considered a blessing. I remember being asked (often!), that if I had one wish, what would it be. My answer was always that I would love to have a third arm because two arms was just never enough to feed, care for, clean up, chase after, hug and play with my beautiful Olivia, Chenin and Kate. Yes Dorinda, now with the girls turning seven this month, it continues to be a juggling act to keep peace and sanity, especially with three very diverse and different children. As for the talking all at once, you betcha! When my girls got placed into separate classes, they no longer automatically knew everything that was going on each other’s lives…at school that is. There is always quite the commotion when we are driving in the car or at our dinner table where each girl absolutely MUST tell the others how their day went, who said what, who likes who, how mean the PE teacher is, what’s for homework and who played with whom on the playground at recess, and so on. Oddly enough they rarely face their father and I when they chatter on about their day and first tell each other. Sometimes they take turns, sometimes they don’t but bottom line it is a wonderfully noisy time, full of girlish chatter about this and that. Dare I hope it continues so that we are spared the moody silences of teenhood?
And ah yes, the potty training phase. Again, much of that time is a blur but I do remember a few things. I remember the day that Kate decided she would just rather pee in my brand new shoes than go down the hall to the bathroom. I remember while bathing all three in the tub, one had an “accident” IN the tub which sent them all screaming and scrambling to get out and me laughing myself to tears. I remember the Desitin Art on the floors and I remember the feel of a discarded wet diaper under my bare foot. I remember giving stickers for potty successes and allowing them to be stuck onto the toilet seat lid so that the reward could be closely associated to the deed. I remember what that lid looked like when we finally finished potty training all three of them. We got a new toilet seat and lid.
So you see ladies, you are not the first to travel this road, nor shall you be the last (bet you’ve heard that a few times). Just know that even more fun lies ahead. For instance, lets talk about the clothes. When they were younger, they shared everything. I bought, they wore, end of discussion. Not so anymore. I don’t dare go on a clothes buying mission without all three in tow because invariable the material won’t be “soft” enough, the color is no longer a favorite, the graphic too babyish, someone grew an inch overnight, or they just don’t like it, which translates into never EVER being worn. Not only that, but if someone points out something that they like, the very next question is, “can this be only mine?” Or, “do I have to share this one?” Once said article of clothing is home in the closet, heaven forbid a sister want to wear it and the owner happens to be in a crabby mood. No most definitely means NO and no amount of begging or pleading, even from Mommy, will change that. Their many desires, their many interests and the many requests to help out at school, girl scouts, dance, 4-H keep me hopping and my calendar full. Honestly though, I wouldn’t have it any other way and I don’t think Dorinda or Jennifer would either. Here’s to the future and the unknown! I wonder what life will be like a few years from now…


Cadi, Lance and our 4 miracles. said...

Ugh, potty training! I'm so dreading those days.

Angie said...

I enjoyed reading that article. I am trying to get myself mentally prepared for potty training and transitioning out of cribs. I am not looking forward to either. :)

Denise Wheeler said...

Sorry I haven't commented in a while. I love the leaves and the pics of the girls on the stairs.
That was a wonderful article you ladies wrote. Thanks for sharing it. I am so not looking forward to potty training.

Nicole O'Dell said...

Haha, great reminder that even though I think I've got it pretty easy right now, mine are newborns. They sleep a lot and they stay where I put them. That will all change sonner than I think, though.

Great post!