"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity,
it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."
~ Agatha Christie

Alex, Cole and Braden - At 2 years, 2 months

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Imagine this scenario...

Relaxing in the house, spending time with the kids. A baby...(say, Alex) is in the bouncy chair in front of me, dozing off with her paci...looking quite comfortable. Another baby...(maybe Cole) is in my arms, being fed and feeling positively gorged, I'm thinking. And yet another baby...across the room in his swing (Oh, I don't know...how about Braden), looking happily up at the mobile, smiling even. All is good, all is calm, all is in control...

Then all of a sudden, one harmless occurance, like a blanket falling off of a lap onto the floor, causes an explosive chain reaction that is all too common in this house lately!

Swing causes blanket to fall off Braden's lap...binkie pops out of mouth...scream erupts instantaneously...which causes drowsy Alex to wake with a start, eyes wide open, hands out, paci falls out, cries erupt...and then Cole, happily trying to burp, starts to fidget unhappily and ultimately erupts into a HUGE burp that produces large quantity of spit-up that promptly goes down the arm of my hoodie. Erupting seems almost a fad these days!

*big sigh*...this is my life right now. ;) How quickly things change!

I was realizing last night that on an average day, these poor kids aren't getting a square deal! They have to live their life in "thirds of attention"...1/3 of mommy's attention all the time or all of mommy's attention 1/3 of the time. It's not always the same, I do try to rotate the lion's share of attention...sometimes I have more patience and they all get more learning stimulation than they can handle from me the whole day - other times they get a good chance to practice their self-soothing skills in a bouncy seat! I keep telling myself that it will make them stronger and more patient individuals...there's no chance we will have any spoiled kids around here...no time for that!

I have been entirely a non-blogger lately because we're still coping with the reflux and some sleeping issues with the kids. Even so, there are some moments we get that make it all worthwhile...like the smiles! They are all starting to smile and it takes my breath away. Just like in the womb, Cole is still the front runner; doing most things first. He's our indicator...once he does something, it's usually only a day or two before his siblings follow. It's quite interesting! He may be the first, but not always the most consistent.

Alex is actually the best at holding her head up high...and I think she is the most curious of her surroundings. And she is so interested in her brothers...Oh, but she is a little princess! She HAS to be sitting upright, or she lets out a scream.....yikes. The neighbors even hear it!
Braden has a 10 am smile fest, all on his own, looking up at the ceiling and thinking about something funny! He seems to like ceilings. Huh. Forget the toys! He loves tummy time (He's awesome at it!) and almost wants to crawl right over the boppy. The other day, when put on his tummy, he actually rolled right over onto his back!

And Cole has been so close to giggling. It's all quite hilarious, I can't help giggling myself while watching the new laughter. He is the most content of the three right now; he usually just wants to sit in your lap, giggling and cooing. It's so nice to finally see what a happy baby looks like!
As far as sleeping through the night goes...they are finally starting to show some signs that they may be ready! Mike has the 10pm feeding and we let them go to wake up on their own for the 2am feeding. Lately, they have been consistently going until 5 or 6am before screaming for breakfast! Although, I have to admit, they are swing addicts. They nap and sleep in their swings for now (beacause of the reflux) - so the true measure of sleeping through the night will only come after they stop getting automatically rocked to sleep every time they wake through the night. I'm really not looking forward to weaning them off of these wonderful inventions. Either way, we are definitely on the road (even if it isn't paved and it's quite long) to a little more freedom...and it feels good!

The kids are really getting quite big - Alex is probably almost 12 pounds by now...and the boys - yikes! I can only imagine. If I had to guess, I'd say around 15 pounds. They are packing on the pounds and we are loving every minute of it!

So, I walk out into the garage the other day and what do I see? My wonderful husband, consoling Cole. How, you ask? By sitting him on the quad and revving the engine, of course! Boys will be boys, I guess. Talking to him about how he will be taking him for rides soon...like, within the month...right! What a little kid! He can't wait. Cole was quite enthralled with the sound and seemed excited for his first "daddy and me" quad ride; the quality guy time - I wonder if they sell a newborn size riding helmet to match dad's? Probably not. ;)

Note: I wrote this blog before he actually DID it - Mike was telling the truth about going within the week! On Monday, he packed Cole into the front carrier, hopped on the quad, and took him for a tour of the yard - it was actually kind of cute! I'm sitting in the recliner, feeding Braden, and Mike and Cole zoom by the window...His eyes were as wide as dinner plates. He loved it! And Cole did, too. ;) Of course, I snapped a picture of the bonding time! Cole loves being outside, so the quad ride sent him over the edge of happiness.

The boys and their toy

Some numbers in an average day at the Ertel Zoo!

nails clipped...(normally weekly)...104 (fingers and toes of three kids, 8 paws of dog)
oz of formula mixed and used in one day...84
diapers changed, accidents included...around 25
outfits thrown in the wash....usually around 3-4 for Braden, 2-3 for Alex...and Cole has been in the same outfit for 4 days! Just kidding - but he rarely needs a change - I have to remember to do it every so often because I'm always changing somebody!
burp cloths used...9
bottles washed...19
batteries used...about 8 Ds, 4Cs and 8 AAs per week...I know that will increase as they get older!
pictures taken since their birth...1051...and counting!

Also, because we are so bored around here, we're planning the Christening and preparing for a garage sale in between feedings. ;) It's been crazy lately and the reason why I haven't gotten anything done...thank you notes...returned emails...laundry... blogs...new pics...not a thing! Good preparation for toddlerhood, I say...get used to it, Mom!

Until next time - The kids all say 'hi' and will soon be attempting to go out for more adventures now that they are getting a little older; hopefully we will start to see more of you all!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mike likes the attention

I know that you guys must be getting sick of the "attention we get" blogs...I promise this will be the last one for a while...it's just that it's really one of the most interesting ways having triplets has affected our lives so far. It's something I never saw coming, especially in this intensity!

I never would have thought it, but I think Mike likes the attention! As most of my past blog posts have professed, sometimes quite obviously, I pretty much dislike any of the spotlight we are in when walking around with these guys any more. I know it's not exactly a humble analogy, but I think this is what it must be like to be a celebrity! Definitely not to the same degree, but I am sure Lindsay Lohan must feel like she wants to go to the store sometimes and just be "Lindsay". We can't go anywhere anymore without a ton of conversations with people, the whispering, the pointing! Having triplets, out of necessity, you try to become a model of efficiency and have to view errands anywhere as an experience, not just an errand, or you will go crazy! I think that's why it bothers me so much! You get used to doing everything as fast as possible and when you are forced to slow down, my first reaction is irritation at my schedule slipping away. ;)

So, if you haven't read the past posts, you now know that it disconcerts me quite a bit (that is, most of the time - but not always! If we are not in a hurry or if the kids are not in a hurry...aka hungry...I enjoy the stories we hear!). I usually avoid eye contact as much as possible and walk briskly as if I am eternally late for an appointment. That stops most people from initiating a conversation...but not all! I sometimes get chased through the store, people yelling from behind... "Stop! Wait!"

Short story long, I now know that Mike is the polar opposite of me when it comes to this subject...We were driving home from a doctor appointment last Monday and I asked if we could stop at Target for one quick thing...so quick, it would only take me 5 minutes, door to door! I expected him to say, "ok - but hurry!" The kids were crying and that meant endless loops around the parking lot, hitting every bump you could find in effort to coax them down to a dull roar. Instead, to my surprise, I heard a cheerful..."We'll come in with you!" Wait a minute...What?? Is he crazy? All the work of getting them out and into the stroller, all the while they are all screaming...in what could only be disagreement with daddy's plan of action...for a 5 minute item...and he wants to go in??! Yikes.

And then it hit me smack in the face...he actually likes the commotion we cause! He must! I'm putting this together because this would not be the first time he would go out of his way to bring the kids into public. He gets this grin on his face and proudly rolls them into the store, head held up high, actually seeking out eye contact with complete strangers!...and, true to form, before we even hit the front door...."wow! Triplets?" *sigh*....I hope he's enjoying this!

Although, I'm not sure if it's the kids or the stroller he most enjoys showing off. I swear he gets that Tim Taylor Tool Time guy "laugh"...you know which one I mean? The one that denotes a guy showing off his manly equipment to another guy...a primitive communication that only guys understand...and only something like a triple stroller can bring out in them.

Oh well...I guess if he enjoys it - he can have all the glory! I'll go hide in the shoe department. I'll look at this as an opportunity to socialize the kids...as well as the husband. ;)

He's enjoying this! Look at the proud papa...

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Weight Update!

Remember that statistic about the average newborn doubling their weight in the first 4 months? Yikes! We really are in trouble...

The kids were weighed almost a week ago...Alex really filled out! She's now up to 9 lbs! And the boys were roughly weighed at around 12 lbs. Holy Cow! That's triple in under 3 months. ;) Alex definitely looks different already, gaining most of it in the last 2 weeks.
They are all really growing at an amazing rate...who would of thought we would ever be here, talking about all of them around 10 lbs...when we were so happy to see 4 lbs right before they were born...it really is amazing how fast they are growing. Life is good!

The stroller seems to be causing the most attention when we go out...if only we could have that convienience without throwing up the "freak show over here!" flag every time we go out! It's fun to watch all the reactions and start to notice a pattern in people. I've noticed that the women almost always notice the kids and talk about them...whether it's to us or about us...and the guys...you guessed it! They always notice the stroller and want to talk about that! It's too funny how every couple falls into this stereotype.

Genuine surprise usually lets all sorts of things come out of peoples' mouths before they realize they are asking all sorts of silly and invasive questions...things like "Did you have them all at once?" Ummm...I don't even know how to answer that one! Or the famous..."did you use fertility drugs?"...Ahhh...I'm not sure it's anyone's business! But the surprise of seeing these guys makes people act a little weird and little rude sometimes. We usually tell people that we are hurrying so we can finish before they are hungry again...but most people don't hear that...they just keep us there, asking questions. Sometimes I wish we were invisible!

We took Braden for a walk in a carrier backpack the other day to the Lancaster 4th of July fair...The other two stayed with Grandma because they were sleeping..Braden wasn't (surprise, surprise!) so he got to go for a walk with us. It was really weird to just have "1 baby attention"! The people that noticed him and stopped to say something to us were the genuine baby lovers...it was nice for a change!

And I heard my favorite response to seeing the triplets from a stranger the other day...A woman walked by us with her early teen son and glanced at the triplets...never stopping...and said "WOW! Triplets..."...she looked at her son and said..."I can't IMAGINE three of you." Too funny. That one made me genuinely laugh out loud.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Motherhood is a funny thing...

I suppose all parenting is the same, but it sneaks up on you. With Mike going back to work last week, I was pushed into the ring full time (with lots of help!)and I guess I can say that "the gene" kicked in. Phew! Thank God, because I have to say, I was a little worried there for a while. This is the one I've been waiting for, holding my breath to see if it became real, like a young girl hoping she develops in kind along with the rest of her friends. It feels like a transformation...There aren't any words to describe the feeling that steals over you and how much stronger you feel as a person.

There are no limits to what the human body can accomplish - it's kind of spooky what it's designed to do, almost like we are automatically programmed with primitive responses to life. I saw it when I was pregnant, how the body adapts and prepares for a little life and the challenges of birth...for example, increasing the amount of blood volume in your body to compensate for the loss of so much during the birth...it blew my mind to realize just how automatic and instinctual the whole process is...so many little things going on and falling into place without you even knowing it...mother nature/God/physiology takes over and you are left feeling the awe of creation.

I guess that's what I think happens in motherhood too...a set of built in responses takes over to help you overcome the obstacles and challenges for each phase and still leaves you feeling some peace to how much your life has changed. I'm not going to lie...there was some part of me when I was pregnant that felt a resentment and a deep sadness for how much our lives were going to change...I imagine having one baby feels the same in a way...and I worried that the selflessness and boundless energy of being a parent (a triplet parent even!) would never come to rest over me. But then one day, like getting a superpower, it just does. There are still parts that are not fun, and you are definitely tired, but you know you need to get through them...and the key is that you don't have to be absolutely miserable for the duration...it's a choice and a mindset...I keep thinking of the quote I once heard about how it's not what happens to you in life, it's how you deal with what happens that matters (and it makes all the difference!). If you are going through a situation and you can find a laugh in it somewhere, however small...it makes it a little easier to bear!

You just keep going, you know you have to...you have to dig in and find out what you are really made of... this beginning part feels a little like what boot camp might be like...but you surprise yourself with your new stamina...and hope you can keep it up! Living on iced cappuccinos, frappuccinos, anything-uccinos... iced tea... red bull....hate coffee and pop! What's a tired mom to do? Can I invent a way to caffeinate water? I would be a millionaire! ;)

In this evolution, you start to forget everything you ever wanted for your own life - your ambitions, your goals, your expectations for your own self - it all falls away, leaving a clarity of purpose...and instead you become intensely focused on making sure your children have everything they need to fulfill their dreams. Your own needs seem unimportant and you start to love living for them, feeling a peace that no one can ever explain to you...This new life with three forces you to live in the moment...realize that it is a blessing in disguise, so many parts about three are...it forces you to respect the meaning and purpose of your existence every minute of every day. Maybe it is stronger with three, I don't know...there is the realization that there is no turning back, you have to go all in...and you might as well enjoy the ride.

These are the most conflicted moments of my life. Before the kids, when facing a tough or undesirable situation I would just trudge through it, nose to the grindstone and just get through this...I want to face this now the same way, but I am realizing that I may never have this experience again...all three are going through this baby phase NOW (any phase will be the same way), at the same time...just like the pregnancy - no more feelings of them inside me, that special experience, that bond, I'll never have that again..I need to cherish moments while they last, enjoy the times, they happen so fast and then are gone... all of them have changed so much already... and I want to enjoy these cuddly times, these expressions and noises they make, these peaceful, sleepy quiet nights - the cozy and sweet moments with each one, just staring at their cute little faces, eyes shut, yawning, rubbing their eyes, nuzzling into your neck. Those sweet moments that you can't get back. The times when you use all your "free time" to just stare at them, seeing them all making funny little movements with their mouths, breathing so heavy, sighing sweetly, dreaming of all the day's big events and visitors...these are the moments you never want to be without...so enjoy them all and realize that even if this is tough, you are already getting such a big reward and it will be gone so soon.

So, to all of you moms and dads out there....you're doing a great job.

Motherhood certainly changes you...you'll never, ever be the person you used to be...but I wouldn't have it any other way; I like the "new" me. :)