So, in considering the question “How was your Palm Sunday?” I can only recall the power struggle in our pew as the palms waved and the kids whined. And, I think about how I prayed for peace. And patience. This is my wish for Easter, for my family and for all of you. Peace and patience and perhaps even a pretty palm or two to adorn our home until next Palm Sunday — when the battle of the palms will almost surely start anew!
- Breakfast, breakfast and more breakfast. Yesterday there was an appetizer course of two boxes of cereal followed by a main course of about a dozen eggs and six bagels, washed down with a half gallon of juice and almost as much milk. What did I get out of the deal? Coffee and a lot of dirty dishes. Thank God for coffee! Today’s breakfast was pretty much a repeat, but the eggs and bagels were replaced by dozens of pancakes. Good news though, I got one before they were gone! Score one for Mom!
- Costco & Wine. Our cupboards — and wine supply — hit an all-time low this weekend. So yesterday, my dear hubby took two tykes to the wine store while I took three to Costco. I didn’t realize what a bad deal I got until two of the triplets started crying that the clementines I loaded on top of them were too heavy and I realized I could no longer see my five year old, Ciara, over the top of the cart. For all I knew, she could have been lingering near the lady giving out PopChips but thankfully, she was still hanging off the end of the cart, doing her best to keep a month’s worth of snacks from falling overboard. Things got worse when I had to navigate the parking lot with a cart that weighed more than I did, three howling kids and gale force winds that were decidedly not at my back. The upside? An ample supply of wine awaited at home. The downside? A massive dent in our bank account, a back that still aches, four broken nails, a case of possible frostbite and, to add insult to injury, the fact that I arrived home without any milk or paper towels. And had to go to the grocery store today. Grrrr.
- Accidents. The triplets, who turned three in October, have been doing pretty well with potty training. They flaunt their big boy underwear and will show them off whether invited to or not. They are generous in the sharing of their undergarments and the morning chatter often includes things like “Hey KooKoo, wanna wear my Spiderman underwear today?” “Ok MacMac, you can have my red boxers!” I assure you I never thought I’d have a band of brothers swapping skivvies — just as I never thought my house would be a urinal. As good as these little fellas are, when they are tired, they get a bit lazy. So lazy in fact that they forget to go to the potty and free willy — and all of willy’s contents — wherever they may be. So far this weekend, that has been on the couch, under the table and ON OUR BED! Not good. Especially since the caffeine has worn off, the wine at this point is unappealing and the reality of several more loads of laundry seems especially daunting given my aching back!
Looking ahead to tomorrow, the day that we honor this amazing man who had a dream, I realize I have a dream too — it is nowhere near as noble and is admittedly self serving. By comparison, it’s a downright selfish, small little dream but I bet it’s a dream I share with many busy, juggling moms; I dream of a night of uninterrupted sleep that lasts for at least eight hours; I dream of the day the kids will bring me breakfast… or at least share a bit more of theirs; I dream of the day I’m not scrubbing urine, snot, and other bodily fluids out of clothes, furniture and rugs; and, I dream that when those days arrive, I will look back on these days fondly. Because as long as each day can be, the years most certainly fly by far too fast. And, aching, tired bod and all, I am so psyched for one more day to play with our little clan. And, when I get to work on Tuesday, I will be grateful for a yogurt to call my own and a chair to sit down on!
Do you have nicknames for your kids? We do. Lots of ‘em. So many that I fear they may be causing some issues with our identical triplet boys. But, to be fair, let me start at the beginning.
When Liam, now seven, was born, he was a real snuggle bug. It was the winter of 2004/5 and during those long, cold, dark months, he spent a lot of time snuggling in and scootching up my shoulder in that way only a newborn can. You know about schootching, right? It’s that wiggly way babies nuzzle in, up and over your shoulder; it’s really quite pleasant to experience, especially when the wind is howling and the temperature is falling. This sweet baby maneuver earned Liam the nickname of “Scootie” in addition to an original little ditty we’d sing to him that went something like this: “Ooh, ooh, Scootie, ooh Scootie-Loo. Ooh ooh Scootie. Ooh Ooh, we love you!” Sleep deprivation can do strange things to you and this was definitely one of ours. I’m sure Liam is grateful to have outgrown the Scootie nickname but, the standard was set and his four other siblings are now suffering the consequences.
For Ciara, it’s not that bad. When she was first born, we called her “Bitsy” because she seemed so itsy-bitsy compared to her big brother Liam, who was almost two at the time. As the months passed, she turned into “Little Bitsy Burps A Lot” because, well, she burped a lot and it sounded like a cute doll name and she seemed like a cute little doll. When she started to talk, she couldn’t say “Ciara” and it came out like this “Ciaga” — pronounced like this: “Key-Ga.” Somehow, that one stuck. We all call her Ciaga. Which has line extensions including: Ciaga-Loo, C.Loo, Lucy Loo, and LuLuLemon. Don’t ask. It just happened. Sleep deprivation still reigns supreme. The bad news is that as this five year old hops on the bus and heads to kindergarten, we are waving good-bye to our sweet Ciaga-Loo. The good news is that the kids at school all call her Ciara; she can say it, spell it and knows without a shadow of a doubt that Mom and Dad’s silly nicknames stay at home.
Unfortunately, the same can not be said of our identical triplets who, at three years old seem to already have some identity issues brewing. We consistently dress Kevin, Declan and Cormac in red, blue and green to help folks tell them apart; this backfired rather dramatically when Declan started to tell people his name is “Blue” . You would think given the challenges that these guys face, walking around town with identical little faces, we would stay true to the names we gave them. But alas, that is not the case. I find nicknames just too irresistible and as such, Kevin has become KooKoo Bear, Declan is Duckling and Cormac is MacMac. But wait, it doesn’t end there, there’s more!
For Kevin, KooKoo Bear has several iterations, our favorite of which includes pretending to page him, like those announcements you hear in the airport. “Mr. Bear? Is there a Mr. Koo Koo Bear in the house?” He thinks it’s hilarious and so do we. Our little Duckling (formerly known as “Blue”) tends to take things relatively in stride, including the occasions when we quack at him, assuming that he must speak Duck. For the record, he does not and seems to find our antics and quacking less amusing by the day. Last but not least, there is MacMac. He was born last and came into the world as “Baby Mac.” Not to be outdone by his identical siblings, he was a chow hound from day one and clearly committed to becoming “Big Mac” on the fast track… which of course led us to all sorts of fun including the occasional “Mac Snack Attack”, “Mac & Cheese” and the final grand evolution to “Macaroni” which, of course, culminated in our admittedly absurd paging game: “Mr. Roni? Is there a Mr. Mac A. Roni in the house?”
Is it sleep deprivation? Are we insane? Do all parents have numerous strange nicknames for their kids? I don’t know. All I know is that yesterday, Kevin came home from preschool with some “artwork” that said “KooKoo” on the back. Apparently the teacher tried to write “Kevin” and he indignantly insisted “my name is NOT Kevin. I am Koo Koo Bear!” Um, Houston, I think we have a problem. I hope it’s one he outgrows. But if not, I beg you not to make fun of my Koo Koo Bear. If you do, prepare for the wrath of his loyal back-up unit because if there’s one thing I can say about Scootie, Ciaga, Duckling and MacMac and KooKoo, it’s that they stick up for each other… which, I suppose, is at least one thing we’ve gotten right in this hazardous, sleep deprived world of parenting!
There are a few phrases I never expected to hear in this lifetime, among them “You’re having triplets” and “They’re identical.” Given that I had two toddlers at home when I received this news, it was especially unsettling… and all the more so when the disturbing facts and frightening statistics about birth defects and premature labor finally settled in.
The pregnancy was a long haul — 36 weeks of ups and downs, worrying and fretting, and sleepless nights with an alarmingly large belly, as noted for posterity here:
|Freakishly large belly with 17+ lbs. of bouncing baby boys inside|
When the little fellas finally arrived, we had a plan for telling them apart. While my husband Des wanted to tattoo them, I decided that just a bit of nail polish on the big toe would be a better way to go — red for Kevin, blue for Declan and green for Cormac. For the better part of their first two years, these little guys had a better pedicure than I ever did… typically with a coordinating outfit to eliminate any possibility of a mix-up.
|Onesies with their names helped in the beginning… could you tell these guys apart?!|
As time passed, we all comfortably relied on the color coding system. It has helped me and Des, Liam and Ciara, my parents, neighbors and friends and extended family to know who’s who here in the Lyons Den.
|Color-coded kids from the very beginning — circa May 2009|
Yikes, now is that a motherhood mishap, or what? The poor kid thinks his name is Blue! Not to worry, this is an issue we’re actively working to address, first and foremost by letting them each choose their own clothes. The problem? Now they all want blue. To make matters even more challenging, on many days they all want “Yankee uniforms” and Declan (a.k.a. “Blue”) now mutters to himself as he stumbles down the hall “Derek Jeter! Derek Jeter!” I suppose in terms of aspirations, it’s better to be Jeter than be Blue but, my hope is that one day, he’ll be happy just being Declan… and until then, I hope that we — and everyone else — will find a way to tell who’s who!
|Cranky Yankees circa June 2010 in color coded crocs & clearly not too happy about it!|
When I look back on the summer of 2011, many memories will be of the hard time I spent in potty time — “tile time” as my good friend Jill calls it. Call it what you will, it’s hard and it’s not fun. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s time well spent; the last thing I want to be is the mom of triplets who go to college in diapers but really, since that’s unlikely (both the diaper part and the ability to pay for college!), I can’t help but lament the hours I’ve spent in bathrooms this summer.
I’ve spent so much time in our bathrooms at home (no, we don’t have three of them, only 1.5!) that I think there’s now a dent in the “big potty” seats I’ve spent hours perched upon. I’ve spent so much time in restaurant bathrooms, that I think I’ve lost a few pounds — admittedly, this is the potential upside to being held hostage in a public bathroom by three two-year tyrants waving their willies everywhere but IN the actual potty! I’ve spent many a sunny afternoon in the bat-cave like bathrooms you’re prone to find at pools and beaches; again, eager to find the bright side (in this case, literally) I suppose I should be grateful for less of those damaging rays and subsequent wrinkles. I’ve also spent a fair amount of time in the bathroom at church which, on the one hand, gives new meaning to “praying to the porcelain God” but, hasn’t done much for my spirituality… other than, of course, repeated prayers that Kevin, Declan and Cormac finally get the swing of it (for lack of a better term!) so we can put these potty-training days behind us.
Truthfully, it’s getting old. And I’m out of PullUps. And I’m loathe to buy more. My little guys really seem to be getting it. Or so it seems until I find a turd on a chair (as I did during dinner one night this week) or sail across their bedroom on a pool of pee on the floor (as I did this evening). One step forward, two steps back. I suppose that’s how it goes. Try, try again. As much as I want this phase to be behind me, I also have a keen appreciation for the fact that when it’s gone, it’s gone. Much like the bottles and onesies and highchairs, diapers and pull-ups will soon be gone. Already, my sweet babes look like big boys as their shorts sag behind them in the space the diapers once filled but “training pants” don’t. By the way, has anyone else experienced these training pants? If not, don’t bother — if they worked, I wouldn’t have experienced a Slip n’ Slide of pee earlier tonight!
In any case, I know that this too shall pass. And when it does, I will be proud of my guys for figuring it out. And I will be glad that my house no longer smells like a urinal. And I will be just a little sad about those saggy shorts for I know they represent the next phase and I’m not 100% convinced that I’m ready for my babies to become “big boys”.
|Liam in simpler times: after the loss of tooth #1|
- There was Cormac kindly encouraging me. “Good Girl Mama!” he joyfully exclaimed as he barged in on what was to be my private moment on the potty.
- There was Kevin, completely enamored with the “Magic Potty!” at the pool… that self-flushing variety is apparently a lot more exciting than what we have at home.
- There was Declan, who can pee more than any kid I’ve ever seen. He spent more time at the potty than in the pool… leading me to believe that perhaps he was drinking a lot of kiddie pool water… a thought I really don’t want to linger on.
- There was their shared joy at wearing “big boy underwear!” My, how we’ve progressed… just a few months ago, they thought Ciara’s old Princess Pull Ups were big boy underwear. Now they are in Liam’s hand-me-down tighty whities and just as thrilled. Geez, the bar for these little guys is really set low!
- Last but not least, was our adventure at church today, where I spent more time praying to the porcelain god than the big guy upstairs.
I think it’s starting to pay off though. Just think of all the money we’ll save when we officially bid adieu to diapers! Just considering life without repeat orders from diapers.com is all it takes for me to muster up enough enthusiasm to take three little fellas out of their cribs for one last trip to the potty… after all, I don’t want to disappoint their image of this “Good Girl Mama.”