Last day of preschool

June 5th, 2013 | Posted by Kerry Lyons in MaMa Moments | triplets - (0 Comments)
1st day of school_on steps

1st day of school... how can the last be here already?!

When you have identical twins or triplets, the life you lead is different.   You are stopped on the street.  You are asked “are they identical?!” time and again.  When they were first born, you probably couldn’t tell your own babies apart.  And as they get older, you realize other people probably never will.  You find tips and tricks to identify them to the outside world – different colors, a freckle here, a scar there.   You want the world to know that while they look identical, they couldn’t be more different.  And you find yourself explaining this again and again.

Today our identical triplets “graduate” from preschool.  Today is a day I know I will cry – tears of joy that they are happy, healthy and moving on; tears of sadness that this phase in my life – in their lives – is over.  No more preschool.  No more babies.  Just big kids.  Big kids who are eager to get out into that big world and show their differences.  It’s my job to help them.   It’s my job to explain what sets them apart.  I do it time and again and today, I thought I’d share a few excerpts of the note I sent to preschool on day one:

  • Physical factors:  Much to our own surprise (and against all odds!), all three of them crawled, sat, walked, talked, potty trained, etc. at the normal ages of development.  We think all three are right-handed although, apparently with identicals, one is bound to be a lefty so, keep an eye out for that!  (Note: it’s still unclear if this is true or which little fella may be a leftie!)
  • Play & Social Experiences:  They play well with each other, with their brother and sister and other little buddies.  Caution: if someone picks on one of them, the other two are prone to defend their brother — not in a violent way, but enough to make their presence known. You’ve been warned!
  • Goals: Basic algebra and conversational French. Gotcha!  We just want them to have a happy, healthy, positive classroom experience that sets them up nicely for kindergarten. 

Ok, now for what you really wanted to know — their differences/nuances/how to tell them apart:

  • Kevin: Stick with me here — his nickname is KooKoo Bear.  Don’t ask. It just happened.  So, if you hear the other guys call him KooKoo, that’s why.  His color is red; his crocs are orange.  He has two parallel freckles on the bridge of his nose. He is sweet, easy going, laid back and very helpful. When in need of a haircut, he can be identified by a little twist on the nape of his neck. He’s a big talker with a lot to say.
  • Declan: His nickname is Little Duck. Also called Duckling. Again, embarrassing but true and you may hear the other kids call him this. His color is blue; his crocs are turquoise. He is the most “attached” to his color.  He once got so mad when we gave him a red sippy cup that he threw it at us and said “I’m BLUE!”  He is super smart.  He was the first to do everything — walking, talking, sitting, etc.  We think he will go to Princeton. (Ha! Gotcha again!)
  • Cormac:  This one got off easy with the nicknames — we call him Mac, or MacMac. On occasion we call him Mac&Cheese but I don’t think that will come up.  His color is green, his crocs are too.  He has a freckle on his left eyelid and a sparkle in his eyes.  He can be a bit mischievous but responds well to reminders about right choices.  He wakes up giddy — bouncing off the walls jolly. The kid is a pleasure to be around.  Unless he is really tired, in which case, he is not. Hopefully this won’t happen at school!

Ok, well, I hope I haven’t scared you.  They are all truly a joy to behold — happy, curious and sweet with just enough mischief to keep ‘em real.  They love stories and music and we know they will love preschool.  And we hope you will love them. 

“We hope you love them,” I said.  They did.  They loved them. They taught them.  They learned to tell them apart.  They discovered their differences and delighted in their similarities.  Just like we do.

One of the first things I thought upon discovering I was pregnant with triplets was, “OMG! What will we drive?!”  At the time, we had a one and three year old and I just couldn’t envision a vehicle that would accomodate their two car seats plus three more unless it looked like this:

When the triplets were born, we had an Acura MDX — the nicest car I will ever own.  That car was a decision we toiled over for months before we bid adieu to our beloved Jetta and bonjour to Bebe #2 so, saying good-bye was a bit traumatic.  But, six brutal weeks of putting our toddlers in through the trunk while our triplets were jammed into a too-tight second row and our strollers were left on the curb forced our hand.  Bon voyage lovely Acura and bonjour… what? What would we drive?  How would we transport our brood from Point A to Point B with five car seats safely anchored and enough room in the trunk for a double and triple stroller… not to mention the other stuff that often filled our trunk — the pack and plays, portable high chairs, diaper bags, blankies and other assorted necessities of those first few years?


Last Thursday night I walk talking to my parents and boasted, “I think this is the week!  Five for five!  I think we may actually have all five kids in school for ALL five days for the first time since before Thanksgiving!”  Then on Friday morning, our pale eight year old appeared in the kitchen, dropped to the floor, grabbed his stomach and moaned in pain. “It hurts Mom! It really hurts!”

I took his temperature. Nothing. He tried to throw up. Nothing. His tummy just hurt.  A lot.  But, given the lack of fever and vomit and my hellbent ambition to fulfill my “five for five” week (not to mention my desire to show up to work on time for a change!), I sent him off to school with toast in hand and the reassurance that if it really really hurt, he should go to the nurse and I’d be there to pick him up in a heartbeat. So, at 10:15 the nurse called and I was. So much for “five for five!”  And so began yet another weekend where the Lyons Den took on the air of an infirmary.

I’m not one to run to the doctor but even I had to admit defeat last week when my pals at work told me how crappy I looked (even on the day I got all fancy and used tinted moisturizer!) and started to call me “the Germ.”  The poor guy who sits down the hall from me was blasting his music just to drown out my  sniffling and nose-blowing — which is admittedly un-ladylike and loud. Really loud. Like a foghorn.  I finally decided enough was enough and sought medical treatment. It turns out that with a sinus infection, my hardcore “this too shall pass” mentality doesn’t work.  Thankfully, antibiotics do!

I share this because it dawned on me on Saturday that one of the triplets has been asking me to take him to the doctor for weeks.  Weeks!  He does lean toward the dramatic but, when I think back, I realize he was the ONLY kid who didn’t make it to the pediatrician during the long, sick month between Thanksgiving and Christmas –  those frenzied four weeks when we had at least two kids home sick from school daily. For real.  It was awful.  And this poor kid got lost in the fray. Has his nose been running? Sure. Thick green boogers? Sure. Fever? Well, not persistently but perhaps on again, off again.  “PLEASE Ma,” he pleaded on Saturday, “please can I go to the doctor?!”  And as we ran from errand to errand, to practices and parties, I told him “yes, tomorrow.”

That night, he was a real pest. A major whiner. And he refused to eat his dinner so, like any good parents, we forced him to.  As we tucked him that night — his very first night with his  brand new “big boy comforter,” he asked again, “tomorrow will you take me the doctor?” And I said yes. Then I got all sappy and sentimental as I looked at our triplets, tucked into their big-boy bunk beds with brand new comforters they could feasibly bring to college.  I went to bed pining for the baby days that have passed us by and not quite ready for the wonder years that lie ahead.  At some point in my slumber, I heard a muffled sound. “I think someone barfed,” I told my husband who was pretending to sleep.

I listened more closely. There was a cough, a snuffling nose, a quick cry. Then silence. So I rolled over and returned to the Land of Nod. Big mistake.  As the sun rose on Sunday morning, I discovered my top-bunk boy bedded down in barf, literally covered with the remains of the dinner we forced him to eat. Unfortunately, it was pasta and meat sauce.  Unfortunately, it was all over him and that brand new big boy comforter.  I don’t need to describe in detail the odor or how gross it was to clean up the mess in the top bunk; I will suffice it say that I had to shake the sheets out in the yard before washing them. It was that bad.

So, who knows.  Maybe those comforters won’t make it to college after all.  But, that boy sure did make it to the doctor. At long last!  In considering the past few weeks, I’ve spent more time at the pediatrician than in my bed and more money on doctor’s visits and prescriptions than groceries.  My pals at work have wondered aloud, “how do you do it?!”  And I resort to my standard answer, my North Star, “one day at a time.”  And then I remind myself that this too shall pass. And quickly.  This winter is long but this year, like those before it, will undoubtedly pass far too fast.  And when it does, I won’t miss the barf-covered bunks or sobbing sick children but, I’m sure the day will come when I do miss feeling so needed, so necessary and so vital to their well-being.  That’s a feeling I’d like to hold on to — one that I hope will never pass.



Dear Ikea,

I just wanted to thank you for high-jacking our weekend and providing my husband and I with a few hundred more grey hairs.  As working parents of five children, we were truly delighted to dedicate our weekend to bunk bed assembly, rather than enjoying quality time together as a family.  We were especially thrilled that as the moon rose on Sunday evening, the bunk beds still lay strewn in pieces and we had to farm out our triplets to other rooms of the house in sleeping bags.  Do have any idea what kind of disappointment this has been to our trio of four-year olds?  Or what that disappointment sounds like?  Imagine heartbroken wails, whines and tears; a symphony of agony as our little fellas faced the dark alone on the floor rather than snuggled together in the “big boy beds” they so eagerly and patiently anticipated.

With all of this in mind, we’d like to applaud you for astutely recognizing that most bunk bed consumers have large families and busy lives and as such, the luxury of time to labor feverishly over the fourteen thousand pieces you so thoughtfully provided for building the beds.  We especially appreciate the effort you put into creating the user-friendly, simple and intuitive assembly manual.  When we saw the first page – the one with an X through one stick figure and circle around two stick figures — we gave each other a big hug and jumped right in, knowing from the sweet diagram that this was a job for two people in love.  When darkness fell and we were still surrounded by bits of wood and bags of bolts, we swore and snarled at each other and considered burning your manual, having learned from a grueling day that it is woefully deceptive.  Building a bunk bed is not a job for team of two but rather, for a group of at least three, each of whom ideally has an engineering degree.  Next time you update the manual, please consider adding a third stick figure (at a minimum!) and a diploma to the diagram; this will save other harried, time-pressed parents from the frustration and duress we experienced today.

As dusk began to fall, we recognized we needed that third set of hands and called in my Dad in to help.  He was impressed by how you cleverly numbered the wooden dowels, screws and other assorted pieces pictured in the manual; he was far less impressed when he, as we had, searched for the corresponding numbers on the dowels and screws themselves and realized they did not exist.  That was a mean trick.  It literally drove my father to drink.  Not wanting to see a grown man drink alone, we joined him.  Needless to say, this didn’t make the assembly any easier.  What would make it easier would be if you could separate the thousands of pieces and place them in numbered bags that correspond to the numbers in your maddening manual.  Perhaps you were being environmentally conscious by putting approximately 14, 462 pieces into one large bag rather than several small ones? Perhaps you thought it would be fun for parents under pressure to build beds before sundown to revisit the puzzle-solving joy of their youth?  Whatever your intentions, they were wrong. We suggest you buy the baggies, number the parts and save the sanity of parents the world over who, like us, will be wooed by your Swedish design and undeniable affordability.

As for us, two weeks have passed since I first started this note of gratitude.  Though we purchased two sets of bunks, we’ve only built one. It took roughly eighteen hours.  So, here we are, two weeks later, with three boys in one set of beds. How does it work?  There’s one fella up top and two on the bottom.  Which was all well and good until one of the bottom boys barfed this week.  On the bunk, bed and brother. All we can say is that when they grow up and wonder why they shared a bed and why one was the recipient of the other’s regurgitated hot dog, we are telling them to call you. And hoping they will have a better experience than we did with your customer service line!

(not so) Fondly Yours,

The sleep-deprived members of the Lyons Den


It’s been about two weeks since last I wrote.  For me, that’s a really long time.  If you’re a regular reader and I’ve disappointed you with my lack of Tuesday Tips and typical light-hearted fare, I apologize.  The reality is, it’s been a rough few weeks.  In the past three weeks, I went to Chicago on business (good, but stressful), moved (very stressful), experienced the wrath and ensuing chaos of Hurricane Sandy (very bad and very stressful!), and went to Vegas on business (good, but stressful — and, exhausting!).  My good friends know that if I don’t have anything positive to say, I often won’t say anything at all.  I go silent.  Lately, I’ve been so overwhelmed that I’ve gone silent.  And, since some readers say they wish I’d share more of the hardships and challenges I face, well, here they are.  I am breaking my silence with a confession.  And here it is.

Motherhood is hard.  I tend to be a glass half full kind of a person but the reality is that this whole mommy thing is just really freakin’ hard.  No one said it would be easy, but I never expected it to be quite so challenging — in every way imaginable.

Physically, motherhood is grueling.  It starts at the very beginning, with the morning sickness when egg meets sperm. I thought it ended with the final push and first cry but, I was wrong.  With a son who is almost eight, a daughter who just turned six and four year old triplets, motherhood is as physically challenging as ever.  The triplets still need to be buckled into the back of the minivan – a daily task that includes twists and turns and seems to require a level of flexibility I no longer have. Not to mention, my pre-partum ass would have been a much easier fit into the third row!  My oldest son expects me to wrestle, rough house and play soccer, football, lacrosse, and baseball.  I grew up taking ballet classes and never played a team sport. Last summer he told me with more of a hint of disappointment, “Mom, you just weren’t meant to play baseball.” And he was right.

My daughter tends to challenge me more emotionally, though all the kids do in some way.  The emotional challenges of motherhood were also unanticipated.  I wasn’t prepared for how lonely it can be when you’re never actually alone but your constant companion is a newborn – often, a screaming newborn that you have no clue how to calm.  I was completely unprepared for how early the mother-daughter drama begins; the battle of wills over things I know don’t matter (for instance, the removal of every barrette/headband/elastic I’ve ever put in her hair!), yet still I engage in battle.  Then there’s the heartache – the gut-wrenching heartache – you experience when one of  your children is made fun of or another is chosen last for a team.  And once a year, there are those sharp needles that pierce their tender skin at the annual physicals. Ouch.  It’s physical for them, emotional for me.  And the emotional roller-coaster is ongoing.

Then there are the financial challenges of raising children.  Our grocery bills are outrageous.  I mean I’m thrilled they like fresh fruit but at this rate, it would be cheaper to buy an orchard. Or two!  Clothes aren’t cheap either. I tend to buy on sale and welcome hand-me-downs but when five kids need new shoes, well, let’s just say this mama’s not getting a brand new bag!  Another thing no one ever warned me about is extracurricular activities – they really add up! Just think about all the aforementioned sports plus hip-hop classes – and, all the equipment /outfits/uniforms they require!  I suppose it’s a good thing the kids are well-outfitted because at this point, I am not… and at this rate, I’m not sure I ever will be… though I’m grateful I once was – I suspect it was my formerly cute, sassy self that attracted a nice man and got me into this marvelous mess called motherhood in the first place!

There’s much more of course… in my life, there’s the struggle of the juggle as a working mom; the strain on a marriage with so many kids and so little time for each other; the challenge of maintaining friendships, finding time to exercise or, for that matter, finding time to sleep!

Nope, it’s not easy.  And sometimes it helps just to admit it.  So I’ll say it again.  It’s not easy. It’s really really hard.  But, being that glass half-full kind of a gal, I can’t linger on the hardships for long.  The reality is, no matter how hard it is, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Although, if anyone has an “easy button” that can be applied to the mega-job called motherhood, please let me know.  And Santa, if you’re out there, consider that “easy button” on the top of my list!

It’s hard to believe it’s already October.  Summer is over, school is in full swing and the busiest month of the year is upon us.  Why is October the busiest month of the year? Well, four of our five children were born in October.  And it’s our anniversary.  And then, just when you think it’s over, there’s Halloween!  All of these things require thoughtfulness and planning above and beyond the already challenging task of juggling an active family of seven and a full-time job.

Oh, and just to spice things up a bit, this October, we’re MOVING… which means that in addition to everything else, there is packing and cleaning and phone calls and planning to add to my daily routine.  Lest I should forget, there is also a 3-day conference in Chicago that will take me away from that routine just two days before our move.  Are you stressed out yet?  I sure am!

As I look at the calendar, I am reminded that our triplets turn four on Wednesday (tomorrow!) and our 10th Anniversary is on Friday.  The triplets are in pretty good shape; there is no party planned (yet!) but there are gifts to be wrapped and a cake to be baked.  My husband, on the other hand, is not so lucky; there is a card to be written but thus far, no gifts to be had.  Which leads me to the point.

As I look at the calendar, I am completely overwhelmed.  Completely and utterly overwhelmed.  How will I get it all done?!  There aren’t enough hours in the day!  So, to avoid a total mental meltdown (my family and friends might say that a partial meltdown is already progress), I have decided to take it just one day at a time and so far, it’s working pretty well.   Take a look at last weekend as an example…

Our daughter turned six on Saturday so, we made cupcakes Friday night and Saturday truly was “all about her” – she had her first big party, complete with dancing and goodie bags.  She had her first sleepover, complete with popcorn and a movie.  And we went to bed that night delighted that our only little lady had “the best birthday ever.”

On Sunday, we were up at the crack of dawn, lugging out our wares for our neighborhood’s multi-family tag sale.  We set up toys, books, housewares and the relics of our baby days on the curb, displaying it just so to maximize the appeal for would-be buyers.  Then the rain started.  So we lugged it all on the porch.  Then the hours passed.  And no one came.  So finally, we loaded our gently used items and memorabilia into the minivan… and had a big glass of wine.

The moral of the story?  Take it one day at a time.  If you’d asked me last Friday how I was going to bake cupcakes, wrap gifts, throw a birthday party, have a slumber party and organize a yard sale over the weekend, I would have told you that I had no clue, that it was too overwhelming to even consider! But now it’s Tuesday and despite the rain, our missions were accomplished and we somehow pulled it all off.  One day at a time.  That’s really the only way.

So, when I look at the month of October on the calendar, there is no denying that it is daunting.  But, we made it through the first nine days and will surely survive the next 22 – birthdays, anniversary, work, move and all!   Before I know it, it will be November.  Before I know it, my three year olds will be four, my husband and I will have celebrated a decade together and our family will be in a new house.  And then I’ll be wondering how to juggle unpacking and settling us in, planning our oldest son’s 8th birthday and preparing for the holidays.  When I start to feel overwhelmed (that’s assuming I ever stop!), I think I’ll reread this and remind myself: one day at a time. Everything is possible if you take it just one day at a time.  And have that occasional glass of wine!

It’s only Tuesday and already it’s been a long week.  The kids are still struggling to get in the back to school routine and, well, I am too. It’s exhausting!  Each day starts with dragging them out of bed, forcing them to make those beds and then rather unceremoniously shoving them out the door to the bus.  Each day ends in a frenzy of “Did you do your homework? No, you can’t play the Wii. Why didn’t you eat your lunch? Where is your library book?!” And so on until we shove them back into those nicely made beds.

I decided tonight would be different.  My husband had to stay in the city for a work-related event and I decided to make a concerted effort to be the kind, patient, supportive Mom I want to be rather then the tired, cranky, nagging Mom I often am.  I have to say, it kind of worked.  Not in a gold star kind of a way but in a “greatly improved” kind of a way.

After a quick dinner of “dinner eggs” (see, I told you there would be no gold star!), I ushered my four youngest kids out to the yard so I could have some quality time with my third-grader — the one who is most often on the receiving end of my bedtime barrage of questions.  Instead my typical yelling and accusing as I dash to and fro with pajamas and toothbrushes in hand, I sat down and I listened.  And he talked.  And he told me why sometimes it’s hard to finish all his homework.  And he told me what he would like to eat for lunch.  And it was all very reasonable. And we both felt good.

I then called in the little ones and asked my big guy to curl up with a book while I got them ready for bed.  We actually had fun as we put on PJs, brushed teeth and picked out a story. Separating “big” from “little” worked like a charm. Everyone felt like they got a piece of this tired, stressed-out Mama – and apparently, they like that!

Then I looked at the book they chose.  Want to know what it was?  It was called “Dad is Great.”  I kid you not.  I don’t how or when that propaganda landed on the bookshelf but boy, did it ever burst my bubble!  I mean, of course, their Dad is great but really, do we need to dwell on it tonight of all nights?  Tonight would have been a good night to read “MOM is Great,” is such a book exists.  If not, I’ve changed my mind.  I want that gold star!

What were you doing today at 7AM?  I had just gotten home from a run.  It was a hard run.  I was tired.  I thought that perhaps the kids would still be asleep and I could have a few quiet moments with my coffee on the porch to wake up — and armor up — for the day ahead.  I was wrong.  This is what was going on in our house at 7AM.  And, if you’re wondering where our fifth kid is, he had an early departure for a special day out with Dad.  Leaving me home alone with this:



I’m now on my third cup of coffee and I still don’t have the energy they have.  Which, I suppose, may not be such a bad thing… after all, I wouldn’t look nearly as cute bouncing off the walls and, it might be kind of inappropriate once I get to the office.  Wherever your day takes you, I hope it includes a bit of the energy and a lot of the joy that kids bring into our lives… even if they bring it a little earlier and a lot louder than we might hope for!

Here it is, Sunday night once more.  Once again, the weekend has flown by in a flurry of activity.  As I look back on the past few days at the pool, Liam’s first swim meet, a trip out for ice cream, our obligatory Sunday mass and a great grilled dinner, there is one unifying theme.  The heat and humidity that has the nation talking?  Nope.  What I will recall most from this weekend is the inordinate amount of time I spent in the bathroom with our two year old triplets.  I don’t think I’d be exaggerating to say that it adds up to hours.  
We are deep in the throes of potty training. It’s reached the point where Kevin, Declan and Cormac are far more enthusiastic about it than I am.  The initial excitement of “PooPoo on potty!” has pretty much waned for me.  The cries of “Gotta pee Mom! Gotta pee NOW!” have me callously responding “NOW?! But you just went!”  Or, worse yet, “Can’t you just hold it, little buddy?”  Needless to say, my weary responses are not to be found in any potty training manuals.  I don’t have time to read them anyway but, it just feels wrong to tell a two-year old in PullUps whose personal pride is currently wrapped up the “Three P’s” (pee, poo, potty) to take a chill pill because Mama would like a view of something other than a porcelain (or in this case, plastic) bowl!
While I would have preferred to spend less time crouching on the bathroom floor and more time enjoying the great outdoors (believe me when I tell you that 100 degrees in the pool beats 100 degrees in the potty!), there were (as there always are) a few bright spots during our shared potty time…
  • 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.”  

Motherhood is full of surprises. From those first flutters of pregnancy to the wonder of falling in love with a bald-headed baby, the only thing you can really expect is the unexpected.  I’ve grown immune to some of the unanticipated side effects of parenting… sleep deprivation, driving a minivan and the ongoing battle against kid-clutter have all become part of my new norm. Something that continues to surprise me however, is all that’s underfoot, in the most literal sense.  Here’s my Top 10 list of barefoot surprises… along with a renewed commitment to treading lightly and wearing my shoes!

  1. Legos. Ever step barefoot on a Lego? If so, you can probably relate to the expletives that explode from my mouth each time it happens. I do occasionally apply a child-friendly filter, which now has our 2 1/2 year old triplets using the word “freakin’!” in a most charming way. My barefoot encounters with wayward Legos are so frequent that if I ever get around to writing my memoir, I think I will call it “My Life in (Freakin’!) LegoLand.”
  2. WaWas. You may call it a lovey or woobie or blankie but those beloved soft comfort items are known in our house as “WaWas”. Actually, for Liam it was a “WeeWee” but then Ciara came along and we didn’t want her to be the only little girl on the block with a “WeeWee” so, she mercifully called hers a “WaWa” and this term of endearment is here to stay. As are the Wawas… all five kids have them but the triplets in particular get great joy from sucking on them. When they are in their cribs making those sweet sucking sounds, it is absolutely endearing; when one falls out of the crib and you step on it barefoot in the middle of the night, it is absolutely gross. Soggy, wet, nasty and gross. Enough said!
  3. Soggy Cheerios. I admit it. We rely on our dog Finnegan to do a lot of the post-meal clean up. So much so, in fact, that he’s gained well over ten pounds since the triplets were born. He is so efficient in his efforts that he sometimes even starts the clean up while the little guys are still in their high chairs; the sight of the chairs being nudged around the kitchen by a ninety pound dog is an especially good one if you ever get a chance to see it. In any case, I suppose we’ve become overly reliant on Finnegan and under-reliant on the broom because I now find myself muttering each morning as I dislodge yet another Cheerio from between my toes.
  4. Our dog, Finnegan. He does pretty well for himself at mealtime but any other time of day he’s prone to be tripped over, stepped on or plowed over. This never used to happen but now, it’s fairly routine. He might get knocked out of the way as I chase down a kid or worse yet, stepped on overnight as I go to find one of those darn misplaced Wawas. Either way, that poor dog really takes his blows. 
  5. A bike helmet. Ever wake up in the morning and trip over a kid’ bike helmet next to your bed? Me too! I thought this was a rather unusual occurrence but have since heard from other Moms that it’s happened to them too. Not sure why the bike helmets end up in the bedroom instead of on the porch in the neat little basket I’ve put there for the very purpose of bike helmet storage. I guess it’s probably the same reason why my neatly labeled baskets for “Cars”, “Trains”, and “Dolls” now flow over with books, random puzzle pieces and yes, even an occasional Lego.
  6. Big Wheels… and little ones too. Matchbox cars, firetrucks, dump trucks and the like never seem to find their way into those neatly labeled baskets and bins. And, they just may be the death of me one day. I’ve been known to sail half way across the house on a moderately sized “shake and go” car and trust me, the sight of me shaking and going in this way is not one you want to see. Especially since it may also include another inappropriate freakin’ expletive!
  7. Play Dough. Fresh out of the jar, this stuff is squishy and soft. Not something I enjoy between the toes but, it’s preferable to those gummy, soggy Cheerios. Leave it out for a while though and suddenly that Play Dough isn’t so playful. It hardens to teeny, rainbow colored pebbles that I find scattered throughout the house and between my toes. Let me go on record and make it official: I hate Play Dough!
  8. Crayons/Markers: While you may not naturally equate these childhood tools of the trade to the aforementioned big wheels and matchbox cars, they can just as easily propel you across a room if you step on them just so. These are yet another shining example of defiant toys that refuse to reside in their neatly labeled bins. Why, oh why, do I even bother?
  9. The laundry basket. There are two places in my house that I would expect to find the laundry basket – in the basement by the washer/dryer or in my closet brimming over with the days soiled wears. Unfortunately, there are probably 22 places that I might stumble across, over or into that basket. Ok, maybe not quite 22 since our house isn’t that big but, suffice it to say, ever since the triplets decided the laundry basket is their “boat”, I’ve found it docked in the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms and everywhere in-between.
  10. Sticks and stones. They say that sticks and stone may break your bones and I am here to tell you this is true! While I haven’t actually broken a bone (yet!), I have stepped on and tripped over many of these “collections” courtesy of any of our five kids. What’s surprising about this isn’t the notion of kids collecting them but rather, using the dining/living/bedroom/kitchen floors as display cases. If only they’d leave their wares outside, I’d be more alert, more apt to watch underfoot for sharp rocks and jagged sticks; I just don’t have that kind of radar up when I’m blindly fumbling for my morning coffee!

So, there you have it. Ten items large and small that I’m still surprised to find underfoot. I suppose the only other thing I should mention is, well, my kids. With so many of them in such a relatively small space, I have been known to literally trip over my own children. Especially when the triplets were in that cute crawling/pull up on your legs phase. I’ve apologized countless times for stepping on tiny fingers and toes; just imagine their shock and surprise when they are repeatedly stepped on by their own Mom! Now that I think about it, maybe all those Legos, Cheerios, Play Dough, sticks and stones I find myself stepping on and tripping over aren’t accidentally left behind. Maybe it’s just my kids trying to tell me in a not-so-subtle way, “Hey Mom, watch where you’re freakin’ going.  And while you’re at it, put on a pair of freakin’ shoes!!!”