I’m such a wretched blogger. Come to think of it – just blame the kids. If they would just play sweetly for hours unattended or sleep 15 hours at night, I could do a better job!
Let me try to hit all the high points and get you up to speed.
The triplets are 19 months old now. Go ahead, shed a tear for me. My little ones are growing up. Just last night I had one of my frequent sobbing spells of, ‘where has the time gone?’ The strangest moments make me well up with tears as I ponder the thought that at this very instant, this is the smallest they’ll ever be. This time tomorrow, the kids will be bigger, have more skills, and be less baby-like. And I weep. Because really, what else is a mother to do when her life is so overwhelmingly chaotic and her children require so much time and energy that the momma just can’t sit and relish the blessing of the moment!?
I’m still nursing! No real planned end in sight. We’re just cruising along and seeing where the road leads us. I’ll never get this time with them or with any baby ever again. So, I’m enjoying it still. And clearly, my little milk babies are too! I only nurse them 3 times a day. I say ‘only’, but as Doug pointed out today, that’s still 9 nursing sessions a day – the same as the first month of a singleton!
The trips have developed their own little language with each other. It’s pretty common to hear strange babbling, voice inflections, and pointing, and then they all rotate a toy or disperse about the house in organized fashion to find a toy or start up a little game they’ve invented. They hug, kiss, offer each other drinks, share food, demonstrate a smidge of care, and FIGHT.
Alayna talks a good deal, trying a variety of words when you ask her to. Mostly she just utters a sound with the same number of syllables and can replicate the first sound of the word. So she refers to her brothers as Cha-cha and Ca-ca. She’s still the most playful, interactive one. Charlie only has about 4 words, but I am noticing some progress just this week. Charlie is always content to be in his own little world, unless of course a wrestling match is an option. He’s so rough and tumble, all boy! Caleb’s skills lie in the middle of the other two. He’s still our sensitive one. Caleb has definitely attached himself to Audrey. He’ll always bypass Mom and Dad if big sister is around!
It cracks me up that Charlie was the most active in the womb, and still is now. And it’s funny how many stereotypical roles are being played out as far as birth order goes. Alayna, baby A is definitely my attitude, strong-willed, bossy, talkative leader. Caleb is my emotional one. He’s a follower. Often he’s contemplative and very obedient, but then he can become brooding and angry at the drop of a hat. Charlie is my rambunctious, happy-go-lucky boy who often seems zoned out, lost in his own thoughts and agenda. He takes whatever toys he wants with absolutely no thought to someone else’s hands around the toy to possibly stand in his way!
Even the triplets’ food preferences match their personalities. Alayna loves fruit, toast, legumes, and more fruit. Caleb loves veggies of all kinds. And Charlie likes meat and potatoes! They all adore most of all blueberries, prunes, and pasta!
Alayna’s allergies continue to be a major hurdle for us to overcome. She is still allergic to bananas and milk. There is some question as to whether she’s allergic to eggs and soy. We have discovered that she is severely allergic to peanuts. The doctors had tested her for many things about a year ago. They told me she was allergic to peanuts, but obviously couldn’t tell me how allergic she was.
I avoided all peanuts with her and until we had an accident one morning. It’s a long story, but she got some peanut butter cereal and within minutes starting severely reacting with swelling, hives, welts, breathing troubles, etc. She was rushed to the hospital via ambulance. For weeks I had a really difficult time with it all. I was so afraid. And my mind constantly replayed images of her little face and what she looked like in that ambulance. I couldn’t seem to get beyond that dreadful thought that as her momma, I wouldn’t have been able to recognize my own child (due to the swelling and hives) had she not been wearing the jammies I had put her in. I had nightmares for a couples weeks. And I didn’t want her out of my sight. All I could think of was that I’ve only ever known one person with a peanut allergy – and he died from it.
As we live with it longer, the reality is sinking in. I’m learning to read food labels. And I’m learning that this is something we can manage, although it does seem like everything is processed in a plant that also processes peanuts. I’m armed with multiple epi pens now and have emergency scenarios well rehearsed with the family. The allergy has caused me to be more busy in the kitchen and to spend more time grocery shopping. While many moms can toss their kids some processed, convenient foods from time to time to save themselves some sanity, I do not have that option! We can’t do cheese, yogurt, most crackers, most breads, and even things like lunchmeats (contain sodium lactate). We mostly eat veggies, fruit, legumes, and meat in our house. So I spend lots of time cooking. Since the triplets share so much, and I live in a constant fatigued, busy mode, I impose the same diets on all the kids so that sharing and accidents don’t happen. I also spend a lot of time, cleaning floors and checking floors when we’re out in public. Sadly, and disgustingly, my children pick up any and everything off the floor and put it in their mouths. I’m constantly worried about what Alayna puts in her mouth while we are out or in the nursery.
We’ve endured a barrage of illnesses the last several months. It’s been one crazy virus after another. I work hard to avoid the doctors’ office since I know the kids get exposed to more junk while we’re there. I’m very anti antibiotics!! And often the process of lugging 4 kids to the doctor (while I’m sick, too) isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Just last night Audrey started running a temp, so I know it’s coming for the triplets now too. It seems like my kids get sick A LOT! I’ve gotten some ideas from the doctors as to why this has been our norm. One reason is because they were preemies, so their immune system for the first 2 years of life is a smidge compromised. Some doctors say this isn’t so, some say this is a moot point. I’m not really sure what I think. Anyway. Another reason for so much sickness is because they are multiples. They share everything! And when we go out in public, I have more kids prone to pick up an illness.
Doug’s job has been….tiring…..long…..stressful. For months now, he’s been working 60-70hours a week. And it’s not just that they are long hours, it’s that they are stupid hours! Often he works between 8pm and 1am. He’s frequently on-call and his phone rings several times in the middle of the night, making him roll out of bed and grab his laptop. And he works lots of weekends. This makes us miss church. And we.hate.that. We aren’t opposed to these crazy hours for a doable length of time. We’re ultimately praying that this will end soon, since Doug feels secure and is getting paid enough to pay our bills.
Audrey’s been plugging away at school. She still enjoys science most of all. She’s been thrilled to make it to church on Wednesdays nights this year, provided everyone is healthy. This Thanksgiving, we were delighted to remember it’s been a year since she trusted Christ for salvation. What fruits we’ve seen in her life this past year. To God be all the glory for His grace towards her! Her two pet frogs died recently. She’s been a little downcast when she recalls that in the past 6 months, we’ve lost our dog, her cat, and now the frogs. Maybe I need to get her a chia pet and bathe it in prayer. :-/
My health remains to be the bane of my life. Somedays when triplets are cranky and non-nappers, we have church commitments, and Doug’s knee deep is office woes, I feel like I’m barely hanging by a thread. My exhaustion, back pain, and inability to recover from viruses often weighs my heart and mind down even more than my physical body. Most days I just long for someone who can relate.
I did recently learn that I have an umbilical hernia from my pregnancy with the triplets. I sure wish I had gotten that fixed when I had my hysterectomy this summer. I can’t even believe that I need ANOTHER surgery. I mean, I’m 35 and I’ve only had 16 surgeries!?!?!? I’m still struggling with the retarded diastisis recti. I’m so convinced that it’s seriously reeking havoc with my back and hips. The more research that I do on it, I do believe I can fix it. But it’s going to be so much stinkin’ work. And there’s the rub. I don’t have the time. And I know, I should be asking myself if I can afford to not fix it. And I know all the reasons why I should work on it. And I know spending time on the exercise program will help me mother better. I just can’t get away from the reality that I have NO time. None. Zip. Zero. Nil. Somehow I’m already bearing the burden of trying to figure out how to read my Bible EVERY day and how to have time to fellowship and minister. I do not want to meet my Lord someday and tell Him that with my free time, I dieted and exercised and healed my tummy at the expense of time with Him and the Body. So I feel I’m a bit at an impasse.