Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Some of the best $$$ ever spent

Back in January 2010 when the kids were about 7 months old we introduced the now beloved feeding table.
That was then...

This was a few days ago...

This is now...

Actually we have moved two booster seats to look out the window and put another chair by the window so we can ALL EAT AS A FAMILY. Finally. That is the theory anyway.

We figured out that the kids only want to eat what we are eating and they eat much better if we are sitting with them. Our pediatrician recommended we move to booster seats when we were discussing Beckett's weight issues. So here we are. And I'm not happy with it.

First of all- the day before we moved out the feeding table the kids figured out that they could push it around the kitchen. It was a nightmare because we have a tiny kitchen and they were plowing over each other with the table, running over the dogs and knocking over the doggie water dish not to mention screaming when it would no longer move because they ran it into the wall or the pots and pans scattered around the kitchen floor. So I figured it was time.

Now they push the kitchen table and the 5 chairs around the kitchen. But that is not the worst part. The worst part is that the booster seats add about 15 minutes of clean up time to my routine every meal. Time that I don't have to spare. We could put the kids in the feeding table without seat belts because they are too big to slip through the leg holes and there is nothing below them to use as leverage to hoist themselves out. I could pop them in and out in a snap. Now they have to be buckled in. Sounds stupid to be complaining about that. But with three, it is a big deal. Minutes matter around mealtime when they are the crankiest.

Now they are able push themselves backwards from the table with their feet and if I hold the chair they can move the table with their feet. I THINK the moving table thing is temporary because we are using a tiny light table in our tiny kitchen and eventually will have a bigger table when we move to a house. Before I would wipe the table, sweep or maybe wipe up the floor and voila done in about 3 minutes. Now I have to wipe down the table, the booster seats, the tops of the chairs AND the back of the chairs, move all the chairs to sweep or wipe the floor and move everything back. All the while the kids are tyring to help move chairs and sweep with me. After a few meals of almost losing my mind, I now have a gate that I put up to keep the kids out so I can at least get the floor clean. Oh yeah, and the pugs are underfoot snorting around.

The move to booster seats has also come with the IDEA that I will no longer be a short order cook and will no longer serve the kiddos a 5 course meal at every meal. They now use the divided plates and I put something in every compartment and that is what they get with the exception of dessert if we have any. Again that is the theory. I'm having a hard time breaking the habit of offering multiple options at the first sign of an upturned nose so I'm transitioning myself into sitting down and staying seated.

But all of this depends on all 3 willfully sitting down when it is time to eat. Guess who doesn't want to cooperate?
Hard to believe that innocent little mug would cause so much drama the last few days. More than half of the meals since the introduction have been tantrum filled and flush with timeouts for Mr. Beckett. He has just been refusing to eat, refusing to sit at the table and REFUSING to cooperate with getting dressed. Yesterday at lunch after about 30 minutes of fighting we just put him to bed. Enough is enough. I was so exhausted I feel asleep that afternoon in the waiting room of the Honda dealership while the getting the oil changed of the minivan. That stinky waiting room at the time seemed like the most fantastic place to nap ever.

After all of that I've decided that the feeding table has probably been some the best money we have ever spent on triplet gear. If you are reading this, are pregnant with multiples or have multiples that are not yet eating solid food- immediately go to the internet, do not pass go, do not collect $200, and gladly shell out the $300-$500 (depending on model) for a feeding without blinking an eye even if you have to charge it, bust into your 401K, whatever to buy it. That' my opinion anyway based on the drama of the last few days.

Godspeed little yellow feeding table as you move on to your new triplet family. May you save their sanity as much as you have ours.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

HAIR- The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical

If you are not familiar with this Broadway show originally produced in 1967 and revived in 2008, the playbill below will give you an idea of what is it all about.

What the playbill does not tell you is that there is full nudity from the ENTIRE cast at some point during the show. If I had known that I would have rented the opera glasses. Just kidding. Hope those people in the front row knew what they were getting themselves into.
I went last night with my sister, Dad and Bambi with dinner before hand. It was like I was a real person again doing real things rather than just sprinting out to the store at nap time to buy milk or running to Target after the kids go to sleep and throwing things in the cart before it closes. My only regret is that my dad didn't get up and dance with the cast on stage at the end of the show like tons of other people. He has some serious dance moves!
The title of the musical coincided nicely with some of the pictures I have been taking lately of the girls as I'm trying to figure out what to do with their hair in an attempt to make it an little less disheveled and a little more girly without going overboard.
I'm always blown away by Addy's hair. I can't wait until it gets longer and fuller because it is just going to be these beautiful ringlets. Tons of work keeping away the frizz but just a head full of curls. Every morning after breakfast I brush out the forming dreads and mist it to curl it back up. And it looks great until after nap when it looks like this...

Love this picture with the one springy curl poking out from her head.

Every morning Rich says something along the lines of- Eloise can't see because there is hair in her eyes. Then I say something along the lines of- She needs a hair clip in her hair. Hint, hint.

I love when he puts a hair clip in because it always looks totally goofy but so effective in keeping the hair out of her eyes. His ingenious use of hair clips made me realize that I could try to use rubber bands instead. She always pulls out the hair clips accompanied by a little chunk of hair which makes me feel terrible but I was thinking that the rubber band could possibly spare the hair or she wouldn't be able to get it out.
This is unbrushed with a little food mixed in but you get the gist of the "hair in the eyes" comment.

This is minutes after waking up from her nap but through some miracle, the rubber band is still in her hair. It looks much better prior to her nap.

I love it when it is just brushed back. Her style is moving from mullet to a classic Shag.

Florence Henderson eat your heart out.

And we can't forget Mr. Beckett. His is still working very hard on growing hair and it appears that all of his work is focused on growing it in the back. Every once in a while it looks like a ring of long hair around his collar in the back. Rich came up with a name for his hair style as well. It's not a look so much as a comparison.
Hey Beckett, Terry Bradshaw called and he wants his hairstyle back.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just trying to stay busy

I have no patience. It is a terrible thing to say when I have 3 20-month olds at home. So let me rephrase that. I have no patience for waiting on things once I make a decision. We are ready to buy a house but there is nothing on the market that is of interest. Let me rephrase again. I mean nothing on the market of interest in our price range. The good news for us is that housing prices dropped for the 6 straight month but that does not mean anything if there is nothing to buy.
I search the Internet probably twice a day looking for new listings. I do get new listings or price changes in our price range from our agent but I of course need to be doing something about this search. So when we don't have anything planned, I pack the kids in the car with snack traps and juice and we drive around looking for moving vans, For Sale signs and any other signal of a house coming on the market that I don't yet know about. I even know people who live in the neighborhood and I have them on the prowl as well.
It has been great to be renting this winter and taking a break from being a homeowner and calling the office when the garbage disposal is broken or a sliding door got accidentally off the hinge but I'm ready to dive in again. I'm ready for a yard, a garden, and a basement. I'm ready to paint and decorate and keep myself busy doing things other than eating and watching addictive reality TV shows. Anyone else addicted to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?
So I try to keep myself busy from obsessing over houses and try to keep the kids entertained in this cold weather at the HEIGHT of RSV season. The CDC surveillance has the state of WI at a 60% positive rate right now which is crazy high. I also look at TX just for kicks and it is about 33%. The season here peaks higher and later than TX but we would probably be under the same restrictions here or there.
I mentioned the hearing tests from last week but we also had a triplet play date! We had a play date with another set of triplets that are 2 days older than mine. I was so excited and yakking so much I forgot to take a picture. We were at their house and it was really fun to watch my kids with a whole room of new toys. They had a little play slide which of course was the first thing they ran to. A bit of a pile up when 4 of the six were either trying to climb up or slide down. As typical at this age, they didn't play too much WITH the other kids but played next to them- parallel play. The funniest thing was Beckett and the bookshelf. I look over and Beckett is sitting next to a book shelf pulling books off, paging through them as fast as he can, throwing the book aside and frantically moving on to the next. It was as though he know he had limited time and was desperate to read each and every book before we left.
The other very exciting event from last week was our show and tell session at school- well that is what we jokingly have been calling it. We brought the kids to a class at UW-Milwaukee that was focused on education for kids birth to three to talk about development with preemies and multiples. The class was already in session when we walked in with the choo-choo wagon. I wasn't sure if the kids would be freaked about 25 people sitting and staring at them but I figured that people stare at them all the time when we are out and about so they are used to it. They were fine until 10 minutes in when Eloise looked up and I think realized where she was and burst out crying. You would never know it from her wild antics at home but initially Addy is shy and clings to us. After about 20 minutes she was running as fast as she could in the front of the room between me and Vicki (the professor) showing off. Just glad she can't get herself undressed yet because she probably would have really put on a show then. I like to talk, it was a great morning adventure and really fun for the kids to run wild in the hallways later so I hope we are invited back.
I totally flaked on taking pictures during all of our really fun activities last week but I managed to snap a few shots during our everyday activities.
Addy eating oranges for dessert after dinner. Dinner was mac n' cheese with spinach.

Beckett eating oranges for dessert after dinner. Looks like he ate A LOT of mac n' cheese with spinach, huh.

Frequently Addy is up from nap way before (sometimes 2 hours) before the other two. And frequently, she requires a whole new set of clothes at some point during the day due to excessive water and juice drinking. She can soak through a diaper in less than two hours. I think at this point she just wakes up because she knows she gets 1 on 1 time or maybe even time with both Rich and I. Look at that smirk.

After nap snack. Eloise has on 3 layers and Addy has on a diaper. I love this picture because of the baby dolls and the motorcycles.

Eloise- lovies are not toys. Please put them down and play with something. Anything.

I really need to either consistently pull her hair back or just get it cut. It looks so ridiculous. To be fair, she just finished eating and without fail rubs food on her head at some point during the meal. I also really need to start limiting lovie time to naps, night time and injury/insult. We have 9 in the house and I would guess she has about 6 here.

Much better. But this is a prime example why these lovies smell so bad. I try a rotational schedule of washing but they really need to be soaked in something. These last few pictures are why Eloise sometimes smells like a lovie herself.

The Lego Duplo blocks are a huge hit at our house right now. Rich is such a good role model and teacher for making dinosaur/tower/car/house with window creations.

Really Addy, you are going to make one that tall? Don't let Eloise knock it down!

Every few days Beckett seems to have a new obsession. This week it is using the bulldozer to dump stuff into the dump truck- which by the way is totally frustrating because one is like 7 times larger than the other. Last week it was this little bus. He would bring it to me, point inside, urgently talk, point, show it to me again and on and on. I'm not sure what the problem is but he is not happy about something with this bus.

What is it Beckett? The driver is texting? Kids are playing with the emergency exit? Someone is eating a booger? The doors don't open so they are all locked inside? What?

Constantly on the lookout for dogs, garbage trucks, and snow plows. Even snowblowers are good material these days. They can hear a rumbling of a truck and take off for the window.

Time to go upstairs for bath and bed. Beckett SPRINTS to the stairs and tries to climb and claw his way upstairs because he knows what is awaiting in the nursery. His passy. The least favorite word at our house right now and one that Rich and I have started to S P E L L so we don't remind him of it. We are painfully back to a passy only at nap and bedtime. Lovies are next on the list. Poor Eloise.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pots and Pans

There are two cabinet doors without child safety locks in the kitchen. One is a narrow but tall space empty space the kids like to crawl in and close the door behind them. The other is the door where my pots and pans are stored. They like to take the pots and pans and drop them from a distance to make loud noises. Good times. My intention was to record all of the noise but what I ended up with was not only the typical noise at our house but also the typcial chattering, silliness and of course the fighting.
Sorry it is so long- 3 minutes- but I don't know how to edit it.
Some highlights that I find so hysterical and perfect displays of their personalities are:
-Eloise is playing by herself, ignoring the other two and enamored with herself in the reflection of the oven with a lovie in her mouth (always)
-Addy scampering around, stutter steps and is picking up pot lids with her mouth. It is a little unusual for her to try and steal something from Beckett. Normally the other way around.
-Beckett can turn anything into a truck or a place to sit and starts to put the animal magnets from the fridge into the pot. Hoarding the animal magnets is very popular. They get pushed around in the stroller, put on plates and carried, put into dump trucks and pushed- whatever. Some days I look at the fridge and they are ALL gone. Usually takes a while to round them all up which of course I have to- you know the whole Effective Play theory.
One final note- does Beckett EVER stop talking?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Can you hear me now?

Because of the speech delay, our pedi wanted the kids to have a hearing test to rule out hearing problems as a cause. When I scheduled the tests at Children's Hospital they told me that it would take about an hour per child. Given that, I scheduled each child on a separate day all in the same week. It meant 3 visits and figuring out who was going to watch the other 2 but unlike the pediatrician visit a hearing exam probably would not be successful if there were 2 other screaming kids in the background.

What I didn't realize is that hearing tests at this age are really considered a type of screening and not a definitive test. They can't isolate the ears unless they do what is called an Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test which measures the response of the nerve to stimuli and can only be done if the child is sleeping or sedated. So instead they do a combination something called behavioral audiometry followed by an evoked otoacoustic emissions (EOAE) test. In behavior audiometry the audiologist watches their behavior in response to sounds in a controlled environment. All of the kids loved that test because we sat in this booth with speakers on the right and left. Whenever they correctly turned to a sound little animals these plastic boxes would spin or dance.

The EOAE test was not as popular. They put what looked like an earplug in each ear that emitted sounds and measured the response of the hair cells in the inner ear to the sound. The child is supposed to be quiet for proper measurement which doesn't always work if you stick something in their ear and then their mom holds their arms down so they can't pull it out. Addy screamed and they were only able to get her measurements between the screams when she was taking a breath.

Good news is that Addy and Eloise passed with flying colors and they don't need to go back. The bad news is that Beckett failed 1 of the 5 frequencies on his left ear. I don't quite understand the whole thing because they said 3 of 5 is passing the test. He got 4 of 5 (passing!) but this screening test showed no response for the high frequency where we hear T's and S's. He needs to go back in 6 months for either repeat testing or to try to do the ABR if he will cooperate. Hearing loss in one ear at this frequency, if that is indeed what he has, would not be the cause of any speech delay so there is no need to do anything immediately.

Honestly, I'm pretty freaked out about the whole thing. Mostly because it was unexpected. There is and was so much that we read about what can happen with high order multiples and prematurity. Before I delivered we got a frightening discussion with the NICU team about possible scenarios from head bleeds, brain damage, blindness, lung problems, heart problems, long term feeding problems, developmental delays and the list goes on including death. I feel like we successfully dodged most of those problems and are working on putting the rest (speech delay, RSV restrictions) behind us in a matter of time. I don't remember ever discussing hearing loss. Maybe we did. I don't remember it.

I've been doing a little research and it looks like some of the hearing loss risk factors apply to all the kids- prematurity, NICU stay, low birth weight and elevated bilirubin levels. But Beckett also was very jaundiced and was followed by a GI specialist to watch his liver development so his bili levels were elevated for about 3 months= risk factor. Beckett was also the only one to have a PDA in his heart which was closed by a medication called Indocin. From what I can tell, Indocin is considered an ototoxic (causing damage to the ear) drug in large doses.

So did the medication that we opted to give Beckett to avoid surgery on his heart possibly cause hearing loss? Maybe. I don't know. But I do know that many of the interventions done in the NICU are done to preserve life while acknowledging unwanted negative consequences. Take for example something seemingly as simple as oxygen. All of our kids were on oxygen yet oxygen administration in premature infants is linked optical damage or blindness. It's all a question of asking- Does the benefit outweigh the risk? With oxygen, without a doubt. Not even a question.

I think back to the day the neonatologists were disagreeing with the cardiologist about whether or not to treat the PDA or wait to see if it closed on it's own. The neonatologists were saying that because his oxygen requirements were down, he was not symptomatic. That was 11 days after they were born. The medication is only shown to be effective if given with within 14 days of birth. If it did not close then he would require surgery on his heart. I will never forget the image of my little tiny boy that was just barely over 3 lbs, yellow from jaundice, every rib showing and the skin pulling between each rib with effort from every breath. To me he was symptomatic and surgery was unimaginable.

So now what do we do with this information. And does it even matter what caused the hearing loss if that is what it is? Maybe not.It is my way of trying to make sense out of an unexpected diagnosis. It's hard not to second guess the decisions we make as parents in the hopes that we are doing the best for our children.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend a while back. He asked, "When are they not going to be preemies anymore?" or something like that. I don't remember my response but at the time I probably responded referring to their lung development or at age 2 or whatever. Now I wonder if that is true. Talk to any parent to has spend time in the NICU with their children or look at any blog with a NICU stay and you will inevitably see the the term "NICU Rollercoaster." I mistakenly thought we had gotten off that ride. Guess we were just climbing for a really long time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Random Pics- trying to catch up

I forgot I had these pictures from Beckett on Valentines Day. After dinner he wanted NO part of eating cupcakes- probably didn't fit into his limited calorie diet these days. All he wanted to do was use new highchair from my mom to feed a baby doll. The big joke was that the kids wouldn't know what to do with the baby highchair because they have never really sat in a proper highchair- only a feeding table and booster seats.
Guess he showed us.

He can be such a sweet boy when he wants to be, which lately has not been really high on his list. We actually took him to the doctor on Tuesday because he has been so fussy, not eating, pulling on his ear, wanting his passy, laying down with lovies in middle of day, stealing toys and crying constantly. Did I mention the constant whining and the screaming and crying when it is time to eat? Turns out, he is perfectly fine. No ear infection, no fever, lungs sound great and gaining weight as expected. Well, he is 21 lbs and 7.5 oz and they would have liked him to be 21 lbs and 8 oz or more so he is 0.5 oz under what was expected on his current growth curve. For him, that is one dirty diaper so no worries there. The worry is (my worry) that this is just a stage or phase he is going through and perfectly normal at this age. Really? So we can expect this with the girls. Please, please, please tell me that is not true.

For now the girls are not sharing in Beckett's rough stage. They have really been great eaters lately with using spoons and trying new foods. I figured out that they really like to eat things with rinds like oranges, melons and pineapple. I think it is something about having a sort of handle so to speak.

We are still working on not eating the rind- right girls?

Like mom like daughter. It's all about the accessories.

Now on to bath time. You never know who it is going to be but it seems that each day at least one person fights taking a bath. For a while it was Beckett because he couldn't bring his magazine into the bathtub with him. About once a week Addy poops in the tub so then she is freaked out the next day. The last couple of nights it has been Eloise not wanting to take a bath. That girl can SCREAM. So we get her in and out as fast as possible on these nights so the neighbors don't call CPS on us. But before getting into the tub all the kids turn into a bunch of hooligans running around naked and usually peeing on the floor at some point. Better than the tub. What is it when you take their clothes off they just turn into maniacs? That's probably why they don't get into the tub because I let them run wild for too long. Why would they want to get in the tub when they could be moving potty chairs, tossing toys in the tub, opening and closing the door, squatting on the floor and trying to get into the diaper pail.

This past weekend when my mom was here they were pretending to put one foot outside of the bathroom on the carpet when they were naked. They know they are not supposed to leave the bathroom without a diaper so it was pretty funny to watch them test their limits with one little foot. Actually, it was one little foot but they were making these huge exaggerated steps for effect. I have pictures but a little too revealing for public viewing. But I have no problem posting pics of their cute little bums.

Action shots trying to catch the waterfall courtesy of Daddy.

He's way more fun than Mama.

Now from naked to bundled up. The bitter cold is gone (for now) so we took the kids to the park to play. Beckett took his first step in the snow, fell down, wasn't able to get up and freaked out about the snow. The whole experience was not very much fun for him. They are not used to the whole hat, mittens, snowsuit and boot get up so that and snow was a little too much. You know what a sweaty mess it is to carry around a kid in a slippery snow suit while walking in those boots on a foot of packed snow?
Eloise on the other hand loved the swing so much she almost fell asleep in it.

Addy thought it was okay. She always acts as if things are a little too pedestrian for her unless it is her idea. Or she is doing something super dangerous like this...

A rare family picture.
Right after this Rich carried Beckett the block back to our house and my mom and I stayed at the park with the girls. We could hear him screaming the whole way.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

Group pictures are only as good as the cooperation I can get on any given day. Beckett could only be torn away from his books kicking and screaming which wasn't so lovely on Valentines Day. The girls were hamming it up...

Where's the love Beckett? Oh, I see. It is professed on your tee shirt.
(My Mom is HOT!)