Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Day in the Life: 6 Week Old Triplets and a Toddler

6 a.m. 
Jesse wakes up and takes a shower while I pump.  I feed/change Maddie while he feeds/changes Amelia and James.  Jackson sleeps in our bed.

7 a.m.
Jesse leaves for work.  I shower and dress before going downstairs to begin any laundry, dishes, sweeping, etc.  I boil the bottles and pump parts at this time every morning.

8:30 a.m.
Jackson wakes up.  I help him get dressed, read a story to him, and make him breakfast (normally a mini bagel with cream cheese or oatmeal and yogurt).

9 a.m.
I get whichever two babies are starting to wake up out of their cribs and begin morning feeds in the nursery.  When the two are finished, I prop them up on boppy pillows and get the third up.  I then begin the assembly line of changing and dressing each baby.  Jackson either assists me or plays upstairs.

9:40 a.m.
Pump (This is my time to watch TV or use the computer).  Babies are normally on floor mat for tummy time or in their swings.  Jackson likes to watch cartoons downstairs and play independently with blocks, cars, etc.  He goes upstairs to check on me at least five times.  When I'm finished I get bottles ready for the next feeding. 

10:00 a.m.
Bring babies downstairs.  Go for a family walk in the jogging stroller or load everyone up in the van for an outing.  (If we go out we aren't back until 11:30 or later.)  Babies almost always fall asleep in their car seats/stroller.  I make sure to exhaust Jackson so that he will want to nap later!

11:00 a.m.
Babies nap in pack-n-play, bouncer, my arms, wherever.  I switch out laundry, take out trash, unload dishwasher, etc. 

11:30 a.m.
I fix lunch for Jackson and I (chicken nuggets/mac-n-cheese, grilled cheese, ravioli, etc).  We eat together at the kitchen table.

Feed all three babies on the couch.  Watch Chugginton or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (On Demand) with Jackson.  I bottle prop with James and/or Amelia and keep Madeline on my legs.  Change diapers.

Clifford makes the best bottle prop!
12:30-2:30 p.m.
Activity Time for babies, play with Jackson (read stories, Play Dough, kitchen, etc).  Maddie normally dozes off again at some point, but James and Amelia remain alert.  I pump again as close to 1 p.m. as possible.  This is by far the hardest time to balance interacting with all four kids and keeping everyone happy. 

2:30 p.m.
Jackson has quiet time in his room until he falls asleep.  He is really great about taking a solid 2-hour nap every day.  I bring the babies upstairs for cuddles, diaper changes, and afternoon feeding.

3:15 p.m.
Babies take nap together in pack-n-play in our bedroom.  While all four nap, I go downstairs to sweep and mop.  I also boil bottles and pump parts again.  (This will probably become my time to start dinner preparations, but I haven't had to cook dinner yet since the church committed to bringing us meals the first six weeks!)

3:45 p.m.
Unwind (TV, blog, nap, etc).  Pump.  Prepare bottles for next feed. 

The babies eat between 3.5--4 ounces of expressed breastmilk every 3 hours during the day.
4:30 p.m.
Jesse comes home from work.  We have a few minutes to debrief about our day before Jackson wakes up.  We give Jackson a snack and hang out before the babies wake up.

5:30 p.m.
If babies aren't already awake, we start to bring them downstairs and feed them just before six o'clock.  We set the table and get dinner ready. 

6:00 p.m.
Eat dinner.  We try to put the babies in the swing or bouncer, but Jesse and I almost always end up each holding or feeding a baby in our laps while we eat. 

6:30 p.m.
I clean up and do dishes while Jesse interacts with babies.  He watches TV or reads.

7:00 p.m.
Pump and prepare bottles...AGAIN. 
I pump for 20 minutes and get between 9-12 ounces each session.
7:15 p.m.
Play outside if it's not raining or too hot.  We race Jackson in the driveway, go for a walk around the neighborhood, pretend to mow the lawn, etc.  The babies are in a stroller, bouncers, or on a blanket in the grass.

8:00 p.m.
Bathe Jackson (every other day) and babies (1-2 a week).

8:30 p.m.
All six of us are upstairs getting ready for bed.  We go through the assembly line of diaper changes, pajamas, and swaddles.  The babies lay on our bed while Jesse and I spend a few precious minutes with Jackson.  Jack gets to pick out two stories (one of which is always If You Give a Mouse a Cookie).  Jesse reads the books while I rub Jackson's back.  We tuck Jack into bed and close the door.  (If you recall, just two months ago Jackson's bedtime routine consisted of an hour or more of stories, rocking, singing, etc!)

8:45 p.m.
Jesse and I feed the trio in bed while watching TV.

9:00 p.m.
Put James and Amelia in their cribs in the nursery.  Put Maddie in the pack-n-play in our bedroom.  (Madeline will return to her crib whenever we get her reflux under control.  Until then, I want my baby close by.)

Jesse falls asleep almost instantly.  I spend up to an hour power pumping while blogging, checking Facebook, etc.  I fall asleep between 10-10:30.

2:00 a.m.
Middle of the night feed.  Jesse feeds/changes Amelia and James in the nursery while I pump and feed/change Maddie in bed.  If the babies wake up before then, we try to stall them.  Most of the time they only wake up at 2 and 6.  I get the bottles ready for the next feed and am asleep within 30-45 minutes.  Even though Jesse feeds two babies, he is always asleep before me.

At some point between 2-6 Jackson comes to our bed.

6:00 a.m.
Repeat the day all over again.

Quality Time with Jack

Before the babies were born, I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to give Jackson the attention he needs.  I had no clue how he would react to the babies.  And let's face it, the relationship between Jackson and I took a nose dive during the final weeks of my pregnancy when I physically couldn't care for him in the same way.  We've gone through quite an adjustment period in the last six weeks, and it was so important for Jesse and I to have one-on-one time with our big boy.  We have gone out of our way to do special things with Jackson.  Here are just a few ways in which we make sure Jackson gets individual love and attention:
Jesse and I make sure to take Jackson places without his siblings.  We took Jackson to CiCi's while his MiMi and PaPa watched the triplets.  While we still need to work on restaurant behavior, I feel confident that he enjoyed his pizza and one-on-one time.    

I try to plan crafts and experiments at least once a week that Jackson can enjoy completing.  We had a play date with his cousins and made slime using Elmer's glue, water, and Borax.  It was a big hit and he played with it for hours.

Our pastor invited a few families with young children over to his house for a pool party and cookout.  He had just built an amazing tree house for his kids.  Jesse and I alternated caring for the babies and playing with Jackson.  All day he asked, "I go swimming now?"

One of Jackson's favorite things to do is to watch the trash and recycling pick-up on Fridays.  No matter what's going on, we stop what we're doing to take a few minutes and watch the workers empty each trashcan on the street.

Obviously I must take the babies with me during our outings, but I make sure to select activities that I know Jackson would love.  Jack has a special interest in geese, so he was beyond excited to feed them bread.
Jackson and I have indulged in a sweet treat together on more than one occasion.  Who can resist 49 cent ice cream cones?
The most important time I've spent with Jackson has been hiding under blankets, reading stories, tickling, and giving kisses.  These are the day to day moments that make me thankful that I am able to spend each day with my favorite Jackson Lee!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

This is How We Roll

One of my biggest fears about being a stay at home mom was that I would live in isolation and become a hermit.  I am happy to report that Jesse went back to work two weeks ago, and the kids and I have been on the go ever since. 
Our biggest obstacle was a lack of a stroller.  I intend on getting a Foundations Quad stroller, but the babies must be able to sit up before we can use it.  In the meantime, I refuse to become a shut-in for the next six months. Thankfully, one of my friends who is a mother of two year old twins let me borrow two of her double strollers. Since the babies are still so small, I can put two babies in one seat and still strap them in.  (This wouldn't be very safe on mountainous terrain or anything, but it works for our purposes.)  Another option is I can wear one in the Ergo and push the other two babies. 
When we want to go for walks around the neighborhood, I use this tandem stroller and have Jackson walk beside us.  It's so easy to maneuver and reclines enough for the babies to rest comfortably.  It's a bit more complicated to fold up, so I just leave it already assembled in the garage. 
When we go out in public, I've been leaving the babies in their carseats and using the double snap-n-go stroller.  With the third baby I either wear him/her in the Ergo or double up with a sibling in a carseat.  They still love to cuddle and fall asleep almost instantly.
Last week I practiced quickly maneuvering the babies in and out of their carseats and strollers.  Jackson was thrilled to get out of the house and be a "helper".  Once I was comfortable, I knew I would be ready to take on most any adventure. Here's where we've gone this week:
Anyone that knows me well is aware of how often I frequent IKEA on a Monday morning for the free breakfast plate.  I was feeling a bit down with it being the first day of school and all, so I wanted to do something I wouldn't be able to do had I been at work.  We navigated around with surprising ease. Unfortunately, as I walked past the cashier as I so often have done, she stopped me and said, "That'll be $2.96."  Apparently, they no longer offer free breakfast!  Oh well...we still enjoyed our meal and took time to play.

Jesse and I had taken the kids to the park together before, but this was my first solo outing.  I still used the snap-n-go and parked the babies under a cool, shady tree while Jackson exhausted himself by fearlessly climbing and going down all of the slides. 

We had a picnic lunch for $4, courtesy of McDonalds coupons that came in the mail.  There is a great local outdoor shopping center that has a large lake with ducks, a playground, and walking trails with bridges.  I packed several pieces of bread so Jackson could feed the ducks.  His face was all smiles the whole time!

We found a shady spot to sit down and eat our lunch.  I was prepared to bottle feed James, Amelia, and Madeline, but they slept.

Then we walked around as Jackson took in the new scenery while asking 100+ questions.  Jackson kept saying, "Look Mommy!  It's raining." in reference to the fountain. 

We didn't make it for the scheduled storytime, but we still found some books to enjoy reading in a quiet little corner of the library.  Jackson even "read" to his siblings.

I do get stopped by strangers regularly who comment on my "twins" then gasp as they approach closer and exclaim, "Oh my God.  Are they triplets?"  (to which I want to reply, "Nope.  I just found this other infant and tossed her in, too.")  So far, I have had only positive comments from strangers.

I am impressed with how fast I've become at restocking diaper bags and loading/unloading kids in and out of the van and stroller.  It's so easy to go out now while the babies sleep so much and I only have to worry about chasing after one kid.  Thankfully, Jackson tends to be very well behaved in public, especially if there is a lot of open space (i.e. not a booth at a restaurant). 

I feed and change the babies at 9 a.m. and leave by 10 a.m.  That way everyone is still well-rested, full, and happy; also, the temperature is a bit cooler.  I always pump beforehand and bring 3 bottles with me just in case we're out longer than expected or the babies get hungry.  We're back by noon for lunch and time to unwind before Jackson naps. 

I hope that I can continue to enjoy our outings and that nowhere is off limits for us!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mr. Personality

James makes me laugh all day long.  He is just so over the top in everything he does. 

I love the intensity in which he looks at things.  He has such genuine interest and curiosity.  If only I could see the world through his eyes. 

I love his sense of urgency and how he commands attention.  Thankfully, Mommy cuddles and warm milk solve all of his problems.

I especially love how responsive he is with his latest development, sweet smiles. 

It seems crazy, but the boy already seems so passionate.  I can't wait to watch his personality further develop!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Activity Time

We follow the EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your Time) routine.  It's been interesting coming up with "activities" for three 6-week-olds.  I make every effort to keep the babies awake for an hour or more after they eat so that I know they will sleep well.  I try to vary their positions as much as possible due to my paranoia about flat heads.  Each baby can be found doing the following things each day:

1. Swing--We have two swings upstairs and two swings downstairs.  The swings upstairs are better designed for infants and have mobiles, lights, music, and sway from side to side.  The swings downstairs are better for once they can sit up. 

2. Walks--We go for a walk in the stroller every single day, whether it's around the neighborhood or in a store.  The babies enjoy being outside and are great out and about.

3. Tummy Time (on the floor)--I try to put the babies on their tummies after every feed.  Inevitably, James falls asleep.  Amelia army crawls away.  And Maddie just spits up on her siblings and then smears it on her own face. 

4. Floor Mats--Both James and Amelia have learned that they can reach for toys.  Of course, the hand-eye coordination hasn't been mastered, but they are exploring and interacting.  Madeline's a bit behind in this area.

5. Lap Time--Each baby spends quality one-on-one time in my lap every day.  I normally move their legs to "ride a bicycle", make them do Wheels on the Bus hand motions, clap, sing, etc.

6. Bumbo--This is the newest addition to our activities.  Surprisingly, Maddie's the best with head control, followed by James, then Amelia.  They don't spend more than two or three minutes sitting right now, but they are practicing and getting better. 

7. Boppy--I prop the babies up on the boppy pillow after the morning feeding (face up) and then turn them over for some tummy time after they're changed and dressed.

8. Bouncers--We have two bouncers upstairs and a bouncer downstairs.  So far, none of the trio enjoy the bouncer as much as Jackson did.  Much like the activity mat, James and Amelia are discovering the toys and beginning to interact with them.  I love the bouncer because they are so portable. I can place them on the counter, take them in garage, or leave them on the floor and rock with my feet.

9. Pack-n-Play--Sometimes I just toss a baby (or two, or three) in the pack-n-play.  While this doesn't provide a whole lot of stimulation, it's a safe, comfortable place for them to be.  They almost always nap in a pack-n-play.

10. Sibling Interaction--This overlaps everything, but it is very rare that the babies are not beside one another or being harassed by their big brother.  Jackson provides an adrenaline rushing aspect of "Oh no!  What is my brother going to do to me now?" 

And the triplets serve as pacifiers, pillows, and listening ears for one another.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Freebies for Multiples

A few weeks ago, Jesse and I sent out the following letter to 15 different companies that offer freebies for multiples. 
To Whom It May Concern:
On July 15, my husband and I became the proud parents of triplets. We understand that your company offers promotional products (or coupons) to families with multiples. We would like to take advantage of this offer. Enclosed are copies of birth certificates for our children. Thank you for your time, consideration, and support. We greatly appreciate it!
Street Address
City, State, Zip
Phone #
Here are some of the items we've received already:
Three of each: onesies, baby body wash/shampoo, bears, diaper creams, lotion
Summer Laboratories Inc.
Triple Paste Brand
103 G.P. Clement Dr.
Collegeville, PA 19426
 3 packs of sippy cups and silverware

TOMY Attn: Multiple Birth Program
2021 9th Street SE
Dryersville, IA 52040

3 bibs, 3 $10 Gerber checks, diaper bag

Gerber Attn: Multiple Birth Program
445 State Street
Fremont, MI 49413

 3 Dr. Brown's bottles and food storage containers
Handi-Craft Company
4433 Fyler Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63116
Even though I've been able to offer breastmilk, I suspect I'll have to supplement more as the months go by and the babies eat more.  Enfamil called after receiving my letter to ask which kind I wanted.  I went with Enfamil AR since that's what the pediatrician had given us for Maddie.  A few days later I received 18 cans of formula!  They will also send two more shipments within a year.  This is over $300 worth of formula.
Mead Johnson Attn: Public Affairs Dept.
2404 Pennsylvania Street
Evansville, IN 47721

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Best/Worst Big Brother

Jackson can be an amazing big brother.  He is very hands-on and genuinely helpful.  It's remarkable to me what has become second nature to him.  When Maddie spits up, he goes to get a burp cloth and clean her.  If a baby is fussing, he gets up and gives the baby a pacifier without even thinking. 

When I'm feeding the babies, he tries to bottle feed a baby. 

I frequently catch him gently rocking a baby in bouncer, giving kisses, singing, or reading to them.

And for every amazing brother moment I witness, there are equal moments of terror.  Some are unintentional incidents where Jackson doesn't recognize his own strength while hugging babies. 

At other times his attempts at being "helpful" result in harm, such as picking up babies or turning the babies over for tummy time.  And there are just times of carelessness where he is oblivious to his surroundings. 
Then there are occasions where our sweet boy becomes completely possessed by Satan himself.  Those are the moments where Jesse receives a text in the middle of the day stating, "I can no longer guarantee the safety or well being of your oldest son."  Such behaviors include hitting, biting, scratching, kicking, and sitting on the babies.  A wrath comes over me and I find myself turning into my own mother. 
I am just waiting for the day when the good moments out number the crazy moments.