Last week I took the trio to Ikea. The plan was to purchase three little potties and eat a snack in the kid's dining area. Nothing went according to plan.
James has expressed interest in using the little potty. He's actually peed in his frog potty several times now. Jesse and I plan is to do the three day naked potty training method over spring break for all three toddlers. We currently have three toddler potties, but I was contemplating buying more so we could have at least two upstairs and two downstairs. I got so overwhelmed just thinking about the logistics; I didn't even buy any!
Instead, I let the kids play in the kid's display rooms. The bin of baby dolls was no longer there. This fact was not lost on Maddie as she asked, "Where babies?" While she searched for a baby, James and Amelia played peekaboo.
I planned to buy food from the cafeteria using an Ikea gift card, but the gift card couldn't be used for food. For some reason the chip in my debit card doesn't work, so I couldn't use it to buy any food! Then we realized they completely painted over the kids' dining area and removed the play things and tiny furniture. Obviously the kids could still eat in regular chairs, but it was just another strike against our plan. We took the elevator downstairs and I scrounged up $2 in change so we could split two cinnamon rolls.
All was well with the world. The kids played, had a delicious snack, then took turns washing their hands in the family restroom. They were happy, fed, and clean. Yet, for whatever reason, all hell broke loose when I asked them to hold my hand through the parking lot and walk back to the van. We haven't used any kind of stroller or wagon in several weeks, so it was not unreasonable to expect the trio to hold hands and walk through the parking lot. I frequently carry James and hold the girls' hands because James can be a runner sometimes. Chaos ensued when Amelia literally laid down on the ground and started flailing around on the crosswalk. Maddie started crying because it was so windy. She crouched down on all fours and started crawling. I put James down to try and pick up Amelia and Maddie, then he started crying. I can only imagine what kind of judgments the onlookers were making. It was quite the scene. I physically cannot carry all three toddlers so I was demanding, then begging everyone to walk.
We were completely in the middle of the crosswalk, outside the main entrance. A few people passed by making the usual, "You've got your hands full" comments. Some rolled their eyes. Some ignored us. Thankfully no cars approached us. Out of nowhere, a woman came up and immediately said, 'How can I help? Can I carry her for you?" I have a bit of a complex about being independent and avoiding help, but I immediately shook my head yes, then spewed some babble and tried to apologize. The woman simply smiled and said, "It takes a village, right?" She carried Maddie and talked to her so sweetly. As soon as I got in the van I started crying. Crying over not being able to control three toddlers. Crying because the kids were in an unsafe situation and I felt helpless and irresponsible. Crying over feeling judged by others. And crying from the woman's kindness.
Raising triplets has been a very humbling experience. My confidence is often derailed during challenging scenarios and overwhelming predicaments. Indeed, it does take a village. We're blessed to have a community of close friends, church members, and both sides of our families to support our children. And on some days, our village includes kindhearted strangers who escort us to safety.