Thursday, January 31, 2008

Heavy Drinkers

This week we have been working on modifying our feeding routine. We added two more ounces to the triplets' last bottle of the day, hoping that eight ounces of milk will be enough for them to start sleeping through the night. Also, we foolishly realized that we had not yet started using the fast flow nipples on their bottles. We tried this back when they were just three months old, but it was too much for them and they choked on the change in drinking speed. Somehow though, we completely forgot to try it again. So now at almost 6 months old, we are finally letting them drink faster. And what a change it makes! Instead of having the girls drink for 30 minutes, take a break to play, and then return to finish off most of their bottle, with the new nipples the girls can down a six ounce bottle in just 10 minutes! As they are now emptying their bottles more often, we are going to try feeding them eight ounces every four hours, instead of every three. The final change to their feeding routine will be this weekend, when we finally try to feed them rice cereal.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rolling and Crawling

Today was a work day for Betty and Coraline. Betty put a lot of effort into practicing rolling over. She has now gotten as good at this as Coraline, and enjoys flipping over. With enough of a runway, she can roll over a distance of six feet! Coraline has decided to put her effort into learning how to crawl. She is starting to figure out the mechanics of it, and has managed to scoot herself almost a foot in both directions.

What is Arthur doing meanwhile? Well, he took a nice nap during today's walk. We think though, that perhaps he has ridden the laurels of his early developmental milestones a bit too long.

And while Arthur was napping, Coraline grew her other tooth.

Tooth count: 4

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Tooth Fairy Visits

This morning we woke up to find that Betty and Coraline each had a new tooth. This is Betty's second tooth, and we can see that Coraline's second will be arriving shortly as well. Once again, the girls are setting their own pace apart from Arthur. We're hoping for money under their pillows soon.

Tooth count: 3

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Rub A Dub Dub...

...the triplets are in the tub. We finally graduated all three to the bathtub, after Arthur had soaked Nana the other day while being bathed in the sink. He loves kicking and flailing, two things that do not help a confined bath in the kitchen sink. They seemed to take to the new arrangement well, and we had the other two playing in the hall outside the bathroom while the third was being bathed.

Over the past few weeks, their screaming bouts have lessened, and they have slowly grown accustomed to bath time. These days, they are only upset when they get too much water in their face, or if they aren't dried off and warmed up fast enough upon leaving the bath water. We still have yet to incorporate it into their bedtime routine, but that day might come soon now that bath time has become a less stressful activity.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In Triplicate...

We finally broke down over the weekend and bought the triplets babybooks. We don't quite know why we put it off for so long, but figure it was either because of the cost of purchasing three books, or because of the time involved in filling them out. I am quickly realizing that it must have been the latter.

I did not know that there would be so much to fill in, and for each page I enter, I also have two other copies to do as well. Since it has been six months, there is a lot to fill in. We have had to work hard to remember everything, and when it all happened, but thanks to this blog's archive, and Erin's half-filled in diary, we seem to have enough recorded to make this recent endeavor possible.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Double Vision?

Ever since they were born, we have wondered if our girls were actually twins. They looked so similar that for the first few weeks, we alternated between drawing magic marker earrings on Coraline, and writing their initials on their heels. Were it not for the development of Coraline's hemangiomas, we still would be relying on artificial means of telling our daughters apart. Still though, we do temporarily confuse them, including the classic example where Nana went all morning thinking she had the other girl. .
But on the other hand, we don't think our girls are identical, for they had separate placentas, and as similar as they look to each other, they also look similar to our son. Since he can't be identical to the girls, why should they be identical to each other. And furthermore, which is a more likely scenario after two eggs were released - that a third egg was also released, or that after that rare event, an even rarer event occurred and one of the eggs split.

Then again, Betty and Coraline are developing at the same pace (Arthur is always ahead), they have the same preferences, same behavior characteristics, and we still do mix them up all the time. So finally we decided to figure it out. We ordered a DNA test from ProActive Genetics. The girls each got four cheek swabs tonight, and they'll get another four tomorrow morning. Once we mail them back to the company, we just have to wait the two weeks to finally get an answer to this perplexing question.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Helping Hands

One of the great things about being a triplet is that there is always a brother or sister willing to help you out. Recently, the triplets have been dealing with teething issues. Today we caught Betty sucking on Arthur's thumb, and later saw Coraline sucking on Betty's fingers. We are most concerned about Arthur's digits though, as Betty is the only one with actual teeth :)

And in fact, it was only a short time later, that Coraline started crying, and when we checked her hand, there was a tiny indentation on one finger from Betty's chomper. Perhaps this is the start of sibling fighting - "She bit me!" "He was licking me!" "Stop sucking on my hand!" - but for now, they are all still good friends.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Date Night

So we had this grand plan about taking Arthur to the movies, to allow Erin and me to have an afternoon out, while not overburdening Nana and Pop Pop at home. However, because Arthur fell asleep at home at an inopportune time (and the girls were being fed), and as the temperature outside was still in the low teens, Nana convinced us to go out on our date alone.

It turns out, though, that this was the right decision, and one that might have saved us from a visit by social services. You see, we had planned on taking Arthur to see Sweeney Todd. As teachers, Erin and I are both familiar with the shock of playing a video in front of the class, and all of a sudden noticing in horror each and every inappropriate scene in the video. For some reason, these scenes didn't seem that bad at home, but become glaringly obvious in the classroom. The same for Sweeney Todd. While we were intimately familiar with the story (we even saw the play in New York City), and have memorized all the lines, we still didn't think it would be wrong to take Arthur. Had we taken him, he probably would be have slept most of the time, and any parts of the movie he saw he wouldn't understand. However, once the first spray of blood arced across the silver screen, we were especially thankful we had left him at home. We'll have to work on utilizing our new parent mindset more often. And now at least we won't have to go with trepidation to the barber's for Arthur's first hair cut.

In other news, we have been working on altering the triplets' bedtime routine, in an effort to avoid the girls' nightly scream fests. Tonight we tried reading a book to the girls, and we gave Betty her first bath in a bathtub. The screaming was eliminated, but it still took hours to put them to sleep.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Snow Day Redux

Further evidence that Virginians don't know what to do with snow, all the counties around us cancelled school again today. Presumably the back roads somewhere were still frozen, but around us driving was fine. Nevertheless, Erin was extremely thankful to now have a four-day weekend. We spent the day getting some chores done, including finally picking up the forms for a trio of savings bonds that our hospital gave us almost six months ago.

In other news, Betty officially has the first tooth of the triplets. We seem to have jumped the gun in announcing Arthur's first tooth. His enormous drooling and the white object in his gums had us fooled that a tooth had come in. After I posted the blog entry, somehow the tooth we all saw had disappeared. We think Betty stole it, for she clearly has a hard sharp tooth in her bottom gums. Without much fuss at all, Betty evidently is on her own pace apart from her siblings.

Last night we also submitted our photo of Erin and the kids to our local news station. Happily, they chose it to air on the evening news.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

There's No Day Like A Snow Day

Today had the perfect weather forecast for a snow day: 6 inches of snow, followed by sleet and freezing rain. Erin's school was cancelled, along with schools in 20 other counties around us. After sleeping in a bit, and playing with the babies in the morning, we decided to bundle the triplets up and take them outside. While this snowy excursion was short, they seemed to love the temperature change and all the added attention.

Afterwards, the girls had warm bottles of milk and sat in front of the fire, while we settled down with our mugs of hot chocolate and watched Harry Potter.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today (yes, exactly seven years after our first date), we discovered that we were having triplets. As Erin had been on fertility medications, her doctor wanted an early checkup at 6 1/2 weeks to make sure everything was ok. Shortly after the ultrasound began, the nurse turned to Erin and asked, “Do you want me to tell you what I’m seeing?” Fearing the worst, we said yes, and nurse told us that she saw three babies. Needless to say we were shocked. We had braced ourselves for twins (actually, we both were secretly expecting it to be twins), but never had we ever thought it’d be more.

We spent the next hour watching the ultrasound monitors. Evidently there wasn’t a way to enter triplets into the computer, so it took them a while to figure out how to enter all the data in the right places. Then the nurse and her assistant left us for a while, and after half an hour, returned with another doctor to confirm her results. In the meantime, Erin had changed back into her clothes, thinking the show-and-tell moment was over. So of course, Erin had to don the gown again so they could peak at the triplets once more, starting us down the road of becoming our town's celebrity pregnancy.

Over the previous Thanksgiving my sister had announced her second pregnancy by sending around a picture of her son wearing a shirt that said "I'm Going To Be A Big Brother." Naturally, we photoshopped our cat over her son's face, and emailed out our surprise announcement.

Eight Years Ago Today

Eight years ago today, Erin and I went out on our first date. At the College of William and Mary, Erin and I were both involved with college theatre productions. I painted sets, and Erin worked on props. However, I left the theatre crowd around the same time that Erin discovered it. We knew the same people, and had many of the same friends, but we had never met. All this changed when I decided to come back for one last theatre production my senior year. We became friends quickly, and went out on our first date by the end of the week.

We drove the hour up to Richmond, in a failed attempt to see Fantasia 2000 in IMAX. As that movie was sold out, we decided to see a late showing of the film Magnolia. Afterwards, we stopped to see a couple of our friends at their house, but before we knew it it was well after midnight and we didn't feel up to the drive back to Williamsburg. So the four of us just fell asleep on the bed. At the time, I commented that it was a strange way to start a relationship, but looking backwards with our triplets, it now seems par for the course.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Winter Walk

Today we decided to walk the mile from Nana and Pop Pop's house to our house. While we usually drive over there each day to pick up the mail and spend a few minutes with the cats, when the weather warms up enough (and we aren't too tired), we like to walk the triplets over there as well. Except for a few hills, and the lack of a sidewalk in some areas, the walk isn't too bad. Sadly though, it seems another cold front is coming in which should keep us house-bound for the next week.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pumped Out

Well, it's official. We have retired the breast pump. The great formula vs. breast milk debate had been a constant in our house from the first day we brought the triplets home. Early on we realized that even if it was possible to breast feed the three babies, it wouldn't be practical to do so. Every waking moment would be spent nursing or tied to a breast pump. We eventually decided that a better use of Erin's time would be to actually *be* with the babies. With her return to teaching, this decision was further cemented. So we've spent the past few months weaning Erin's production down from a high of 86 ounces a day. Today marks the day we've finally packed up the breast pump for good, and have committed ourselves to a formula diet for the triplets. As the triplets are now going through about a can a formula each day, we are thankful that WIC still picks up this cost.

In other news, this has been Betty's weekend to shine. Today, she has performed another rolling feat, this time going from her back to her front. At last, all three triplets have completed this milestone!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Erin Pulls a "Hillary"

As tears gave Hillary the New Hampshire primary, they also gave Erin the day off. After being up late at night with the triplets (who aren't sleeping well these days), being told that she now has to teach twice the number of subjects that she currently teaches, and having her planning period taken away from her, Erin had a minor breakdown at work. Fearing that they might lose her as a teacher, her boss kindly gave Erin today off as a "mental health day."

So Erin got to sleep in late this morning. She got to play with the babies during the day. She planned one of her classes for next week, and we finally got to go out together on our first date in a long while. We saw "National Treasure," and for a brief time it seemed as though we were back in a simpler time in our lives.

Oh, and she got to see Betty finally roll over from her belly to her back! Yay, Betty!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Arthur Loves Nana

Over this past week, Arthur has learned how to kiss. Well, it's not so much a kiss as it is an open-mouth face suck. They are very wet, but we love that he is trying to show his affection for us. Perhaps though, we'll encourage him to work on his technique before he picks up his prom date.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Great Grandma Goes Home

Today Great Grandma flew back to Florida, and Pop Pop went along to help her move into a new apartment with assisted living. Since it would just be Nana and myself at home during the day, Grandma Toni and Uncle Matt decided to come for the week to help out. We find it best if there's a one-to-one adult/baby ratio to keep everyone happy. Without this ratio, there comes a dilemma if all three babies start crying at once. Do you choose which baby will have to cry it out while the other two are being comforted? Or do you try to comfort all three at once (in rotation), which usually ends up with all three crying again?

We still are enormously grateful to be in the position where most of the time three adults are there for the triplets. Most families with triplets only have a single stay-at-home parent to raise them. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be if I were with them alone during the day. Probably there would be a lot more crying. Oh, and the babies would be upset too.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

How Do We Manage?

People have asked us how we manage with raising triplets. The answer is simple: stations. Lots and lots of stations. As holding all three all day long is impossible (and dull for the triplets), we've relied on creating a series of different activities for them. So today I thought I would take you on a tour of the various baby stations in our living room. We try one triplet at one station, if they like it, they stay there for anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. If they don't want to be there, they let us know vocally and immediately.

The first station we have is what we call the playground. Two adjoining play mats, with various toys and mirrors keep the triplets engaged and provides us with a place for tummy time. Mounted right next to this is a kick piano, which the children love to play on. Coraline now is by far the most proficient roller of the bunch. Within minutes of placing her in the playground on her back, she quickly flips over onto her belly. She enjoys the process of rolling over, but continually is upset with her new face down position.

Next up are the merry-go-rounds. These are two circular exersaucers that allow the triplets to sit up and see the world from a different perspective. Arthur loves these, and gets out some of his jumping energy in them, while bashing and shaking any toys we put in reach of him. We're not sure where this violent tendency came from.

Then we have the swings. Two swings at separate areas of the living room provide a relaxing break for the triplets. They rock themselves to sleep in them, or provide them with a quiet vantage point to just sit and observe the goings-ons of their siblings. Arthur demands to have the seat upright, and the girls are showing signs of wanting to sit up more often as well.

Finally there are the bouncy chairs and the bumbo chairs. The bumbo chairs are just coming into use, while the bouncy chairs are been used less often. Even though these are not their favorite stations, these do come in handy through out the day.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Why Baptize?

So the other day, a family member had asked why we were baptizing the triplets. We had thought about it for a while, and this decision was far less painful (in more ways than one) than the great circumcision debate. The way we figure it, we want our children to be able choose their future path for themselves, but we would like to hedge our bets when it comes to decisions we have to make for them. So in terms of religion, we would hate to have the triplets wonder later on in life why they weren't baptized as children. If they want to become Buddhist or Muslim, that's fine, but we feel odds are we made the right decision for them with this baptism. (Though Father Steve said that "anointing them with holy oil meant that Jesus had first pick of them over Allah," so if that's true, oh well, the circumcision was a done deal too).

A final irreverent thought occurred to us on the car ride home. During the communion after their baptism, Father Steve offered the triplets a piece of communion wafer. While this was not a Catholic service, and no transubstantiation was involved, it left us wondering. Is Jesus a stage 1, stage 2, or stage 3 baby food? Should a baby try it for a week to make sure there aren't any food allergies? And if so, would we have to switch to a different religion? Lack of sleep does make the mind wander.