Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Games!

Arthur, Betty, and Coraline have started playing new games recently. The first one is one we taught them, it's called "Night Night" time. We say "It's night night time, Betty!" and Betty will lay down on the floor, and pretend that she is sleeping. If only we could turn the game into the real thing, though.

The other game revolves around a new toy that was given to us at a garage sale. It's a dancing and singing Ernie (from Sesame Street), and he sings "Rock around the clock." Coraline loves this the most, and she went from holding it and spinning in circles on her bottom, to now standing up and spinning to the music. Arthur now acts as the disc jockey, constantly pushing the on button so Ernie will repeat each and every word of the song.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Communication Skills

In recent weeks, the triplets have been working hard on learning how to communicate with us. It first started with them pointing at something that interested them, and moving their fingers (in a sign they created). Often this is coupled with loud shrieking. We'll see them crouched down on the floor, looking under a chair, or reaching upwards near the refrigerator, and we'll have to figure out what object they are trying to get (We keep trying the "help" sign, but they haven't learned it yet).

Recently though, they have been linking two ideas together. The other day we put Coraline in a dress, which she felt was constricting. So she walked over to Erin, pointed at her, and then pulled up her dress. A clear indication that she wanted her mom to take off the outfit. Then I was holding Coraline near my parents' bird feeder, where a squirrel often hangs out. Usually she shrieks and points to the squirrel, but this time she looked behind her, pointed at Nana with one hand, and pointed at the squirrel with the other - she wanted to make sure she saw it!

For sign language, Betty and Coraline are fluent with the "doggie" sign. Arthur signed "bath" the other night. The can also wave "bye" or "hello." But for actual words, it seems all three kids share "Pop Pop" as their first word, as they often shout it out when we bring them over to my parents' house in the morning. We also have heard Betty say, "Night Night," but this might have been part of a repeating game they do now. Arthur says "Ahhh" when he drinks, he said "Baa Baa" and "Hop Hop" while we read him a book, and the girls have said "Tick Tock" when looking at the clock, but these were all words we had just said. We do think, though, that Betty uses "Ba" for bottle now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our New House

We finally took everyone to our backyard this morning to play in the new playhouse. The kids loved it, and explored all the windows and cabinets inside. Next up is getting the sandbox ready for them!

Monday, July 28, 2008

1-Year Portraits

Today we took the triplets' one-year portraits. We can't believe that it has been almost a whole year, and we also can't believe how big they now look.

At first, I had planned on having their picture taken while they were sitting, because you take pictures of babies on the ground.

But as you can see, these guys aren't babies anymore. They're toddlers!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mall Trip

This morning Erin tried getting the kids to color on paper, giving them some giant-sized crayons to use. But sadly, they are not ready for this, as they couldn't figure out how to hold the crayons or how to use them on the paper. We then took the kids and their new stroller to the mall today, and it was a great hit! The triplets loved their new perspective, and the fact that they could look around at things in front and behind of them. Arthur though, found that he could turn around in his seat 180 degrees, so next time we'll make his seat belt a little tighter. We did attract a bit more attention (though not as much as the triplet stroller), and for the first time a stranger asked us if he could take a picture of them. Of course we declined - if we let everyone take pictures of the triplets, then next they'll want the triplets' autographs. And then we'd have to explain how they don't even know how to hold onto a crayon.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Choo Choo Wagon!

Today we got in the mail another present for the triplets, from friends of the family (thanks Mike and Kay!). This Choo Choo wagon is something that many families get for their triplets' first birthdays. And when we opened the package, we could see why.

The stroller looks so amazing, and after the kids patiently waited while I assembled the three wagons (it helped that the parts were fun to play with), we finally were able to take them for a quick spin around the living room. Tomorrow we'll take it to the mall, and see how the kids like it!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Where's Betty?

You might have noticed that Betty has been conspicuously absent from the past few posts. We really don't know why. One family member asked if this was because the girls were basically the same, but that's not the case. Coraline is quite different from her twin sister. The only thing we can think of, as to why we haven't posted about her, is that her siblings have recently been involved with more photogenic activities than Betty has.

So what has Betty been up to recently? Well, she loves carrying around her little green-foam fishy. She walks all around the house, having a constant babbling dialogue with herself, and lazily swinging her arms in a carefree manner. I'll try to get a video of it soon. In the meantime, here's some pictures of her from today.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sibling Fun

We often wonder what it would be like only having a single child. I think we'd miss most the playful interactions they have with each other. Between the games they play with each other (like the sequence pictured here), and their being interested in everything another sibling is doing (which leads to fights over toys), they are constantly learning from each other. It really wouldn't be the same if they didn't have such good friends their exact age.

Oh, and Arthur is wearing a dish-towel cape in these pictures. I tucked it in the back of his shirt, and he wore it the rest of the day :)

In other news, Coraline has finally gotten her fourth bottom tooth. Now she's working on the matching upper tooth.

Tooth count: A-3, B-8, C-7

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Magnetic Personality

Arthur finally has a tooth in his upper gums! Evidentially he heard that birthday cake was coming, and wanted to get prepared for it. He has also been testing out the baby-proofing efforts in Nana and Pop Pop's kitchen. He immediately heads to the one pair of cabinets that hasn't been baby-locked yet, and then systematically tries the other doors as well. Today Nana showed him the magnetic key that opens the doors, and it didn't take him too long to figure out how magnets worked either.

Tooth count: A-3, B-8, C-6

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gardening with Nana

Gardening is one of the kids favorite activities. On the porch they always work hard to hand trim any bushes within reach. And while they are getting better and not putting leaves, sticks, mulch, rocks, etc. in their mouths, they still occasionally want a taste of the great outdoors. We are, though, working to find away to prevent mosquito bites while they are outdoors. It seems the bugs are attracted to sweet baby blood, and Arthur, Betty, and Coraline all receive multiple bug bites every time we take them outside. Today we are trying a Skintastic bugspray that contains picaridin (we won't use anything with DEET in least for now).

Monday, July 21, 2008


Rumble and ramble
In blackberry bramble
Billions of berries
For blackberry jamble

From our blackberry bush in our garden, we've managed to pick over two gallons of blackberries so far. We've frozen bags full to make blackberry jam later on this week (we figure the kids will love jam and soy butter sandwiches). Last night Nana made blackberry pie for the adults, and this morning the kids had blackberries for breakfast. Arthur seemed to love them most of all.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cora the Collector

We call her the Pacifier Kid. But really her collecting habits aren't confined to just pacifiers. She is the packrat of the bunch, and isn't happy unless her hands are full of items. More often than not it involves her having at least 3 pacifiers (which usually means she's also stolen her sister's), but also she likes holding multiple small rubber duckies, or hoarding the toy dolphins in the bathtub. We think she'll be the one to have hobbies when she grows up.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Aunt Allison Visits!

Aunt Allison arrived late last night to visit the triplets for the weekend. We took her out to garage sales, and picked up a bunch of new toys, a new toddler-sized picnic table, and a large playhouse, which we'll have to pick up later. We're excited to finally have a playhouse for them, and this will be our birthday present for the three. I'll post pictures as soon as we get it set up.

Then later on in the afternoon, Uncle Matt and Grandma Toni arrived for a short visit. They could only stay a few hours before heading back (they were swapping cars with Allison).

We had fun playing with everyone in Nana and Pop Pop's backyard, and then later at our backyard, with the new picnic table. Coraline enjoyed walking down our picket fence.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Infant Research, Part II

Today we took the kids into Virginia Tech again for another study at the Infant Perception Lab. This time they are part of a longer study investigating social attention and language acquisition. The researchers hope that the results of this research might provide a key to understanding Autism. We'll return with the triplets in a few months for another portion of this study.

While Arthur did pretty well in the lab, Coraline and Betty both thought the woman on the video was a little intimidating. Both of their sessions ended sadly with large crocodile tears. Afterwards, we had a nice picnic with them on the drillfield, and stopped by the library to pick up a few more research books.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Trouble with a Capital T

Today we embarked on our fourteenth round of baby proofing. My sister compared it to an arms race, and it seems we're constantly on the losing end. We had put up a baby gate, and blocked off an area with a chair. Arthur learned how to climb on top of the chair. We blocked off the door to the entertainment center with a large pillow. Arthur learned to climb the pillow, and get on top of the entertainment center. We wedged a gate against a wall. Arthur learned how to squeeze himself between the wall and the gate. Anytime he's in the room, he's constantly observing us and the world around him. You can almost see the gears turning in his little head, as he tries to think about what other mischief he can get into. This time around we've gated off the entertainment center, and are putting magnetic cabinet locks on the kitchen cabinets. We'll see how long these measures last.

In other news, we've moved Arthur into his own bedroom. The decision was two-fold. First, our nursery was a bit crowded with the three cribs in it, and only one kid could be put to sleep at a time, for there wasn't room for a second adult to be in there. Second, Arthur seems have sleep patterns different from his sisters, and we worried they would wake him up. And he still isn't that interested in walking. Betty and Coraline regularly walk halfway across the room, and we can't wait for them to learn to walk across the whole distance.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Life With Multiples

It's been a while since I've shared details on what it actually is like to be the parent of multiples. The public circus that is our life has gotten better since we don't use a triplet stroller anymore. For some reason, having a single and a double stroller, or having two in a stroller and one in an ergo is quite different than having three lined up in a row. Most people just don't see the three if they are split up. So while we still get attention everywhere we go, it is mostly from people who are stopping to see twins, and then later learning we have triplets.

We get the humorous reactions:
Returning from a walk one day, a herd of neighborhood kids spotted us a few houses away, and came racing towards us on their bikes shouting, "Triplets! Triplets! Triplets!"

We get the negative reactions:
"I don't know what I'd do with triplets!"
"I'd just kill myself if I had triplets!"

The confused reactions:
One lady asked us, once "Why do you have three babies?"
At Walmart the other day, a family passed us and I heard their young daughter talking to her mom, "I saw two babies there, and then I saw another. I think they are triplets!" To which the mom said, "No, honey, they're not."

The positive reactions:
The elderly are often quite happy to see us, and pepper us with comments about how blessed we are.

We get the intrusive questions:
"Are you done having kids, then?"
"How did you breast feed three?"

And then of course, the ever dreaded, "Boy do you have your hands full!"

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Other Preemie

Arthur has a new doll. There are some old toys in their room at Nana and Pop Pop's house, and from a bin of Cabbage Patch Kids, he picked out one that used to belong to Auntie Em. Oddly enough, he picked out the preemie. Maybe he felt a shared bond with the doll, or it was more his size than the other Cabbage Patch Kids, or it happened to be on top of the pile. Anyway, Arthur loves him, and drags him around the living room. He hops up and down and squeals with delight if you play with him and the doll, and occasionally Arthur gives him kisses (or bites, we're not quite sure which).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Salem Fair

Today we took the triplets to the Salem Fair, which supposedly is the second largest fair in Virginia. We had a great time looking around the Midway, and it wasn't crowded yet as we got there right when it opened. It was a bit hot though, so we took the kids under one of the misting tents, and they loved it!

We then had lunch while watching the duck exhibit. This was our first time of having lunch on the road. The kids ate part of a giant turkey leg, and some of Erin's calzone. We looked at the dairy farm exhibit, and a calf tried to chew on our new stroller when we parked it too close to one of the pens! We made it back in the car, and had just hit the road when it started raining. So we were pleased that our timing, and the outing, had gone so well.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tech Outing

Today we took the triplets to Virginia Tech for a picnic while I gathered up research for my next book. The kids loved playing on the grass with their mom.

But in reality, the outing was really just an excuse to try out our new BOB double stroller. Grandma Toni and Grandpa Carter sent it to us as an early birthday present, and we love it! It has *huge* sunshades that cover every bit of them but their toes, the kids sit in separate seats (to minimize hair-pulling), and it feels like it doesn't weight a thing when we pushed it around. And, we were able to take it into buildings on campus, through elevators, and down small corridors without any difficulty at all. (Some of you may remember the time Erin got the triplet stroller stuck between two doors in one of the restrooms at Tech). It's an amazing improvement over our older model. Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

First 1st Birthday Presents

As Great Aunt Sharon can't attend the big birthday bash on August 2nd, she brought with her the triplets' gifts as an early birthday present. They were all enthralled with the paper bag, colored tissue paper, and long curly ribbons. Of course, the two wooden puzzles and beginner paints were also nice. So far they have perfected taking the puzzle pieces out of the puzzle. We'll now start to work on putting them back in place.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Walking Lessons

Great Aunt Sharon came for a visit while second cousin Amanda went to her orientation at a nearby college. Sharon was eager to see the triplets walk, and spent a lot of time helping them practice.

Coraline now holds the record for the most number of steps taken (though the least distance covered - she takes tiny steps). Arthur though, has the record for the most number of steps taken with a single foot (7 consecutive left steps, which didn't get him very far either).

The triplets then played in their pool, since it was hot today. Coraline decided she was French, and took her top off.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

New Pajamas!

It was another rainy day today, so Grandma and Grandpa took us for a walk around the mall (one of our favorite activities for dreary days). They had noticed that we had dressed Arthur in pink pj bottoms the other night (his were in the wash), and decided that it was time for the triplets to have brand new pajamas. We're thrilled now with new outfits!