Twinfant Tuesday: A Day in the Life with Triplets-The First Month

When people hear that we have triplets, often one of the first comments is “I don’t know how you do it!” So I wrote this post to give folks a better idea of what our typical day looked like for the first couple of months after the NICU. I figured it was fitting to share this post from our blog here on How Do You Do It blog for Twinfant Tuesday.

We read a lot of triplet blogs during the pregnancy and honestly, not very many people keep up the detailed posts after the babies are born. It is mostly just pictures, which I completely understand! (And obviously, I know that’s why most people follow our blog!). But as we prepared for our trio’s arrival, I found myself searching for the details and wanting to ask each family “No, really, how do you do it?!” So this post will give you some idea what our days were like for the first month or two. Most importantly, for any families who are expecting, or just had triplets, this post is for you!

When writing this post I had a hard time figuring out where to start “the day!” Our days didn’t exactly start at 6, 7, or 8a.m. but it seemed weird to start at midnight too! So I decided to start with a “normal person’s” morning (albeit pretty early for most normal people!) and go from there.

**side notes, so the schedule below makes sense: My wife and I both have “M” names so M&M means both of us are on duty.  Oh, and we’re both breastfeeding because I was able to induce lactation to solve the “more babies than breasts” problem!

Here was our schedule for the first couple of months that I pulled from our blog

  • 5am-Both M&M feed babies
  • 5:30-One of us feeds baby #3 while the other starts changing diapers. (If we have a helper for this one, Michelle usually sends me to bed so I get an extra bit of sleep because the late night/early mornings are the hardest times for me.)
  • 6:00-Swaddle and soothe babies and put them down to sleep
  • 6:15-M&M pump to maintain/increase milk supply and get milk for next feeding’s supplements (We had to supplement each nursing session to get enough calories in)
  • 6:30-Wash pump parts and supplement contraption, prep supplements for the next feeding, & take any extra milk to the fridge
  • 6:45/7ish-M&M eat a snack & lay back down to catch an hour or so of sleep before starting all over
  • 8ish-Babies start stirring again and we start the feed, change, swaddle, pump, clean/prep cycle all over again (We often have a helper for this cycle so it tends to go a little faster…sometimes done in an hour!)
  • 9/9:30ish-M&M eat a quick breakfast and either lay down for another snooze or take a shower or do one small productive task like put in a load of diaper laundry, tidy up the zoo of a bedroom, or do dishes.
  • 11ish-Babies start stirring and repeat. This cycle is either followed by a nap or lunch or breakfast if we prioritized sleep the previous cycle!
  • 2ish-Samesies-almost always followed by a nap-particularly for Michelle whose hardest time is the afternoon.
  • 5ish-Surprise surprise…we do it all over again! Mari might start this one solo to give Michelle an extra half hour of sleep or might do it all alone with a helper handling the diapers and prep.
  • 6:30ish-M&M eat dinner–generally something a helper prepared for us or that we heat up from the freezer. Prep night time nursing snacks and bring them to the bedroom.
  • 7ish-M&M lay down for a short snooze before the 8pm cycle. Or, if we’re not feeling sleepy we might actually hang out with each other, check in, & talk over our plans, if any, for the next day.
  • 8pm-Hungry hungry hippos are ready to eat again (did I say hippos?! I meant babies, of course!) and the feed/change/swaddle/pump/clean cycle repeats. We try to do this one quickly and with as little light as possible, trying to help them get the idea of night time = sleep time. So far it doesn’t seem to be helping and they are just as likely to be wide eyed after this feeding as any other. A helper takes baby duty during this time, soothing them if they stir, so we can both get a nice solid uninterrupted hour or two of sleep going into the night.
  • 11pm-Repeat. Same as 8pm with low light and as quickly as we can manage.
  • 2am-Here we go again…This is the hardest one for me and Michelle has had to wake me up for this feeding some nights! Half the time I feel like I’m sleep walking and struggling to stay awake while nursing. Sometimes I have to stand up and move around the room to keep myself alert and functional.

And then it’s on to the next day!  Whenever we had help, one or both of us tried to go sleep in the guest room so that we weren’t disturbed by the little stirrings/rumblings/cries of one or more babies as they cycled through lighter periods of sleep since they were sleeping in our room. The above schedule is like a rough draft. We were not hard core about the clock and the babies really led the way. Oftentimes our lovely 3 hour cycle was shortened to 2.5 hours because of hungry tummies. And occasionally, they’d stretch it to 3.5 hours! This only happened a handful of times, and of course, only once at night. It was amazing how different that extra half hour of sleep made us feel!  For triplet parents to be, our triplets are now 5 months old and I will tell you that we regularly get more than an hour of sleep at a time, but I’d be lying if I said we got enough sleep!

Our GBG triplets at 2 weeks old!

Our GBG triplets at 2 weeks old!

 

Spiral Learning: Permutations for Elementary Students

Permutations for Elementary Students

When I was browsing the lovely photos on MathiasQuads.org yesterday for this morning’s post, my daughter M took great care to read the names in each photo caption. She wanted to be sure to match each face to the right name. As an identical multiple herself, she understood how important it was to see Mary Claire, Anna, Grace and Emily as individuals.

M, aged 7, observed that they were rarely in the same order between photos.

M: There’s 16 ways for them to be lined up.
Me: How did you figure that out?
M: Because there’s 4 sisters and 4 spots and 4 times 4 is 16.
Me: That’s a very good deduction, my mathematician girl, but it’s actually 24. Can I show you how?

Is 7 a little young for combinatorics? Sure, but M showed an interest in it, so I dug back into my 8th grade math memories. I drew her a picture to show her how to think of permutations. She picked the colours for each sister.

Explaining permutations for elementary students. Showing them the first quarter of the pattern allows them to derive the pattern themselves. From hdydi.com

Me: There are 4 sisters who can go in the first spot. I’m just going to draw one of them. Once she’s in her place, there are only 3 sisters left to go second.
M: Then 2, then 1!
Me: Exactly. So there are 6 orders available for each sister who goes in the first spot.
M: And 6 times 4 is 12 and 12 is 24.
Me: Which is also 4 times 3 times 2 times 1.
M: Well, that was easy.

We’ll probably chat about combinations tonight during bath time.

Spiral Learning

I’ve always taken this approach to educating my daughters. If one or both of them is interested in something that illustrates a larger pattern or important skill, I explain it to them at a level that is pertinent, interesting, and within their abilities. Later on, when they’re more intellectually mature, I’ll come back to it. In a couple of years, I’ll show M how to use factorial notation.

My teacher friend Kaylan tells me that the eduspeak term for this is “spiral learning.”

Spiral learning is the practice of returning to a topic over time to build an increasingly sophisticated understanding

What sparks your child’s interest? What’s your approach to teaching?

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

Twice Upon a Time: A Fairy Tale Weekend in Twinsburg, Ohio

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We just returned home from our family’s 4th annual trip to Twinsburg, OH for the Annual Twins Days Festival. My Twin Boys are three, we went the first time when they were 9 months old. I have written here on HDYDI about Twins Days before, but it is just so much fun I wanted to share it again. Every year the festival is the first full weekend in August in the Ohio town of Twinsburg. (Near Cleveland) Twins (and triplets and more!) come from around the world to celebrate their twinship, meet other twins and partake in the festivities. It is such a fun weekend and we have met so many amazing people. So many adult twins we have met have shared how special the weekend is to them, and one duo we met said how the rest of the people in their family have weddings and birthdays and celebrations, but for them, Twins Days is their best time. 

We drive from Chicago for the weekend, leaving early Friday morning, arriving in time for the Welcome Wiener Roast for twins and their families on Friday evening. Waiting in line that evening to pick up our registration packet for our boys, a new mom of twins behind me in line said she couldn’t stop giggling and staring, she said it felt like the Twilight Zone where there was two of everyone. I told her we felt the same way our first year, as non-twins my husband and I actually felt sad at the end of the weekend to not have a twin. We loved how much everyone enjoyed and celebrated being a twin, and we wanted our boys to share in that celebration. We’ve been back every year since then. 

Our boys are young and don’t really understand what it means to be a twin, so for our family, the highlight of the trip is always the Double Take Parade. Any twins who are registered for the festival are invited and encouraged to walk in the parade. Each year the festive has a theme, generally announced a few months in advance of the event. This year’s theme was fairy tales “Twice Upon a Time” so everyone was decked out in their finest fairy tale costumes. There are some that are quite elaborate with costumes and outfits, turning wagons and strollers into mini floats, but some twins just walk the route in matching street clothes. That’s the fun thing about Twins Days, even the adult twins dress alike for the weekend. 

Here are some of my favorite shots from the parade. My boys are in Prince Charming outfits I made for them, and they even had tiny glass slippers they tried to fit on nearly every pair of princesses they could find. It was pretty, well, charming. 

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The parade isn’t like most. There are floats for sure, but the first few waves are just pairs of twins, usually in matching themed costumes, walking down the street. And the street is lined with people, shoulder to shoulder, some twins, others just locals coming to watch the parade or grab some candy.

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After the parade there are plenty of photo opportunities. One set of twins generally asks another for a photo, then more and more join, two by two, until it is a huge group. These Cinderella and Prince Charming pairs were happy to include their tiny doppelgängers for a group photo. (and be sure my kids tried their glass slippers on those princesses too. 

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After the parade the festival opens, there are carnival rides, lots of food vendors, free Twin Pop popsicles, research study opportunities, a craft fair, a beer garden, and contests. My boys were in the theme costume contest. (the didn’t win.) but there are also contests for most-alike and least-alike twins, oldest twins and youngest twins, twins traveled from the furthest distance and more. 

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The youngest twins in Saturday’s contest were 3 weeks old, the oldest are 98 years young!

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 Then in the afternoon there is a break in the contests to take a group photo. We’ve been lucky the past two years to meet some very helpful older twins to wrangle mine for the photo since it takes about 30 minutes to get everyone into place for the group photo. My kids are sitting in the middle on the laps of their new friends. 

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A Charming Weekend indeed.

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If anyone else was in Twinsburg this weekend and wants to share photos or experiences, we’d love to hear them. And mark your calendars for the first weekend in August next year, it’s definitely something every twin family should see at least once!

 

It Can Happen: Spontaneous Quintuplets

Yes, they are “natural”! Although most people don’t realize that asking if a set of multiples is ‘natural,’ most of the time they are just expressing their amazement at our double, triple, or even higher blessings. And while the occurrence of spontaneous twins (particularly fraternal) is not that uncommon, spontaneous quintuplets happen in one in several million pregnancies.

This article about a 23 year old Czech mother awaiting her quintuplets is a must read! She has one son already, and was initially told she was expecting twins–then it was amended to quads–and then last month, a fifth baby was revealed.

Alexandra Kinova, the MoM to be, says she’s had no real complications during the pregnancy, and she looks beautiful and healthy. Her C-section is planned for this weekend, although the article doesn’t mention how far along she is. She hopes to breastfeed her new babies as she did her firstborn child.

These will be the first set of quintuplets in the Czech Republic.

Hard Days

I read some of the other quad momma bloggers out there, and they are truly super moms.

Or they lie.

Or they don’t blog about the hard stuff.

OK, that’s not entirely true either, over at Littlest Lesnaus, Krista had a blog not to long ago about struggling and finding life difficult.

This past week we had two doctor’s appointments, a PT appointment for Alyssa, and Infant Development twice. School break was coming up for our 4 year old. I haven’t been sleeping well at all.  Not because of babies. I just can’t sleep. Greg had a rough day, then I had a major meltdown.

Twice.

No, maybe three times.

OK, if we’re being honest, perhaps it was a lot of times.

Yup.  It has finally hit us.

We have many visitors in our home… yet life is lonely.

If I hear “oh I don’t know how you do it”, “I couldn’t do it”, “wow you’re organized”, “your babies are always sleeping”, “everything is under control”, I think I might just lose it.

Maybe I have lost it already.

This week maybe I’ll trash the house and screw the schedule.

Friday was a terrible terrible day.  So I checked out of my life Saturday afternoon. I really did.  I left home, and said someone else can deal with it.

And you know, sometimes I wonder if Gods sense of humor is messed up.

Really messed up. No joke this truly happened:

Friday afternoon my sister-in-law said that I could go to their place in Newmarket as they were coming to visit anyways so I’d have the place to myself. Awesome. Friday night, all four babies got sick. No big deal, lots of people around to help.

Saturday morning I got sick.

No big deal, right?

Saturday afternoon, I drove to Newmarket, spenr lots of time in tears, hating the world, not understanding life, but I told myself to buck up and get it together. Sunday morning I thought I’d go out for breakfast.  Car wouldn’t start.

No big deal, I’ll use sister in laws car and deal with mine later.

Drive to Timmie’s, and roll down window. I get my breakfast. Window won’t go back up.  Awesome.

No big deal.  After about a half hour the stupid thing went back up.

Go back to parking lot, then decide, “You know, maybe church is where I should be.”

Drive to church. The pastor speaks, and his first point was how God is the perfect parent.  Are you kidding me?!  Go back to house, call CAA, dude #1 couldn’t get it to start, he calls dude #2 who gets it to start and says, “You better drive straight home. Who knows if it will start again before you get there?” How relaxing is that?

The stupid thing is, the whole time I was away I didn’t read, I didn’t catch up on anything, I didn’t shop.

I laid around and worried about home.  About life.  About my oldest daughter.  About not spending time with each kid.  About the friends that used to call. About the family who doesn’t come. About the people who say “call me anytime” but never answer. About a church that I no longer feel a part of.  About the people I thought were friends that have ignored us completely. About the friends that I’ve helped when they’ve needed it. About the big things. About the stupid little things.

Worked myself into quite the downward spiral.

The more I thought about it the worse it became.

I know there people who care. I do.

I am SO thankful for our parents.

I am beyond grateful for our regular helpers. For the 13 members of the community. For the 6 people from our church.  I am thankful for the occasional helpers who come when they can. For my faithful meal makers. For my fellow mommas who do find time to check in. For our nanny who has been incredibly flexible and loves our kids like her own.

It’s just so flippin’ hard.
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Since writing this post back in March, some things have changed:

  • I have stopped pumping every 3 hours, and have gone to just 5 times a day.
  • I have scheduled life so that at least once a week I have some time to myself.
  • I have admitted that perhaps I cannot handle everything on my own.  In March, I quietly began taking the prescription Zoloft. As much as I hate to admit it, it has helped. While I don’t think I was depressed, I definitely could not find the “off” switch. I would lay awake worrying about things and stressing over daily unimportant things. I would put on a face and say that everything was OK, even though it wasn’t.  I had begun to read more into things people said, and that really wasn’t like me.

So all that to say, “Life is hard, but sometimes we make things harder on ourselves.”

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MrsLubby is a mommy of four cute 6 month old fraternal quadruplets and a 4 1/2 year old, trying desperately to find a balance.

Quad Momma +1 Intro

Hello everyone!

I thought I would take a moment to introduce myself!   My name is Paige, and I live just outside of Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada.

I am happily married to my husband Greg, and we just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary.  We have a beautiful 4 year old girl, and recently welcomed home GGBB quadruplets, who are now 20weeks old, 11 weeks corrected.

I have been blogging throughout our journey at www.lubbelinkhof.ca if you’d like to check us out from the start.

Here are a few things you should know about me:

#1 – I am a Christian, and while I don’t typically blog about this it may come up.

#2 – I have PCOS.  I do not ovulate.

#3 – We took medications to get pregnant.

#4 – I breastfeed 90% and supplement 10%.  Yes it can be done! :)

#5 – I tell it like it is. I am not super mom. I do not pretend to be.

#6 – Our oldest daughter is Madelyn Grace.  She was born a healthy 7 pounds 11 ounces at 38 weeks.  Next up our babies were born at 31 weeks 1 day, and the first is Jessa Joy, followed by Alyssa Faith, Brett Paul, and Colton Gregory. We spent 1 week in the Level 3 NICU in Toronto, then 5 weeks in the Level 2 NICU in Orillia.

#7 – All of our kiddos are healthy, however we do receive support from PT for Alyssa & Colton. Alyssa also receives OT for her “over active” vestibular system, and Infant Development follows all of our kids.

#8 – I love answering questions so fire away! The only way to find out is to ask. Its much easier for me to answer them then to come up with random blogs on my own, so if there’s something specific you’d like to see, let me know!

#9 – Because of the current craziness of life my posts are likely to be sporadic, but I want to attempt my best to post here as often as I can!  Please feel free to reach me at paigelubbelinkhof@gmail.com or comment here.

Until next time,

Mrslubby.

Four Boys=Two Sets of Twins

If you love Valentine’s Day, you’ll love this story.  On Valentine’s Day last week, a Texas couple welcomed the new additions to their family–all four of them.  Tressa Montalvo gave birth to the couple’s second through fifth sons last Thursday at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas after carrying them for 31 weeks.

The couple were originally told they were expecting twins before hearing four heartbeats.  The verdict?  Two sets of identical twins!  Conceived without any fertility treatments, the chances of this happening are one in 70 million. According to the mother, their plans for this pregnancy “succeeded a little too much.”  The boys, named Ace, Blaine, Cash and Dylan (A-B-C-D), are healthy and could be going home in the next four to six weeks.

I can only imagine the comments people must be throwing at them…from “double the double trouble” to the obligatory “you’ve got your hands full,” to the well-intentioned “now you’re done!”  But you might be surprised at Manuel’s reaction to the last one.  He’s still hoping for a girl!

Congratulations to the happy family!  Who knows, maybe soon we’ll be seeing them around HDYDI?

Click Here to see the CBS video clip.

Bringing Sexy Back

Ok, so I imagine that most people don’t walk into the gym already sweating. Then again, I am continually reminded that my life is not that of most people! But I was determined.

So the triplets are walking, sometimes running now. There are battles over toys, sippy cups & affection from mommy. There are regular attempts at escaping their corral every day. There are minor injuries, whining and a sudden increase in the most foul-smelling of diapers. (??) There is teething and hair pulling and the flailing of food in every corner of the kitchen. And PS – we’re moving. So there are boxes everywhere (though it looks like I’ve barely made any progress at all). Oh, and our 7 year old now has to be at football practice…four nights a week. And guess who’s helping out with coaching those four nights a week? You’ve got it…my darling hubby! Add that to his one late work night a week & that’s FIVE nights a week I don’t have my tag-team partner enter the house until after 8pm.

Need I say more? I was desperate for a break. I was tired of being tired. I was tired of the tension headaches & the fatigue. I was tired of not seeing the scale move, despite the rare chance I have these days to sit down to a meal. I was tired of STILL not being able to fit into my pre-multiple-pregnancy jeans. I was tired of feeling trapped in our house. So I was determined, single-minded, unwavering – I was going to the gym & all four kids were comin’ with me!

Now I had to be quite strategic about this venture. The child care center at the gym is only open for certain hours of the day and those hours could not conflict with meal or nap time. (We don’t mess with naptime.) It would have to be immediately after breakfast – admittedly the easiest meal of the day – no problem.

Time was ticking. All four kids are fed without any fuss. One by one, the triplets are deposited into the corral to play, whilst mommy cleans up the kitchen. (please take a moment to imagine just what that entails…) Ok, so our eldest is self sufficient & after repeating myself only three times, he eventually follows directions & gets his teeth brushed & himself dressed. I’m already dressed (it’s easy when you go to the gym in the same shorts & t-shirt you wore to bed the previous night – hypothetically speaking, of course). So it’s just a matter of changing & dressing the triplets, packing their diaper bag & loading everyone into the car. ‘I just might pull this off’, I’m thinking. I get everyone changed & dressed & as I run into the kitchen to grab sippy cups, I remember – SHOES! Oh, how I hate shoes. I swear, part of the reason I stay home with them sometimes is to avoid having to put shoes on those six fat, uncooperative little feet. But I can’t let them go the gym barefoot – so I run up to sort through the shoe crate in the nursery, praying for matching pairs & perfect fits. Two out of three go well & after going through two pairs on the ‘eldest triplet’, everyone’s shoed up!

At this point we’re only 10 minutes behind schedule. I grab my iPod, my water bottle & the diaper bag, bark at my eldest to go to the bathroom, go myself & head into the family room to grab the first baby to strap into her carseat. Truly, those three were left alone in there for mere minutes, yet I returned to find that one had taken her shoes off, one had taken the elastic out of her hair & the other had decided he would choose that as the perfect time to, well – dirty his diaper…again! I was this close to throwing in the towel. But then I thought about how good it’d feel to be on that elliptical, iPod blasting in my ears, working off this triplet bod…I was resolute! I deserved this, damnit & I wasn’t giving up! I sighed heavily, prayed for patience & did what I had to do.

20 minutes behind schedule & everyone’s in the car. The gym is just around the corner from us, and as I approached it, I wondered just how I would get everyone inside. I’d left the triple stroller at home, deciding that it probably wouldn’t fit through the gym doors anyway. So I manage to nab the parking spot closest to the door & quickly advise my eldest of the game plan: he would walk his brother in, firmly holding his hand and not leaving my side – I would carry the girls & the diaper bag.

As I said, most people don’t walk into the gym sweating, but I sure as heck did that day! What a sight we must have been. Name tags were distributed, brief instructions were given & within minutes, I was warming up. I couldn’t believe it! Sure, I kept an eye on the doorway from the elliptical machine, expecting one of the child care providers to drag me away for one reason or another, but no. I got in nearly an hour before I went back to claim my kids. It was a success and I felt great!  And you can be sure I included that pre-gym prep time in total calories burned that day! 

Discipline

Ok, let’s state the obvious – life with one child vs. multiples is, well – completely different.  I have to say though that as a parent, I’d always felt pretty confident in the area of discipline.  I have a general approach or style of parenting about which I have great conviction – a happy medium that falls somewhere between ‘because I said so’ & merely treating my kids as peers & allowing them to run the show.  It’s a delicate balance and takes work & commitment, but ultimately, we’re quite pleased with how our eldest is turning out!  And then, there are the triplets…

Part of me feels silly for using the word ‘discipline’ when referring to 14 month olds, but I must confess that I’ve been feeling a little anxiety about the whole thing.  It’s not to say that my first didn’t give me any trouble at all but man, I really don’t remember it all being so draining!  Again, keeping in mind that we are just entering the toddler stage here, I completely accept that most of what we’re dealing with here is ‘typical’ for their age.  It’s just that with our eldest, I never felt that I was dealing with so much redirection & repetition so soon.

‘No, don’t touch that!’ ‘No! No pulling hair.’ ‘No – no throwing.’ ‘Do nice.’  Are the triplets just simply not as well behaved as their big brother?  No, I know that’s probably not true.  So (for my sake) let’s put it in perspective…

The fact is, I AM repeating & redirecting a lot more – after all, three is more than one!  For that matter, there wasn’t a pint sized playmate for our eldest – someone whose hair was begging to be pulled, someone who would fight you for a toy, someone with whom you had to share mommy & daddy’s attention.  And so with multiples, there is more, shall we say, antagonism for them to deal with.  Ok, got it.

It was very validating to discover that there’s even a name, a very formal name for one aspect of this – it’s called TES or Twin Escalation Syndrome.  Can you guess what it is??  That’s right – it’s “the tendency of multiples to intensify & expand their behaviors in reaction to each other”.  We’ve all been there.  Little Susie starts banging her cup on the highchair & so Little Bobby bangs his…only louder!  Little Joey throws a toy into the coffee table & Little Annie throws hers too – until all of the toys have been emptied out of the play area.  The list goes on & on…

Then there’s the whole concept of having a captive audience.  Why pay attention to mommy’s reprimands through gritted teeth when my little buddies over here are laughing at me???  I’m funny!  And hey, mommy’s giving me her undivided attention!

So it really is a unique dynamic…one that is challenging & potentially quite stressful.  I’ve been disappointed so far at the lack of information available ‘out there’ that addresses this issue for parents of multiples. Although these articles were somewhat helpful:

http://www.twinsuk.co.uk/resources_tips.php?cat_id=16&id=9934011

http://multiples.about.com/cs/familyissues/a/twinescalation.htm

http://multiples.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=multiples&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.twinshelp.com%2Farticles%2Fdiscipline.html

In the meantime, simply reminding ourselves that it is a challenge & that it will get easier can begin to take the edge off.  (It has already for me!) Perhaps this falls into the category of so many other things related to life with multiples – things that we have to keep in perspective & take in stride.  They are learning & so are we. 

I’ll be attending my first twins/triplets club toddler meeting later next month, where the topic will be discipline.  I’d be happy to share any other pearls of wisdom we discover there.

So what works for you?  Are there any resources specific to multiples that you’d recommend?

The HER Within the Mot'her'

Phew! Just got back from our 8 day vacation down the shore…hence, the late post.

Anyway, this was our first ‘real’ vacation as a family of six. And, OMG – we not only survived, but we really SO enjoyed ourselves & actually relaxed! I was even able to read AN ENTIRE BOOK, people!!  As I sit here back at home, bags yet to be unpacked, I am full of gratitude for those few days. I knew that we needed to get away, but it wasn’t until vacation day 3 that I realized just how necessary that time was.

First, the setting:
- the guest house on my grandparents property at the Jersey shore…a small, yet cozy little cottage (hey – less to clean!); an immaculately maintained in ground pool outside our door; a patio overlooking the river, complete with a hammock, garden & grill; our choice of boating, kayaking or crabbing off of the dock; seafood restaurant/bar AND Dunkin’ Donuts within walking distance; the beach/boardwalk within a 5 minute car ride. Top that with a little nostalgia for all of the childhood memories I have there and well, as my husband said, ‘it’s a little piece of heaven’!

Ok, so day 3…the weather was perfect and I had woken up early. The triplets had slept in (meaning past 6am) and I practically bounced down the stairs. I was invigorated by the day, our new surroundings and the fact that my husband was going to be around for a full week to not only help with the kids, but to enjoy them with me. I grabbed my sneakers & my iPod, informing my husband that I would be walking to Dunkin’ Donuts for our morning coffee.

I don’t remember what song I was listening to at the time, but I had only been walking for about ¼ of a mile when it occurred to me…I was walking by mySelf, listening to my music and walking to someplace I really wanted to go. It happened rather suddenly & filled me up completely. Yes, I’d realized that I could use a break – a change of pace, a more relaxed environment, my hubby around for an entire week to co-parent with me…but on that walk, in the quiet sunshine I was able to hear my own voice again! It was like re-connecting with an old friend – someone you feel completely comfortable with, someone you really like. This, I thought, this makes me happy. I really like this song. I love being outside, I love to walk & I love my morning coffee. So big deal, right?

Very big deal! You see, in my former life, I was a Life Coach. My practice focused primarily on mothers – supporting them in re-connecting with themSelves, helping them to see themselves beyond the role of mother. So many of my coaching sessions, so many talks I’ve given centered around trying to convince mothers that filling themSelves up first was the only way to give to their children. A simple concept, a complex commitment. I thought that I had been doing a pretty good job of it, but what I had become good at was ignoring my own needs, or at least at putting them last.

It was easy to preach self-care with only one child at the time! The universe needed to put me in the thick of it to really understand. As MoMs, the challenge of staying connected with the HER within the mot’her’ is, well…multiplied! Pre-vacation I was done, taxed, stressed, tired – I remember telling my husband that I felt like a well that had gone dry. That simple little shore vacation – taking those morning walks & giving myself permission to read a WHOLE book – allowed me to breath a little deeper. It gave me the space I needed to find my center again – to be present. And I assure you, I was a more pleasant wife & mother for it! I haven’t enjoyed just being with my family like that in awhile. I realized that I’d been carrying some BS belief that vacation was an indulgence – a guilty pleasure. Where’d THAT come from?? Vacation, especially now, will be a matter of course in our home, a commitment.

So now that we’re home, I’d like to come up with ways to stay in ‘that place’. So how do you do it? (No pun intended!!) What commitments do you keep to yourSelf?