Solo time in the sunshine
Going solo means something very different to me now as a triplet mom. It means time without another adult: just me and my babies.
There has been more of this kind of time this summer, as we are between nannies and vacations and guests. Starting this week I have more help, so last week marked my last long stretches of solo time for a while. Although most of me is incredibly grateful for the help I receive, part of me is a little nostalgic.
Solo time means barely eating enough for myself. It means almost nothing gets cleaned during the day: dishes, laundry, me. It means wrangling three squirmy 14-month-olds into new diapers, high chairs, strollers, and anywhere else they don’t want to go. It means that at any given moment when their world has been reduced to just me as a caregiver, all three may be crying to be held and nothing but Cheerios can soothe them (seriously–who knew the healing power of snacktime?).
However, solo time is also incredibly empowering. I didn’t know that I’d be able to take three babies to the library and let two of them crawl around the children’s section (thank you, Audrey, for being a trooper and staying in the Ergo without complaint). I didn’t know I’d have so much fun playing with them in the nursery with the “special” toys reserved for that space (especially the shape sorter).
I fed them lunch, snack, or dinner, depending on the day. Feeding three is actually a bit easier by myself because I can recognize their signs faster than anyone except Alan or Abbie.
I carried one baby on my back in the Ergo and two in my arms, from the double stroller in the garage up two flights of stairs to their room for nap. Several times. My biceps are not approaching Michelle Obama’s but they certainly are more defined than they used to be.
Shout-out to those who have helped: Ooma and Oompa from Dallas, our neighbor Kathy, our next-door neighbors especially Allie, our friends Cleo, Anna, Cari, Elisabeth and her boys (who were adorable helpers), and of course Grandma and Grandpa.
Updates on babies:
- Audrey took her first three steps on Friday, Aug. 24! She has been working on repeating the achievement. I will miss her pegleg crawl, on all threes with her left leg out straight. She wore a hole in the knee of one of her pairs of pants, which Colin (Eagle Scout) helped me sew together.
- Audrey’s favorite toy is her bunny lovey. I taught her that bunnies make a scrunched-nose, teeth-showing, “tch-tch-tch” face, which she works to replicate whenever she wants her bunny. She thinks it’s hilarious.
- She also thinks burps and toots are hilarious.
- She sometimes makes the bunny face but with a frown instead of a smile. My friend Cari, who came to help out last week, called this expression “Pirate Stinkeye.” It fits.
- For signing, “more” has come to mean “I want.” She signs “more” and points–and I have to guess what it is she wants, because she points at, say, the kitchen.
- Audrey also crawls over to me, pulls up on my leg, and says “Momma” to mean “pick me up.” Pretty darn cute.
- She is getting even better at giving people things. She picks up Jamie’s bear from the floor, goes over to him and hands it to him without being asked. Tonight she saw that he had been playing with the monkey towel and, after he discarded it, she picked it up and offered it to him. (She also takes toys from others, so she is not a perfectly altruistic child. Yet. Kidding!)
- Tonight, while looking at a book, Alan asked Audrey to point to the dog. She did. He asked her to point to the cat. She did.
- One of Theresa’s favorite expressions is “uh-oh,” and she says it in anticipation of the page in the Baby Faces book with that phrase.
- Theresa gets very excited and enthusiastic at mealtimes. We are trying to teach her that signing before yelling is more effective and polite.
- If Theresa could live on fruit and cheese and bread, she would. She’s ready for her European adventure.
- Her toothy smile and reaching her hand out to wave make her friends everywhere she goes: church, the store, the park, the sidewalk…
- Her hair is now long enough to pull into a ponytail on top of her head:
- She has been working on standing solo more and more. Today she was in the downward dog position trying to stand up without holding on to anything.
- She loves the little people that came with our water table–their heads are apparently good to chew on, so she has this plastic bathing-suited torso sticking out of her mouth while she splashes in the water.
- Jamie has decided that cats are interesting. Whenever he sees Callie, or the neighbor cat Raymuss, he says, “ay-eeeee” (which I assume is his approximation of “kitty”). He has tried to pet them and likes watching them.
- He is also really good at independent play. He loves sitting in his library (one of two baby bookshelves) and turning pages of books–after he has pulled them all off the shelf. My nerdy literature-loving heart rejoices.
- He loves climbing into empty boxes, bookshelves, the cubby where the toy bin goes…
- He drums on anything he can; favorites include the metal slide at the playground and Mommy’s back when he’s in the Ergo.
- When we’re in front of our house, he pretty much only wants to climb the front stairs.
- To keep up all that energy, he eats almost everything we put in front of him.
- They hug their stuffed animals really well, which is possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. We’ll ask them, “Can you hug your [bunny/frog/bear/lion etc.]?” They tuck the animal between their shoulder and cheek and tilt their head; Audrey adds the “ohhhh” sound. I’m glad they’re good at hugging.
- They are good at mealtime signs with one exception: someone will sign “all done” and then take another bite from the tray. Mixed messages.
- All three of them love the “blanket-fort” game, where an adult throws a blanket over herself and one or more babies. They love being in the dim light filtered through the cloth, surrounded by softness and warmth.
- All of them love the “chase” game, where an adult gets on hands and knees, and says, “I’m gonna get you!” They crawl away as fast as they can go, periodically looking back to see if we’re closing in, and shrieking with joy. The five of us played this at a new park on Saturday, in the sunshine.