Today was a hard, hard day. The babies miss their daddy, who is in CA on business this week, and it seemed like nothing Jillian or I did could make them–well, one baby in particular–happy. Two wouldn’t eat lunch at all; one slept an hour total all day, and the other two got morning nap and that’s it.
One baby’s list of acceptable foods seems to diminish meal by meal–yesterday she loved her pasta with creamy pesto; today at lunch, she refused to eat more than five bites. The other day, Alan mixed my Mexican bean casserole with hummus and made hummadillas, which she also loved. Today: nothin’ doin’. Do I hold my ground and continue to provide three to four items, most of which I know she has eaten before? If she doesn’t eat, it is not only her problem but also my problem, since she can get cranky. However, I don’t want her to learn that if she pitches a fit at mealtime, then she gets her bread with spread (but not tortilla, apparently–not bready enough?).
This is a tough age. They are needy in ways that are both easier and more challenging than infants’ needs. I find that outings, even just in our backyard or on the sidewalk in front of our house, are getting harder and harder without a one-to-one adult ratio. Outside adventures involve lots of climbing and walking (either independently or holding an adult’s hand, depending on walking skill) and exploring.
Two adults can safely monitor three toddlers, but each toddler is going to have to sacrifice some autonomy or will in order for safety to be preserved. If one is climbing and needs a spotter, and the other two want to walk in different directions, at least one baby–and probably more than one–is going to be unhappy.
I just reread some posts from the Seattle Families of Multiples forum about corralling babies this age, and all the moms who posted agreed: activities with multiples are just more limited than for single babies. Stay-at-home moms of single babies can take their babies to gym play, or to the park, or other fun areas to stretch development skills (i.e. descending stairs safely, riding a scooter car, etc.).
When our babies are cranky and we need to get out, we go for walks in the wagon or stroller. They love this–especially the wagon–and everyone who comments always notes how happy our babies are. Still, I wish we could let them work out all their energy all the time, instead of on occasional trips to the toddler rooms (which cost $3 per kid, not a bargain when you usually stay 30 min.) or other enclosed and often indoor spaces.
One strategy: Jillian and I will need to divide and conquer more often.
Okay, now that I vented, here are some things that went well today:
- Jamie said “pancake” this morning. At least it sure sounded like he was trying to.
- while Jillian took the girls for a longer walk in the wagon, I let Jamie play in front of the church. He loved looking at all the doors and windows, and then spent time climbing up and down the five front stairs. I am delighted to report that his independent descent skills are improving vastly. I hope to continue building them so I don’t have to spot him every time he is on stairs.
- my dad was home and listened to me vent.
- Abbie stopped by today for 3:30 dance party. She and Jillian entertained the babies, which allowed me to put away two laundry baskets’ worth of baby clothes (note to grandparents: we don’t need any boy clothes for a long time!).
- Colin always entertains me (and probably himself too) by singing made-up songs to the babies to calm them down. Thank goodness he helped with bedtime.
- For my own dinner I made sweet potato-black bean burritos and added some cooked chard. Pretty yummy. Next up: green smoothies (ha).