The Cavelets are now 4 years old. Age 3 was brutal and 4 is shaping up to be more of the same. They had a wonderful birthday party with a great turnout of family and friends.
They cleaned house on gifts and when Halloween 🎃 👻 rolled around, they raked in a ridiculous amount of candy. Our next door neighbor is funny – she warned us: “I’m sorry, but your kids are going to get a lot from us!” 😂
We pulled them out of the pre-school as the amount of time they were sick 😷, which was often, didn’t justify the expense, which was $19 (non-refundable) a day per child Monday, Wednesday and Friday depending on how many days of the week there were in the month. They did very well during their time in the program. We will work something else out. They are ready for kindergarten and very socialized already, but when they get sick it is guaranteed to be 3 times the sickness and then it is usually unique for each of them based on their time in the NICU – it’s easy to forget they were preemies and started out life with immature lungs.
So I’m sure that age 4 will be filled with new adventures and more milestones checked off as they march towards age 5. They love to draw, paint and color.
They also had the distinct honor of attending their first NICU reunion. Emma got to see the nurse that cared for her all those weeks, so that was special.
On Friday, October 12th, the kids had a field trip to a local pumpkin patch and they had a blast.
Below are the best of the best pics:
Other than that, the kids will be 4 on October 23rd and are progressing nicely. Chatterboxes to the extreme – love it! Thriving in pre-school, as well. Couldn’t be happier with their progress. And best of all, Angelique has 2.5 hours of freedom 3 days a week (most weeks)!
In about one month, our trio will turn 4. Age 3 has been the year of the band-aid, with injuries galore across the board. The injuries are mostly cuts and scrapes. Falling while running and skinning a knee, slipping while trying to climb our lemon orange 🍊 tree 🌳 out back has resulted in scrapes, and a few miscellaneous spills have produced bumps and bruises. I’ve never worked in the private sector, but my health insurance over the course of my public sector career has been absolutely wonderful. It’s also nice that we live 5 minutes from the hospital.
Christopher is our resident injury magnet. Nearly 2 weeks ago we were at a restaurant and joking around that Christopher’s nickname should be “$50 co-pay” because he led way in ER visits requiring a $50 co-pay 2-0-0. Well he added to the total when we got home from the restaurant. Was following Michaela’s lead jumping off of a yoga ball and his momentum (he is 42 lbs and 20 of those pounds appear to be in his head) got the best of him and he stumbled and hit the area above his eye on the corner of a coffee table, busting it open. It didn’t require stitches, but the open gash bled a lot and I took him down the street to the ER. The nurses swooned over what a heartthrob Christopher was with his exotic blond curly hair – nice 👍🏽. Christopher leads 3-0-0. 🏆
Michaela got a nasty egg on the side of her face just below her temple after tripping and smacking the side of her face on the step at the local Chik Fil-A. She hit it hard as no amount of Arnica gel could prevent the resulting bruise from surfacing a few days later. Earlier this week while about to cross the street to go to school, she tripped and fell and hit her head, busting it open. This resulted in a band-aid.
Emma has a band-aid on her arm near her elbow. I asked her this morning what happened and she proceeded to summarize every detail. She told me hat it’s a cut, and that it’s small, and that it didn’t hurt, but mommy saw it and put a band-aid on it. Then she told me that Michaela cut her foot yesterday and has a band-aid on it, and that Christopher went to the hospital to get his band-aid. The summary went on and on – it was awesome!
If you’ve spent any amount of quality time around our kids, you’ve by now seen that they are both confident and humble. It’s possible that some of me rubbed off on each of them. And their mother works tirelessly to instill the values they will need to be self sufficient later in life. Neither of these things are bad attributes to have if they exist in the right balance.
They are confident in their abilities. They feel they can do anything, even if that is not initially the case. They are not afraid to interact with other kids, try new things or show what they’ve learned. We wanted them to be confident because we didn’t want them to be mislead by those that will eventually tell them they can’t do or be something. I dealt with it growing up, and I used it as fuel to succeed. People used to tell me all the time growing up that I wasn’t smart enough, or that I probably wasn’t going to accomplish a specific goal. Even today, I hear on occasion from folks that I’m not ready for something.
The kids are also humble, too. I think this is a product of the love they receive. They each have a gentle, compassionate side to them. There is a big difference between loved and spoiled. They’ve had everything they needed their entire existence, but probably not everything they wanted – that’s what helps keep them humble. I recently got some feedback that I presented myself as too humbled by my experience, and therefore lacking the confidence to take on a particular role. Those that truly know me laugh at that assessment. There are a few people that saw me lose my confidence after my father passed away, only to ultimately find it again later. I’m happy to share my experiences with others – they make me as unique as the path I’ve taken. When I was growing up I had everything I needed one way or another, but also experienced a wave of poverty. Also, at one point, having kids seemed out of reach – elusive, in fact. But guess what – they are here now…
I am successful because my parents gave me the tools to be so. I am humble because I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable and live life, and that means facing the good and bad times – it all makes you stronger. I’ve failed and have lessons learned from those failures.
I can’t wait to share the story of how the kids got here with them. They will be glad we chose not to give up on the idea of them. I dream big, and they are the result. We had patience and were rewarded. And while they drive us crazy at the moment, we are confident they will succeed, and humbled by the havoc they wreak day in and day out. It’s all a part of the process. They are the product of unique choices, high stakes risks, and a great deal of effort from both parents. Huge sacrifices were made. I truly believe all of this has made me a better leader in my career. How can it not?
I certainly still have goals that I want to achieve. I will keep grinding until I achieve them. One way or another I will…trust! You are always redefining yourself throughout life, searching for your purpose. When the kids come, you realize they missed a great deal of the story. Look at a guy like Tiger Woods. His kids missed the entire wave of his greatness, and it is something that they might have to just watch on video. They’ve essentially seen him do nothing but struggle mightily. You would have to think he’s been humbled by all he has endured the past decade. Still he has a chance to pen an amazing story of being a great dad.
This year’s 4th of July started with us heading to the park in the morning only to find a large group of people there from a church having a morning picnic. Someone wandered over and introduced himself and invited us to partake in the food they’d brought. We did, and were soon participating in the activities they had going on.Previous Independence Days involved most of the kids sleeping through all of the fireworks (I believe only Emma was up to see them the first year). This year, everyone was up and engaged. I think one of my previous blog posts was something catchy like Declaration of Independence. Or maybe it should have been if it wasn’t, because all three are increasingly declaring their independence from their parents. It is manifesting itself as them telling us what they want to do more often and now that they can talk, there is very little guessing as far as their intentions are concerned.They, like any other kid, would rather play than eat (unless it involves ice cream!)They prefer to be outdoors – playing.This summer, before pre-Kindergarten starts on September 5th, will be spent getting them more and more comfortable with the water. I missed out during my own childhood as I couldn’t swim, so at age 22 I had enough and taught myself after lots of practice. We don’t want them to have that same experience. That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading! M.
Firetrucks and ambulances are now associated permanently in the minds of the triplets with Christopher (FerFer).
Anytime the kids see a fire truck 🚒 on TV or on the street, or even an ambulance 🚑, their latest new skill (recalling memories) takes over. The girls then go on and on repeated what they remember about Christopher: “FerFer goes on ambulance ride.”, and “FerFer goes to the hospital. He hurt his mouth”. They remember everything about the last experience. And apparently FerFer is the owner of every hospital in town if you let the girls tell it. FerFer leads the way in ambulance 🚑 rides and fire truck 🚒 visits 2-0-0😂.
So now when I get home from work each day, everyone is dying to tell me all about their day. Yesterday was all about the big green tomato 🍅 worm 🐛 they discovered at grandma and grandpa’s house.
I have an extraordinarily accurate memory that stretches back as far as I can remember. I remember things that happen in pre-school at age 3, and even events such as my first haircut on the Navy base at age 4 and my 4th birthday party. We shall see if their memories turn out to be just as accurate – all signs point to yes! 😳
They say the first 5 years are the most important, as there is so much development that happens during that time and it sets the framework for the later years. Heck, California has a website devoted to it: http://first5california.com. The kids are sponges, and absorb everything – more than we realize, in fact. At the end of the day, I think they absolutely realize that both their parents are, have been and will always be there for them.
The title is fitting. We’ve been going 200mph lately with these three and I figured I’d make a pit stop to provide updates.
We can start with Christopher, who is obsessed with all things Lightning McQueen. He’s got an impressive selection of Cars-themed underpants, and can usually be seen wearing something featuring either Lightning McQueen himself or Mater. He also usually likes to wind down in the evening watching one of the Cars movies.
Emma is our resident conversationalist, educating us on what she’s doing and thinking about every step of the way, lecturing her siblings about what’s right and wrong, asking if everyone is ok, and (still) trying to get everyone to do stuff for her. She’s the most reserved of the three, but also the most talkative as she has the clearest command of her impressive library of words. Complete sentences, emotion in her tone, cause/effect, ability to recall memories, you name it, she’s spewed it 😂. For example, if I leave in the morning for work without giving her a hug, kiss, high five, fist pump, and a repeat of any combination of the above, I hear about it first thing when I get home, and Angelique has to hear about it the whole day until I return.
Where do I start with this little firecracker? Oh my word she’s going to be a handful as a teenage girl 🙄. She’s very strong willed and smart as a whip. She has “strategies”. She leads with trying to wear you down with nagging hoping you give in – quickly cycles through your typical toddler tactics 😂. With her siblings, she used to just take what she wanted with no pushback – now there is pushback in the form of arguments, fighting and attempts to distract and then take. I’ve seen her try and negotiate, sometimes successfully, and she’s had to adjust to not getting her way with her siblings. Sometimes her go to strategy is to hover like a gnat, chase and when none of that works, meltdown. This past week featured a meltdown over nighttime PJs, where Emma, not Michaela got to wear the Ariel shirt 👚. This resulted in Michaela on a time out outside for several minutes. She started throwing objects at the slider. It got louder and louder, which meant that she was finding things that were heavier and heavier, so I fetched her and we had a little talk 😂. Piece of work, she is.
Potty training was a relatively quick process, with them all being day trained. Very few accidents along the way. The worst of them were due to the occasional desire to not stop what they’re doing and go potty. This has mostly been Christopher. Still that’s all to be expected and we are very proud of them! They tell us that they have to go still and still would like us to escort them, but they are getting increasingly more independent in that area.
It’s quite funny to watch their banter back and forth over pee and poop. They actually talk about it with each other. They like to inspect each other’s efforts in the toilet and congratulate one another. They even go as far as to describe it. This morning Emma invited Christopher to come take a look and he said, “Wow, good job!”, and then flushed it for her. 🤷🏾♂️
We ventured to Jelly Belly recently
The result of this trip was that we needed to rethink road entertainment, as the bickering over which movie to watch on the long ride was out of control – nobody was happy! We ended up purchasing 3 kindle fire 🔥 kids edition tablets with headphones so they could each do their own thing. Best. Purchase. Ever. A few weeks in and they have figured them out. The girls both know how to unlock theirs, and Christopher has filled his up with Cars stuff and monster trucks. It has helped them improve their fine motor skills as well. They are also much better at problem solving. Michaela has somehow figured out to install her own apps. We haven’t put time limits on them yet but that will come one day I’m sure.
They all start pre-Kindergarten in the fall at something called Adventure Club in Roseville. We evaluated a few of the schools that had availability, made our selection, and enrolled them. It starts in September. They are all very well socialized already, and with as much as they apparently know already I’m sure they will be fine and will thrive with the new flavors of structure they will be exposed to. And Angelique will get a much needed breather for a few hours a day, Monday, Wednesday and Fridays! I commend Angelique for her efforts with the kids. Managing 3 demanding evolving toddlers is no joke and it’s tough to stay sane! Anyone interested in basking in the madness? 🙋🏾♂️
She’s befriended a few mothers with young tots in our little community here and is a mentor of sorts to one with a newborn. After all, Angelique’s been there, done that times three, so she’s got the experience and wisdom! Everyone has a different motherhood journey, but it’s nice to be able to pass along tips and offer support to someone just embarking on their own journey.
The more things change, the more things stay the same…
After only 2 weeks, the Cavelets are now day trained. The first week featured accidents across the board for a variety of reasons, but now they are used to the expectations (and the rewards).
We had to bribe them with gourmet treats (candy), but it worked. Plus having access to great weather made things easier. This last week they really put it all together.
As a result of their accomplishments, we’ve given the girls the nicer panties that were special gifts from my mother (Mima). Christopher started out in the good underwear (all Disney Cars and superhero themed, of course).
But what else is new?
Friday, May 11th I turned 39 years old.
It was a great day at work. Staff decorated my cubicle and brought treats for the group.
After work, I treated myself to Sushi 🍣 at my favorite spot right down the street from me – Sushi Omakase. They threw in a free beer 🍺 on the house.
Mother’s Day is today and Angelique’s 43rd birthday 🎁 is tomorrow, May 14th. This morning, the kids each gave their mother a special rose with a balloon 🎈- she loved the surprise. They even said Happy Mother’s Day. I’m sure that made all the torm3nt she has to endure throughout the day worth it. My older brother Chris’s birthday was May 9th.
Yesterday we took the kids to the Strawberry 🍓 Festival at Placer County Fairgrounds. It was HOT! But it was fun, and a good test of potty training. They held it until each potty break. Awesome! They also hung out with the Dive Bar mermaids 🧜♀️
Last week, Angelique and I decided we would take the plunge and not look back regarding potty training. The weather was great and the outdoors provided a helping hand.
Project management touches potty training, too. The road to potty trained kids, let alone triplets, is a delicate balance of time, money and resources. You have to make the time, and spend the money (on diapers), and have the people handy (in the early weeks) to make a run at it with triplets. The first week there were many accidents across the board, and for different reasons. As with projects, you make adjustments along the way. Some risks (tinkle accidents) are accepted as par for the course (yay hardwood floors!), others (💩) require a mix of strategies to facilitate improvement such as coaching, rewards (celebrate success) for avoiding that type of accident (🍭) and increased monitoring.
Diapers have (had 🙌🏽👏🏽) been a huge expense for us, as you can imagine, much like formula was in the early months. We can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. They are all having long runs of staying dry all day (and even night!). We found a huge stash of pull-ups that we were given years ago, so we will burn through those as we settle in to the next phase of the project. The next challenges will be staying dry during travel, naps, and while shopping 🛒 at grocery stores.
They pretty much decided for us that they wanted to embark on the next phase of this project together. I think deep down they have an internal sense that their baby days are slipping away. This results in nostalgic moments where they do baby stuff just for fun like crawl on all fours or want to be held like a baby. And sometimes they have initiated an accident just because (I think). But it is definitely clicking for them.