Phew! It’s Normal

The follow excerpt is from heysigmund.com, and our three year olds do most of the bulleted:

3 years old.

• Will experiment with independence. May lead to tantrums.👈🏾

• Will want increased control. May lead to tantrums.👈🏾

• Will become frustrated when disappointed. May lead to tantrums.👈🏾

• May see an increase in tantrums.👈🏾👈🏾👈🏾

• Will flip between wanting to be independent (‘I do it!’, or ‘by myself’) and wanting to be treated like a little person (‘carry me’ or ‘you do it’). 👈🏾

• Will form a special attachment to the word ‘no’ and will practice it often. Even when they might mean ‘yes’. (Ahhhh toddlers! Fortunately, evolution has given them a profound capacity for cuteness while they are sleeping. This is important for those catastrophic events, such as when you miss the notification that sandwiches are now to be served as little triangles, not little squares as was previously deemed acceptable. If this happens, just go with it – you’ll need your energy for when they realise you haven’t bought the toothpaste with Elsa on the tube.)👈🏾

• Might stutter or stammer.

• Will start to assert control over their environment by wanting to plan activities, do things by themselves, try challenging things.👈🏾

• Might keep calling you back when they are put to bed.👈🏾

• Might develop sudden fears and phobias.👈🏾

Note: we’ve dealt with some serious meltdowns over chapstick. These three love to keep their lips moisturized. Exotic flavors as Christmas gifts would be a hit!

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New Job, New Beginnings

New Job, New Beginnings

On Thursday, November 30, 2017, I concluded my 5 year tenure at the State Treasurer’s Office. In 2012, I took the job when the previous incumbent had retired and the internal person that was offered the job turned it down. It was a good move for several reasons. First and foremost, Angelique worked there at the time in Business Services. It was an opportunity to be nearby as she recovered emotionally from some recent and very difficult pregnancy losses. The job was doing things I had done already at previous jobs. It was also a fresh start at a new organization run by an elected official. So that would be an opportunity to learn how to do things already familiar to me under a different and more political lens. I had great staff and a supportive boss. Two years into my tenure at the STO, the triplets arrived. Over the next 3 years, I experienced a great deal of success at the STO. I went through the highly coveted IT Leadership Academy, and my class project idea (California Mentor Program for Information Technology) was one of the projects selected for the class and was very successful. A document management system landed in my unit’s area of responsibility to manage in 2014, and it came with several challenges that needed to be overcome before real change could happen. In my final two years at the STO, I graduated from the IT Leadership Academy, and picked up a 2017 IT Leadership award for my efforts improving customer efficiencies using document management solutions. In October 2017, I was also selected as one of 3 employees of the month. The other two folks were members of my document management team. We were nominated by two different commissions for document management solutions we delivered that significantly improved their efficiencies. I will really miss the STO. I met some great people there, and it is a very family-oriented environment. Angelique and I were one of the “super couples” that were married and worked in the same organization. I think we both left behind a very positive legacy as two service-oriented professionals with a passion for people.

Ten months prior to starting at the STO, I had attempted a fresh start at a different organization. It turned out to be a terrible time to pursue a job with promising opportunities. The main reason is because we were just starting to experience the challenges associated with our path to starting a family, and didn’t yet realize how difficult it would end up being emotionally. It turned out that it was not the right time to be trying to learn a new organization and job and be 100% emotionally invested in fertility treatments and without a supportive boss to boot. Lesson learned, and enough about that misfire 🙂

On Friday, December 1, 2017, I started a new job as a section manager over Document Management Systems infrastructure operations at the Employment Development Department. It is a promotion, and I will be overseeing the infrastructure operations of a massive document management solution that has its own building.

My success in the document management arena at the STO told me that this was something I would be comfortable specializing in. The job comes with several perks, such as free parking, more money 💵, closer to home, and an opportunity to (most of the time) be home earlier to spend quality time with the kids. My last year at the STO, I was taking the Amtrak Capital Corridor train from Roseville to Downtown and back, a 30 minute commute each way. The evening train was often late arriving in Sacramento, which resulted in me getting home as late as 6:30pm if I didn’t have shopping 🛒 to do after work, which is at least 3 days a week. Also, there was only one morning and evening train, and the evening charter buses departed at varying times. I will miss the great people I met on the train. Some of my commuter friends helped me solve a work problem once!

One trade off is that I lost my big office and now have a cubicle. It’s a different culture and managers at my level in such a large organization don’t get offices. Oh well, I will not be at my desk often anyway! Another is that I will no longer be downtown, so I will need to make an effort to stay connected and not completely disappear. I am on this year’s CIO Academy Advisory Board, and hope to continue in that capacity. There are, however, contacts I made during my time in the Leadership Academy that also work in Rancho Cordova, so I will be able to connect with them more often.

My first day was mentally draining. I was in a lot of different meetings all day. And most of the day I was only at my desk long enough to accept the newest way of meetings that came in. When I got home, I was so tired I think I passed out about a hour after getting home. There is a significant amount of information to absorb in my new job. It’s not just the document management technology or the massive infrastructure that supports it. There’s also the holy IT trinity to master – the people, the processes and the technology of the organization as a whole. I will be dusting off old skills and leveraging recent experience in my new role. I’ll have more staff than I had at the STO, and it’s a matrix’s team operation so I will be involved in everything the document management applications development group is working on. There are many active concurrent projects, and dozens in the queue. I will be very busy all the time!

It seemed like the right time to take on a new job. The kids are here (hooray! 👏🏽🙌🏽👏🏽) and with great help early on, Angelique and I weathered the first 18 months, followed by age 2, 2 and a half and now 3. I will have to recalibrate the work-life balance piece, as being an infrastructure operations manager once again comes with specific expectations, but I’m happy to have been given the opportunity to grow even more professionally.

Eventually the new job will make sense and I will settle into a rhythm. I’ll be using the kids as my motivation to be the best manager I can be on my new home. After all, it’s all about them!

Gotta run – 3 kids running around screaming as they play!

M.

The Triplets Are Three Today!

The Triplets Are Three Today!

Happy Birthday 🎁🎈🎂 to the Cave Triplets!

Technically the celebration begins at 12:27pm (Michaela), 12:28pm (Emma) and 12:30pm (Christopher).

Three years ago today, our lives literally changed forever. We went to the doctor for a next day check up as Angelique’s test the previous day had revealed preeclampsia. The only cure or treatment for that is delivery. A long exam and sitting up on an uncomfortable bed with baby monitors hooked up to her tummy resulted in contractions that wouldn’t quit and a doctor that decided it wasn’t a good time to send her home, which we appreciated. Next thing we knew, she was being whisked away for a c-section and later that afternoon we became parents!

And what has changed since then? Well, for starters, they are all healthy three year olds now. Thriving is an understatement and doesn’t really do their development justice. Every triplet journey is certainly unique. It all depends on how early they are born and how they weather the storm of issues they have to contend with the earlier they come. The goal was 34 weeks, but they decided to make their arrival at 29.5 weeks. That early came with lung development concerns, early digestion issues, anemia, eye development concerns and a few heart murmurs. All fine now, although the early weeks in the NICU were nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster.

We survived the first 18 months thanks to outstanding help. The carpet in our old house, specifically the family room we lived out of (home base) did not, I’m sorry to report 😜

You look at them today and you’d never know they were born prematurely. Most people think the girls are twins and that Christopher is the older child since he’s so much bigger. But we tell them he’s the youngest and they are all the same age and their jaws drop. Christopher is as big as a few 4 year old kids we’ve seen. And he’s wearing 4T like a boss…haha.

Binkies are long gone, as are bottles. Only one baby gate remains as opposed to five. Diaper will hopefully be a thing of the past some time this year as I’d rather drop $90 a month on something else for them…lol.

Now that they can talk a lot better, we are bracing ourselves for even more challenges. I’m at work all day, and it’s hard to come to terms with how different they are from the previous day when I get home. Their minds are soaking up so much knowledge. Everyday there is a new skill or a few new words.

They aren’t in pre-school or anything like that yet. Last week I got on the Amtrak train home to work and our pediatrician was on the train, so we sat and chatted. She hadn’t seen them in a while, so I showed her some of the latest pics. Her jaw dropped. They have all sorts of different fans. The NICU nurses played an integral role in their development. They don’t get to hear how a lot of the kids are doing. I’ve run into one of the nurses at Costco before. She immediately asked how Emma (whom she cared for) was doing. She was asking a few questions like she was going through a developmental checklist. She knows that sometimes there are issues. Another I keep in touch with via text and she has visited once. I’ve run into the high risk doctor that helped keep the babies in longer at the hospital. I shared a pic and shook his hand and he lit up. I send him photos from time to time. It took a lot of people’s efforts to get them here, and we will never forget their kindness and devotion to their jobs.

Their birthday party is 10/29. Visitors will be greet with jabbering toddlers. Lots of hugs will be distributed, I’m sure. Should be a blast!

M.

Costco’s most honest samplers 🙂
The girls hop in Uncle Scooter’s custom trailer
Christopher being handsome from afar
Emma carries this heart around everywhere, so it’s starting to turn pink. Speaking of which, we may have lost it again!
Michaela has been a lefty for quite some time. She’s always had great dexterity and fine motor skills.
Emma loves the view from my shoulders
We dare not try and remove the coat from Michaela. That’s just not a good idea!
All in a day’s work for these three. We think they found whatever they were looking for…ha!

The Apple(s) 🍎 of my 👀 Eyes

Three different personalities means it is never a dull moment in this household. The best part of this is that it provides opportunities to try many different things. The worst part is that it could produce a lot of waste if you aren’t careful…haha! This is what makes the introductory photo so funny. Clearly someone loves apples (Michaela), while another wasn’t feeling it at the moment (Emma), while the other (Christopher) likely partook in the delectable treat at the behest of an older, bossy sibling (Michaela). Oh, a picture really does paint 1,000 words!

We can’t make this stuff up. I have been following another triplet mom’s blog for some time. That has served as my roadmap of what to expect as they get older. Her identical triplet boys just turned 7. Her latest blog was about how their personalities are all but settled in. I read the blog this morning and smiled. In one of her earlier blogs, she wrote about how one of the boys had thrown a potato 🥔 at the TV and broke it. I could see that happening with us, especially since Christopher likes to throw things randomly. One thing is guaranteed year after year with these three – entertainment!

I look forward to getting home from work to see how much they’ve learned while I was gone. Every day it is something new as they continue their rapid evolution into little people. Lately they’ve all become fixated on grasshoppers. There is a resident grasshopper that is missing a hind leg that hangs around the outside of the house. Sunday the grasshopper made its way to one of the screens in a nearby bedroom. They all got excited and screamed when they’d get close to it and talked amongst themselves about the grasshopper. They each refused to get close to the window to take a closer look without a buddy – it was so cute. For the next few days they have demanded that a grasshopper be drawn on the magna doodle. They think it is real, because Angelique asks them to touch it and they freak out. If she asks them to kiss it, they run and/or cry. Yesterday she decided to chase them around the house with the latest drawing. She’s a really good artist like her mom so I’m sure it looked life-like.

Michaela’s bossy disposition and hierarchy in the group of 3 is all but confirmed. On Monday, they each got to choose what movie to watch. Of course, Michaela got to pick first and she chose Anastasia (which once upon a time was on the list of girl names before they were born. She doesn’t look like a Stacey…although I would have loved to sing “Stacey’s mom has got it going on” all day…haha!). After the movie 🎥 🍿 played, Angelique asked Emma what movie she wanted to watch. Emma said Olaf (Frozen). Michaela quickly intervened, putting her arm around Emma, looking at her and saying “Emma, don’t you want to watch Anastasia?” (and in the same tone as Ana asked Elsa, “Do you wanna build a snowman?”) 🤪. Guess what was watched (again): Anastasia 🙂. Persistence, persuasion, charm and determination. And beauty…Oh my!

You’ll have to excuse me, Michaela has selected the DVD she wants to watch at 4:45am: The Secret Garden. Blah

More on the other two another time!

M.

We Can’t Keep Up! 🤷🏾‍♂️

The triplets are barreling towards their 3rd birthday on October 23rd. We can’t keep up with all the new things they are doing and saying. So here’s my best summary.

Michaela

She’s speaking in ‘completer’ sentences. She can use possessive (Mommy’s), a few prepositions (on, in, out), and obviously can give her two siblings clear directions (“Emma, put on the dress”, “Ferfer, get out!”). ABCs? No problem? Counting 1-10? Piece of cake. Colors, no problem. Shapes? Check, including Octagon, Cone, Sphere and Rectangle. Potty training is going well. She’ll for sure be the first one fully trained at some point before she’s 3 and a half I’m sure. She is up to about 5 or 6 wardrobe changes a day. She demands not only a kiss on the lips goodbye before I leave for work each morning, but now on the forehead as well. Plus, she rallies the cr3w to ensure that I give them kisses, too. Alrighty, then! Michaela was also the first to ride a bike (with training wheels) recently. She figures things out quickly.

Emma

Emma has great command of words. She can repeat pretty much whatever she hears verbatim, like a parrot. The alphabet and letters are no problem for her, although sometimes she gets a letter wrong now and then. She loves pointing out body parts: head, eyes, lips, mouth, ears, cheeks, chin, eyebrows, toes, shoulders, knees, and even belly button. She loves to jump long distances, and has no fear in that regard. She jumps off the couch often and into the arms of whatever adult is near. She’s got this heart that once was on a necklace that she carries around nearly 24 hours a day and even sleeps with. Not a pretty sight when it goes missing. She and Michaela have cryptic conversations. They seem to be negotiating. I’m not able to translate all of it 🙂

Christopher

Christopher is a rough and tumble boy. The first development evaluation report indicated he was a shy and timid boy. That’s actually true. He’s pretty shy until he warms up to folks, but once he does he is a bundle of energy and quite annoying, actually. He loves to growl, and it’s really annoying. He’s finally talking more, and is able to express himself better. You can usually find him with his troll pool toys (Princess Poppy was missing for weeks but magically reappeared last week), or with his toy cars, lining them up in a straight line in inconvenient locations around the house.

Age 2 wasn’t that terrible. It was 2 and a half when things got wild. They have tested our patience, and we’re sure they are just getting started. When they can really talk, we will see what mischief they concoct. We will be in survival mode until things calm down, which might be as soon as 5 or 6 years old…haha we’ll see.

In the meantime, enjoy some recent pics and videos from below.

M.

Other kids are drawn to our three. They share their stuff pretty good.
I certainly am tired of cleaning up these rocks!
Size 3 is no match for this big boy. He’s got a long torso!
As you can see, Michaela loves to lead the way!
Emma is not so interested yet. Hasn’t figured out peddling.
Michaela got the potty stuck on her head. It took 5 tries to get it off. She won’t be doing that again!
Emma stunned us with her beautiful hair straightened out. You could tell she liked the different look.
These two have their close moments…sometimes.
Michaela rocking a fitted sheet, butterfly wings and a black shirt holding them together as a fashion statement…in a princess dress.
No caption needed! Cute!
Cute and she knows it!
Christopher is the clown of the group. Can you tell?

Blessings of Mass Destruction

Take a long look at the above pictures. These three, working together, pulled down the curtain rod in the family room. We have the suspects apprehended, and in the second picture, you’ll see that they were all put on a time out because they were all caught red handed in the vicinity of the destruction zone. You can tell who the most guilty are by a.) their proximity to the scene of the crime and b.) their excitement. Michaela’s masterfully worded self-incriminating line: “Mommy! Broken!”.

When my wife Angelique sent the pictures to my mobile phone, my jaw dropped. It was only a matter of time before they brought it down. Fifty pound mollies are no match for the Cave Triplets! These three are extremely efficient at systematically breaking down perceived obstacles.

I don’t think the movie Tarzan was playing on DVD, but someone (or 2) heavier toddlers were hanging on the curtains like they were vines. It’s what toddlers do, and when these guys get going, look out!

I figured I’d share this as we close our their second year of life and gear up for them turning 3 next month. Now that they are talking more, they really are going to be a handful over the next 12 months. Who knows what else they will destroy over that 12 month period. I guess we’ll see.

🙂

M.