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!
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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.

!=o Three…Three…Three=o!

Monday thru Friday, I leave the house around 6:40am en route to work. The past month has been great for send-off. Most of the time I get three hugs, three kisses goodbye (at least 5 from Michaela, and she actually asks each time, “Kisses goodbye?”), and three not so little munchkins waving goodbye and blowing kisses, with Christopher giving chase, as I back out of the driveway. Yes, that feels good!

The sponges are eager to apply the fruits of their daily discoveries. This has resulted in new words, behaviors, alliances, likes and dislikes. Now that we know they understand what we’re saying, when they ask for something out of the fridge, we make them go get it, especially Emma. “Milk!”, she demands. We tell her that she knows where it is, and that if she wants some, she can get it herself. She “pretends” to not be able to open the fridge door, saying, “It’s stuck!”. I tell her to try harder. And it doesn’t end there. None of them, though they try, get to drink it wherever they want like the days of old. They have to sit at the table or stay in the kitchen area. We’ve found ancient milk cups previously…ugh! And when they’re done, we tell them to open the door, put it back, and shut it. They assumed early on compliance was optional, but now they realize it’s compulsory 🙂

I still hear from folks all the time that they don’t know how I do it. Well, I don’t. My wife, Angelique does the heavy lifting. I go to work and make the money that fuels the chaos that is our reality…lol! New greys sprout out every day, but it’s more a product of being 38 years old than being a father of triplets. Yes, a lot of things they do are frustrating, but they’re kids and that comes with the territory. We spend extraordinary amounts of time with them (me specifically on the weekends), and it takes creativity to keep them busy. I think the comment I get from folks generally comes from the perspective of having multiple kids potentially, but not all the same age at the same time. Truth be told, I can’t imagine these three spaced out in years. That’d be weird. Each additional child compounds the challenges. Someone is always going to be unhappy about something or feel left out or annoyed. For example, now that Emma’s got a large arsenal of words, she can actually say, “Hold me”. Of course most of the time we do, but sometimes we have to say no for a variety of reasons, and she’s not happy about it. However, it’s healthy for kids to not get everything they want all the time. Now mind you, they get lots of love, but we draw the line with their sneaky attempts to take advantage of situations. We were kids first, you know 😉

Potty training has been an adventure. I’ll just say that I track it still because I look at it as diapers saved. And thanks to Michaela’s efforts, she’s saved us 230 diapers (2 boxes worth) and Emma 183 diapers (1 box and some change) and Christopher 29 diapers. If I tracked how many times he’s gone in the tub his number would be higher but I’m not home usually when they get baths.

They are instant playmates. Michaela and Christopher are maniacs and bicker a lot over toys and whatever else Michaela has laid claim to first. Michaela is well aware she’s the oldest and doesn’t care how much bigger Christopher is than her. And he always stands down…for now. Emma is still content doing her own thing most of the time. I still trace it all back to her time in the isolette in the NICU. She was in the isolette the longest and probably got used to the bubble, but the others are just too much most of the time.

These kids are something else. Those that have had the pleasure of their company can attest to that statement. And each visit is a different experience. Age 3 with these three is going to be a wild ride. Much more talking, opinions, defiance and independence. We’ll be here in to steer them in the right direction every step of the way.

Their latest favorite movies include:

  • Trolls
  • Boxcar Children
  • Moana

New favorite foods:

  • Uncrustables
  • Pickle chips
  • Sliced black olives (we buy 8 cans a week!)
  • String cheese
  • Stonyfield Yogurt pouches
  • Costco apple sauce pouches
  • Polenta
  • Bananas

August should be exciting. My mother (Mima) will be visiting again later in the month. I think this time she’s fully aware that they are completely different kids from the last time she saw them. We’ll let her dive in and get pummeled like the other times as it is unavoidable. Hope she’s got an idea of how she’ll keep her energy up…lol!

The highlights of my workday are when I get a text from Angelique describing something crazy they did or some cute pictures of a funny video. Facebook has been great with the On This Day photos as we’ve seen some great photos from 2 years back or even last year and it’s incredible how much they’ve changed. I look forward to coming home each day. I remember the days when I was home helping look after them for 4 months straight. It totally re-wired my brain, as I wasn’t thinking about work (well not that kind of work). I was in full-time parent mode. I’m glad I had that time with them, though. Years from now we’ll play all the videos that prove that we both were there, and we both were heavily involved. And hopefully, they’ll appreciate all the sacrifices we made to bring them into this world, to make sure they were happy, loved and ready to leave their own stamp on this life.

M.

 

 

What’s up?

Greetings-

My brain clicked on, so before I hopefully fall back asleep, I figured I would provide the ever curious with an update on th3 tods.

These days:

  • Michaela is binkie free – daddy ripped it away and put gun range earmuffs on to deal with the hour long tantrum, but after distracting her she never looked back. Now she says ABCs all day long and strings together more words. She can also count to 10 with ease.

She is highly organized. She likes to collect things and cart them around, and arrange and stack stuff in orderly fashion with precision.

Michaela is going through a fashion phase where she puts on as many clothes as she can find. And she adores shoes when she has them on. It’s a nightmare getting them off of her! 

  • Emma is still Emma. Still chatty, always practicing talking. She is capable of repeating big words clear as day. She’s the sensitive one of the group. She is our master pouter. Sometimes we tell her no, and she immediately pouts and brings on the water works. She doesn’t require as much discipline as the other two. She would have been a dream baby as a singleton. If I could sum her up with one word, it would be balanced. She is a beautiful little girl destined for great things I’m sure! Emma fancied the binkie on occasion at night to help her sleep, so when I ripped it away from Michaela, I had to secretly give it to Emma for 2 nights straight before she was done with it. Secretly was key because Michaela knows the sound of a binkie so I had to make sure I didn’t let any of the plastic handle touch other plastic – lol
  • Christopher is really blossoming. He’s shed all his chub and is a very handsome boy now. He has developed a love of trucks and enjoys comforting his big sisters. I like that he is compassionate and thoughtful. He will do very well with the ladies as a result 😏. He loves to play with trucks these days. His vocabulary is improving now that he can string a few words together. Generally he is a shy boy. I’m guessing he will end up being over 6 feet tall given how long he is and how quickly he has grown. 
  • We are essentially done with bottles. The girls don’t get them any more. Christopher only gets one in the morning. I will look for a sippy cup that allows him to lay back. Out of all the sippy cups we have go figure none accommodate his style in the morning lol. The bottle 🍼 warmer is on its last leg anyway and will be chucked when he’s done. Should be any day now lol
  • Potty training has been going well…for the girls. It’s not a race, but Emma has nearly caught Michaela (48/43). I sit them on it first thing in the morning if I can get everything off them without causing a morning tantrum and keep them from walking around first thing and realizing they need to go. It’s been tough because they were all sick recently and we lost some momentum, plus phasing out the bottles meant I needed to adjust the morning routine a bit. Timing is the key but it’s still early so I don’t really get frustrated with them. Not too many poop on the finger offerings as of late, either, but I’m sure that phase will return lol. Christopher isn’t too interested at the moment. His count stands at 8. He cries when I put him on it, BUT he sits there the whole time at least. 
  • The next big milestone will be the toddler beds. This will be challenging for sure. We deal with the standard night terrors with all 3, and there are some nights (fortunately it’s rare) when it’s hell on wheels, but we manage. We are getting the rooms in order for this important transition. They all still have the ability to wake one another up with the loud crying but sometimes one or more are able to sleep through it – it’s rare with these hardwood floors, though! 

The girls may end up sharing a room given the layout of this house. We have 4 bedrooms but the 4th bedroom is isolated from the other ones. The girls get along better now for the most part and seem to prefer to nap close together 

    Are the twos terrible? What do you think? 😜 But imagine what ages 3 and 4 will be like with these three! If you’ve spent any time around them you know they pack a wallop now  – energy required! They’ll be talking clear as day by age 3 and 4 and have opinions and desires they will make known. And they’ll be eating even more! This isn’t easy, but it’s clear to me that we were chosen for this path. 

    Up next, a trip to the Bay Area to see some good friends and have a play date. In the meantime, they will do what they do best – play hard! 

    Best,

    M.