Thursday, November 29, 2012

On Our Way to Sesame Place: A Story of Taking Three Toddlers on Vacation

Our boys LOVE Sesame Street.  They know all the characters, the songs, the episodes.  In fact, Sesame Street is responsible for me being able to get so much done around the house since the boys were about 18 months old (i.e. laundry, cooking dinner, emptying the dishwasher). 

This year for their 3rd birthday we finally decided to take them to Sesame Place.  This would be the boys' first trip to an amusement park.  What my husband and I liked is that the boys know and love all the characters and would be able to go on 95% of the rides.  What we worried about was being outnumbered in a crowded place and keeping everyone happy and patient when waiting on lines. 

Although the car trip is only about 2 hours for us we decided to stay overnight and break up the activities into two days.  Plan for Day 1: Water rides and birthday dinner with Elmo; Plan for Day 2 dry rides. 

We arrived at Sesame Place, changed the boys into bathing suits and headed right into the giant wading pool.  Immediately we got split into two different directions because Caleb loves the water and had to check out every nook and cranny.  We finally found eachother again on a playground and then I attempted to bring Caleb onto a waterslide.  Unfortunately waiting on the line was way too much for him and we had to abort the mission.  We decided to regroup at lunch and then attempt the lazy river.  Another failure because the boys were very uncomfortable in the tubes.  Finally we wandered over to Ernie's waterworks and they loved it.  It was like they had access to a ginormous water table and the best part (for me at least) NO LINES!

After some popcorn and ice cream we checked into the hotel, bathed and rested before our big birthday dinner with Elmo and the other Sesame Street characters.  The dinner was great!!! They got to meet Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Abby, and the Count.  They each got a balloon and birthday mug and Big Bird sang Happy Birthday to them.  The funny thing was they were so distracted by birthday candles that they did not even notice Big Bird standing at our table. 

After dinner we were able to enjoy some rides and not have to wait too long in the lines.  The boys really enjoyed the carousel (Jake got to sit next to Slimey) and the balloon ride.  We even let them stay up late and watch the parade at night.  They loved it!!

We were able to get in some sleep that night.  Jake and Caleb stay in their pack and plays while on vacation but we discovered on our last vacation that Liam needs a bed because he just climbs right out of the pack and play.  They are three after all and I am always amazed that 2 out of 3 stay in the portable crib. 

The next day we retruned to the park at opening and were able to get in quite a few rides before the lines got long.  I think most people go to the wet rides first.  We lasted until just after lunch and decided that the boys had no more patience for waiting in lines and were so tired from their adventures.  All in all it was a successful vacation and I am glad we took them at age 3, while they are big enough to enjoy most of the rides but not too big to still enjoy Sesame Street.  We of course left with souveniers, Jake picked out Big Bird, Caleb picked out Cookie Monster and Liam picked out Telly Monster (his favorite character).  Little did the kids know that, with the exception of Telly since he is not a super popular character, Mommy bought Big Bird and Cookie on Amazon so I would not have to pay park prices! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Keeping the Pieces Together

Having three kids means having lots of puzzles which also means lots of puzzle pieces. One of my three year olds LOVES jig-saw puzzles.   In fact he can put together a fifty piece jig-saw puzzle all by himself.   However, my other two are still playing with their peg board puzzles. While there are not as many pieces as a jig-saw, I still found myself constantly looking for pieces.   We have an alphabet puzzle with twenty-six pieces, a numbers puzzle with ten pieces and a colors puzzles with another ten pieces, just to name a few.  A missing puzzle piece can be very disconcerting for the two to three year old set and I was finding myself (far too often) ransacking the house to find the letter R so that my boys could move on with their lives.

I didn't want to have to buy one of those wire racks for three reasons:
(1) they take up too much room
(2) they are not cheap and
(3) we had more puzzles than a wire rack could handle.

For a while I had all the puzzles in a bin and the respective pieces in ziploc bags. This was done at the suggestion of my son Jake's occupational therapist so he could work on strengthening his fingers by pulling open the individual bags to remove the puzzle pieces. However I still found myself searching through bags and bags looking for pieces to accompany the chosen puzzle of the moment.   Finally I had an epiphany.   I placed a Velcro strip on the bag of the puzzle board and a Velcro strip on the ziploc bag and eureka...each puzzle had the coordinating pieces without going on a scavenger hunt each time.

 Now when one of my sons wants to do a puzzle he simply removes the ziploc bag from the back of the puzzle and opens it up to access the multitude of pieces that were once scattered around my house!! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Looking Back Over Three Years

I have only a few days let of having three toddlers under 3.  Each year I make a book of all the photos taken over the past year.  I started this tradition when my boys were approaching one and I realized how many pictures we had taken but could not possibly put in frames.  I thought about just getting pictures printed and putting them in a book myself but I found it a bit easier to just create a photo book online. 

As I was creating the book this year I realized how big my guys have really gotten.  I find being with the boys on a daily basis, I do not notice or realize they have gone through a growth spurt until I try to put a pair of pants on them.  Going through the older books and photos brings me back to the time of bottles and formula and going from zero babies to three in a weekend.

Liam, Jake and Caleb at one week old!

The day we all went home together

My refrigerator-bottles for the day

Now we have a refrigerator filled with snacks and juice boxes instead of formula and a living room full of toys, and a small table and chairs instead of a pack and play.  Instead of changing outfits five times a day we are venturing into potty training and preschool.  It is hard to believe the changes you go through in three years.  When you are in the moment and trying to feed and comfort three screaming babies at the same time it feels like it will never end.  Now I feel like I blinked and they have transformed from babies into three little boys who are ready for adventures.  Happy Birthday my little boys and thank you for making everyday with you a new adventure.  

Left to Right: Jake, Liam and Caleb today

Monday, August 13, 2012

Getting Off on the Right Foot

I, like many of you, get a million catalogs in the mail each week.  Many of them end up in the trash and some I read cover to cover.  One I especially enjoy reading through is the One Step Ahead catalog.  While I find most of their items out of my price range, I also find many unique items that I cannot find at just any baby store.  Flipping through the One Step Ahead catalog one day I found a great product for my little ones.  In fact, it was one of those products that I look at and wish I had thought of it because it is so simple yet I had never seen it before.  They are called Shoezooz Educational Shoe Stickers.  They are stickers you can place inside the shoe and they are made up of three farm animals, a pig, a sheep and a cow.  The front of the animal is the left foot and back of the animal is the right foot.  The pair of shoes will then fit together like a puzzle.  Apparently you can also find it on Amazon.

Getting shoes on in my house and getting out the door in a timely fashion can be quite an ordeal.  My boys are almost three.  They all wear the same shoe size and in turn I buy three pairs of the same shoe.  Around 2 or 2 and 1/2 they started taking their shoes off and every now and again try to put them on.  I often found their goal was simply to get a shoe partially on their foot and often that would be the wrong foot.  Trying to explain to a two year old how to tell the difference between left and right seemed like a lost cause.  The problem was compounded when I would put two left shoes on one child and not realize it until I got to shoe #6 (sadly this has happened to me on more than one occasion).  At that point I then have to chase around my other two guys to see who has two right feet and sort it all out!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Riding in Carts with Boys

I curse the day I allowed my boys to utilize the car shopping carts at our local Stop and Shop. I actually managed to make my life more difficult which I did not think was possible since I was already dragging my three two year olds grocery shopping. I am of the mind that the person who thought of car carts for grocery stores was out for revenge of some kind and thousands of innocent parents everywhere are forced to pay the price.
The reliable triple shopping cart that made my life easier.

I had it down to a science. Out of the house before 10am but after 9am thereby allowing sufficient time to arrive home before a lunch time meltdown. Bring lots of snacks (although we have been known to eat direct from the cart). Go with a list and keep the trip to 60 minutes or less.

My friends often look at me funny when I say that I take all three toddlers grocery shopping. As long as I stick to my formula I typically can get my shopping done and am able to keep major incidents to the checkout lane when any toddler's patience (if it exists) is tested. I am far from saying it is easy and I usually have to gear myself up for the task but in any event I get it done because the bottom line is there is not a day of the week when I don't have three children.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Breastfeeding Debate Continues

I could not believe it when I read it but the issue on formula samples rages on and has now been compared to giving someone a pack of cigarettes when they are trying to quite smoking.  (for full article click here).  In short, Peggy O' Mara, editor-in-chief of Mothering Magazine, stated:

It is naive to believe that the formula industry’s distribution of formula to you is an innocent gift. A “gift” of formula is like a “gift” of a pack of cigarettes when you’re trying to quit smoking; it will undermine your resolve. The formula company has bought your name and address from the hospital, without your knowledge, and will now solicit you for sales. Do you really want this commercial intrusion into your life?

I previously wrote on this topic last Monday (click here to view my previous blog post The Breastfeeding Debate).  To say the least this is a poor analogy.  Formula is hardly an addictive, toxic substance.  A sample of formula is hardly a temptation for a new mom to throw in the towel and not breastfeed if that was part of her game plan.  I agree that formula companies market to new moms just like the diaper companies do, so what?  This is no different than getting a credit card solicitation in the mail or enjoying a free sample of tortilla chips at BJs when you are shopping. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Guide to Buying Strollers for Multiple Children

It can be an overwhelming experience to set out and buy a single stroller never mind trying to find a great stroller to fit your needs when you have more than one child. Whether you are looking for a stroller for children minutes apart or months apart following these guidelines should get you started looking in the right direction.

I have been through quite a few strollers in the past 34 months and my best advice is do not buy a stroller without physically seeing it in person. Seeing the stroller in person is the only way to see how the stroller folds up, how heavy the stroller is and how the stroller will fit in your trunk. In my opinion these are the three key factors in purchasing a stroller.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Breastfeeding Debate

I read a tweet on Friday from @parentsmagazine that Massachusetts has enacted a law prohibiting hospitals from providing new mothers gift bags containing sample baby formula.  (Click here for a link to the full article )  Allegedly the goal is to promote breastfeeding. I know that breastfeeding is best. I really do. I also knew that since I  was pregnant with triplets they were not only going to be premature but breastfeeding was not going to be something I could jump into. One thing I definitely learned when I became a mom is that people have strong views on breastfeeding.

My sons were born at 33 and 1/2 weeks weighing 3lbs 12ozs, 2lbs 15ozs and 4lbs 1oz. I decided to pump in order to give my boys some breast milk but I was realistic that there was going to come a point when I could not keep up with the demand and formula was going to be necessary.   It took about 2-3 days for my milk to come in and almost a week before all three boys were eating. At the time they were too little to feed from my breast, they were actually fed with a tube and a syringe and would work up to a bottle.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Journey Through the Land of IVF Part 2: Success!!

After our failure with the first round of IVF I was an emotional wreck. My father had passed away while I was in the middle of the first IVF cycle and on top of taking all these hormones I was now dealing with the loss of my father; my last parent. My mom had died a week after my 21st birthday and had never met my husband. Now neither of my parents were going to meet my children ---provided I could even have them.

Ironically because my father passed away it provided Marc and I with the money to try IVF for a second time. I like to think of it as as a gift my parents were able to give me and even though they would never be here to hold their grandchildren; they were instrumental in their creation.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Vegetable Dance: Trying to be a Sneaky Chef

One of the more challenging aspects of having three toddlers is trying to find meals that will make ALL three toddlers happy. As a parent, I want to give my sons something healthy and nutritious, however, I have been very frustrated lately. I have one son who will try anything but if he doesn't like it he is "all done"; one son who refuses to eat meat and will often just eat ketchup off the plate (although I am happy he is using his fork or spoon to do so); and one son who will not try anything fruit or vegetable related and simply eats the meat. I guess on the bright side they would eat one good, nutritious meal between the three of them, if only it would work that way!

In an effort to stop making dinner and having no one eat it but the dog I often found myself giving in and feeding my kids what they asked for, namely snakcs, rather than full meals.. I was beginning to fear that my boys would never eat anything green in their lives.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Around the World in 80 Sippy Cups


Okay maybe I am exaggerating a little...I have not been around the world.  I do feel like I have gone through every sippy cup there is to go through looking for the one magic cup that does not leak and is easy to drink from.  Unfortunately I discovered that I was looking for the "chupacabre" and that there is no magic cup but there are good cups on the market that I have had some success with and there are bad cups.
When my boys were little and I was contemplating the transition from a bottle to a sippy cup I was not sure where to begin.  As a mom of multiples, I would feed my boys via bottle at the same time lined up on a pillow. 

By the time I was ready for the transition from bottle to sippy cup, they were about a year old.  I originally bought a traditional sippy cup with a "hard" spout.  The boys hated them and to be honet upon trying the cup myself, I found it hard to get liquid from it.  In turn, I tried a soft spout sippy cup thinking it would be more like a bottle.  The boys would not drink from them either.  Instead, they found it more fun to shake it up and down (since the cup had handles) and watch the milk or water go flying.  The boys were also trying to drink from the bottle or sippy cup while sitting up and getting  frustrated from receiving no liquid.  They did not want to tilt the cup or bottle back.  Then I rememberd one instance of when we were on vacation and we had gone out to eat.  Liam was sitting in my lap (as usual when we go out to eat) and he decided he wanted to have what mommy was having so I let him have some of my water through a straw.  Liam used the straw no problem and actually drank the water.  I had more success with a simple straw and cup of water than with any sippy cup so far.  At that moment I decided that I would find a straw sippy cup and see if the boys would try that.  The next time we were in BJ's and doing the obligatory stroll through the baby aisle, I found a three pack of munchkin straw cups.  I decided it was meant to be.  Not only did I find a three pack of straw sippy cups but they were in gender netural colors---no bright pinks and flowers to contend with.  As an added bonus, I find Munchkin to be an affordable brand and since I was at a wholesale club, I was able to get three cups for half the price.  The cups seal tightly, and they are relatively easy to clean. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Journey through the Land of IVF: Part 1

This particular entry relates my roller coaster ride through the land of infertility.  I feel like women do not talk about it openly.  As I was going through it I personally didn't want to talk about it with everyone but I did confide in a few people.  I think part of the reason I do not have an issue talking about it now is because I am a success story.  I did not think that this was how my life was going to end up when we started talking about starting a family. 

I got married to my husband when I was 28 years old and he was 31.  I did not feel the need to start a family right away.  We wanted to travel, I had just started my career as a lawyer.  A little before my 30th birthday we decided to start trying.  The first few months went by without success but I figured no big deal.  Then another few months went by without success.  We even went on a relaxing Alaskan cruise for my 30th birthday and nothing.  I finally went to my ob/gyn and everything had looked normal.  He had me go for a test called a hysteropingogram.  Basically they inject dye into your lady parts to see if your ovaries and tubes are clear.  Mine were.  So after all these months, nothing appeared to be wrong with me. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Let's go to the Zoo!

Sunday we did one of my favorite activities with the boys...we went to the Bronx Zoo!  My son Jake, in particular, LOVES animals.  Of course the highlight of his zoo experience today was the peacock.  The peacock is not in one particular exhibit.  Rather they roam the grounds and is often the first animal we see upon arrival.  For whatever reason Jake loves looking for the peacocks.

Our first stop was the bug carousel.  A favorite attraction for all three of my boys. 

Today was a particularly fun filled activity day at the zoo.  Two of my sons' favorites characters were scheduled to appear---Sid the Science Kid and Buddy the T-Rex from Dinosaur Train.  Of course it was also Memorial Day Weekend and incredibly hot.  I have to say I thought the zoo would be easier as they got older and in some respect it is. However, they definitely object to the stroller alot more now and when released they love to scatter in three different directions. Sometimes my boys think holding hands is great and other times they think holding hands is a fun game mom and dad want to play with the object of the game being to stay as far away from mommy and daddy as possible.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quick Quick Slow

I don't know about you guys but my two year olds are in a serious Curious George phase right now.  It is the show we watch when we are munching on breakfast and getting ready for the day.  The other day the episode was on where George learned how to do the boxstep from his neighbors the Rankins.  The Rankins grandaughter Ally was going to have a dance party so George learned how to dance and in turn taught all the neighbors. 

The main lesson George took from the Rankins was quick quick slow..quick quick slow and that they step in time with the music. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

And it begins....

As I sit here with one of my two year old sons in my lap, another trying to get into my lap, and the third trying to grab my attention as he scoots by on his trike, I attempt to write my first blog.  Yes, I have three sons and they all happen to be two and a half years old.  My goal with this blog is to offer anectdotes of my life that is normal to me but appears crazy to everyone else while at the same time gather useful tips and offer advice based on my experiences raising three little boys all the same age.  I know I only have three and not six or seven or eight, but people are still always amazed by triplets and love to tell me that I have my hands full.  I never like to think of myself as any different than anyone else with three children, although I will admit my days are filled with different challenges than others who have children of different ages.  I by no means consider myself an expert on anything related to kids or otherwise, I simply take each day one at a time and count my blessings that we have survived thirty two whole months without having to go to the emergency room!  I hope to share useful information related to baby products and other tricks I have learned along the way.