Archive for June, 2009

Truthful Triplet Tuesday

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Our house is a fortress with a definate water line.   The triplets have free reign of most of the house.   This isn’t because we don’t believe in “imprisoning” our children, suppresing their natural tendecies to explore and roam.  It is becuase our attempt to baracade them has failed miserably many times.  Their most recent aquisition is Max’s haven, his office.  Like our living room, this bookcase now also has a “waterline”:

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The territory we’ve been able to maintain is the hallway leading to the stairs and the master bedroom.  The kids get the alcove and their two rooms :)

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In other news…Josie is our official first walker.  I’m a tough judge of “firsts”,  I don’t count taking steps while falling into someone’s arms or a couch as true steps.  Yesturday, on her 1st birthday, Josie took her first true steps.  Go Josie; if your feeling the inlination to walk yourself to the car, climb into your carseat, and buckle yourself in, go for it!

Happy Birthday, We Made it to 1!

Monday, June 29th, 2009

A montage of our three amigos (it’s a long one but it’s been that kind-of year):

Happy Birthday from Karla Gravitt on Vimeo.

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate the kid’s 1st birthday on  Saturday.  What a fun time, I think I stayed up till 11:30 which is amazing for me these days!   In all honesty, this wasn’t just a celebration for the kids, it was also a celebration for Max and I!  The first year with multiples is no joke!  We don’t expect it to turn “easy” but everyone says the first year is the most challenging.  We owe a huge thanks to the grandparents for all their support and help over the past year.  We also thank our friends who stuck by us, it is not always easy to have friends of triplets and we thank you for putting up with our hectic life.

Here are a few pics from the kids party:

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My Little Water Bugs

Friday, June 26th, 2009

I am a pool bum.    I grew up at the pool as a child, worked as a lifeguard/swimcoach/manager through my teens and twenties and require living in close proximity to a pool as an adult.  I love the water and couldn’t be happier that all of my children seem to be following in my footsteps.  Last summer we did not make it to the pool once.  Our babies were newborns and that summer is a huge blur.  But this summer is a different story.  We go several times a week with friends, family and/or our mother’s helper.  The kids have a blast!

Josie could stay in the pool all day

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Everything is a party to Mia so no surprise she shines at the pool

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Marcus prefers to relax in his float but he also likes to jump off the sideimg_2782

Mia already kicks and paddles like she is here with Miss Gailimg_2792

The kids have a big day coming up.  Stay tuned for some exciting birthday drama!

Getting Away…and Respecting That

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Max and I value maintaining our sanity and our marriage.  As the kids approach 1 year, we are starting to celebrate making it through what has been a very mentally and physically challenging 19 months.  One of the ways we have made it this far is by getting away and relinquishing the “pre-baby days” (or pre-fulcrum days as my husband would so eloquently say).   We have been lucky enough to have gracious grandparents who are willing to indulge in a weekend of chaos so Max and I can just be “Max and I” or a few short days.

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We don’t do anything extremely extravagant on these getaways but we do make sure we are lavished.  Because we place such a high value on this time away, we skimp in other areas. We have yet to take professional photographs of our children (I hate fake scenery anyway), we buy some expensive baby items used (why pay $250 for a carseat when you can find a comfy and safe one for $50), and our kids wear generic diapers (13 cents diapers at Target…can’t beat that) and eat generic formula (the ingredients are the EXACT same).   Our favorite place to go is a local small hotel/spa in the area.  It has a four star restaurant, wonderful spa amenities you can enjoy without signing up for a specific service and most important, a gorgeous pool complete with a full service bar.  And, we are lucky enough to have family who can get us a discounted rate (have I given away the hotel name yet?)

Max and I don’t do any major reflecting or take along any “marriage workbooks” on these retreats but we do spend quality time together and share many laughs; and in doing this we  remember why we love each other.  This gives us the strength to continue to tackle our amazing yet sometimes challenging life….together.  In these precious moments, we are just Max and Karla, enjoying each others presence (and wine of course)  without retrieving one of our children as they attempt to climb out of their high-chair or kindly addressing a stranger’s question about our triplets.

So, when on a recent excursion to this quiet swank hotel, we happened to be sitting by the pool next to the band, “No Doubt”; I was tempted to gush and run over to say “hi”.  But instead, I let them enjoy the precious moments they had to just relax and play with their kids in the pool, not being “No Doubt” but being a couple people and their kids (by the way, Gwen is much shorter and skinnier than on TV).  After Gwen’s older son splashed me as I read on the pool stairs, Gwen apologized to me for his lack of knowledge of personal space.  Rather than saying what I was thinking “Gwen, you are awesome, Kingston can splash me all he wants…I am a desperate mom of triplets, can I have tickets to your concert tomorrow?”, I just smiled and shrugged.  If I wasn’t totally starstruck, I would have said something smart like “Gwen, I admire that you have the energy to play with your kids out by the pool for hours and then perform at night.  I have triplets at home and I can barely stay up past 9 PM.”  Then I would have accepted the backstage passes she would have offered me.  But, I decided to play nonchalant and let the “stars” get away for a few precious moments, just like Max and I.  Of course, Max discreetly snapped a few mediocre pics with his iphone….

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And now I count down the days till our next excursion, a wedding with some of our college friends…classic ” pre-baby days” here we come.

Truthful Triplet Tuesday

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

The havoc we leave in our wake:

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I admit, I often take the kids out to eat simply to avoid the clean-up at home.   I try to avoid frequenting the same establishments too close together so they don’t remember us.  There are a few places we are “regulars” but we never seem to get the same waiter….interesting.

There is No Captain

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

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Max again.  Father’s Day.  First one.  A day all about me and I don’t even have to get older.  Score.

I like to lead.  Be the boss.  Decider.  Arrange outcomes.  Captain of the ship.  Big baller.  Shot caller.  In control.  Knowing where I’ve been, where I’m going, and how I’m going to get there.  Don’t misinterpret comfort for egotism – I ain’t saying I’m good at it, it’s just where I like to play.  The safety in understanding what happened, why it happened, and what’s going to happen next is a calm warm blanket.

If everything is a lever, my life has a very clear fulcrum marked the morning of December 27, 2007.  It was the moment the doctor said “Mam, you are definitely pregnant.  In fact, I see three embryos.”  Nothing would ever be the same.  Ever.  It’s actually pretty simple, like a lever.  My short biography has two chapters, pre-fulcrum and post-fulcrum.  This blog entry represents the choreography between my natural desire for control and the circumstantial requirement of its release.

One day this week, I was playing with a new iPhone application while I was supposed to be watching the kids and I heard Josie cry out.  My eyes jumped to her face and I saw Marcus pulling her hair.  Pulling hard.  Big boy grip.  She started big crying and fast-stepped a crawl over to me to protect her.  Marcus sat up with a shrugging quizzical look that spoke “Pop, no big deal, it was only a couple of follicles, no hair in my hand, and she isn’t even bleeding.”  In retrospect, I probably gave him a “I hear ya – It’s hard having whiny sisters” glance back.

As Josie lay there crying, head on my lap, strange bald spot, I had a thought.  Visual images of all moments post-fulcrum ran through my head.  It’s been 18 months but everything seemed to take its time in my memory while real world time slowed.  Seconds in history felt like days.  I snapped out of the trance a different person, and I had reached a perspective on a long standing pre- and post-fulcrum dilemma.  Not only am I not in control, but nobody is.  I guess we’re all active participants, but there is no captain on this ship.

No matter my intent or involvement, I can’t and never will be able to control my children.  Nobody can.  Again, don’t misinterpret – I would like to.  If I could make their decisions, they would thank me later.  It’s the whole “if I knew then what I know now” idea, and that’s bigger than betting on the Giants in the 2008 Super Bowl.  So, if we can’t control them, what is a parent’s role?  I probably need more time under my belt for this one, but I have some preliminaries.

I guess number one is to always provide unconditional love in actions and language.  Make sure they have shelter.  Make sure they are fed.  Make sure they have environmental enrichment like toys, games, sports, videos, activities so that they can learn and grow.  Provide guidance, advice, and encouragement.  And provide discipline.

So immediately after the playroom epiphany, I realized I should probably respond to the hair pulling attack.  I had no idea what to do.  I had a mental sweep of all forms of punishment that I’ve witnessed either in real life or on TV.  Spanking.  Say “you’re grounded”.  Time out.  Drawn and quartered.  Wash mouth out with soap.  Put him in a wooden box.  Iron maiden.  Say “that’s one”, whatever that means.  Since I don’t have any perspective on appropriate punishments by age group and crime (note to self – read a book), I had to improvise.

I said in my plain adult voice, “Jocelyn, I acknowledge that getting your hair pulled can be painful.  You have three options relative to how you manage these types of events.  First, you can avoid people who will pull your hair.  This is difficult to implement because Marcus is your brother.  And you know what, I’m a grown ass man and I still get my hair pulled all the time.  Second, you can put the smack down on somebody who pulls your hair.  Preferably, do it for lots of people to see to set a precedent so that people will fear you.  If he’s bigger than you, bring a knife.  Third, try to educate the counterpart that uninvoked infliction of pain will actually cause long term negative consequences for the assailant, such as limiting their ability to make and keep friends, socialize, or serve as a productive member of a team or community.  Since the first option is pretty unrealistic and the second will put you in jail, my recommendation would be the third.”

I’m not sure it all clicked with her – I’m still working on how best to communicate to an 11 month old.  Then, I turned to Marcus, but by this point he had moved on to another activity and it was so cute that I just figured I’d get him next time.  He was playing the paper clip game.  He puts paper clips in electrical outlets and laughs as the fireworks come out.  Silly boy.

So that’s my conclusion for now – parents are active participants but cannot control their children.  So next time you are out at dinner and your child is loudly banging the salt shaker on the table and a neighboring table gives you a scowl that says “Control your child!”, calmly say with your adult voice, “There is no captain”.

Uh-Oh’s, New Buddies, and Testing Boundries

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Do you ever wish you could freeze time?  I would love to keep my babies the age they are right now.  They play together wonderfully, they are all smiles (as long as they are not sick), and they can’t cause too much trouble yet (i.e. I can still take them out to eat without chasing them around the restaurant or apologizing for food hitting someone at the next table in the back of the head ).

Although the kids are pretty well behaved, we are starting to see them test boundaries and learn more about their personalities.  For example, they are not allowed to stand up in front of the TV and push the buttons…they know this and love to try it and see our reaction.  So far, we are giving them a stern “sit down on your bottom” and then distract them with a toy.   Josie will go up to the TV, look at us and point to the floor and jabber sternly as if she is telling herself to sit down.  We give her the look and she is immediately on her bottom.  Mia loves to push the buttons and look over at us but as soon as we scold her and sit her down, she is off to get into some other trouble.   Marcus is a different story.  He laughs hysterically as he makes his way over to the TV and pulls up.  If we don’t see him, he continues to laugh, searching the room for anyone who may be paying attention until we scold him and sit him down which only causes him to laugh harder. He also thinks its hysterical to pull hair and yank at wires.  I think we are going to have to set up a pack n’ play and start time-outs with that boy immediately.

On another note, it is not surprising that Josie, the child who already cries if she gets in trouble or takes a tiny tumble,  first word besides mama and dada is “uh-oh”.  Every piece of food that drops, toy that falls, or loud noise she hears is  “uh-oh”.   The other night she “uh-oh’d” herself to sleep for 45 minutes.   I wouldn’t be surprised if her next words are “Mia, Marcus trouble”.

Speaking of tumbles, we have reached the black and blue stage.  Mia takes the prize for the most boo-boos by 1 year.  While Josie is extremely cautious, Mia has no clue or fear.  If she wants to go down the stairs, off she goes; if she wants off her climber, over the side she flies.  I know this is only the beginning…

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Besides a few tiny steps by Marcus, no one is walking yet.  Honestly, I’m not really encouraging it.  My babies can crawl fast but I’m certain they will run faster.  I feel like once we have walkers, we will enter a whole new world…I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet.

Finally, we are excited for our upcoming summer.  We have a new mother’s helper (aka: Marcus’s newest girlfriend) who will be accompanying us on some fun summer excursions.  Here we are with Gaylynn and Grammy P. at the kidzone at the local mall:

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The kids have a blast watching some of the bigger kids run around and they try to keep up.  They aren’t as fascinated by other kids their own age, probably becuase they are with each other 24/7.

Truthful Triplet Tuesday

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I used to be able to accomplish a few chores like laundry or dishes while the kids were awake.  Now, they want to help with everything.  Whether it be folding the clothes or climbing into the dishwasher to get that darn sippy cup straw that is always missing, these kids want to be involved.  Here they are helping with their favorite chore, taking clothes out and putting them into the laundry basket.  Of course they love to take the clean clothes off the hanger and carry them around the house.

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Sure, they cause more trouble than help but it is all so much fun!

You Might be a Triplet Dad

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Max here.  First post.  I typically shy away from writing blogs, friending people (not sure when that became a verb), or making any tweets, but I’d like to share a few thoughts.

In advance of the upcoming Father’s Day weekend, I’m posting in honor of all fathers and especially fathers of multiples.

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, here’s my top 10 “you might be a triplet dad if…”

10.  If you sometimes pretend you have a bad digestive issue just so you can get some quiet time in the bathroom, you might be a triplet dad.  “I think that egg salad was expired, honey, I’m going to need about 15 more minutes.”

9.  If you’ve run that online 529-plan calculator using 2 different web browsers and 3 different computers because you refuse to believe it is spitting out the right numbers, you might be a triplet dad.

8.  If your wife asks you, “do you mind taking care of the kids while I go get a pedicure?”, you wonder if driving them in circles around town in the car for 2 hours constitutes “taking care” of them.  “Sure honey, you deserve it”  Tip: always check the gas level before the trip so you can fill it back up to that level on the last lap.

7.  If before you scoop up the kid or two that you have to take upstairs to undress for the bath, you check for poopy diapers and make sure you avoid taking responsibility for that kid, you might be a triplet dad.  “I’ll go ahead and take up Josie and Amelia if you want to make bottles and grab Marcus on your way up.”

6.  If you feel like a rock star when a gaggle of kids chase you around the house screaming everyday when you get home from work, you might be a triplet dad.  I never knew I was so cool.  How long will that last?

5.  If you refuse to childproof your home office because that means babies will be granted access, you might be a triplet dad.  “Probably best to keep that room quarantined.  Well, I gotta go work on the tax return.”

4.  If you tend to break mommy’s “only one hour of TV per day” rule, you might be a triplet dad.  “Now who wants to watch a DVD?  Yay!”  And on that DVD, if you think the inventor of the “Play Repeat” feature should be a given a Nobel prize, you might be a triplet dad.

3.  If you absolutely don’t know how to answer the frequent question of “how does your wife manage it all day everyday until the weekends?”, you might be a triplet dad.  Sometimes I say “you know, it really isn’t that big of a deal” just to see the look on their face.

2.  If you spend a lot of time trying to think of smart ass replies for when you get asked “oh my god, are they triplets?”, you might be a triplet dad.  Not sure my favorite.  If I’m out shopping during the hot NC summers, I say “No, their quads, I had to leave one in the car.  Do you think he’ll be OK?  I’ve only been in here an hour and 15 minutes.  Don’t worry – I left the windows up so that hot air doesn’t get in.  Do you mind watching these three while I try the new Need for Speed game?  Sweet graphics.”

1.  If you always wonder what in the hell you ever did right to deserve such a wonderful, fantastic, loving, healthy, happy, well-balanced, story book, beautiful, smart, handsome, funny, strong, and courageous family, you might be a triplet dad.  Their great-grandma always used to say “count your blessings”.  Four.

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A Weekend with the Grandparents

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Max and I recently took another short jaunt away from home while Grandma and Grandpa Gravitt came to the house to watch the kids.  Here is a tidbit from Grandma G, sounds like a typical weekend to me:

On the one hand, I think how lucky and blessed Max and Karla are having these three happy, smart, charming kids and on the other, I think they need our sympathies for the 24:7 responsibilities. Two wonderful days with the perfectly content and well-mannered triplets and we are ready to go back to work to rest. Of course, we are thirty-something older than Max and Karla, which might have something to do with our exhaustion.

I have changed dozens of diapers and washed hundreds of bottles—every hour or so, I think. I have checked the slow clock waiting for nap or bed time only to realize the clock runs much quicker during the time the kids are sleeping. I picked up the same toys fifty times only to find them all over the floor a couple of hours later. I shoveled mountains of yogurt and mac and cheese into patiently waiting mouths and could not keep up with the voracious appetites although I cut up pears and bananas non-stop while the rest of the supper is cooking.

But what a privilege and honor to be trusted with these precious miracles and what a fun way to spend a weekend! Here are some highlights:

We had extra long mealtime, partly because we were enjoying how well the triplets mimicked sounds and signs, and partly because they were captured in their seats and gave us a break from chasing after them. Marcus signed “more” and they all did “so big,” and “pat-a-cake”. Josie signs dog and is the first to mimic a “raspberry” or other sound. Mia does more watching than mimicry, but during a loll, was the first to show us that they knew where their hair was. The other two soon followed suit. All sooooooooo cute!

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Bath time was so organized and calm while the kids were in the tub and so wild and hectic before and after. Tell me Karla does not do this alone! When I announced bathtime (a bit later than scheduled, I admit), Mia was the most excited and immediately understood when I told them they could crawl up the stairs themselves. She was off and running (crawling) all the way to the top of the stairs and into Mom and Dad’s bathroom. Marcus had to figure out how the gate opened and closed until he decided that he would not let Mia beat him by much. And Josie had to be sure that the gate was closed before ascending the steps and that Grandpa was coming, too. We stripped the kids down to their diapers while running water and making sure the temperature was right. Josie surprised me when I was taking her diaper off by being poopy and I had to race around to find wipes while trying to hold the half off diaper on not to make a mess. I finished wiping her bottom as she crawled toward the tub. Good thing the bath cleaned off the rest. While Josie was waiting for her turn to be hauled in the cavernous Jacuzzi, she peed on the marble floor. That sent Alan down for paper towels while hair was being washed. Everyone laughed and played while they were bathed and no one was the least bit bothered by buckets of water being poured over their heads to wet and rinse the hair. After the baths, the kids were more than ready for bottles (which had not been made) and a bit impatient about getting pj’s on. Mia was so squirmy that I accidentally wrapped the top of the diaper ointment in her diaper and had to fish it out after she was dressed.

I love how the kids prove their parents wrong all the time. Josie (who supposedly doesn’t eat anything—or used to be picky) ate the most and refused nothing! Mia who doesn’t finish her bottles, drank every bit of hers, every time. Marcus who drinks his whole milk from a sippy cup wanted a bottle when the girls had theirs (and got one, of course). Marcus didn’t feel great which might have contributed to his needing the extra comfort that the bottle gave him.

We put together their early birthday present, a climbing square. It was a big hit also kept the babysitters on edge bit. Josie crawls up the slide like a pro, gripping with her toes to keep from sliding back down. What muscles and balance! She was cautious at the top and had a great sense of how far she could go back down the slide safely and how not to step off the half of floor inside. Mia, way to fearless, and Marcus, way too oblivious, were clearly not too safe, but a few tumbles taught them a lot!

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We are proud when they do anything or when someone mentions how cute they are when we are out strolling—-Like we had something to do with it. It is wonderful being grandparents and we are grateful for the time that we get to spend with all seven of our beautiful, special grandchildren. Thank you for sharing!

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Gravitt!  We always feel secure leaving our precious cargo with you!