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Nineteen Months - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
Nineteen Months

I typed a beautiful and eloquent post about my kids at 18 months in Word... copied it to my clipboard and saved it... and *poof* it disappeared from everywhere.  No traces of it, not even on my clipboard.  No doubt, this post will be a sloppy attempt at recreating that post, and will not have nearly the finesse of the original.  I hope you'll forgive my clumsiness.

It's hard to believe that so much time has passed since our family expanded.  It was just over two years ago that I learned the news that there were three passengers on board.  It was nineteen months ago that those three passengers made their entrance into the world with their first tiny cries.  I thought the first year would be the hardest.  I had envisioned a life of absolute misery and beyond our ability to cope.  But, although our first year was full of challenges and a lot of hard work, it was nothing compared to the nightmare I had envisioned.  Why, it was downright easy compared to the nightmare I had envisioned!    We not only survived our first year, our family thrived. 

I look at our family today and I am astounded at how far we have come.  From three tiny babies to three toddlers on the go.  From one big brother timidly approaching his little brother in an incubator, to a vroombunctious five year old fearlessly tumbling with his toddler siblings, and complaining when they touch his toys.  I am thrilled with the way our family dynamic has evolved and in awe that it has stayed together through all of the challenges that we face each day.


The most common question I get these days is, "Well, is it a lot easier now that they're older?"  Wait, what?  In whose world could this possibly be easier?  A year ago these babies weren't even crawling!  They weren't eating real food.  They slept much of the time.  They had simple demands on the world still - eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep poop... with a little time on the playmat thrown in for good measure.  Now?  They are into everything (especially Ellie).  Now they are running in three different directions at all times.  They have wants and needs and they make sure we know it!  They eat real food, which means preparing three home-cooked meals for them each and every day (something I don't even do for myself!).  They want to be engaged at all times.  They are transitioning from two naps per day to one nap per day, which means their sleeping schedule is erratic. 

Really.  In whose world is this easier?  But it is also incredibly rewarding.

Each of their personalities is truly beginning to shine and they are healthy, thriving toddlers now.  Abby was our last holdout, but she, too, is toddling away along with the others.  At 17 months, she finally gave up on crawling and starting walking.  Six weeks later, she's still so proud of her accomplishment.  The most amazing thing about her walking is that once she started walking there was a drastic reduction in the number of temper tantrums that she was throwing each day.  She used to throw several per hour, but now she's a much happier baby.  She giggles all the time, lifts her shirt to have her belly tickled, flashes her great big grin and brings you toys to play with her.  She works through things that used to frustrate her into a huge temper tantrum and is so much more pleasant to be around.  Walking was her key to happiness!  Obviously she still has temper tantrums, but not with nearly the frequency she used to.  It's awesome.

All three babies were declared healthy at their eighteen month check up.  The pediatrician told me that we can start to shift our frame of thought from thinking of the triplets in terms of their adjusted age as we've been doing up until this point to now thinking of them as mostly typical eighteen month olds with only a few remaining developmental delays.  But they have caught up on the growth charts.  They have caught up with gross motor skills to their actual age milestones for the most part. They are almost to actual age milestones for fine motor skills.  

The only area in which there remain significant delays are expressive and receptive language skills - all three of them are behind even their adjusted age, which the pediatrician noted at their fifteen month appointment and recommended that we have them evaluated by early intervention from the county for speech therapy services, which we did, and they have been receiving speech therapy once a week ever since and they have made such great improvement, especially the girls!  Sam still doesn't say a word, but he's at least starting to respond to his name - which is a great relief.  He had actually been the greatest concern because he responded to his name when he was about a year old - he would look back and make a cute little grunty noise every time he heard his name, but then he abruptly regressed for months.  Last month he started to turn his head consistently to his name again, which makes us all very happy. 

They all have such distinct little personalities and they are really starting to learn how to interact with each other.  Abby, in particular, seems quite in tune with the others' emotional states, even though for the most part she wants nothing to do with them.  If Ellie or Sam is crying, she will go find their loveys (Ellie's are a green bear and a fuzzy blanket and Sam's are the elephant blankets and lately also a lovely knit blanket from a friend of ours) and she will bring the lovey(s) to whomever is crying.  Sometimes Ellie will do the same.  But as in tune as she is to that - she's the one who most consistently steals Sam's pacifier, thus guaranteeing to devastate poor Sammy and leave him screaming in shock and despair!  She is also the most likely to pick a fight with Sam.   But, then, Sam is the most likely to pick a fight with her, too.  They are always fighting.  They are always in each other's space and Abby can't stand when other babies are in her space.   She's going to have a really tough time in life.

Ellie is still, by and large, very laid back, but she's starting to assert herself more, and she does NOT like it when another child takes a toy of hers, or if she always has to wait to be the last for something.  She is also starting to become my pickiest eater.  Until recently, all of the kiddeos would eat absolutely anything, but they are beginning to be more discriminating than that, particularly Ellie.  She is the least likely to try new foods and the most likely to reject foods, even if she's eaten them in the past.  Still, she does love her food, and when she wants food, she makes it known.  Her first word was "cracker" and she makes it very clear when she wants her beloved crackers!  Also she asks for cups (either water or milk cups) when she's thirsty.  She is quite clear about her desires and gets upset if you're eating something that she wants and you're not sharing.  It's nice to see her asserting herself more; I would have hated to see her getting walked all over forever.  Still, she is still her loving, giving self.  She loves to share - she will bring you her toys and share them, or even her crackers and cups.  She expects you to share right back, of course, but she's all about the sharing.

Sam is still a bit of a brute - but it's not malicious, he's just completely unaware of physical space and the fact that there are other babies in that physical space.  He is, by far, the cuddliest of the three babies, though, so I know he's got a loving soul.  Though Abby is the one that likes to be held the most, I'm certain this is largely because she's trying to get away from having other little people in her space.  With Sam, he likes to snuggle right into your space and be held.   But he's also very busy, so after he gets his snuggles, he wriggles right back out and goes back to the business of playing.  It's serious business, you know. 

Sam just started liking cars and trucks and the girls just started noticing baby dolls and purses.  It's really cute that they're starting to notice that there's a difference between boys and girls, but it does make things more complicated for mommy!

The J-man is still an exceptionally good big brother, and about as patient as you can expect a 5 1/2 year old to be with three intrustive toddlers.  But the strain of being a big brother to three 19 month olds is definitely starting to get to him.  He's starting to notice that they like to get into his stuff and they like touching his things.  Which, you know, is kind of his fault.  I mean, they can't get into his room (there's a baby gate blocking their entrance into his room), so if he'd stop leaving his toys all over the living room, they'd stop touching his toys.  But I know it seems unfair to him that they touch his things.  So we try to find ways to let him keep things private.  He also seems to think that the babies have a lot more stuff than him.  Which, um, I have to say, isn't quite true.  First of all, a lot of the stuff they have is hand me downs from him.  And second of all, um, hello?  Have you SEEN how much stuff he has?  Plus, there's three of them and one of him.  But if he gets 10 toys for, oh, say, Passover, and they each get one, he thinks they get one, he thinks they got more than he did.  It's a hard life.  Poor kid.

I'm sure this isn't the end of them annoying him, but I'm also sure there will be more stages of happiness and joy.  I can't wait to see how their personalities emerge.  Seth said he hopes that Sam's and Ellie's personalities stay much the same and that Abby learns to chill out a bit.  Just as he said that, she started to shriek because one of the others looked at her funny.  Or something.  I wouldn't count on her chilling out anytime soon.

 Ellie and me at Jessica's house.



17 comments or Leave a comment
skatured From: skatured Date: April 20th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
What a lovely write up. I need to do something like this - you have inspired me!
real_bethy From: real_bethy Date: April 20th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)
It makes me heart fill up with joy to see your healthy, happy family all piled together on the couch.
kalki From: kalki Date: April 20th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
The most amazing thing about her walking is that once she started walking there was a drastic reduction in the number of temper tantrums that she was throwing each day.

THIS is what I believe will happen to Sadie when she starts to crawl. She is mostly VERY upset when (it seems like) she can't move anywhere. Or at least this is my hope :D

I loved your post :D
hannahsarah From: hannahsarah Date: April 20th, 2009 06:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I love your posts so much, they always make my day. The pictures are darling, too!

It cracks me up that they all want their personal space. I was giggling out loud as I read. Rivka keeps telling me how much she wants siblings. I wonder how she'd react if she actually had to share everything with three other kids. I doubt it would be the utopia she keeps imagining. ;-)
stone_ From: stone_ Date: April 20th, 2009 10:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I think you are the most competent person I know.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: April 20th, 2009 12:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I feel, most of the time, like the least competent person I know, so thank you for that.
yeishlitikvah From: yeishlitikvah Date: April 20th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm so glad to hear everyone is doing well. I love munchkins at this age, they are really coming into their own.

Poor Julian.

I will try to have a coherent post later, gotta run to work.
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: April 20th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
i still can't figure out how you did it with 3 newborns. and i can't imagine doing it with 3 now!

i love that fmaily picture :) perfect!

maybe it's easier in one way but harder in another way? i wonder what it'll be like to potty train 3 of them! at the same time! what about giving them mac n cheese or soup?

Walking was her key to happiness!
that's an awesome quote! but is'nt it awesome when they learn something and suddenly it just makes the world brighter!?

that is AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME that they've caught up completely just about! you should be way proud!

ugh. speech. i hate having to do speech therapy. it frustrates me that the kids dont talk quite on the normal level. but it's so rewarding when they do!

abby sounds really goofy :)

i'm sure you've heard that whole "theory" that kids dont have taste preferences until they're older and you just have to keep forcing spinach on them. that is such a load of @#$%*

dan's grandma always says boys are the most cuddly and snuggly. she says that they need reassurance more then girls do.

so if he'd stop leaving his toys all over the living room, they'd stop touching his toys.
EXACTLY! i can not figure out how to get the boys to respect their toys and keep them away! if you figure it out, let me know!

where do you keep all the toys too? i cant figure out where to put everything!
eyelid From: eyelid Date: April 20th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's really cute that they're starting to notice that there's a difference between boys and girls,

I think that depends on how you're urging them/encouraging them. Isaac is more into trucks/cars, but so was I, because dolls are boring. Patrick and I both have purses - they are convenient. E.g., try giving Sam a purse to keep his trucks in and I bet he'd use it.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: April 20th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
We've never encouraged or discouraged either. We never really had any baby dolls or purses in our house AT ALL, but the girls started gravitating toward baby dolls when other girls had them at shul. And then when the EI therapist had a couple little purses, the girls went BATTY over them. I've given them to Sam and he just throws them and goes looking for his elephant blanket or his truck. The girls will play with a car or a truck, but not in the same way - Sam will roll it on the ground, but the girls will carry them around like a doll. It's so odd.

We have made no effort whatsoever to encourage or discourage this behaviour whatsoever. (in fact, we had almost no girl-type toys in our house because Julian never played with them and the girls absolutely gravitate to them when they see other kids with them, so I realized that probably I ought to get some - it just had never occurred to me to get any... Sam won't touch a baby doll for anything).
eyelid From: eyelid Date: April 20th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
We have made no effort whatsoever to encourage or discourage this behaviour whatsoever.

"you" is more global. I mean society in general. your kids are doing what they are taught from their peers/adults making up their society is the "right thing" for people of their gender to do.

But tbh it does seem like you are doing things to encourage this. For instance, I've noticed from the very beginning that you gender-segregate clothing, etc... your girls get pink stuff/frilly dresses, Sam gets navy blue/suits - even their blankets are gendered. I can't help but suspect that you extend that to other areas, too. Furthermore, it seems that you believe boys/trucks girls/dolls, purses is the right thing for people of their gender to do also (since you said this is part of the "difference" between boys and girls), and frankly I doubt it's possible for you to mask that entirely (even if you realized you were doing it).

That stuff all contributes to teaching kids that they have a certain gender role. I mean, do you think your kids won't notice that you dress the girls one way and the boy another? And that all the girls on TV/that they know are dressed one way, and all are playing with certain toys, and vice versa for boys? Then, that certain things are expected of and accepted from boys (insert boy stereotype here) and others from girls?

but the girls started gravitating toward baby dolls when other girls had them at shul.

Exactly. They got taught what "girls were supposed to do."

Isaac loved pink until the kids at preschool told him he shouldn't like pink. (frankly, he still does like pink, it's obvious... but he says he doesn't). It's really easy to shame/guide/encourage kids into gender roles, particularly when (as you yourself point out) the rest of society is simultaneously doing it.

Edited at 2009-04-20 06:40 pm (UTC)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: April 20th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have purchased nearly no clothes for any of my kids, particularly the girls. The girls clothes got passed down from two sets of twin girls that friends of mine had. Sam's clothes nearly universally got passed down to him from psu_jedi's son. Ellie's blanket is blue with white snowflakes on it and her bear is green. Sam's favorite blankets are blue elephants and pink bunnies which he loves nearly the same, with only a slight preference for the blue elephant (which I believe has nothing to do with the color, but rather the fact that it is easier to carry the elephant from its snout).

Regardless, I don't have any concerns about my childrens' ability to feel confident in their own identity. Did I mention that Sam's favorite activity is to sweep the floor and vacuum? Certainly I've never told him that that is "women's work."
eyelid From: eyelid Date: April 20th, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ellie's blanket is blue with white snowflakes on it and her bear is green. Sam's favorite blankets are blue elephants and pink bunnies which he loves nearly the same, with only a slight preference for the blue elephant

Really, cause I recall this:
When the babies were born, one of Seth's coworkers gave us the cutest little baby blankies with these little stuffed animals on them. A blue elephant for Sam, and pink bunnies for the girls.

sounds like if the kids rejected the pink/blue bunnies/elephants gender patterning, it wasn't for lack of it being presented and suggested.

I do recall you mentioning how much Sam loves his broom ;)

Certainly I've never told him that that is "women's work."

I'm sure you would never say anything of the kind! The kind of patterning I'm talking about is really more subtle than that.

Edited at 2009-04-20 08:49 pm (UTC)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: April 20th, 2009 08:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, the coworker bought pink bunnies for the girls and a blue elephant for Sam. I never actually gave them to them that way; I just had them out. Sam was the only one who ever wanted the blankets at all and he took to all of them, particularly the elephant.

Sam has taken to not only snuggling with the broom, but actually trying to sweep with it. I'm ALL for it!
eyelid From: eyelid Date: April 20th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Isaac did that in the garage with his little toy hand broom too. Needless to say, I seriously doubt he would do it if I actually ASKED him to, though. ;)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: April 20th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
that's because he's a man.

(I'M KIDDING!!!!! Seth does at least as much, if not more, housework than I do)
mortuus From: mortuus Date: April 20th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fabulous musings and photos. What a great looking family!
17 comments or Leave a comment