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Evening out the Playing Field - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
Evening out the Playing Field
We've joked (okay, we were never joking when we said it) that the triplets combined are still less work than J is. And really? It's been true. Part of that is the challenge of handling a child with ADHD, learning disabilities, and anxiety, and part of that is that the older a kid is, the more complex his needs. He's less content to sit and play with blocks all day than he was when he himself was 2. He's got school projects, therapy appointments, field trips, friends he wants to see... it just *is* more work to care appropriately for a six year old than for a two year old... even when the two year old comes in triplicate. But mostly, it's the ADHD et al.

Until now.

I think we're finally reaching a point where the triplets are higher maintenance than J. (Certainly, they are higher maintenance than he was when he was 2 - he never stopped moving long enough to get into anything, climb anything, empty anything out, or wreak havoc in general...)

The triplets, see, they are a team. And they're crafty - plus they teach their tricks to the others. Ellie's a master climber and although Sam couldn't get the hang of climbing for a long time, inspiration from his sister got him moving and climbing. Abby can throw a temper tantrum better than any two year old I know - and she's taught her tricks to the others along the way. Sam and Ellie got tired of being pushed, poked, pulled upon, and hit by their sister Abby - so now they gang up on her. Ellie and Abby mastered climbing in and out of cribs and Sam had to get in on the fun (though it took him almost a year longer to figure it out than it took the girls).

And now. Now the diapers. The girls have been little houdini-diaper-escapers for a long time. At least a year, I think. We've tried onesies. We've tried duct tape. We've tried backwards footie PJs. We've tried a onesie over a backwards footie PJ over a duct taped diaper. But they can get out of anything, especially Ellie. Not Sam. He was the good one. The one I said gets to go to college on account of his good behaviour (and his apparent lack of creativity necessitating more thorough eduction! JUST KIDDING). Until yesterday, that is.

Seth was working all day, so I had the four kids on a day when, you know, NOTHING is open so no activities to take them to. Seems like there's this universal affinity for celebrating Christmas. I don't begrudge it, but it sure would have been nice to get out of the house to a child-friendly activity. Who am I kidding, though? I probably wouldn't have gotten motivated enough to get out of the house anyway... it was a Friday, after all.

Anyway, yesterday I put the triplets down for a nap. And of course they have no cribs anymore, so naptime is always a crapshoot. If I'd been smart, I would have stayed in their room until they fell asleep, but I wanted to get some things done. So instead, I wasted even more time by going back to their room to put them back in their beds over and over and over. At some point, it was clear that they were having a ... little TOO much fun in there, so I went to assess the situation.

And I found three completely naked babies running around like maniacs. Yes, even Sam.

It seems that no one's going to college. ;)

It could have been a fluke, right? I mean, Sam's never done that before and it's been WEEKS since I've found the girls without diapers. This was just a one-time thing, right? RIGHT????

Nope. Fast-forward to bedtime tonight... three toddlers running around like maniacs. Naked. I re-dressed them, put them down, waited for them to calm down and get sleepy, and then left the room. I heard them up afterward, but they weren't too wild, and it was clear that they were winding down and getting tired.

Until I heard Sam screaming hysterically, so I dashed to the room as quickly as this pregnant body would allow only to find:

1 wide awake Abigail, fully clothed, and laying on her mattress sweetly,
1 frantic Samuel diaperless, PJ-less (though he still had his onesie on... and socks), soaking wet with pee,
1 sleepy Eliana, face-down on her bed, stark naked, with a moist, crumpled diaper next to her Teddy Bear.

I suspect we're in for a few weeks of hell until they get over this particular fascination of theirs. But it's fair to admit, at this point, that the triplets are starting to become just as high maintenance as J - in their own special ways. There's much more refereeing to be had with the triplets, much more negotiating, much more parental attention to ensure they're not hanging off the ceiling fans.

Why, J is looking downright low-maintenance right now. Provided he takes his medicine. At least, when all else fails, I can sit him down with a book, the computer, or a quick activity to get a break. And he's also becoming much more helpful in general - he loves to help sweep, setting the table is a special chore I "let" him help with, he wants to cook with me as often as possible, he even helps clean up the triplets' messes without (much) complaint. He can make his own bed (not perfect, but who cares about perfection?), he's good at cleaning up his room (most of the time), he has simple needs when it comes to food (one benefit of being the world's pickiest eater is that I don't have to struggle to give him new flavors - he won't eat them anyway... I"m kidding, of course, I do have him try new things often, but there's comfort in knowing he's got his old standby's to eat and won't get bored of them).

I wonder how I'll feel about the high vs. low maintenance aspect when I have a ten year old, three six year olds, and an almost four year old....
12 comments or Leave a comment
From: proudestmom Date: December 27th, 2009 08:09 am (UTC) (Link)
wow! good luck! im so glad my kids didnt figure out that one! my second son used to put his hands in his diaper no matter what "else" was in it. EEWW
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: December 29th, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hear about kids taking off their diapers far more often with multiples than with singletons. I can't quite figure out why - but maybe they learn from each other, and certainly they HELP each other. Sigh.
pocketnaomi From: pocketnaomi Date: December 27th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
That is the point at which you begin paying the ten-year-old to entertain his brothers and sisters while you get a break in the other room.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: December 29th, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a feeling that when Julian's 10 he'll STILL be a little too ... distractable and impulsive for me to trust him with this gang of mischief-makers for long! :)
cellio From: cellio Date: December 28th, 2009 01:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Yikes, they really are ganging up on you! You have my sympathy. (I was going to suggest duct tape before you mentioned it; I thought duct tape could fix anything!)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: December 29th, 2009 12:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah - they work as a team! One will push the chair over to the wall/bookshelf/mantle/whatever, another one will climb the chair, and a third one will catch all the stuff that's being thrown off the shelf/mantle/counter/whatever. I mean, I'm impressed at their teamwork, but would be more thrilled if it were less... destructive. :)

Seth used to believe that Duct Tape was the Only Parenting Tool You'll Ever Need! Then he had triplets...
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 28th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC) (Link)
This is why honoring your mother and father is the first of the personal attributes that have reward both in this world and the world to come. My hat is off to you and Seth. May G-d bless you with every skill and insight you need to raise your wonderful family to adulthood.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: December 29th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
thank you so much.
hannahsarah From: hannahsarah Date: December 28th, 2009 05:27 am (UTC) (Link)
It picture I get of three adorable toddlers running around naked is making me giggle. I hope you get pictures.

My mom likes to say "G-d will never give you more than you can handle...but some days I wish He didn't have so much faith in my abilities!"
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: December 29th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't get pictures, and yes, it's adorable except that some days I can barely even stand up without throwing up, so I find it less amusing now that I might at another stage of my life. :)

Re: your mom's quote - it's one of my favorites and I use variations of it all the time. I do appreciate that he seems to view me as completely capable - but I wish he didn't have *quite* so much confidence in my competence!
From: atimesif Date: December 29th, 2009 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad that things are stable with J now; kids have their ways of taking turns with their problems! Never a dull moment by you guys! Your kids are lucky to have such great parents :)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: December 29th, 2009 12:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that things are stable with J now - we are still struggling a lot with his medications and dancing around diagnoses. But there are things that make him lower maintenance than before - he *can* (and does) help with things like setting the table, cooking with me, distracting the triplets for five minutes while I dash downstairs for something, etc. The triplets are just finally starting to catch up in the "challenging" arena - but it was bound to happen sooner or later. :)
12 comments or Leave a comment