I never expected parenting triplets +1 to be easy. And not so long after I had the triplets, my +1 was diagnosed with severe ADHD and dyslexia, so the not so easy pictures I had in my head became even less easy. In fact, the picture I had in my head of the challenges of parenting triplets +1 were downright frightening. I was petrified of what lay ahead. I thought I would never sleep again (not entirely untrue, but I can't blame that entirely on the children...). I thought my life was pretty much over. I oculdn't envision ever leaving my house again, ever talking to another adult human being again. Ever taking a deep breath again.
Eighteen months later, as I look back... the truth is, it hasn't been anywhere near as difficult as I expected it to be. The early months really just weren't nearly as hard as I thought they would be. Now, I had a horrifically bad picture in my head, so maybe it's just the comparative nature of things that make it seem easy, but honestly? It just wasn't that hard! I thought it was because I had easy babies, but when I read back on my journals from that time... well, I had pretty challenging times with babies who didn't want to be put down, and on-demand feeding, growth spurts, mastitis, thrush, an apnea monitor, a failure to thrive baby, more mastitis, more thrush, more screaming babies who wouldn't be put down, two babies who took a long time to sleep through the night (one who still doesn't)...
But... really? It's nothing compared to what I EXPECTED! So I really thought it was easy. Truly. I didn't have much help in the beginning. Until I went back to work, I didn't have a nanny. And we made it work and continually amazed each other at how things just fell into place day after day. Something that HOM parents do is just make things work. That's how we survive.
Yesterday, though, yesterday was tougher. Sam was reacting to the vaccines he'd been given the day before. He's always the one that reacts to the vaccines. He had a fever, and he was completely miserable when I got home from work. I gave him Ibuprofen and held him for a long time while he cried and snuggled. Finally, I put him down in his crib to sleep for a while, even though it was super early. This worked until the ibuprofen took his fever down enough that he woke up ready for action. Meanwhile, the girls were feeling just fine and were into everything. But Mommy was tired! I took Sam out of his crib and went into the kitchen to figure out dinner for myself because I had a program to go to for my multiples club that night.
Though Sam was feeling better, he was still super-clingy and fussy and wouldn't let me put him down.
Except in the kitchen.
But of course, if he was in the kitchen, the girls wanted to be in the kitchen. (Do I need to mention that our fearless protagonist - me - already had a pounding headache at the start of this narrative? No, I didn't think I needed to mention that...) And then I realized I needed to ask my client a question I hadn't been able to ask while in the office, so since the kids were all quietly amusing themselves by dumping out popcorn and tunafish cans from the cabinets, I thought I was safe. But, of course, once I got on the phone, Abby wanted Ellie's tuna can, and Sam wanted the broom (which he couldn't reach) and all hell broke loose. Scream-fest in my kitchen. Then they started dumping out the other cabinets. And this one wanted that measuring cup and that one wanted the other one's bowl. And he wanted the tupperware on his head, but when it got stuck, the screaming got louder. Then he whirled around and hit both of his sisters with the broom handle. Accidentally, of course. And more screaming ensued.
Getting out of the kitchen became my Prime Directive. But they were having None of That. No Way, Mommy. The kitchen, while full of hazards, is way too fun!
Soon I called Michelle, who has nearly-three-year-old triplets:
"You know? This parenting triplets thing? It's not so easy!"
"Finally figuring that out, are you?"
"Well it was easy until today!"
"It could be worse! You could have had a day like mine!"
Great. You mean it doesn't get easier in a year and a half? Faaaabulous.
I twittered away my frustration, which updated my Facebook status. "This parenting triplets thing isn't so easy!" I said (or something like that). Later I clarified that in fact, it's not so much the triplets thing that's challenging, but the toddler thing that's challenging. Tripled.
And then? Someone commented and said, "You could give them away. They're still young, they'll forget you. ;("
And now I remember why it is that I don't blog so often anymore. Because people just don't take my posts for what they really are ... a tiny little snapshot of my life. A little sliver of my reality, but never, ever, a real look at the whole thing. That moment in time was not easy. And I know that by saying it out loud I opened myself up to people thinking that I meant that parenting in general is hard. And I know that person was joking. But... seriously? Who says such a horrible thing? It just sliced right through me. I literally had the breath knocked out of me when I read that.
I wonder, sometimes, what people must think of me... because I don't try to sugarcoat things in my blog. I write about when I'm frustrated, just as much as I write about when I'm joyful. If I didn't, this would be a disingenuous account of life as a mom of four (so far). But maybe by doing so... maybe I give the wrong impression. Because you should know... I'm always joyful. I am always joyful to be the mother to these four miracles. They are so amazing.
More to come soon... the trio turned 18 months and had their 18 mo. check up this week, so I've got stats to come. Haven't taken any recent pictures, but I'm sure I can figure that out soon enough!