Sunday, January 30, 2011

Communication and other progress

Ada has started taking steps this week. Just 2 or 3 steps at a time, but steps nonetheless. It is the most beautiful movement to see.

She is moving more freely by the day and now crawls the normal way. She is lightning fast and coordinated on all fours now, not at all like when she started to crawl. She still scoots on her behind every now and then.

She was the first to climb onto our Copenhagen chairs, and Julia and Emma soon followed suit.

Interestingly, I have also noted other changes in Ada that seems to have coincided with her motor skills improving. She has become much more affectionate and attached to me and her dad the past few weeks. Whenever I'm away from her, she calls me with the most adorable upward inflection in her voice. "Mamma?" Like she's asking where I am, not really calling me to come. I must confess, sometimes I don't answer her right away, because it's sooo cute to hear her call for me. When I respond with an answer, she'll continue playing if her dad or someone else is with her.

She now sticks her arms straight up (90 degrees) and asks to be picked up and hugged or snuggled. If she wants attention, she'll lay her head down on my lap or lean into me. It's so sweet, because she's been very aloof and independent all these months. She reminds me of a very intelligent cat who has the world all figured out. You know the kind I'm talking about, the kind who is off in their own world and does things on their terms. Ada will snuggle when *she* wants to, but I can't make her. She won't have it when I offer it (but I keep hugging her anyway), so it's delightful when she asks for attention.

Every night, we read before bedtime. We easily go through 10 or more books, and their attention span is improving rapidly. It's mind blowing to watch them linger near while I read.

Emma now picks up a specific book from the pile every night and will hand it to me. I love that she's picking out books she wants to hear. It feels like such a huge accomplishment after all these months that I've been reading to myself!

Two nights ago, we were just playing (no books or animals in sight), when Emma - out of nowhere - started making like a gorilla (chest thumping and sound). She smiled at me with a "Get it, mamma? Get it?" kind of look on her face. And then it clicked for me! She wanted to hear the "From Head to Toe" book by Eric Carle!! It's her and Julia's favorite and it has a gorilla on the cover. You should've seen her face when I took the book from the bookshelf and brought it over to her. It was a definite "Yes! My mom understood!" She simply beamed. I'm constantly amazed by how my children find ways to communicate with me.

The incredible thing about triplets is that they're always listening. Even when you're playing with one child, two others are absorbing what you're saying or showing that one child. I'm finding this more and more as they're now able to start vocalizing and repeating words and sounds back to me.

I'll be asking Julia what sound the cow makes, and Ada will start mooooh!ing from the hallway where she's playing with her dad. It's pretty funny and cool.

They all know the sound for dog, cow, horse, owl, and sheep. Ada is the only one who tries to say "quack" when I show her a duck. It sounds more like "ka ka ka" but she's trying.

They also try to say, "good boy" for the dog and it comes out, "gubu", and Emma says "woof" whenever the dog barks or yelps to be with us.

Julia started running tonight. It's like she can't contain all that energy and simply has to sprint. She hasn't fallen (yet!) while doing running, but it looks like she'll speed up and not know how to bring herself to a halt again.

They also get ahead of themselves often. Tonight, Emma was making like a monkey while I was still on the previous animal. I couldn't figure out why she was doing that until I turned the page! Her memory is obviously better than mine. Julia does the same thing. I'll be singing "Itsy bitsy spider" and will be on the "down came the rain" part when she'll be "wash(ing) the spider out" already. I guess even one-year olds have figured out that parents are way slow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

15 Months: Lots of Fun Antics

Ada is currently cutting all 4 eyeteeth. She has her molars in, but had little gaps where the eyeteeth should be. In addition to the front teeth, Julia and Emma have their top and bottom molars, and eyeteeth. Their teething pattern matched tooth for tooth... yet another cue that they may share more DNA.

We have had precious little sleep in this household since they were born. The first 5 months was just a nightmare sleep wise because of the sheer time it took to care for preemie triplets with severe reflux. Then they started teething at 4 months and haven't stopped since.

Just as we get the sleep and eat routine settled again, they get the next round of teeth. At least we now have 3 mouths full of pearly whites to show for it.

Ada has been so miserable in the night - even Ty.lenol or Mo.trin didn't do much to help ease her pain. So we've just been taking turns being up with her, mostly between midnight and 5am. On alternating nights, she'd be too exhausted and would sleep for a few more hours at a time, before waking again. It's been rough, because I honestly thought we'd all be sleeping through the night at this point.

On the positive side:

Emma picked up the "From Head to Toe" book by Eric Carle and brought it to me with a very clear gesture for me to read it to her. What a great moment!

She and Julia now stand in front of me whenever I read to them, paying close attention. With this book in particular, they do the movements when they see the picture. For example, they thump their chests - with fists - when they see the pic of the gorilla, they raise their shoulders for the buffalo, they imitate a monkey (wave arms) and make the sound, clap hands for the seal, and dance for the crocodile (wiggle hips). The above they'll do just by looking at the picture (without any cue from me). They don't "get" the penguin, donkey, and camel, but imitated the giraffe tonight for the first time. I get so excited when I see that they understand.

We were at the pediatrician for flu shots and Julia and Emma saw the orangutan decals on the wall, pointed to it, made the baby sign for monkey, and the sound. Ada pointed at it too, and although she makes other sounds and says other words, she's never been into the animal sounds or movements. She's definitely more analytical and independent. She will typically be off somewhere exploring and doing her own thing when I read books. Sometimes I can get her to sit on my lap and read with me, but she loses interest and almost always crawls off somewhere to go do her own thing.

Julia and Emma on the other hand, don't miss a beat. They surprised me when I read the "5 little monkeys jumping on a bed" book to them. The previous night, I wagged my finger and made a stern face when the "doctor" says, "no more monkeys jumping on the bed." Then the next night, when I reached that part in the book, both had little index fingers out, wagging, and made serious faces! Too freaking cute.

Julia pointed to a drawing of a zebra on a coffee cup today, and made the sound for horse.

When they see our dog, all 3 will go, "Woof!" They just LOVE being around him now. Julia and Emma are much gentler with the dog and will mostly just pet him or lean against him. Ada will touch him softly for awhile, and then suddenly grab him. His ears and tail are irresistible. We only allow them near the dog in short spurts, and while holding onto them, so we can whisk them away if needed. The dog is a very gentle, docile hound/retriever mix and I'm more concerned that they would hurt him than I am about him snapping at them. Although, I always want to be careful...

Ada is doing more and more pretend play. She'll "feed" the soft toys with the huge plastic "egg race" toy spoons and say, "num num." Julia and Emma are catching on too, and find it extremely funny when we pretend eat and feed.

All 3 are now "brushing" my teeth with their finger when I brush their teeth. Julia and Emma started doing that a few days ago. Ada did it tonight and absolutely cracked up. She was giggling and then belly laughing. It's hilarious what they find funny.

On that note: I put them down for a nap earlier this week, and just as I'm heading out of the door, Ada sneezed. So I said, "Bless you!" and then pretended to sneeze myself. 3 girls giggled. So I made another exaggerated pretend sneeze. Bigger laughs. And another. Even bigger laughs. And another. Belly laughs. I kept going for about 10 minutes and ended up calling grandpa and grandma into the nursery to watch, because it was just so.darn.funny.

As of this week, all three girls are saying, "ball." Ada has been dropping, rolling, and throwing balls for a long time, but Julia and Emma have only started doing that the past few weeks.

Ada said "kaboom" today when she dropped something.

Julia says, "doekie doekie" for diaper. She tends to repeat words two or three times.

When Emma walks around with a walking toy, she'll say, "Brrrm brrrm."

Emma is much more attached to things that bring her comfort than her sisters. She would walk around with her blanket all day long like Linus if I let her. Because the blanket stays in her crib, she finds substitutes. Sometimes, it's a burp cloth, or grandma's scarf, and today it was her own sweater. She unzipped it herself, took it off, draped it around her neck, and proceeded to parade around like that for the better part of the afternoon and evening. She'll drape something around her, and then walk to the mirror to go look at herself! Such a little princess.

Ada coughed this morning while eating, and I think she might have refluxed slightly. She slapped her own chest while looking at me with an expression that said, "I've got this down, Mom." She must have seen me do that when something goes down the wrong pipe. It cracks me up when she mimicks something we haven't expressly "taught" her.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sad news from another GGG triplet family

The Younglove family lost their dear sweet Piper to Leigh's Syndrome tonight, just a few weeks shy of her 2nd birthday. Please keep Belinda, her husband, and their surviving triplets, Andi and Bella, in your prayers. I'm just heartbroken for them.

Piper's Story

Friday, January 14, 2011

A life beyond infertility

I've been too busy to pay much attention to anything but my family and work. My feelings rank very low on the totem pole of priorities. Especially my feelings about infertility.

Of course, with triplets, it comes up every now and then when someone asks whether we did IVF, whether we're done having kids, or assumes we're done, or when I think about what our lives could have been like without the miracle that is my children.

Out of the blue, I heard news today that caused a monumental shift in me. In my perception of self. In how I view where I am in life and where I've been in recent years.

A colleague told me she is 5 weeks pregnant. She is relatively young, this will be her first child, there were no struggles to conceive.

Get this: I am overjoyed for her.

This was the first time ever that I didn't need to be "braced" or "prepared" for such news. It was the first time I didn't have to think about keeping up appearances while crying inside. I am just happy for her. Simply happy. No "woe is me," no jealousy, no anger, no tinge of anything else. Just joy. Pure selfless joy.

So this is what pregnancy announcements feel like to those who arrive at parenthood without battling infertility. No downward spiral. Just a baffling sense of excitement sprinkled with a touch of utter joy.

That unrehearsed moment right there. That's how you know you're starting to come to terms with infertility and its baggage. That's how you know time is passing, that you're shedding some of the injustice of it all, the struggles, the cost, the invasion of privacy, the resentment of those who have it easy despite our own success.

It's pretty freaking amazing and freeing to realize that there's a life beyond infertility. To start tasting what that might be like. To start seeing some protective walls crumble. I always thought having children would make all the infertility crap disappear. And although it obviously does free you from the majority of it almost instantly, it doesn't miraculously resolve all of those feelings of inadequacy or lingering pain. You can have kids and still feel infertile.

Somehow, though, through time passing and building memories with one's children, these feelings start to fade to the background. Until you're faced with a moment like I was today. A moment that makes you confront yourself. A moment that is front and center yet allows you to move on from it. A moment that is undeniable in its magnitude, yet shocking in its simplicity.

This is my wish for anyone still trying to conceive: to have a child or children, of course, but to have a lifetime of moments untainted by infertility.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

3 x 1-year olds = fun, fun, fun

Yesterday, my dad took a semi-deflated beach ball, placed a pretend sunny-side up egg (made of cotton material) on the beachball, and then launched the little egg skyward by slapping the beachball on either side with his two hands. It puts a catapult to shame. It was funnnn. What can I say, we're simple folk.

Today, Ada went to get the beachball where we had packed it away, then she looked for the egg in the toy bin. I could tell she was on a mission! Before I could draw everyone's attention to what she was doing, she figured it out and launched the little egg that it flew to the other side of the playroom. I couldn't believe that she could remember how to put these random things together, and that she knew to hit the ball with both hands to make the egg fly. Then, she repeated the game over and over again. Even with a tiny stuffed animal. She laughed and paused in anticipation every time before the launch! I was so thrilled when she kept doing it, because I'm sure nobody in our household would've believed it.

Julia decided to start walking today. She's finally walking everywhere, turning to change direction and continues walking. She still "runs" into my arms when I'm close, but when I keep my distance, she walks on her own. Julia and Emma like to walk and drink milk simultaneously. It's quite the sight to see them walking together. I can imagine the 3 of them sipping chai tea as they take a stroll when they're teens. Emma's now bending and crouching to pick stuff up with such ease and walking less stiffly. She walks over uneven surfaces like it's nothing. Julia walks wide-legged, precariously balanced, and with some uncertainty still, but she's getting there - and fast.

Ada set a new longdistance crawling record tonight by crawling from the play area, down the hall, to the diaper changing table. She is becoming more feisty by the day and gets VERY upset when things don't go her way.

Today, Emma said "row row" and "pappa" and "daar" (it means "there") when I asked her to point to a particular animal in a book. She whispers words and repeats sounds softly, like she's testing the water first before she'll commit.

Julia likes to learn a new sound and then say the same thing for days. At first, she could have a full conversation with you by using "du-du" with different intonations. (It means to sleep.) As of yesterday, she's saying "me me me." Yes, my dear, it's all about you, LOL. I actually think she's trying to say, "moo" and "miau" which are two animal sounds I've been saying over and over. When I asked her what sound the cow made, she said, "mee-ai" The imaginary cow has a bit of an identity crisis, but at least she's responding to my question with a vocalization! I'll take it.

Ada's been saying "kop kop kop" which means "head." Sometimes it sounds like "kap" which means to "hit." I think she's just trying out sounds.

When I ask Julia about the sound a pig makes, she'll snort like a piggie and crinkle her nose. Oink oink is not in her vocabulary, she imitates the real thing. Too funny.

Tonight, Ada took the "slinky pop toob" and played it like an Australian didgeridoo. She blew raspberries into it to listen to the sound come out on the other end, just like we've been playing. They love playing with the slinky pop toob - it's the best $1 I've ever spent on a toy.

Oh, and Emma hasn't stopped bopping to music since our friends' music appreciation visit. Emma did the cutest darn hip swaying jiggle when I asked her to "dance." She's going to rock a dance floor someday - this girl has some serious moves.

This age is so delightful. The girls are incredibly fun now, and I love that they can ask me to play a game. Julia walked up to me tonight, went and sat down, facing me, and started pulling on my hands to play “row row row your boat.” She even said something resembling "row" for the first time.

This past year has been rough in so many ways, but I feel like we've finally arrived to a place where it seems not only manageable, but utterly joyful. I know we have hard days ahead with tantrums times three, but for now, in this moment, things are good.