Friday, September 21, 2007

my do it!

One of the most common phrases heard in our home these days is "MY DO IT!"

Because, at almost three years old, our triplets are becoming fiercely independent.

On the one hand, it makes me incredibly proud to see our children grow and want to do things themselves. But on the other hand, when I'm in a rush to get someone a drink, or assist someone with taking off a dirty diaper, or escort someone to the bathroom with a potty receptacle full of something, or nurse a hungry baby ... usually all of which are occurring at once ... there is only so much time I can devote to a little person who is becoming more and more frustrated as they try desperately to pull up a pair of pants with two legs shoved in the same hole.

If I step in and try to help them, they will have a fit. They want to do it themselves and usually, they will figure it out and the sense of accomplishment that flashes across their face is priceless.

Sometimes though, they fall down in hysterics, twisted like a pretzel and screaming for "MY MOMMY!!" to help.

Over the past month, I've been preparing myself for how I would take care of the children when Charlie returned to work. Similar to when I was first left at home alone as a new mother with our triplets, I was a bit panicky wondering how, exactly, I was going to successfully incorporate a new baby in to the daily juggle that is life.

I mean, there's a lot to do.

Even with Charlie's flexible work schedule ... in a day, I'm usually preparing breakfast, lunch - and often times, dinner - before Charlie gets home. I'm preparing snacks for the morning and the afternoon. I'm running at least two loads of laundry, folding and putting that laundry away.

I'm chasing after three children, breaking up fights, coordinating and participating in various activities, and strategizing what we are going to do next, when the children get bored of whatever it is they are currently doing.

Usually 10 minutes after they started - give or take 5.

I'm trying to get the children to go down for a nap - at the exact same time - and sleep for hopefully, the same amount of time.

I'm trying to clean the house as I go and make sure that all of the bathrooms have sufficient rolls of toilet paper and that the refrigerators are adequately stocked - while trying to figure out what would be a good use for a carton of cottage cheese and a 1/2 gallon of V8 juice, before it goes bad.

And then there's paying the bills.

And feeding and walking and cleaning up after the dog.

And updating my blog.

And sleeping. Although this doesn't get as much attention as it should.

Even though Henry is a very easy going infant, he needs to be held, changed, fed and burped. If it wasn't for his incredible ability to vertically nurse while I update my blog (and when the triplets are napping) ... there's no way I would be able to provide any updates.

I'd also never go to the bathroom.

A few weeks ago, before Charlie returned to work full-time, I was really afraid that I wouldn't be able to handle all of the responsibilities, by myself. So, I placed a call to a woman who had indicated that she might know of some people that would be available to come and help.

Since that time, I've reconsidered.

The more I thought about having someone come in to help everyday, the more uncomfortable I became. In quintessential two-year old fashion ... I want to do it myself.

Now there are several reasons for why I think that I am better off being at home alone with the children. And none of them have to do with martyrdom.

First: I have noticed that the children behave so much better when it is just me and them. And so do I. In fact, as soon as Charlie walks in the door after a day at the office, everyone's behavior erodes rapidly. From what Charlie tells me, the same is true when he has them on their own. With just one of us, they are well behaved and obedient.

What this tells me is that having one person as the "control point" makes a big difference in our home. Or, the children understand what is going on and have sympathy for us.

Whatever the case, since Charlie has been back to work, the children have been absolutely wonderful to be around. They sleep better, play better and eat better. There has been little to no screaming, fighting or other behavior that would make me want to crack open a bottle of beer at 9 AM.

Well, except the Weeble Wobble fiasco.

Second: I know what's going on. I know what's been done and what needs to be done. I know where the children are and what they are doing. I know that when I walk out the door with the children, I am solely responsible for insuring that everything is packed appropriately. It never ceases to amaze me that although Charlie and I are in pretty good sync, we will forget things like bathing suits for the beach - or the Baby Bjorn at the zoo - when we work in tandem.

One day last weekend, the kids didn't eat breakfast until almost 11 AM, because we were both busy doing other things and thought the "other one" had it covered. That is the same reason two of our four children didn't have their diapers changed all day and why one of our children was able to play with the contents of a shampoo bottle, unsupervised, for a solid five minutes.

When we are home alone, we don't make any assumptions for what has or has not been done, or who is watching the kids.

Third: As much as I appreciate receiving help - and sometimes it truly is necessary - I feel like I am very easily distracted from what needs to be done when there are other people here. Since I've been home by myself the past two weeks, I have accomplished more things than I have all summer. I've washed the inside and outside of all the windows, I've organized all of the children clothes and toys, and I've tackled a load of chores I had been putting off for months YEARS.

Our wedding album?

It's almost done.

The house is more organized than it's been ... ever ... and we've been eating healthier meals and snacks throughout the day. I've also been doing a lot of activities with the kids that I didn't think I could do, on my own. We go to the park almost everyday, I've taken them to the store shopping and very soon, I'll be taking all three of them to the zoo.

Everyday, I make a schedule for what's on tap and I stick to it. If there was another person here, even paid help, it would just be one more body to "get on board" and I know it would slow us down.

Fourth: No one does things the way that I do things and I am very particular about the way I want things done. Yes, people are trainable and yes, perhaps I am a little too uptight. But I don't want to be looking over anyone's shoulder. That just takes more time and energy than if I were to do it myself.

I know where everything goes.

I know how I want laundry folded, dishes washed, and diapers stacked.

I know that not all the toys get thrown in to the same toy basket.

I want the trains go in the train drawer, the stuffed animals in one bin, the dolls in another.

Once Henry was born, I canceled the cleaning service that had been coming once every two weeks, throughout my pregnancy, to clean our house. I canceled their services because I've always believed that I could do a better job than what I was paying them to do.

Besides. I saw that they were using our dish sponge to clean the counters.

And they used Pine Sol to clean our bathroom, instead of Comet.

And whenever I saw one of the cleaning women struggle with our Animal, to the point that I thought she was going to break it, I wondered what exactly would I do if a person that I pay $70.00 for three hours, destroys my $600.00 vacuum? Do I tell them that they need to come and clean our house, free of charge, for the next eight and a half weeks?

Now, I've taught the children how to vacuum and they do a great job. Except for when they suck their siblings hair up the wand. Or ice cubes. Or, put the wand inside the diaper pail.

But let's not focus on the negative.

One of my fellow triplet mom's has a live-in helper and she was recently telling me that over the past two and a half years, her helper has destroyed three entire sets of nonstick pots and pans. She also washed and shrunk an expensive chenille blanket and several throw pillows.

But she reassured me that the good this woman does, far outweighs the bad.

I know that if you have people come in to help, you have to realize that they might not do things the way that you would do things. And unless you want to be a control freak dictating everything that they do - and hence risk losing the help altogether - you need to be prepared to just let go.

Perhaps it's because Charlie and I have lived away from our families for so long, that we've learned how to make things work - with just the two of us. Because after a good amount of soul searching, I've discovered I'm not prepared to let go. So, not only am I not very good at asking for help, I'm apparently not very good at receiving it either.

However, I am good at enjoying my little baby, since I could look at his beautiful face all day long. Lucky for us both, he enjoys being worn almost constantly, because otherwise, I'd never get anything done.

Now, I just hope that the motivation I've had since Charlie has returned to work doesn't wear off anytime soon. Because if it does, I'll be the one falling down in hysterics, twisted like a pretzel and screaming for "MY MOMMY!!" to help.


  1. I really still do not know how you do it...

  2. I agree with you so completely, I have no good comment. Because anything I would say would be what you just said. Even this summer when all five kids were home and one of them was a newborn, I think that a helper would have meant I was managing SIX people instead of five.

  3. I stopped reading when you said you did your windows inside and out. I'm not reading your blog anymore!!!!! SO THERE!

  4. Yes, I totally agree on the problem with having help! My kids act up so much with a extra person around then they do with just me. (and they even act up more when dh comes home)

    And yes, I'm also a control freak! I have to do it my way or else.

    But I haven't gotten any windows washed inside, let alone on the outside.

    Oh, and I have yet to take the toddlers and baby to the park alone.


  5. I enjoyed the rest of your post, but I LOVED that there were three baby dolls in that buggy!

  6. I am glad you gave yourself a good pat on the back. You deserve it.
    Yes, the children do behave better when one is in charge---depending on who that one is and what happens at bedtime. I threw in the towel with that one.
    Henry looks so cute and huggable.

  7. I'm totally with you. Other people just aren't you... plain and simple!

    Have you thought about sending the triplets to a Mother's Day Out? Maybe even just one morning/day a week? I'm sure they would love it and it would be a good prep to pre-school. On second thought, I'm sure you have already thought of that! You do what is best for you and your family... you seem to have it completely together!!

  8. i am so amazed, i think you are doing great on your own but not sure how you do it.

    my trio just turned one, does it get easier?

    i can't unload the dishwasher when they are awake or they all crawl in.

    when i am preparing meals, they attempt to get into the fridge and i have to pull them each back and gently shut the door without capturing any little fingers.

    there are tons of laundry and bottles to clean.

    your next post should be on your tips, shortcuts and how you get it all done.


  9. *bow* *bow* I bow down to you my dear. Having 1 (count them - one) baby to run after, and usually not even getting the chance to have breakfast or lunch or go to the loo and going 4 stinking days (literally) without showering, I simply do not know how you manage to find time to breathe, let alone do crazy things like washing windows. You ARE the mummy machine. There is now doubt about that *bow* *bow*

  10. lol that should be "no" doubt about it not NOW doubt about it - blame it on my sleep deprived existence.

    hehe my word verification on this post is "feukh" - well "feukh" to you too lol.