Friday, November 30, 2007

an amazing trip trick: breastfeeding olympiad (and a rant)

Did I ever mention that on one of the eight cross-country plane trips we took before our triplets turned two years old, I once tandem nursed two babies and then, rotated in the third, during take-off while wedged next to a business man in coach class?

It's true.

The babies were crying because it was around nap time, they were hungry, the change in cabin pressure was hurting their little ears and traveling cross-country in a full plane can be a real drag. Although I did have Podee Bottles with me, I have always believed that nothing calms a fussy baby down like bringing them to the breast.

So, that's what I did.

Right there in coach.

While seated next to a man dressed in his fancy pinstriped business suit.

He was a good sport about it, although he definitely gave me a shocked look and exclaimed "I've never seen anything like this in my entire life!"

And I replied, "I doubt you ever will again. Bud, this is your lucky day!"

When I tell people that story, they probably imagine that I'm sitting half naked in my small coach seat, with two babies voraciously suckling. In truth, I have always tried to be a very discreet nurser. I don't pull the girls out for all the world to see. But, I'm not - nor ever (never?) have been - nervous or embarrassed to feed my babies wherever and whenever necessary.

Why should I be ashamed?

Isn't nursing a baby the
very reason I sprouted this ... equipment ... on my chest?

Breastfeeding our triplets was one experience. I've already written about that, here. Nursing a singleton is totally different and more convenient than I expected. I'm always on the go with our children. We visit various parks, the YMCA, the Zoo, church, SeaWorld, restaurants, the grocery store and Target at least once a week. And during those outings, you can almost always find my little baby Henry, strapped in to the Bjorn and contentedly nursing. I like to think of myself as employing "Mother Nature's Podee Bottles."

Although I could have invested in a hooter hider, or some other type of modest nursing cover-up or blanket clip, I don't like to fuss with too much gear. Besides, I find that whenever I drape something, like a blanket, over Henry's head, he breaks out in a profuse sweat.

Therefore, I just wear clothes that allow me to nurse my baby so that he is comfortable and I am inconspicuous. The top part of my "uniform" consists of a stretchy tank top camisole with built in bra. My absolute favorite camisoles are those made by North Face. I have one in every color and three in black.


I'll wear a camisole as my first layer and a comfortable shirt as a second.


When I need to nurse, I just pull up my shirt and pull down the camisole, exposing the tiniest amount of skin (aka: nipple) for the baby.


And this is the million dollar view that I receive.


I made the decision to nurse Henry because I've always wanted to exclusively breastfeed a baby. I believe that "Breast is Best" although formula does a fine job growing up a baby, too - and because it takes longer to digest, will probably insure that the baby sleeps through the night at an earlier age. Even though Henry is a whopping 20 pounds at almost 5 months, he still has yet to sleep through the night ... unlike our triplets who at the same age, were sleeping 12 hours when they were on a regimented schedule that involved formula supplementation.

The lack of sleep that accompanies nursing, might be considered a downside for some people. But, the fact that my infant son has been a little vacuum sucking all of my pregnancy fat out of me, more than offsets any disturbance to my slumber.

Aside from that, I love that I can pull Henry in close and feed him whenever he needs to be fed. I love that I can nurse him at night in bed, while I lightly doze. I love that I can feed him on the go and don't ever have to worry about preparing or cleaning bottles. There is something primal and awesome about pulling a baby in close and have them receive nutrition from your body. I can't put in to words, but it is the most beautiful bonding I've ever experienced.

I'm not much of an activist, probably because not much riles me up. Then again, I'm largely oblivious to what is going on in the world. But last night, I came across a blog that has really ruffled my maternal feathers.

Breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful thing.

So, I'm at a complete loss why this video montage showing images of mother's breastfeeding their babies was banned from FaceBook. It wasn't flagged as inappropriate, like so many videos are based on questionable content. It was BANNED. From FaceBook.

And, MySpace.

And, YouTube.

This is not a video depicting scantily clad women performing some perverted sexual act, like so many videos on these websites, are. It's a video of women feeding their babies. Which, I think ... might be something that women have done for as long as women have existed? Please do correct me if I'm wrong ... but I don't think Similac was around in Biblical times.

Maybe Enfamil?

Or, Nestle Good Start?

I supplemented our triplets with formula. I do not think it is a bad thing. I've written before that it is not as important what you feed your baby as how you feed your baby. But, I am really infuriated with the public demonization of women who choose to feed their baby the way nature intended.

I want to expound on the many advantages of breastfeeding. Of course the most obvious are that it is good for baby and for mom. And those breast pads that are so useful for a lactating mother to stop the artesian gush in the early months have a plethora of uses.

Here are just a few...

Tam o'shanter!!


OY VEY!! A yarmulke!!


More absorbent than Bounty and more environmentally friendly, too!


Can't find an oven mit? Reach for a BP!


You've heard of the Pee-Pee Teepee? A breast pad works just as well, if not better!


A coaster, maybe?


A bib, perhaps?

Use two as ear muffs to keep a youngster warm or muffle a mother yelling at her three-year old to leave their poopy diaper on!!

Once I can figure out how to affix one to my car antenna, I'm going to hoist one high. Because I think a breast pad fluttering in the breeze, would also make a great flag to draw awareness to the censorship and negative stigma that surrounds breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

I'm not quite sure how breastfeeding a baby in public is on par with masturbating in an Apple Bees restaurant, but it was that idiotic statement made by the boob Bill Maher, that made me realize I may not be much of an activist, but I am a die-hard lactivist.

And I am proud.


*Did anyone notice the five rings in the first picture? I had to point that out to Charlie. Get it?? It's a breastfeeding OLYMPIAD.*

Thursday, November 29, 2007

time

Every day this week, Charlie has been leaving the house before 7:00 AM and not returning home until past 6:00 PM. We've been extremely busy with gymnastics, triplet play dates, baking gingerbread, grocery shopping and park hopping.

Although the days typically go by at warp speed, this week I have found myself looking at the clock a lot as each hour seemed to drag in to the next.

Particularly those hours spanning from 3 to 6 PM.


Tonight, Charlie came home a little early. He loaded the kids and the baby in the car and took off to relieve me for an hour. In that hour, I scrubbed the remnants of a grilled cheese sandwich we had for lunch out of a pan, washed our butter crock, folded a laundry basket that was 1/4 full of dish towels and drank a glass of water.

Now, they're home, again.

That was the absolute fastest hour of my entire life. Although, the 30 minutes when the kids were engaged with Super Why this morning ... while I packed a picnic lunch and made the beds ... seemed to tick by exceedingly fast, also.

Is it possible that time goes faster when it's quiet? Do sound waves create a friction that impede the rate at which a clock hand progresses?

It's a curious thing.

(Would you think less of a person who tossed a few books outside and told their family to read quietly in the car until they could see the first star? Personally, I think that's a much better option than turning off all the lights and dead bolting the door.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

i'm in it up to my eyeballs

Gymnastics classes started today.

The class is only three miles from our house. The class began at 10:15, so at 9:15, I started the process of loading everyone in the car. I figured an hour gave us a plenty good buffer to get there and get acclimated before class began.

Some mornings ... actually, all mornings ... are extremely hectic. Once the kids have breakfast they are completely wired. They'll start pulling out random toys for the sake of pulling them out ... they'll fight over the random toys that they pulled out and that someone is actually playing with ... they'll try and unload dirty dishes from the dishwasher ... beeline to the ice dispenser on the fridge if they notice that I've left it unlocked for an "ice" tea party ... and pull every blanket, pillow and stuffed animal out of their rooms and scatter them around the kitchen ... while I'm trying to put dirty dishes back in the dishwasher, pick up ice from the floor and toss random toys back in to the appropriate baskets.

Then, sometimes, they'll take off the clothes that I've dressed them in and pull off the shoes that I worked so hard to get on their feet.

Once I got everyone dressed this morning and started walking out the door, Elizabeth and Carolyn both informed me they had to go potty. I corralled everyone back inside the house so the girls could do their business.

Then Henry had a blow out poop that required a complete outfit change.

Then William was really, really, really thirsty.

Then Elizabeth had partially disrobed because she wanted to wear the PINK shirt. And, her FLOWAH shoes. And Carolyn had disrobed because she wanted to wear something other than what I had her dressed in. I can't even remember anymore. I just know I looked down and she was standing before me in her Nemo underwear and a pair of purple socks.

I got the kids dressed again and put their shoes on.

I got everyone outside and loaded them in the car.

Then, I had to run in to the house at least three times to get things that I forgot.

My sunglasses.

My water.

The registration for the class.

I pulled out of the driveway, drove to the gymnastics class and as I was pulling in to the parking lot, remembered that I had forgotten the Baby Bjorn - which is a critical piece of equipment. I turned around and drove home. The kids are crying because I had been talking up their class with great enthusiasm, and now, they thought I was backing out.

By the time I get back to the class, it is 10:00 AM.

Elizabeth and Carolyn have to go potty. I let them use the potty in the back of the car. As I'm unloading William, Carolyn tells me that she has to go poo-poo in the potty. But Carolyn has never gone poo-poo in the potty. Not ever once in her life ... intentionally.

Since I promised the children brand new bicycles once they go poo-poo in the potty, it happens at least once a day that they will go poop in their underwear (or diaper) and then quickly try and dump it in the potty, themselves. Then they'll tell me "LOOK MOMMY. I go poo-poo in da POTTY!"

They don't quite grasp that going poo-poo in the potty means actually SITTING on the potty and going poo-poo from that position. Until they get that concept and take heed of my shrill shrill screams "No!! You don't take off a poo-poo diaper!! Only MOMMY takes off a poo-poo diaper!!", I have resigned myself to cleaning up some of the most awful messes you can possibly imagine.

Fortunately, this morning, I had a change of underwear for Carolyn. And an extra for Elizabeth who also went poo-poo. But not in the potty.

We get inside the gym at exactly 10:15. I'm feeling grateful that I gave myself a full hour to get there - when it should have only taken me eight minutes.

There is only one other student in the class. We are sitting around in a circle and the teacher is handing out little colored squares for the children to use as part of their warm-up routine. She asks William "What color would you like?" And William who is hunched over with a bright red faced replies "I go poo-poo." She gives me an unsure smile and looking back at William says "You want Pupu... Is that purple?" William shakes his head and says "NO! I GO POO-POO!"

While the teacher is trying to conceal her laughter, William straightens up and declares "I feel bettah now. I'll take ... uh ... bwue!"

But before he can take the blue square and rejoin his pint-sized gymnast class mates, I have to chase him down, pin him and change his diaper because he has taken off running away from me while yelling "You NO touch my poo-poo!!"

The rest of the class went fine. The kids take turns running through various obstacle courses. They are tumbling over padded blocks, jumping on a trampoline, swinging on a bar, walking on a beam, vaulting over small horses. Meanwhile, I am running in multiple directions - trying to keep them in line and deter them from wandering on to the basketball court.

After 45 minutes, the class is over. I have broken in to a full sweat and am already feeling sore from all the climbing, bending, spotting and running. But the class was a good thing. The kids took a 2.5-hour nap this afternoon and were in bed, sound asleep by 7:45 tonight. Which makes me happy. Because yesterday, they slept barely an hour and were still bouncing off the walls at 10 PM last night.

Tonight, as Charlie was filling the tub to give the kids their nightly bath ... and I was sitting on the couch nursing Henry ... Elizabeth ran out to see me. While she was standing in front of me, with her pants around her ankles she exclaimed "I go poo-poo on da potty!" I started frantically yelling for Charlie because I knew that she didn't go poo-poo in da potty.

I'm her mother and I just know these things.

Charlie comes running from the bathroom and scoops up Elizabeth. He quickly checks each of the toilets in the house and confirms that indeed, she has not gone poo-poo in da potty. He then returns to the bathroom and I can hear him groaning "Oh no. OH NO!! These children are like animals!!"

He then yells out to me "Jen, we have a problem. William has pooped in the tub, Carolyn has pooped on the floor and Elizabeth's poop is missing. I don't know where the heck the poop is, but I know that she went. Can you please go find the poop?"

I couldn't at the moment - because I was feeding Henry. But I yelled back to my husband that once he got the kids out of the tub and we put everyone to bed, we could pour ourselves a nice glass of wine and go on a poop scouting mission, together.

And well ... that pretty much sums up how we keep our romance alive these days.

Monday, November 26, 2007

leaf me alone

Today, I set off on a quest to find a tree that loses it's leaves in San Diego.


Low and behold, I found 10 of them.

The kids loved running through the leaves.

Jumping in the leaves.

Rolling in the leaves.

Getting up close and inspecting the tree where the leaves came from.

We really love trees.

But I wonder if that love is reciprocated?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

gotcha!

After 4.5 months of looking up at these dangling toys......

Today is the day...

One of you...

Will be...


MINE.

So, now what are you going to do. Giraffe?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

it's a (blog) hash

I might be one of the only people in America that doesn't like turkey soup. Maybe I would like it, if I hadn't been on a two-day turkey binge, beforehand. But once I eat turkey that is carved, turkey hash, turkey sandwiches, turkey omelettes, and turkey gravy that has been poured across every known starch ... the last thing I want to do is eat soup that has been created from boiling a turkey carcass.

(Nor do I want to freeze it, Mom.)


I'm so turkey'd out. I doubt I'll eat it again before Thanksgiving of 2008.

*****

I've never been so excited about Christmas before ... thanks to our children who have me feeling like I'm 10-years old, again. We pulled down all of our Christmas decorations yesterday, but I couldn't get myself to put anything up when it isn't yet December. Still, we are going through all of the lights - checking bulbs - untangling knots - and doing an inventory of what we'll need.

On the list thus far is a new tree skirt, a new star, two new flood lights, and a monogrammed stocking for Henry. It's hard to believe that a year ago at this time, I didn't know whether our fourth child would be a boy or girl, or what their name would be.

Although we're holding off on putting up any decorations until next weekend, or purchasing our tree until at least the second week of December, we are listening to our collection of 400+ Christmas songs, watching Christmas movies, drinking egg nog and eating peppermint stick ice cream in large quantities.

In my book, you can never start that stuff too early.

I've also started compiling the Christmas shopping list. This year, my goal is to have all of my shopping completed by the second week of December and have the gifts wrapped by no later than the 20th. I know a lot of people that like to have all of their shopping done before Halloween. I'm not at all like that.

To me, there is something so magical about completing Christmas shopping during the month of December - even if I'm doing it all online through the UPROMISE website. The only drawback is that when you start your online shopping a few weeks before Christmas, there is a chance that some of your items won't be received until February. But, if you're a procrastinator like me, you see that as a wonderful opportunity to extend the joy of the season.

Besides, the kids are usually bored with whatever we gave them for Christmas anyway, so new stuff received in February is always a hit.


*****

Charlie and I are having the discussion, again, about moving. Even though my husband just started working with a new company in San Diego, we're trying to figure out where our "next" home might be. I wasn't suppose to be in California this long. I came out to go to school for one semester. Yet in the seeming blink of an eye, 16 years have passed. We've been in our current home for 10 years. We never planned to live here for 10 years, but here we are.

It's not a bad thing, necessarily ... but I do think that this area is overcrowded, we're outgrowing our house, and the fact that we've had wildfires threaten our home twice in the past four years - is enough of a reason to consider moving. I was struck with an overwhelming urge to pack up and leave the other day, when I was playing with a magnetic "seasons" board and found myself trying to describe "Fall" to the children.

"Now, when it's Fall - the leaves change color and fall off the trees. Like uh .... well .... we don't have any leaves that fall off trees, but let's see if we can pull up a picture on the computer."

I'm afraid that if we don't move soon, we'll find ourselves, 50 years from now, still living here. In this same exact house. With the awful bathroom that we should have replaced, but didn't, because we never thought we'd be here this long.

We don't know exactly where we want to be. Although, Charlie did find a 4,000-square foot house in Vermont on 42 acres of land with a 3-car garage and a 7-stable barn that we could purchase for a smidge more than what we could sell our 1,600 square foot house on 0.05 acre in California for.

There are lots of trees in Vermont, so I could teach the kids about foliage. But it's highly unlikely that we could take a barefoot walk on a sandy beach and search for seashells - in November - if we lived there.

Because everyone knows there's no ocean in Vermont.

And even if there was, it's probably 10 degrees this time of year.

Friday, November 23, 2007

question of the day

Christmas lights on the perimeter of a house: White ... or ... multi-colored.

Which do you think looks better?

tryptophan trip

I'd love to write something insightful and creative tonight. I wish I had the energy to wax poetic about all the incredible things I am thankful for in my life ... my family, my friends, my health, my home. And, of course - the Red Sox winning the World Series.

But after a full day of this...


And this...


And this...


And this...


And this...


And this...


And this...


I am especially thankful for a clean kitchen, neighbors that we shared the day with, a refrigerator packed full of left-overs, children that are in a food coma and sleeping soundly, our beautiful baby boy that fell asleep as soon as he smelled turkey and a comfy bed that I will be in, within the next 30 3 minutes.


I am also thankful that not one iota of my being, feels the least bit inspired to wake up at 4 AM and hit the stores with the Christmas shopping masses, tomorrow. Instead, we will have a leisurely day at home, eating leftovers, putting up festive decorations and eating leftovers.

And then, we'll eat some leftovers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

an amazing trip trick: the grocery store

I've got several "amazing trip tricks" that I plan on sharing because I often get asked "How in the world do you get anything done?" And if just one person can learn something of value from this blog, then the time I spend updating it when I could be sleeping, will not be in vain.

I've been taking the triplets grocery shopping - by myself - since they were only a few months old. When they were infants, I would load them in to their triplet stroller and push them through the store. If I would be purchasing more than could fit in a small hand basket, I would either drag a shopping cart behind me ... or better yet ... ask a manager if one of the bag boys (or girls) could accompany me.

This was a wonderful tactic because not only did I have someone push my cart for me, they were extremely familiar with the layout of the store and knew exactly where everything was. I completed grocery shopping in record time when our triplets were infants because I didn't spend a half-hour searching for toothpicks on aisle 10 when they were actually on aisle 12. Next to the tartar sauce. Which I needed, too.

As the children grew older, I would load all three of them in to the shopping cart and push them through the store. This worked well at Costco because the cart holds two children in the seats and the third child I would put in the basket. But if the cart only had one seat, I would put two in the basket and one in the seat and load all of my groceries underneath.

These days, the kids want to walk. And because in reality - the kids want to RUN and CLIMB and TOUCH every.single.thing - there is no way that I can (or will) step foot in to a store, by myself, with the triplets unless they are wearing safety harnesses. The only thing worse than seeing a child that is totally out of control running around without their parents able to get a handle on them, is to see three children totally out of control and running around and me, swearing profusely.

Think what you will about safety harnesses. I happen to think they are the most wonderful invention for keeping my roaming toddlers close by and safe. Particularly now that we know how to use them and don't fall all over ourselves.

Arriving at the grocery store, I will park as close as possible to one of the cart corrals. Once I grab a shopping cart, I unload the children one by one and put them in their harnesses. I then tie their harnesses to the shopping cart, one on the front - one on the left - one on the right - and I load Henry, in his carseat, in to the basket. As we walk in to the store, I'll tell them "All ABOARD!" and the kids will stand on the rack beneath the cart, so I can walk quickly without running them over.

Once in the store, I will solicit their help to keep them engaged. Today, when we went shopping, I let the children fill up an entire produce bag full of green beans. And yes, of course I purchased them. Although, that would be funny in a terribly obnoxious sort of way to see a child fill up produce bags just to keep them occupied.

Unless it is something breakable or heavy, I will let the kids put all the items I'm purchasing in to the cart. I'll also ask them questions regarding the items on our list. "Where are the strawberries? WHO SEES STRAWBERRIES? Who see bananas? Who sees bread? Who sees eggs? Who sees ice cream?"

Then, I'll follow those questions up with "No, you can't have strawberries. No, you can't have bananas. No, you can't have bread. No, you can't have eggs. No, you can't have ice cream."

If the kids get bored with riding on the cart rails, I will have them pretend that they are Santa's reindeer, and our shopping cart is the sleigh. Showing the kids Christmas movies while I was 9-months pregnant turned out to be a great idea, after all...

Whether they are riding on the rails - or pulling the cart - it's important to have a list and be quick about shopping. If you take too long trying to remember whether you prefer salted or unsalted butter, you shouldn't be surprised, or frustrated, that your children use your temporary lapse in movement to construct a tower out of margarine tubs.

I always pick up a healthy snack - raisins are a great choice - to keep little hands busy when I am navigating the narrow checkout lane that is bordered with sweets and magazines. I have found that if my kids are focused on their little boxes of raisins and helping me unload groceries on to the belt - they are far less likely to grab magazines off the racks and bite through unopened candy bars.

Regardless, it's good to educate and frequently quiz your children on the kind of candy that YOU like, because if you have a conscience, you will wind up purchasing anything that they have tampered with. But rather than getting angry when I see that my kids have gnawed through several Snickers bars, I see it as a reward for myself - for going grocery shopping alone with the children.

Monday, November 19, 2007

the lock down

Our kids are forever climbing things. They climb counters, they climb drawers, they climb wall units, they climb bookshelves, they climb trees.

When we visited relatives that live in a 2-story home, they climbed the outside of the stairs.

The children have recently figured out how to dismantle "kid-proof" knobs and can now open most doors. Because they have been expertly scaling baby gates for the past several months, there are very few things that can hold back these kids when they have their mind set to something. On more than one occasion, I've rattled windows with yelling when I've found a rogue child perched on top of their dresser trying to reach a book.

Or, their piggy bank.

Or, the CD player.

Or, to just sit and take a look around.

We're teaching the children that they can get hurt if they climb on things that are not intended to be climbed.

But because they are three years old, they don't yet fully grasp the concept of "consequences", even though they have taken their fair share of bad spills.

Charlie and I feel like our home is very well baby-proofed are we are vigilant about watching the kids when they are awake. We're always on alert to where they are and what they are doing.

But still, accidents can happen.

Yesterday afternoon, I was perusing various news articles, when I came upon this one.

It is the story of a little 2.5-year old boy named Charlie, who is a triplet. Earlier this month, Charlie woke up from his nap and climbed on top of his dresser to retrieve his glasses - when the whole thing tipped over on top of him, crushing him to death.

My heart dropped to my shoes when I read the story.

Parents think about plastic covers for electric outlets. They think about putting chemicals up high and buckling their children in to carseats. But how many people think about bolting their furniture to the wall? And if they think about it ... how many people actually do it?

I will be the first to admit that yesterday at this time, not all of the top-heavy furniture in our home was safely bolted in to studs. In fact, only one piece was "locked down."


But 24-hours later, my husband has installed safety hook & eye locks in to every bookshelf, dresser and free-standing cabinet in our home. Instead of using the small screw that comes with the kit, we purchased 41mm screws that can penetrate drywall and embed more securely in to studs.

Incredibly, it took for me to read the story of another family's heart breaking tragedy, before I finished something I should have done as soon as our children were able to walk.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

the third wheel

There is so much about the triplet dynamic that I am learning, everyday.

With three children who are the exact same age, a full-fledged "mob mentality" can rapidly go in to effect. Our children very seldom look to Charlie and I for guidance or approval, they look to one another, probably because there are more of "them" then there are of "us."

Last week, I showed the children how to play with sidewalk chalk. "Here, look - we are drawing a rainbow!"

The kids are interested and involved. But then Carolyn who was drawing her own rainbow notices William who is coloring on the side of the house and Elizabeth who is throwing her chalk on the ground and smashing it to smithereens. I didn't notice this, of course, because I was too focused on the correct sequence of ROYGBIV.

But Carolyn notices. And since both of these options look like much more fun then coloring on the ground, within a matter of minutes, the back of our house is scribbled with light blue and yellow and there are shards of pink, orange and green chalk across the patio.

We rotate our play to the sandbox. I'm showing the children how to make sandcastles. They are happy and involved. I need to run in to the house to use the bathroom and will be gone no more than two minutes. In that time, I vaguely notice a sound but pay it no mind. As I'm walking back to the yard, it dawns on me that the sound I hear is our garden hose.

Cranked on high.

In the 120 seconds that I've been absent, the kids have filled their sandbox with at least 10 gallons of water and are now doing cannonballs off the side. I'm annoyed and wish that if the kids were going to hijack the hose, they could have at least washed the chalk scribbles off the back of our house.

Over the past few days, I've become more and more aware that when the children are playing (or destroying things, as is usually the case), two is company but three is a crowd.

The children will be engrossed in pulling every flower off plants in the side yard and Elizabeth will be shoved out. Moments later, Carolyn and William take off skipping through the yard, throwing chunks of bark in the air - and if Elizabeth comes near, they'll push her down and run away.

People have told me that this is just a phase. Still, it breaks my heart.

It absolutely pains me to see my little girl cry because her feelings are hurt. And as much as I detest when the kids are destructive, this week I have found myself, arm in arm with Elizabeth, showing my teary-eyed daughter how to snap off the newly bloomed Bird-of-Paradise flowers and write with chalk on the screens.

While Carolyn and William play together, Elizabeth has become my shadow. I am her new best friend and will remain as such, until the triplet dynamic shifts.

It might serve me well if I use this opportunity to teach her how to fold laundry...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

an amazing trip trick: the carabiner

I'm taking a quick break from my regularly-scheduled parental self-pitying complaint session, to tell you about a little gadget I never leave the house without.

Whenever we step foot out the door, I always make sure that I have several carabiner clips in my pocket. I use them to tether lovey's to children (if they are insistent on bringing it with them), Henry's pacifier to his outfit (or my shirt or Bjorn for easy access), a blanket to a carriage, toys to a carseat, keys to my diaper bag, a water bottle to my purse, safety harnesses to my belt. If an object doesn't have a hole in it (i.e. bunny), I'll punch a little hole in the tag (or object) so it can be secured.

The list of uses for the carabiner are endless.

I love these things. They are light-weight. They are durable. They don't pinch little fingers. They are inexpensive. They are the reason we don't lose two bunnies every time we go outside and the reason that I can quickly grab my car keys without searching through my entire backpack.

Without carabiners, I would be hard pressed to successfully push a baby stroller, walk a dog, and have three children stay with me. They can be used interchangeably for rapeling down the side of a mountain - or taking a stroll around the neighborhood.


Here's a link where you can buy one. Or fifty.

They are a great stocking stuffer, if I don't say so myself.