Friday, December 28, 2018

Graham at 20 Months

How is it that our baby is approaching age 2?! The time seems to be passing much more quickly with Graham than it did with triplets, but I guess that's probably because we are so busy doing stuff with the older kids that he seems to be growing up when we aren't paying attention. Although we still refer to him as the baby, he is definitely showing us that he has opinions and wants to be a big kid. Although he can be super sweet and affectionate with us and his siblings, he can also throw quite the tantrum when he doesn't get his way...which is often. 

Weight: About 21 lbs

Size Clothes: 18 months

Night Sleep: Graham is still sleeping through the night most of the time, which is fabulous! He did have a little sleep regression around 18/19 months as he had some night waking that lasted a couple of hours at a time, but thankfully that was short-lived and he seems to be sleeping better. 

Naps: Graham takes one nap from about 12-3, but sometimes he gets down for his nap a little later because we are out doing something and I end up having to wake him up by 3:15/3:30 so that he sleeps well at night. Once in awhile his naps are only 1-1.5 hours, but I'm hoping he'll continue his long naps for awhile as that is my chance to get things done around the house and do my part-time job. 

Food: He continues to be a picky eater, but thankfully he can now eat gluten and soy so that opens up a lot of options. He was also eating dairy, but I figured out a couple of weeks ago that his lingering junky cough was probably dairy related since he had had it since the pediatrician told me to introduce all dairy six weeks earlier. At the time of his appointment he had a cold so I assumed the cough was related, but when I realized he was still coughing and had no other symptoms I suspected the dairy since this was one of his symptoms of dairy intolerance when he was an infant. I decided to try just cutting out milk, yogurt, and cheese, and the cough is gone. He had been eating yogurt every night, but honestly he hadn't had much milk or cheese because he didn't like it so it wasn't hard to cut those out of his diet. I am feeding him butter and foods with dairy baked in, and I don't think it's causing him any issues. The foods that he will currently eat are:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Toast with jam
Chicken taco meat from the slow cooker
Sometimes meatballs
Turkey slices
Pesto pasta (but I'm cutting out cheese right now so he can't have this)
Sometimes pasta with marinara
Pancakes, waffles, and french toast
Vanilla almond milk yogurt
Graham crackers
Ritz crackers
Sweet breads / muffins 
Z Bars (kids Clif bars)
Fig bars
Breakfast sausage (although lately he hasn't wanted to eat it)
Hot dogs
Almond milk yogurt
Baby food pouches - they are quick, easy, and nutritious
Anything with sugar, which we limit but he definitely gets more of it than our other kids did at this age since he sees them eating it after meals

His diet isn't the healthiest, but after struggling with Jack over food for the last few years (and talking to OT's and nutritionists about Jack's eating and diet) I've realized that it's better to have him eat what he will as long as his diet is somewhat balanced. I do put new foods on his tray and encourage him when he tries it, but mostly he ends up spitting new foods out. Hopefully he won't be extremely picky forever.

Enjoying his first graham cracker when we were trying soy and gluten

Milestones: Graham can now run, he's attempting to jump, he can climb up and down a flight of stairs (although we are always right behind him in case he slips), he is proficient at his small slide that we have in the house and he's even figured out how to climb up it, he can take off his shoes and socks, he can buckle his booster seat straps (the one he uses for eating), he can climb into his car seat, he can climb into his booster seat, and he always grabs a stool or block to climb on to help him reach things or to get onto the couch. He also does some fairly frustrating things, like unplugs the safety plugs in the outlets, plugs in anything with a plug that he can get his hands on, opens up the canister of our small vacuum and dumps the contents on the floor, etc. He is right on track for his fine and gross motor skills.

Climb a big rock during a climbing trip

He loves to use these blocks to reach things and climb on the couch

Pure joy

I have to close the door so he can't get the stool from the bathroom all of the time, otherwise he'll be climbing places he shouldn't be

He decided to help himself to some homemade chex mix

Teeth: Graham now has all of his eye teeth and judging by the amount of drool and irritability, he might be working on his 2-year molars. Once he has those he will have all of his teeth until his 6-year molars!

Likes: He still loves electronics and anything that plugs in, so I've had to start hiding our iPad. Unfortunately, our baby monitor is now broken from him dragging it around and winding up the cord, so I've tried to limit how much he 'plays' with other electronics so that he doesn't break them as well. Graham loves playing outside and he even plays in the backyard solo if I'm working in the kitchen and I leave the slider door open (I have a really good view of our backyard from our kitchen). He now thinks the trampoline is really fun, but he can't really jump yet and I don't let the big kids jump when he is on there. He loves balls and the small basketball hoop. He loves climbing on and off the tricycle. He also really enjoys the play kitchen and he'll bring me "drinks." The toy phone continues to be one of his favorite toys. When I'm trying to make dinner and he's being fussy, I put him in his booster seat and give him a container of play dough and he loves it! He also enjoys drawing pictures with his siblings. 

Trying to Facetime using the iPad is challenging with him around

He loves the vacuum, but unfortunately he knows how to open the canister and he's emptied it on the floor one too many times

One of his favorite activities is mopping with my Norwex mop

Important phone call outside


Play dough

Play kitchen

He loves the backyard

He did this completely by himself. When he's in the mood, he really enjoys looking at books.

He did this himself as well. There's a screw holding the chair together since it broke during a fall, and he's trying to get it out.

He loves when his big sibs push him around the yard

The perfect Christmas gift for a toddler that loves to clean

He loves being thrown in the air, and he loves being swung upside by his feet (I can hardly watch)

Future athlete?

Dislikes: He doesn't like anything being taken away from him or being told no. He doesn't like being confined (in the stroller, shopping cart, being held, etc) for long periods of time. He definitely does not like being strapped in his stroller, especially when we are out doing errands and he has to be buckled and unbuckled multiple times. He knows how to throw a tantrum when things don't go his way!

The carseat is a daily struggle

Speech: Graham still doesn't say many words and he officially started speech therapy a couple of weeks ago. The speech therapist is not worried about him as his receptive language is great and he can communicate enough to get his point across, but I'd love to have him saying some more words as that might help with some of his frustration. He says mommy, da da, ta da, bump bump, show (doh), yum, and just in the last week he started saying baby, bye bye, and puppy. He also used to say ball and more, but he hasn't been saying those lately. Mostly he nods, shakes his head, and points to get his point across. He also waves and blows kisses. 

Places he's been: Graham had his first airplane ride when we flew to Michigan for my grandmother's funeral the weekend after Thanksgiving. The flights out went very smooth, but the flights back were a bit more stressful as he was tired and cranky. We also almost missed our second flight due to a delayed first flight, but I literally ran through the airport with a duffle bag on my back while pushing him in the stroller and we made it with only minutes to spare. Miraculously, he fell asleep on the second flight which made things much less stressful for me. Graham has also been on numerous long car rides to climbing areas, Denver, and his grandparents house in southern Colorado. This fall we went on a few camping / climbing trips and he slept well at night and even took some naps in the tent. 

Checking out the wildflowers while camping / climbing

Graham's first time playing in the snow was in Michigan when we went back for my grandma's funeral

Things he does to make us smile: He loves to hug stuffed animals, he's starting to dance, he enjoys leading a game of banging his hands on the table and then sticking them up in the air and watching everyone else follow his lead, and all of this makes us smile. Every time he says a new word or at least tries to imitate us, it is really exciting. One of his favorite things to do is carry Jack's lunchbox into school, which is adorable and the kids love it. 

Most of the time he does NOT want to sit still for photos

Happy boy at the park!

The big kids were reading so Graham joined them. (Ignore are awful sofa covers. Someday we will get new couches,)

We were trying to take photos on Christmas Eve but Graham wouldn't stand still so we were just taking some shots of the big kids. All of a sudden Graham came into the frame wielding a toy sword and smacking the kids, which of course they thought was hilarious. It's blurry, but I caught some of the laughter. Graham is always doing crazy things that makes the older kids laugh.

Piano playing at Grammy and Grandpa's along with his new favorite toy, a stuffed koala bear

Posing with the big kids after school one day

They all just sat down like this while getting ready for bed, so I had to snap a pic

Graham likes to help with the french press after seeing the big kids do it

Sweet boy at the end of a stroller ride

Thursday, December 27, 2018

5 1/2-Years-Old

Although most of the time I find I am preoccupied with the day-to-day needs of our family, once in awhile I take a step back and think, "How did our tiny babes become these children?!" In the past couple of months I've found myself sitting down at the computer with Alexis, Jack, and Faith and showing them photos and videos from when they were younger, and it's shocking to me to realize how grown up they are now. Yes, I know that they are only 5 and they still have a lot of growing up to do, but they are elementary school kids now and that still surprises me. I'm not sure if every mom feels this way or if it has something to do with triplets since so much change happens at once when three kids are the same age, but I don't think the shock will ever wear off for me as the kids grow older and more independent. Lately I have found myself remembering the tiny 3-pound babies that they were, and I'm so thankful that they are healthy, strong, intelligent children today. It's truly miraculous to me.




Faith, Jack, Alexis

Jack, Alexis, and Faith (Snoopy and Husky are still with the girls all of the time)

Jack, Faith, Alexis

Alexis, Faith, Jack

When I look around the house and see toys strewn about, piles of drawings on the counters, and plastic plates and cups left on the table, I have to admit that I feel stressed and overwhelmed by the mess. Lately, though, I've been trying to remind myself that it won't be long before the kids only want to hang out in their bedrooms, they will soon outgrow the stage where they are super proud of every picture they draw, and they will graduate to real plates and glasses and maybe they'll even load them in the dishwasher. Yes, right now it's messy and I find that annoying, but it is real life, the kids are learning through their play and art, and they are growing from all of their meals and snacks. Although right now I often wish that they would move some toys to their bedrooms and play with them there instead of always making a mess in the living areas, I am trying to be thankful that they want to be around me and each other. 

Alexis, Jack, and Faith still play together most of the time, but once in awhile one of them will branch off and they really seem to enjoy the alone time. Micah and I often talk about how tiring it must be to be a triplet because it seems like they are constantly in competition with each other since there isn't naturally an oldest to take the lead. But as much as they bicker and get frustrated with each other, they can also spend hours playing well together and they are as thick as thieves. Just in the past week I have witnessed several "I love yous" to one another followed by a kiss on the cheek. As much as I think it would be good for them to play apart more, I know that someday they probably won't want to be together this much. Their relationships with each other are so special and unique.

All three have grown up so much in the last six months and they are now starting to sound out words. I'm sure it won't be long before they are all reading, which to me will be a major milestone. Here are some other ways that they have grown:

Heights and Weights:

Alexis: 43.25" and 35 lbs (+1.25" and 2.5 lbs in the last six months)
Jack: 42.5" and 33.5 lbs (+1.5" and 3 lbs in the last six months)Faith: 45" and 36.5 lbs (+1" and 2 lbs in the last six months)

Jack wins the award for the most growth in the past six months, which makes us so happy since he is finally becoming less picky and he's starting to eat more. For awhile, every meal felt like a battle and it was really stressful. Lately, though, he is eating more quickly (we used to have to keep saying, "Jack, take a bite") and he is more willing to eat a variety of foods. Alexis, on the other hand, has become much more picky lately, so that probably explains why there is such a height difference between the girls. 

They are growing, but Micah can still carry them all in from the car when they don't have shoes on 

Kindergarten: Alexis, Jack, and Faith started Kindergarten mid-August and they are all doing great. We are doing a part-time school / part-time homeschool program so they attend class on Mondays and Wednesdays and we have homeschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We decided to put them in separate classes on their school days, and I believe it was one of the best decisions we have made. Jack seems to miss being with the girls as he's mentioned it several times, but the girls both seem quite happy with the situation as I believe they need a break from each other since they are with each other 100% of the time otherwise. Being in separate classes has given them all a chance to be individuals without their siblings around. Jack seems to have made a few friends in his class and Faith talks about one girl that she enjoys, but Alexis is struggling a little with finding friends which is hard to hear her say even though it's 'just kindergarten.' They do see each other at recess and it sounds like they play with each other quite a bit during that time, but I'm glad they are starting to branch out a little as well.  




Thanksgiving party at school

Using our math manipulatives on a homeschool day

Favorite toys: I really don't know what their "favorite toys" are right now as they seem to rotate through what they play with fairly well. Honestly, they probably spend the most time drawing and writing right now, which is great and also stressful as I have trouble knowing what to do with all of the masterpieces. Right now I'm keeping the absolute best things, taking pictures of the really good things, and recycling the rest. They also really enjoy playing soccer and "monkey in the middle" with a soccer ball in the backyard. The trampoline is also a big hit, although I've had to ban the "Dead Man" game as we've had one too many bonked heads. 

Climbing: We have been trying to take the kids to the climbing gym more often, and they have been loving it. Jack now climbs to the top of the autobelay every time, and the girls get almost to the top before they get a little nervous and come down. All three are doing well with their climbing, and they now all have their own harnesses. We have one pair of kid shoes, but only Alexis is interested in wearing them. For Christmas we got them all chalk bags, which they were really excited about.

Chalk bags!

Faith, Alexis, and Jack autobelaying at our climbing gym

Yesterday Micah took the kids skiing for the first time this season, and today they are at their first ski school lesson. Jack and Alexis are totally skiing on their own, and Faith will be there soon. Faith was not interested in skiing last winter so she has had less practice than the other two, but now that she has decided to do it I'm sure she won't have any trouble. (Edit: It is only one day later and Faith is skiing proficiently. She learned how to snowplow and stop in ski school yesterday, and today when Micah took the kids back to Wolf Creek she didn't need any help!).

Jack, Micah, Alexi at Wolf Creek

This summer all three began swimming independently! Of course we still need to be nearby as they aren't that strong yet, but the girls are able to swim the entire 25 yard length of the pool on their backs and Jack can do it on his belly. They were in swim lessons from last August through June, and then Micah worked with them a lot this summer to help them become more confident. It was a lot of fun seeing them swim in the summer.

Swimming at my family's cottage in July

Pull-Ups: Years ago Micah put the idea in the kids heads that they should try to do pull ups. They have been working on it off and on using Jack's bunk bed, and about a month ago Jack started doing pull ups from a dead hang. The girls are a bit jealous, but I'm sure they will be doing them soon too with all of their climbing. 

Sleep: The kids are starting to "sleep in" more, which means many days they don't get up until after 7:00, and some mornings Faith has even slept until 8:00. Right now I'm thankful that the kids only have school two mornings a week since I have to wake them up between 6:30 and 6:45 to get them there on time, which is a struggle. This Christmas break I have really been enjoying getting a little extra sleep in the morning since we don't have to rush off to school or wake up to start working on our homeschool. 

Jack's thumb: Jack has sucked his thumb since he was a baby. When he turned 2 we almost had the habit broken, but when he ended up in the hospital with low platelets he started sucking his thumb again, which I was fine with at the time since it was such a traumatic year for him. Fast forward two + years later and he's still sucking his thumb during the night, despite the fact that we have tried using a fancy thumb guard to help him stop. I was also a thumb sucker until about age 6, and the method that was used to get me to stop was taping popsicle sticks onto my thumb and drawing a picture on the tape. If the picture was still there in the morning, I got a reward after a set number of days. We decided to use this same method with Jack and it worked great! Mid-December he went two weeks straight without sucking his thumb and after those two weeks he was given a Nerf gun, which is something he has wanted for years, but for a few reasons we hadn't given one to him yet. He is still wearing the popsicle sticks to bed at night so that he doesn't regress, and he reminds us when we forget to put them on. I'm so glad that he has decided that it is time to stop sucking his thumb as it has made this whole process fairly simple.

Jack with his thumbs taped up. Now we need to start this process with our finger sucking boy in the background!

Big Sibs: Alexis, Jack, and Faith are great big siblings to Graham. Yes, they do they do get annoyed with him at times if he takes their toys or "ruins" their games, but overall they are super sweet with him and they get so excited when he learns new things or says new words. Graham seems to think he is one of the triplets, which means he tries to keep up with them. Someday I'm sure he will keep up with them more, and hopefully they continue to be as kind and loving to their baby brother.