Saturday, October 27, 2007

dear children

Dear Children (whom are aged 36 months):

A little over 15 months ago, I wrote a heartfelt post in which I said, if I could, I would have 20 of you. At the time of the writing, I was completely stricken by how quickly you were growing up and evolving from infancy in to toddlerhood. It was bittersweet for me and I wanted to have so many children that we would need a bus to travel on family outings.

Since that time, I've reconsidered.

A few weeks ago, before your third birthday, I started to jot down a few thoughts about sacrifices, that I had intended to turn in to a blog posting. I wrote how your father and I met. How we fell in love. How we were married and attended graduate school together. How we started our careers and excelled in our fields. How we tried for years to start a family. How we were met with failure and heart break, repeatedly. How once you came in to our lives - our careers were no longer paramount.

Once you came in to our lives, we made sacrifices.

We replaced our convertible European sports car with a minivan. We stopped taking lavish vacations and eating out at the finest restaurants. We reduced our income by more than 60% so that we could stay home with you.

I recently passed up an opportunity to transfer our family to Houston, Texas and your father passed up a big opportunity in petroleum exploration. Because in our opinion - it was more important for us to be home with you than to accept jobs that would take us away from you for more than 40 hours a week.

Children, your father and I miss the money that we were making. Especially since these days, it seems that there is a vacuum on our house literally sucking cash out the door. But we have had no regrets. Not even when as we were passing up promotions and opportunities that would allow us to retire as millionaires by the time we are 50.

Up until this past week, I wanted to resign my job and stay home with you full-time. I even considered home schooling you. We would have such fun traveling to various museums and I could re-learn algebra. Although I'd be sacrificing my career, I would much prefer to give it up, than miss out on any of your childhood.

A lot has happened since I first started jotting down my thoughts. We have been house bound for almost a week because of raging fires and poor air quality. Your 3-month old baby brother, who weighs more than you did at 12-months, has been keeping me up all night and you keep me running non-stop all day. You turned three and your personalities have blossomed, just like the atom bomb.

Since you've turned three, your favorite past time involves screaming. You also enjoy fighting. Hitting. Punching. Throwing yourself on the ground and kicking your feet. Particularly in public.

You enjoy whining. Loudly. Frequently.

Pretty much non stop.

Your afternoon nap that once was a solid two hours has reduced to 30 minutes.

You insist on helping me with everything I do. But your idea of "help" and my idea of "help" are at the opposite ends of the definition spectrum.

You like to climb on the counter and take a single bite out of every single apple, while I am cleaning up pee-pee that sloshed out of the potty receptacle that your sibling picked up while I was busy helping your other sibling put on their shoes ... and feeding your other sibling.

You like to grab things like say ... a broom ... and knock pictures off the wall and then tell me that you are dusting. For reasons that completely elude me, you are infatuated with the toilet. But instead of using the toilet for the purpose in which it was designed, you like to put things in it. Like your face. Or your sippy cup. Or your baby brother's teething ring.

Your father seems to think that you are just exerting yourself and testing your limits. But if you keep "exerting yourself", please understand that I am going to exert my hand across your bare bottom.

You can thank your baby brother for being here. Because if it wasn't for my ability to look in to his little eyes and remember that you were once vulnerable infants that I swore I would always love and protect, you'd be gone by now.

My fellow triplet mom, Debbie, has a blog and across the top is a passage that Mark Twain wrote in 1879. "Sufficient unto the day is one baby. As long as you are in your right mind, don't ever pray for twins. Twins amount to a permanent riot. And there ain't any real difference between triplets and an insurrection."

I love you, children.

But I am sorry to say that I don't like you very much at the moment. Your "violent uprisings" have taken their toll. Your constant screaming of "NO!" for anything and everything has worn me thin. And because I don't want to spend three back-to-back life sentences in a penitentiary, I am going to start looking in to preschool for you. Even if preschool is going to cost me the equivalent of a mortgage payment, I will find a way.

So help me God. I will find a way.

I also don't think that there will be any more of you. Because I have seen, first hand, how adorable little cubs soon turn in to flesh-eating beasts. Particularly when they are cooped up in a small house for days on end.

For the final time ... you cannot play with any sharp object you hijack out of the kitchen drawers. Dirty diapers MUST be changed. Sitting on my lap while I eat breakfast, only so you can assume control of my fork and spit partially chewed eggs back on to my pile of scrambled eggs is socially unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated. Those plastic covers on the handle of the doors are to keep YOU out. Naps will not kill you. I, however, might if you stop taking them.

With much love and hope for your continued success on this planet,

Your Mother

ps: It's been a tough week. A really, really tough week. Let's hope next week is better and the weather clears out all the smoke in the air. Now, let's go Sox!!!


  1. OK thats IT everyone in the corner NOW, take any stuff animal you want but do not move until dinner time:) Oh I wish I could come help you! I would be kinder than that! I promise.
    My prayers are with you!
    I heart heart heart the way you write!

  2. Whew! Reading that wore ME out. I can't imagine how you feel. I'm sure that only touches the surface. I know what a bad day is like around here, and I only have 1 toddler. God bless you! Mommy needs a break. I hope you get one soon. :)

  3. Yikes, I don't know! It sounds like you are already doing everything you can. I wish I could help somehow so I've been combing the web.

    The first thing I thought of was "you need supernanny" who would probably say you need some outside help. I looked into whether she had helped anyone in your situation before. In season one, episode 13? (I missed that one) She helped the Burnett family. They have five kids, including two sets of twins under three. Season One is available on DVD, maybe your library has it or can borrow it from another library? Like I said, I didn't see it and don't know if it would be helpful. But I usually find supernanny spot on.

  4. Oh man I feel your pain, but all 12 of mine go home by six. Friday we had a party at preschool, but it was raining on a supposedly sunny day so we didn't have a contigency plan. No plan + Lots of sugar = Chaos!! I was never so glad to go home in my life even though I was mean to my ONE whining 3 year old because I was about to snap. Your friend is right, having multiples is cute if you have tons of help or are just dreaming, but in real life that many kids cooped up is horrible. I can't imagine doing it with an infant to boot. I about lost my mind with "So and so's hitting me!" " I wwant waaaater!" " I don't WANT the blue marker!!!" "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"

    Anyway I just wanted to sympathize. I hope you get a break soon.


  5. I love the honesty in your writing. We all have days (or weeks) like this. No matter how much we cherish our children, they can drive us nuts! I don't have multiples and only have 2 at home. BUT, I am an assistant director at a day care and I feel your pain. I can't imagine taking them all home!

  6. I take it no one warned you about the terrible threes. Yep, threes are definitely much worse than twos. I hope you get a break....really soon.

  7. um. yeah. and we wont tell you what we call the fours. it's not meant for a family blog.

    but jen? they grow out of it. i promise. if you live that long.

  8. Ohhhh no way are you saying that the threes are worse. NO WAY!

  9. Jen, go to your local library and rent a DVD called 1-2-3 Majic. It's really helped me discipline my children.

  10. I had a lot to catch up on after being away for a week and I'm completely worn out from just reading! Kudos to you, my one makes me want to take a long leap off a short bridge at times, how do you do it?!?!

    p.s. I would like to know if the people that tell you to rent a dvd or read a book about discipline have three year old triplets and a new baby.... if only they had a clue! I think you are doing a splendid job!

  11. One of many cuzzins!10/28/07, 12:52 AM


    You are doing a great job with your family. Every sacrifice you & Charlie make will come back three-fold. This is just another phase and another rung in the ladder of growth for the triplets. Sounds to me like they are completely age appropriate and they really are "dear children".

    Worst thing for a kid is keeping them indoors. They've got to get outside and run off all that energy. Hopefully the air quality will improve before you have carnage in the living room.

    Our Beantown boys are taking it all the way.

    Go Sox!

  12. Lordy, gf. If Imri wasn't in daycare, I'd lose my mind. And that's with two of different ages. I can't even imagine. Preschool is an EXCELLENT idea. Think of all the time you'll get to do stuff for yourself, rather than chores. Like ... well, I can't think of anything right now but I'm sure you know what I mean.

  13. You poor baby! Hang in there! One 2 and a half year old is enough to drive me crazy at times (as you probably saw at my blog, right?). It does get better! Much better! Preschool for a few hours a day is a lifesaver. As for the toilet obsession, if you haven't already, check out some of the "Popular Posts" at the left on my blog. No real help there, just empathy.

  14. I am delurking to say that preschool is a fabulous idea...because the people who said three is worse than two were right. And the lady who said the fours are worse than all the rest...she was right too. So, start preschool soon!!! I have twins and a singleton and I am a SAHM. I pay $730 a month for preschool for my twins and while it is expensive it is worth EVERY penny. I tell DH I would sell a kidney to pay for preschool and I am only half joking.

    I can't remember how I came across your blog, but I have been reading it for several months and love it!!!

  15. Dear children,

    Please be nice to your mommy (and your daddy and each other if you have the inclination). I think that she might be much less good natured if she had to blog from prison while wearing orange and sitting behind bars. Although having you sit behind bars for a bit might have some appeal...

  16. If I were getting some of these comments, I would take them to mean that I was not doing a good job as a mother. And you are. The fact is, the average person has ONE handful at this age, and you have THREE, plus a baby. Plus being stuck in the house for a week. No wonder you're worn out. It'll get better. Don't let it get you down.

  17. Make the call. Putting them in preschool for a few hours a week at 3yo. is not going to anything but good - good for them and good for you. You need the break; you deserve the break.

    You are doing a great job -- imagine hitting the grocery store with only Henry; running to Target with Henry; folding a load of laundry that doesn't get unfolded before you put it away. :)

    No real extra free time is to be had when they are in preschool, but that time is precious! Do it.

  18. Wow, and I was feeling sorry for myself just yesterday that I have ONE three year old!! Not so much that I have him, but that I don't know what to do with this child!!! I have just purchased "Screamfree parenting" because I caught myself screaming like a mad woman at him and his 9 year old sister. I thought to myself that that sounded just like my mother and I DO NOT want to go there!!!! HA!
    I don't know if you do any screaming but I'll let you know how it plays out for me!!!!
    Have a blessed day!!!!

  19. I love you, Jen. I mean I ACTUALLY LOVE YOU! You have me in tears. Streaming down my face. Do you understand why I was in a near panic to get those kids in preschool? Do you understand why they go to preschool? To stay alive. There is no other reason. Just to stay alive.

    Psychopaths homeskool their kids. That's how my kids would spell homeschool if they actually WERE homeschooled full-time.

    The time has come to let them spread their wings and fly, fly, fly away to the brightly colored little desks and the teachers that are paid big bucks to teach them so you aren't in the house with them all day long.

    Now if you didn't get anything from my blog over the past year or so, it's that you have to PLAN AHEAD to try and get triplets in a preschool because there AIN'T NEVER THREE SPOTS OPEN.

    So get on it now, and you may have some luck by JANUARY!

    Until then, I will laugh my tears of hysteria over your posts. You kill me. Really, you do!

  20. I have found the books on discipline are helpful only if YOU need help and are clueless -- and you aren't. 1-2-3 Magic is so painfully basic, I'm sure you've already tried the method with your kids. If you've got multiples, or a very busy child, or a wildfire in your area, counting to three isn't going to make much a of a difference -- in my opinion. What you need is a pat on the back. You are doing so great. Your children ARE normal -- they're just busy and smart and bored to tears from being indoors all week. I really doubt you have the time or energy to read the parenting books anyway. Don't make time to read those books -- make the time to get a break out with friends or your DH. Good luck and stay strong!

  21. Jen- I'm back to ask you if you remember that stay-at-home triplet dad that was going to homeschool his 7 year old all boy triplets AND his 6 year old all boy twins, while taking care of his 2 year old daughter? He's blogging again. He took the summer off from blogging and now he has begun homeschooling all five kids. He took the summer off because he's the real Unibomber, that's why. Or he's just a faker who's Photoshopping those kids into the pictures with their matching Mickey Mouse t-shirts. Yeah, yeah, he can't be real, because that would mean we are bunch of little crybabies. Okay, mine go to school tomorrow after a week off. YIPPEE!!!! I have plans. So many plans for those two hours.

  22. I say go for preschool. It has completely been a GIFT!Not sure if they have Mothers' Morning Out programs at churches there, but 3 mornings a week is a HUGE break!
    Here's to clear air and getting back outside SOON!

  23. I vote for preschool. Not just for you, but for the children also. They will quickly love being around other kids and delight in the independence of a few hours away from mommy. They will feel like big kids. I really think it would be a win-win situation. Or would it be

  24. sending extra calm vibes your way for everyone, plus a boatload of clean air. I hope the fires settle down soon, as quickly as your children and I hope you get a break soon before your sanity also goes up in smoke.

    p.s. We have had permanent water restrictions here in Australia for about 3 years now - no garden watering, no sprinklers, no pools and every year the fires get closer and closer. it is scary stuff. The land here is so dry and only the toughest plants have survived.