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...