This morning, while Henry napped, the kids were running in and outdoors while I tried to fold yet another load of laundry. As is often the case when we don't get out of the house immediately after breakfast, chaos reigned.
The kids were trying to bring toys from the sandbox inside and they were trying to bring toys from the inside, outside. If I were more lenient, this wouldn't be a problem. But I really don't want to have a dump truck full of sand in our living room, nor the life-sized panda bear covered in mud.
Eventually, I just pushed everyone outside, closed and locked the door and quickly folded the laundry while the kids splashed around with their water table - and drenched the clothes that I had just dressed them in 15 minutes, prior.
When Henry woke up, I loaded everyone in to the car and took off for one of the local parks.
So what if it was 11:30 AM?
So what if I didn't pack a picnic lunch?
So what if our timing for leaving the house and arriving at the park - and leaving the park and driving home to eat lunch so that the kids would still go down for an afternoon nap - only afforded us 15 minutes of play time?
We needed to get out. Even if for only 15 minutes. And at least they were in dry clothes.
While the kids were blowing off steam at the park and I was pushing Henry in the swing, I was thinking that on Valentine's Day, the triplets turned 40-months-old. Not that I really think about them as being aged in "months" any more, but they have grown and changed so much, that the developmental differences are huge from what they were just a few short months, ago.
So I don't forget this moment in time, I want to jot down a few thoughts on this stage of their lives.
William is the most articulate speaker in the group. He will say things that absolutely floor me. Things like "I'm going to get a cup of coffee, and then I'm going to get on a plane and fly to Africa." He is reasonable and because of that, I have more patience with William than I do either of his sisters. Even though he loves to dress up with the girls, he is all boy. He will run through the house, pound on his chest, and jump off the tallest structures at the park. Ever since Charlie talked with him, he is almost completely potty trained. Several nights last week, he woke up from a sound sleep to come find us, because he needed to use the toilet.
He has shattered all the perceptions I had about girls talking sooner and being potty-trained before boys.
He has assumed the role of peace keeper. When Charlie and I have animated conversations, William will throw his hands up and say "Mommy. You tell Daddy I'm SORRY. Daddy. You tell Mommy I'm SORRY. Now, you go HUG and be kind!" I love it when he does this. Except for when Charlie and I are trying to have a serious discussion - and are constantly being interrupted by our three-year-old who will not stop talking unless we are embraced in each other's arms.
Elizabeth is the biggest tease in the group but is also the most kind and gentle. She will take something that some one else has and run away - as fast as she can - just to see their reaction. She is the child that will wander the farthest at the park and cause my blood pressure to spike. At the moment, she frustrates me more than her siblings, but she also possesses the ability to warm my heart with her unending sweetness. She is the child that will give you her last slice of apple - or candy from her Halloween bag.
She loves her dolls and everything for Elizabeth must be pink. She is currently going through a Princess phase, and thankfully, has come full circle on potty training. Although, she has not received her princess bike back, because she hasn't asked for it - and I just remembered. She is so excited about her upcoming trip to see Noni and Jimbo, that she can hardly sit still.
Carolyn is absolute sweetness and an absolute tyrant, wrapped in to one. She will smack someone in the head with a toy - and then rush to get them a band aid. She is the tallest and the heaviest of the trio, and is by far the most dominant. If someone has something that she wants, she will take it from them. She will knock them down, stand on top of them, hijack their toy, and walk away as if to say "What?"
She is sassy, and even though I love it when she throws her hands on her hips and acts defiant, we are working on her cheekiness because what is cute at three, will become bratty at four. She rules the roost at home, but she is extremely shy when we go out in public. She is the child that will bury her head in my legs and not make eye contact with anyone at the park. Although she is doing very well with potty-training, we aren't fully there yet. I bought a bag of M&M's last week specifically to entice her and when I asked if she would go poo-poo for an M&M she politely replied "No, thank you."
So. I ate them all.
Children are a great mystery. They are capable of creating such happiness and joy ... and yet they also have the ability to create turmoil and havoc, to the point that I fear I am losing my mind.
Every night, when I tuck the children in to bed and we recite our nightly prayers, it almost always happens that I will apologize for something that I did during the day that was a direct result of my inability to procure patience at the exact moment I needed it. But during our nightly prayers, I also thank our children for coming in to our world. I am so glad that they are here. They give us a purpose. They bring meaning to our lives. They make me enjoy everything about life, that much more.
Especially the moments of quiet.
***Here the kids are from breakfast this morning. Not that an explanation is really necessary, but I'll provide one, anyway.
William climbs in to Elizabeth's chair and says "What have you got there to eat?"
"Juice, William. That's my orange juice!"
"Wow. Can I have some?"
"Wow. Can I have some?"
"OK, here you go. You can have a sip."
"You are a nice sister, Elizabeth. I want to give you a kiss."
"Oh no you don't. BUSTER."
"Oh no you don't. BUSTER."
"Oh... what's that my sister Carolyn has to eat?"
"I love yogurt! Can I have some?"
I then had to put my camera down because when William went to have another bite, Carolyn shoved him off the chair. He landed on the ground and cried for the next hour. Carolyn went in to time-out. And Elizabeth pulled a half-dozen of eggs off the counter.
That perfectly sums up this age. Pure love. Pure fighting. Pure chaos.
Adorable. Most of the time.