Monday, October 08, 2007

rescue me

We took the children to the open house at our local fire station on Saturday.

Upon our arrival, a kindly man from the Senior Volunteer Patrol, who didn't look a day older than 95, smiled brightly and asked our children if they wanted to be a "Junior Fire Chief" for the day?

When they all responded "YES!" he very carefully peeled a badge looking sticker off a roll of 1,000 and affixed it to their shirts. He then shot me a confused look when all three of the kids immediately peeled the stickers off their shirts and started to eat them.

What this man didn't realize is that when you are an almost three year old triplet, whose diet consists predominantly of strawberries and peanut butter, metallic stickers fill some kind of nutritional void.

Over the course of an hour, we climbed on to various fire trucks, watched a team of fire fighters use the jaws of life to peel the roof off of a car, and inspected the inside of an ambulance. All the while, Charlie and I kept up our running commentary that as great as it was to see the equipment and trained professionals in action, we hope with every fiber of our being that we never need it.

And then ... it was time to leave.

Unlike my previous outing experiences with our children, this time, there was no forewarning to the meltdown. One second they were happy and the next, they were screaming and running in every which direction. They were yelling at other kids inspecting the fire trucks "MY TWUCK! DAT MY FIRE TWUCK!! MOMMY!! I NEED WOWWIPOP! NOW!! I NEED WOWWIPOP ... WED ONE. NOW!! GIVE IT TO ME NOW!!!"

I've never seen anything like it. Charlie's children were laying on the ground, kicking their feet and thrashing.
We concluded that even though it wasn't yet noon, we needed to feed the kids their lunch and put them down for a nap.

Ten minutes ago.

We very calmly tell the children that it is time to go home and we are leaving. We also tell them that when we get home, we'll feed them lunch and read them a story before their nap. Making our way back to the car, I ignored the stares of people who were clearly trying to figure out if they were all ours - or if we were stealing them. And if so, why?

To get back to the car, we had to cross a street which was being managed by a team of retirees from the Senior Volunteer Patrol. Charlie was behind me, holding hands with both Elizabeth and Carolyn who were screaming "Mommy DO It!!" But when I tried to hold their hands, they screamed "Daddy DO It!!!" So, with a smile and the words "Good Luck!" I let my husband escort his daughters across the street.

I was midway through the cross walk when Elizabeth bolts away from Charlie and tries to catch up to me at the same time Carolyn pulls away and tries to run across the driveway in the opposite direction. Fortunately, Charlie has lightening fast reflexes and was able to grab both of the kids before they darted in to traffic. Holding them by their arms, he pulls them along, while they continue to scream.

I was walking with Henry in the Bjorn and William by the hand, who was whining extremely loudly about something that I absolutely couldn't understand. Soon, his whining turns to the intelligible demand "I need a dwink! Mommy!! I need a dwink NOW!! YOU GET IT FOR ME. NOW!!!!" Rolling my eyes up to the heavens I responded "William. It is I who need a dwink. I NEED A HUGE DWINK. NOW!!!"

He pulls his hand away from me and tries to lay down in the middle of the street. Which leaves me no choice but to bend down, grab his arm, and drag my limp child out of the cross-walk.

The kindly man who gave our children their morning sticker snack less than an hour previously, gives us the free advice "It would be easier if you just told them it was time to go and they need to hold your hand!!"

Do you think so??

Because with three kicking and screaming kids, I was thinking it would be easier if we just locked them in their rooms and never left the house again.

Not learning our lesson on Saturday, we left the house again yesterday morning and took the kids to a local outdoor mall for a walk. Because it was approaching noon, we opted to feed the kids lunch at the Food Court before heading home for naps. Charlie grabbed a table in the shade and was holding Henry while I took the three kids in to a small enclosed restaurant to place our order.

I tried to encourage the children to stay with their father, but they insisted that they follow me and cause my stress level to be 10 times higher than necessary.

Just inside the door, all three of the kids realize that the louder they talk, the more of an echo they create. While my eyes are quickly scanning the menu so I can place the order and leave, my children's little voices are escalating, escalating, ESCALATING. What started out as a hushed whisper of "Shhh. Please be quiet!" turns in to me hissing between my clenched teeth "FOR PETE'S SAKE BE QUIET!!!"

They get louder.

And louder.

I grab them by their hands so tightly I worry for an instant that I crushed them ... until I look down and see that their eyes are literally dancing with smiles and mischief.

Pulling them to the counter, thirty little fingers start frantically grabbing at straws.

And napkins.

And ketchup packets.

And anything else they could reach.

Sweet and Low.





I get down at their eye level and holding their faces in my hands firmly tell them "KNOCK IT OFF or you are ALL going in time out!"

They straighten up and stand like obedient little soldiers at the counter, which is situated right at their eye level. The clerk taking my order gives a forced smile and comments on how "sweet" my devils little children are in their matching hats.

The words no sooner left her mouth when all three of them stick out their tongues and start licking the counter and laughing hysterically. I shriek "Ugh!! What are you doing?! Ick!! Icky!! Guys!! PLEASE don't lick the counter!!!"

Elizabeth runs over to the drink machine where she is standing on tippy toes trying to depress the ice machine lever. Carolyn walks over to a plant and starts pulling off it's leaves. William, for the second time in a week, spots a piece of chewed gum on the edge of a trash can, picks it up and holding it in front of his face yells "Mommy!! GUM!!!"

Ice shoots out of the machine while I try to grab Carolyn away from the plants and William who is now covered in a web of chewed gum.

We should have just gone straight home and fed the kids peanut butter, strawberries and metallic stickers, because they didn't eat a bite of their $12.00 lunch. Although they liked hot dogs a mere five days ago - yesterday you'd think I was trying to feed them cauliflower.

No surprise, this morning, every one - including the baby - is sick.

I don't know if the cold that they had from two weeks ago has resurfaced, or if the kids have passed on to the whole family an aggressive virus that they picked up from licking the counter in a mall restaurant, yesterday.

One thing I do know is that Henry has just taken a two and a half hour nap with my nipple in his mouth and our triplets will be three years old in less than a week. From what everyone has been telling me, three is much more challenging than two.

If their behavior this past weekend is any indication of what's to come, I'm in trouble.

I also fear that I'm going to see up close and personal the inside of one of those ambulances as they cart me off to the nut house.


  1. (((((((((((Jen))))))))))))
    God bless you, Sweetie. Really.
    Sending blessings your way to help keep you sane!

  2. I am so sorry! I was thinking though that atleast it wasn't just my kid that lived on PB and strawberries. I want to scream everytime someone tells me 3 is worse than 2...(age) can this be? I might join you in the nut house! And I only have one 2 year old and one 1 year old

  3. i know you dont want people telling you "this too shall pass" cuz it seems like IT NEVER WILL.

    in the meantime, while you're waiting for it to pass, know that i'm sorry life is such a whirlwind nuthouse for you.

    altho i will say the reference to "charlie's children" misbehaving made me laugh out loud.

  4. You need a big hug and a big DWINK! >:D<

  5. Perhaps they all want to be fire people and that is why they did not want to leave.
    Seinfield's wife had a great program on Oprah today on how to get kids to eat Veggies. She has a book out.

  6. much more challenging = just plain sucks. Imagine a preteen girl shoved into the skin of a three-foot-high person. And that's your life, in less than a week.

    Times three.

  7. yep, it's just a sampling. Sorry. BUT you do manage to keep your sense of humor which is awesome.

  8. Hilarious.... and incredibly frightening. I'm already getting glimpses from my singleton 2.5 year old as to just how hard 3 might be, and my trio is only 13 months now. Yikes! Hope I'll be able to keep my sense of humor the way you have over the next couple years...

  9. I'm sure they are just sick and almost three. Mine really ramped it up right before they turned three. You are doing a great job getting them out there and doing things. Outings like those make you scared to leave the house, so the fact you keep trying shows me you are very, very, very, very, very brave!!!! This really isn't a job for a timid woman, is it?


    They will get better, I promise!!!

  10. lol god you described my worst nightmare. Nothing makes my blood boil more than watching my adorable child turn into demonic monsters under the watchful eyes of the public.

    I wonder if preschool a few days a week would do them some good. Six hours a week with only Henry?
    I teach preschool and went on a fieldtrip with 12 kids under 3. 6 of them were under 18mos-2 years. Man what a nightmare!

  11. Oh crap, I havent laughed that hard in a long time. I am so sorry that was so difficult and I seriously do not even want to imagine it getting HARDER but that whole post had me rolling. Licking the counter?! Ack! LOL.

  12. so weird, we too went to an open house at a firehouse on Saturday. Didn't have the jaws of life there though.

    3 isn't all THAT bad. You can reason with a 3-year-old a lot easier than a you can with a 2-year-old.

  13. No doubt, I would have pulled out my sanitizing wipes and given each tongue a swipe with it!

    I think I've truly scared my trio, into believing they will surely die if they put gross things in their mouths!

    Annie could care less. She's a nail biter and puts everything in her mouth! Her favorite past time is chewing on wet rags!

  14. Oh. My. Lord.

    Hope you got that Big Dwink.

  15. I am closing my eyes and pretending that I did not just read that three is supposed to be much harder than two. Mine JUST turned 2, which means I have 11 more months of challenging and then a year of just plain CRAZY.

  16. PLEASE don't tell me that 3 is worse than 2 ... because my son (who turns two on the 14th as you know, Jen) has become a defiance-filled, no-screaming, mommy-hitting, boneless two year old and I am losing my mind.

  17. Hang in there! I think 3's are bittersweet. They turn into such little people and the littlest things amaze them but they also test the limits with you too. Thanks for being so real!

  18. Good thing those are "Charles children", you would have had them to NEVER act like that by now! I need a nap after reading that. nitenite

  19. You always make me laugh- I truely hope that 3 is a little better for you and not worse!!!

  20. you have such a great sense of humor! i'm so sorry you had to endure all this, but thanks for sharing it with us with so much humor!

    i really hope that 3 really isn't worse than 2. i have just one almost-2-year-old, and i am having difficulty imagining how much more crazy her behavior can get.

    hope you get a great big dwink or two!


  21. Just curious here: Do you believe in spankings?

  22. vety the nuts mom10/11/07, 1:04 PM

    I'm sorry, I'm still cracking up when you said "Charlie's children"!
    I admire you, I'm a wimp and hide in the house under lock and key. I've seen the angry donald duck characters from mine enough and it's only 2 of them. You're my hero!