Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the key is consistenc ... OH ALRIGHT

There is no doubt, our lives are just one series of adjustments after another.

Everything is dynamic.

Everything is always changing.

First there were the years of infertility.

Then there were newborn triplets.

Then there were toddler triplets, a surprise pregnancy with 100 pound weight gain, and a home remodel, with every appliance that we own, breaking.

Then there were toddler triplets and one newborn and a poop eating dog.

Then there were preschool aged triplets and one toddler.

There were full time jobs, part time jobs and no jobs at all.

Then there was the tentative, oh my gosh I sure hope this works out because it is costing an awful lot, start up company.

How we handle each passing phase is unique. But it seems that there is always the common thread between Charlie and I. We mustn't lose our mind. We mustn't try to figure it all out at once. We must take it one day at a time. We must do our absolute best to smile, laugh and enjoy the ride.

And whatever we do, we mustn't have more than one glass of wine at night. Because if we do - we might go a little nutso and turn the entire blog pink.

(That's a little love for my upcoming 3-Day Walk.)

Recently, we have been going through a rather difficult patch with Henry. Although his communication skills are exploding - and he is capable of speaking a lot words - Henry has these episodes of extreme frustration where he will throw himself on the ground and scream.

He wants what the triplets have.

He doesn't get it?


He doesn't want to go in the bath.

He goes in the bath?


He wants to stay in the bath.

He comes out of the bath?


He wants to stand on the table.

He is removed from the table?


He wants to run around with a pair of scissors.

Scissors are removed from his hand?


He wants to come and sleep with me at 4:00 AM.

I leave him in his crib?


He wants to be left alone.

You are looking at him?


Do you see where I am going with this?


Henry's screams are ear piercing and they will drive me to my knees in agony.

Because of that, for a while there, I would give Henry whatever it was that he wanted.

I'd actually take toys away from the older kids and give them to the baby. I'd give him a bath at a later time and then, I'd let him stay in the bath for as long as he wanted. I'd stand by the table to make sure he wouldn't fall off. I'd shadow him as he toddled around the house with scissors and do my best to distract him with other shiny objects so I could make the exchange without tears. I'd scoop him up at the first peep and bring him in to bed with me where he would nurse for the next three hours. I actually allowed myself to become a human pacifier.

All told, I created a monster.

Sure he is cute and adorable and oh, so sweet.

Except for when he SCREAMS. Because then, he's nothing but a demon child and it takes all of my maternal grace and loving powers to not toss him in to the garage and lock the door.

For the past few weeks, I've been throwing down the hammer on Henry's tantrums. Whenever he starts to wind up and go in to a SCREAMFEST, I will put him in his crib - or stand him in the corner. But usually, I'll put him in his crib, because I know that he'll stay there. And for anyone that feels compelled to warn me that I don't want to make his "safe place" a spot for punishment, save it.

It's either his crib or duct tape.

Know what I mean - jelly bean?

I am trying to wean. A little here, a little there. I'm not ready to stop nursing altogether, but I'm also not prepared to keep nursing whenever Henry wants. Which - if I abided by his wishes - would be several times throughout the day and ALL night. So instead, I am ignoring his cries when he wakes up screaming at 4 AM.

Funny me!!

I thought that if I just let him scream, he'd eventually go back to sleep because that's what ALL of our other children have done. But that defies the Law of Henry. Instead, he wakes up the entire house. And by 4:45, there are three groggy children standing next to my bed wondering if they can watch Curious George and eat pancakes.

&*%(^#$&^#* PANCAKES.

AT &$%*(^$)%*&^$#(*& 4:45 IN THE MORNING.

You've never seen ugly until you've seen me being woken up two and a half hours before sunrise being asked for PANCAKES and CURIOUS GEORGE.

If only we had a larger house, with one room that I could make TOTALLY sound proof by spraying with insulating foam, I'm sure that I could get Henry on a good sleeping schedule with no trouble. Because he would soon learn that I cannot hear his cries and therefore, he'd just surrender to the beauty that is sleep. But alas, he knows that I can hear him because I think that he hears me praying, "Dear God, won't you please SHUT that child UP?"

(Yes. I do say those things. To God, even.)

The triplets no longer nap during the day. Except for today when Elizabeth took an almost two-hour nap and now, at almost 9:00 at night, she is trying to convince me that I should make her a big bowl of popcorn and paint her toenails red.

I keep thinking that one day we will have this whole parenting thing figured out.

But today is clearly not the day.

And now, I need to sign off so I can go paint my daughter's toes and pour myself another glass of Chardonnay before I scoop my two year old son up and nurse him.

Don't judge me.

Don't you dare judge me.


  1. I absolutely don't judge you.


  2. Whoo....hoo. right. You're nursing a 2 + year old. Is he 3 yet? I loveyou Jen but come on! He nearly a man with man needs & you're breast feeding? :)

    Cut him off & get on with life, Sister!

    You're so displined with the triplies so wtf...ohhhhhh, it's the 4th child syndrome thing :)

    We love you Jen...get Henry off the (you know what) & your problems are over, bff.


  3. Ha Ha! I think you are the greatest!

  4. Why - you are just a lovey. Phase is the key word here. a PHASE! My daughter would wake up at night screaming uncontrollably. (night terrors it seemed - she wasn't conscious enough to even wake up) But she screamed and screamed and would "wake up" again and again. The screaming was tolerable if I was rested, but give me a few nights of screaming and I would be a basket case. I'm happy to report it passed...it seemed it never would. BUT in your case better to teach a screaming toddler that he's not in control than try to teach an ill-behaved teenager, I say...

  5. Oh the screaming...it makes my ears bleed. Our 23 mth old daughter has got the screaming going on so much at the moment. The bath, the toys, the not sharing, the demands, oh my god the demands. Heres hoping she will learn pretty soon that all you get is time on the bold chair!!

  6. Absolutely no judgement here...swap out 'Henry' for 'Lucy' and 'triplets' for 'Charlotte' and I could have written that post myself... these days are killers.

  7. No judging here! Consider this blog YOUR "safe place" and know that even though there may be some squelchers out there, many of us are very grateful that you're keepin' it real with the parenting lessons. My little guy is 14 months old and I'm watching everything you do in hopes that I might learn something here and there (including how to flip around the jungle gym bar...looks nearly impossible to me)!

    Thanks for sharing it all...the good and the tough stuff...you've got a thankful audience out here! You're a great person, Jen...rock on!

  8. Hang in there, Jen. You've been through a lot in the past, and you've made it through; you'll make it through this. Henry's going through a tough phase, but it'll eventually get better.
    Wish I had something more helpful to say, such as a technique, or sth, but I don't. I don't have the experience.
    Perhaps you can try to explain him that if he doesn't bath, he'll be really stinky and then no one will want to play with him. Explain him that if he stays on the table he might fall, and if he does, he'll get hurt, but if he was on the floor, he could have "so much fun" and play with all his toys - because his toys aren't ALL on the table. Explain that if he wanders around with the scissors he could hurt himself, and make a booboo, or he could make a booboo on his siblings and then they'll be sad. Explain that if he comes to sleep with you at 4am, then the other siblings will want to come too, and they won't fit in the bed, and the bed will break, and then mommy and daddy won't have a bed to sleep in. He seems like a really sweet little boy, and they seem respond to that kind of psychology, it doesn't hurt him, and makes him feel like he's a such a big boy because people are explaining him why he shouldn't do it.
    Again... hang in there. :)

    Oh, and by the way, the new page design looks wonderful!

  9. I think you hit the parenting nail on the head. Kids change, our attitude and direction for them must change with them. Sometimes things work for a while, then they don't. I see this with one child, and I'm sure it's just multiplied by 4 for you. But as parents we adjust and do the best we can. You'll figure it out, and don't forget...."This too shall pass."

  10. I just wrote a post today about how hard Austin has been lately. Then I started a reward chart based on competition. Can't wait to see THOSE COMMENTS. Bahahahahha.

  11. I really don't judge you. I just fear for my own future, because I can see my 11mo girls and me going down that exact same path.

  12. "It's either his crib or duct tape."

    Thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only one. That's exactly how I feel...(But the duct tape is looking tempting these days as my son's thinking about climbing out of his crib.)

  13. No judging here. I just want to let you know that I am right there with you!

    I have four kids four and under as well as two teenagers and if it's any consolation we still haven't figured out the parenting thing yet! Granted, we're getting closer.. I HOPE.

    Hang in there. It will all work out. It has to.. for your sanity ans mine :)

  14. I wish I had something encouraging to say. All I have is an e-hug.


    I'm wading through the same struggle of consistency. My darling, sweet, silly 2 year old is suddenly a demon child on a daily basis. With him, it's usually because he's tired or needs a hug, which are easily solved. Now with a 10 week old in the house they've increased in fold and in intensity. And Momma's energy to tolerate them as patiently and consistently has decreased.

    The hard thing is that he's so friggin' charming and sweet when he isn't on the floor losing his marbles...

    All that to say, no judgement here. You aren't alone. My DH and I are struggling just as you and Charlie are. It makes me feel better to know I'm not alone. Hoping it does the same for you. :-)

  15. It's the truths you tell that keep me coming back!
    I had a 4th after 10 years and I am guilty of pacifying him to stop the screaming. I have now instituted the "on your bed" rule too. It works, just keep at it.

  16. Hang in there!!!! I know all about not wanting the younger one to wake the older ones....

    So no judgment but I do have an idea... might not be the most practical, but I'll throw it out there.... what if Charlie and the triplets took a little trip without you and Henry... just went and stayed in a motel or with a friend for 3 or 4 nights... long enough that you can let Henry scream it out at 4am without bothering anyone else (except you) for a couple of days. Or change it up and you take the trips and leave Charlie at home with Henry... he won't be able to cave in and nurse him at 4am.

    In any case, good luck! It will pass...

  17. I can't imagine - I give my 1 1/2 year old things now because she's the little one and I'm busy.

    How far is your room from his room? Have you thought about doing a sleep over in your room with the big kids, and having a white noise machine in your room, then letting Henry go to town in his? That's what we did, since our girls share a room. Our oldest stayed with us in a sleeping bag on the floor for 3 nights until her sister adjusted and was STTN. She thought it was awesome having a "sleep over" and we made it fun by letting her stay up a little late and watch movies.

    Sleep training sucks, especially as they get older, but OMG, woman, you so need your sleep!!

  18. My two year old is in the same phase of life. It is simply maddening. Last week we decided she was running the house and we needed to step in. We should have purchased some high tech ear plugs first because the screaming and crying are too much some days. But it is getting better and i keep reminding myself that surely she won't be screaming when she is nine....

  19. Judge not least you be judged Or something like that! When I get all frustrated I only wish I could blog it out like you do. What a beautiful journal you have here. The good times bad times give me some of that.

  20. I love it. Keep him on the tit. :) He's your last. You'll be sorry if you don't! hahaha.

    Eventually when he's 13, he won't want to sleep with momma...so who cares if he sleeps with you now?

    Let him have scissors. Its not like he's gonna cut his hair and make it ANY WORSE than YOU trying to cut his hair.

    Let him be dirty. Change his nappy and get on with life. Its not like you have the swine flu and have to lysol everything.

    Let him stand on the table. Maybe he'll be an architect building tall buildings when he's older, then you'll be sorry when he's stuck behind a desk cause you wouldn't let him climb on the table.

    Taking toys away from the older kids will make them realize that life doesn't revolve around them. It revolves around who can make the biggest stink/scream/etc. It'll also show them how to be more sneaky with their toys! (haha)

    As for Nursing. What do you think Boobs were made for? Certainly not "man needs..." Psh. They're made for babies, and toddlers and whoever else you want to give them to I guess.

    I hear Breastmilk is good in coffee! HAHAHA

    Have fun with that.


  21. Oh, my, I can't imagine who would judge you! We can't imagine the road you walk every day in parenting three preschoolers & a toddler - the insanity must be overwhelming! As I was out with my toddler the other day, I thought of you taking all your little ones out in public, and I honestly cannot imagine. I know that you know that each of your children is a precious blessing, but what a rough stage! And I completely understand about giving your little one everything he wants to avoid tantrums - it's good that you're not doing as much of that, but I do it a lot myself. He mostly has tantrums for his daddy, because he's much more strict than I am! :) Praying for you & thinking of you!

  22. Are you implying that there are people out there who DO have it all figured out? I've yet to meet anyone who thinks they got it exactly right. All I see are people who tell us to learn from their mistakes.

  23. After reading the comments, I feel like I just have to say to Tam, wow. That comment was kind of harsh. While I will say that my son never slept through the night until I weaned him, so the weaning may stop the night wakings somewhat, wow. How long you breastfeed is your decision, and only you know what's best for you and your child.

  24. This is why I love you. The honesty is refreshing!
    My third is only 12 months old and I'm already appalled at what I let her get away with! No duct tape here but I told her father the other day that I would be looking into a barking collar!

  25. My older neighbor was over the other day and we were discussing my 2 year olds and her 2 year old grandson. She said that a long time ago, there was a family in our neighborhood whose child wouldn't sleep. A seasoned mom, she had 4 or 5 other children, none of whom were getting their rest due to the littlest tyrant! Mom and Dad weren't sleeping, everyone was exhausted. So they put him in the basement! No kidding! Crib in the basement, shut the door, went to bed!

    The marvels of a multi-story home.

    No judgement here! Hang in there!

  26. I just want to say AMEN sister.

    I love your blog and I read it all the time. You have boosted my confidence as a mother. I always think if she can do it with her four....I can do two.

    The two year old is a special, gut-wrenching creature. I have one and I am at a total loss on a daily basis. I am also working on taking back the control and frankly it sucks.
    Hang in there and keep doing what you are doing!

  27. Hang in there Jen and BE STRONG! Control and consistency is the BEST thing to get over this, however it will take some time. I am dealing with a MINOR case of this as well. Our 3 year old doesn't want to share with baby brother and baby brother wants everything that BIG brother has, OF COURSE. Oh and the baby is throwing food, plates, silverware on the floor at every meal time, so much for mopping. Then comes the screaming. He screams like he is trying to talk (he enjoys the sound of his voice)and ALWAYS at the most inappropriate times. At the dinner table, in the car, while I am trying to have a conversation on the phone and in all public places. On top of that his brother takes it upon himself to do the same thing at the same time. So we have two kids screaming and making obnoxious noises...no matter what you say they continue on and on and on. Anyways, I feel for you. Hang in there!
    C from AZ.

  28. Henry sounds a lot like my niece.. and also, a lot like me at his age. My aunt used to ask my mom "What's wrong with her?" until finally one day my mom just broke down and screamed at her, "NOTHING! NOTHING IS WRONG WITH HER!!!"

    She used to hug me through my tantrums. Not cute, soft hugs, a big tight squeeze. Not enough to hurt, but for some reason the pressure just made me calm down.

    One way or another you will get through it. None of us parents have it all figured out because just when you think you do, your kids will let you know otherwise. Hang in there.


  29. No judgement here. My 2 year old (turned 2 last month) has been throwing the biggest tantrums. In our tiny two bedroom city apt I am pretty sure the entire building hears it. She doesnt sleep in a crib so I have been putting her in this weird nook we have and put the baby gate in front of her-its the same way we discipline the dog when she misbehaves**please dont judge** She wakes up at all times at night and wakes up her 3 year old sister who she shares a room with, and then they both cry all night until we allow them in bed. Hopefully this phase will end soon, my 3 year old was not a tantrum thrower and a very cautious child (no climbing on things, no running with scisors) on the other hand I have caught my 2 yo hanging off the bathroom curtain rug, when I asked her how she got there she pointed to the sink. But she is so freaking cute and snuggly that I cant help but just laugh and hug her. Good luck with yours!

  30. Oh, absolutely NO judging here. My daughter is over the 2 1/2 mark and still nursing (I've got it down to once at bedtime and just CAN'T get her to give it up). When you get this parenting gig figured out, PLEASE tell all on your blog. Just when I think I've outsmarted them, everything changes. Remember, you are AWESOME :)

  31. Here's our family philosophy: we do whatever works at the time. For a season, that may mean nursing a toddler in the middle of the night. When it stops "working" (in this case: mommy is DONE), then we try something else.

    There really is no "right" way, and we are all just doing our best, right?

  32. BIG mom hugs, Jen...
    (and if this appears twice, that just means i'm sending twice as many hugs, AND it's late, and i get confused at posting...LOL)

  33. I can only imagine what you're going through! I have two 2 year old's and have always slept with all our bedroom doors closed since the beginning. Of course I had the baby monitor & whatnot, but once I knew they could sleep through the night the monitor was turned off. During the first year when they woke up in the early morning I'd make them a bottle hand it to them and go right back to bed. They'd drink it & go back to bed too. By the time they were about a year they no longer even needed that early morning feeding & if they did wake up they'd just play quietly. Maybe I didn't do it right or wasn't "attentive" enough, but I can honestly say it's been a rare occasion that I've had to drag myself out of bed before 9am & I feel so blessed! I go absolutely batty when I'm not getting enough sleep. It's just far too important to me.

  34. Hey Jen--still nursing my 2.5 year old over here. Tantrums come and go, and some nights are better than others...but for us the nursing has been a centering act that helps her get her bearings to avoid the tantrum entirely. So I still nurse during the day when it's convenient and I do nurse to sleep, etc. at night. As for sleeping through the night--no advice here except to see if he's getting teeth! Mine is getting molars at the moment and it's making her very cranky. Good luck!

  35. Jen, have you heard of Dr. Gordon's night weaning method? I intend to apply this here.


  36. been there done that. you have my sincerest blessings. Good luck and I have no suggestions. He's always gonna be a little behind the trips until they are mostly adults. He's in for a lot of frustration and so are you. Prayers forthcoming.

  37. Two plus one in Oz9/24/09, 3:56 PM

    Long time reader from Australia here :) I have twins who just turned 4, plus a 20 month old. I'm still breastfeeding the 20 month old "on demand" which means that she'll feed 5 - 8 times in 24 hours. They're all very quick feeds though (a few minutes each time, but longer before bed at night and during the night). In the last month though she has only been calling once a night, has a feed, then straight back to sleep. Our sleep history with her (and my older two, but that is another story!) is pretty chequered, read: ABSOLUTELY SHOCKING SLEEPER!! so this once a night thing is quite a novelty! We got to this stage with little to no tears, and with persisting with my husband settling her using whatever methods he found worked, if she woke before midnight. I am committed to the benefits of breastfeeding, from a nutritional perspective and as a source of comfort. I too have been a human dummy (or pacifier in your language!). Given Henry has pretty good language, are you able to have conversations with him around his breastfeeding, particularly during the night? Can you talk to him about being "a big boy now", that "your big brother and sisters don't have milk in the night" (given he wants to BE like the three of them!), and that there's "no milk before the sun comes up" etc. Elizabeth Pantley has a great book called "The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers" which you may find useful too?

    I totally get the tantrums and carrying on about everything. My 20 month old thinks she's just turned 4 as well, and wants to do the same things, and don't we know it when it doesn't go her way!! It's very age appropriate, that is the tantrumming, but the first time round there weren't older siblings offering all sorts of wonderous ideas and enticements! It was so much easier to control their environment with the first sibling/s, with subsequent kids that's impossible.

    You can only do what works for you, your husband and the kids. Listen to your heart, and do what YOU think is right, don't let others judge your breasfeeding decisions. You are giving Henry the most amazing gift, despite the difficulties that comes with it. I firmly believe breastfeeding a toddler is one of the most rewarding experiences. It's just so lovely to have a child that can tell you how much they enjoy those feeds.

    All the best and good luc!

  38. You have my sympathies! You WILL get the parenting thing all figured out around about the time they are all grown up and out of your home and you are a grandparents!!! Then when the screaming becomes too much you can send the screamers home to their parents. Until then I'm sorry to say you've got a ways to go because you haven't even got to the teenage part. Makes you wonder if the species on this earth that eat their young can hear screaming in a tone we humans are not privy to???LOL

  39. If you can laugh, nod knowingly and hurt for you all at the same time, I was doing it. Of course I don't have the 3 kids ahead of the screamer... but I do have a screamer ;~) And the crib vs duct tape issue... my head hurts from knowingly nodding my head so hard. We take crib scream breaks in this house too! Sometimes Chase, sometime me ;~)