William, Charlie, Ikey, Benny, Henry

William, Charlie, Ikey, Benny, Henry

Friday, June 7, 2013

Good Old Days

It's the last day of school, officially summer here in Baraboo, Wisconsin, but based on the cold drizzle and dreariness out my window, you'd never guess. I have no school-age children, yet it still feels like an imaginary hourglass has been flipped and the sands of summer are already slipping away. Mother Nature--one, Wisconsinites--zip. I actually think we've been gypped since Memorial Day, but what can you do? Add my name to the list of people DESPERATE for warmer weather, I suppose. We're crawling the walls, bored out of our minds, not-so-patiently awaiting a much-needed change of pace. On the up-side, rainy days have meant more episodes of "Word Girl," and it's obviously paying off. The other night at dinner table William said, "Tell Pa his "random" dinner is "decent"."

I thrive in warm weather, so it's not at all surprising that my mood and motivation have taken a bit of a dip over the past few days. Being cooped up in June feels unacceptable, and irritability has hit an all-time high. It's the non-stop diaper-changing, face-washing, nose-wiping, floor-cleaning, clothes-washing, playroom-tidying, misbehavior-scolding, 4-year-old-negotiating, baby-nursing, fussy-infant-rocking, fight-refereeing, and overall house-sharing that makes me want to jump off a bridge when not tempered with a healthy mix of walks, outings, and park days. Anyone who has stayed home with kids knows it's a dirty, lonely job...exhaustion that's equal parts mental and physical. I love my kids, but man...this stay-at-home mom has been more like a stay-at-home "blah-m" this week.

As I type (one-handed), a very feverish 10-month-old is sprawled across my lap. My naturally "poor" sleeper (to put it mildly), is only surrendering to this much-needed rest due to the snug embrace of my left arm. Two weeks ago all five kids came down with a real doozy of a cold, and poor Henry topped his off with the ill-timed emergence of four top teeth. After three completely sleepless nights, it was off to the doctor this morning to confirm my latest suspicion...ear infection. Oh boy.

Three whole boxes of Kleenex later, the other four boys are over their colds and back to their loud, messy, wild, rough, selves. I'm experiencing a host of issues with the triplets that I never  encountered with William. To say they test my nerves is a massive understatement. With preemies, you're constantly subtracting the length of prematurity from their chronological age to determine what behaviors are appropriate (developmentally) for their calculated "adjusted age." Well, the boys' adjusted age is officially two tomorrow (my due date was June 7th, they were born March 8th), and they still eat like absolute pigs. No excuses, they have zero table etiquette. I'm talking bowls on heads (followed by the exclamation, "hat!"), food deliberately thrown (both on the floor and at each other), milk shaken out of sippy cups (I don't care what the label says...we've tried every sippy cup on the shelf and my boys still find a way to make a mess), and don't even get me started on their inability to use utensils (they eat yogurt with their bare hands, okay?). My patience for this messiness has expired and I've recently turned to discipline for blatant piggishness.

Meal time shenanigans. Not funny.
Breakfast table...danger zone.
I wish you could see what happens when you try to stop one triplet from eating with inexcusable manners (or lack thereof). The remaining boys come to his defense by copying the behavior and group laughter takes over the kitchen. I'm 100% outnumbered in my efforts and it's beyond frustrating. Does it seem acceptable to have a "peanut butter mohawk" every day after lunch? Not in my book. The suggestion box is open.

I understand that boys play differently than girls, but I'll tell you what...I had a boy and we never had ripped books, broken toys, objects thrown in anger or protest, brawling to settle disputes, etc. There's way more "acting out" than I remember with William and perhaps it's simply mob mentality, but I find myself saying, "Seriously, what's wrong with you guys?!?" multiple times per day. Don't get me wrong, they're good, sweet, funny, extremely charismatic boys, but every time Charlie swipes at me in anger, or Benny looks around the room to find the heaviest thing he can throw after getting in trouble, or Ikey takes off running and never looks back (despite my sternest warnings), I wonder what I'm doing wrong this time.

This particular park is my favorite. The boys can run for miles before they get into trouble.
And then there's the house. Yikes. Spring took forever to arrive, while the school year whizzed by in the blink of an eye. As our student helpers walked the stage, the skeletal beginnings of our newly erected garage fell drastically short of completion. Darn. Fortunately my father-in-law, carpenter extraordinaire, is picking up the slack. Jason and I paint every night after the kids go to bed, but it never seems like enough to put a dent in the workload, which inevitably leads to a lot of stressing over the completion of this seemingly endless ordeal. I start many sentences with "Once we get into our new house...(fill in the blank with anything positive)," but my fear is that maybe I can't attain my fantasy scenarios under any roof in the near future.

Excavation...finally! (Weeks behind schedule due to rain)

Concrete shortly after...

And we have the beginnings of a garage...

Breezeway to the mudroom. Our mudroom was the driving force behind the new garage. After just one winter of coats, hats, mittens, and boots (and that didn't even include Henry's attire), I couldn't imagine how we'd manage without a single coat closet. The thought of a big pile of outerwear in the middle of the kitchen floor was enough to send us running to the design board.
My perceived rapid passing of time is extremely anxiety-provoking. I'm anxious for my kids to reach a more manageable age, yet I cry because they're growing up too fast. I look at photos from just a year ago, and can't believe how much they've changed right before my very eyes. I heard a video clip of William's voice from last summer and wondered, "When did his voice ever sound that little???"  Despite my hardest and most deliberate effort to lock special moments away in the very deepest part of soul, I can't. I don't think anyone can. Maybe it's nature's own built-in emotional protection. Hanging onto every precious snippet of life...your newborn's cry, the sound of your child's most raucous laughter, their wide-eyed excitement, the feeling of chubby, slightly sticky, toddler hands on your face, the way their eyelashes look when they sleep, watching them run with wild abandon, their silky hair in the sunlight, their look of concentration, the smell of their breath, their baby scent, the feel of their skin, the weight of their body as you carry them to bed...is utterly impossible. I just don't think the heart can fully contain the enormity of those things. It has to be our purpose to enjoy each and every "right now" because time doesn't wait for us. As the saying goes, this is "as good as it gets."

Love this crew

In the series finale of The Office, Andy Bernard says, "I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've left them." Don't we all. I often look at our disgusting, chaotic, mealtime scene, or listen to the sheer volume of our five children horse-playing throughout the house, and wonder if I'll ever long for these specific moments. The answer is undoubtable...YES. I'll crave these days terribly because mixed in with all the craziness (and naughtiness) is my last year with a super cool boy before we launch him into school. I dread the days of not having William by my side because these last four years have been the absolute, hands-down, best of my life.

I'll totally want to relive the days when my super hilarious triplets are learning to talk, running everywhere they need to go, and reminding me on a daily basis why I find age two so hysterical. I have been given a rare opportunity to experience motherhood in triplet territory. Thank God they came along and upset my normal life.




I'll miss having a "baby" with all my heart. Even on my most tired day, I wouldn't trade these sleepless nights of cuddling and nursing for anything. As our baby tries his hardest to be big like his brothers, I'll always yearn to hold him like a baby just one more time.

10 months

I can't wait for the house to be done, but I love spending nights chatting with my husband over paint brushes and rollers, working on a project together. There's something special about creating something together, another piece of our story...I'm sure there will be plenty of years when we reminisce fondly about being able to physically do this kind of work.

So, the big challenge is appreciating that the entire summer is stretched out before us and choosing to love every minute of it (even the rainy, cold minutes...the struggles with the kids minutes...and the hard work on the house minutes). I want to remember the funny things happening right now (For example, the triplets have no idea that they look alike. We discovered this when Charlie looked in the mirror, pointed, and said "Ben Ben!" Now, every time one sees a picture of himself or his reflection, he points and names one of his look-alike counterparts.) And just to prove that life is never standing still, Charlie just came into the kitchen and said "More, please," after I just got done writing about their unrefined behavior. (Don't be fooled, though...Benny went on a shoving rampage this morning and took out all three brothers. Luckily he spared the "Bee-Bee," as they call Henry.)

That's all for now. The boys are about ready to nap and the sun is FINALLY starting to peek out. Should my sick baby decide to sleep (in a crib), I may join Jason for some painting. I look forward to sharing the next few weeks and all the changes they'll bring. Until then, hope your summer if off to a great start!


  1. You and your family are amazing!

  2. what a beautiful post emily...you nail it on the head...feelings of being a mom...the crazy yet time we love and don't want to pass. I love that quote from the office. Perfect. Adorable pictures. Adorable boys!