You may recall the cherished moments I went on about last week… the sweet snuggles, the fantastic firsts, the belly laughs and how amazing it is to experience them all times three. Well, the same rationale applies to the downsides that you’d rather not recall – the spit up, runny noses, exploding diapers, temper tantrums and tiny tyrants – we’ve got all of those times three too! I get through the day by focusing on the positive – the smiles, the hugs and yes, even those snot-nosed sloppy kisses. But, I’d be remiss - -and downright dishonest – if I didn’t reveal some of the more trying times that our triplets provide.
For starters, there is the noise. The cacophony of three screaming toddlers (often amplified by their arguing siblings in the background) is sometimes just too much to bear. It gets insanely loud. There is just no more articulate way to put it. It is deafeningly, horrifyingly, maddeningly LOUD! And naturally, when the trio gets going, I’m not usually in my best form. I might be hungry or tired or ornery or stressed out (who wouldn’t be?!) and to my own dismay, often find myself screaming above the din just to be heard.
Needless to say, that doesn’t work. You know what worked? The night I took the trash out and didn’t come back. Truth be told, I just didn’t come back as quickly as they expected. I deliberately took out the trash to get away from the noise, to clear my head, to get some fresh air. And I stayed outside long enough to do just that. Long enough to take a few deep breaths, look at the stars, pray for patience and brace myself to address the din. It was just a few minutes, less than five, I’d say. But you know what? When I walked in, it was quiet. You could hear a pin drop. This is a strategy that I’d highly recommend – I think it’s why they say “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” – they just forgot to mention that it’s good to go back again!
Then there’s the mess. The “mess” can fall into any number of categories – food (in the form of literally “mashed” potatoes, flying hot dogs, spaghetti face and numerous other iterations), bodily functions (including but not limited to boogies as hair gel, poop as an art form and our home as a “Vomitorium”), toys (ranging from the piercing pain of Legos underfoot to the “wall as canvas” approach to arts and crafts). All of these “messes” are a natural part of having kids – or at least that’s what I tell myself to remain at least partially sane. But, when they are multiplied by three, well, let’s just say that even a Magic Eraser can’t help. Trust me, I’ve tried! Here’s the thing about the messes though – when we first thought about having kids, I had some real reservations – a fair amount of them rooted in the fear of the mess – sticky hands, runny noses, constant drooling – I really didn’t think I was up for any of it. But, it turns out, I am. There have been many things about parenting I didn’t think I was up for (most of it, in fact!) but, the many messes have shown me that learning to roll with it, to accept things as they are, is one of the best things about having kids… whether they arrive one at a time or in a bundle of three!
So, while it’s true that when they are good, they are very very good and when they are bad, they are horrid, they’ve taught me a lot about myself and that, I have to say, is very very good.