Part of the fun of being pregnant is getting to share the news with people. The fun is more than just sharing our excitement, but also watching their reaction after announcing that “we’re pregnant!....with triplets!”. Their face typically turns from joy to shock/horror. Should we be scared? What do they know that we don’t? Their fear is likely the same as ours…. the unknown. What better way to calm those fears (in theory) than to spend a day in the shoes of triplet parents. And so began the concept of Triplet Boot Camp.
JR and I were invited by parents (“M” and “A”) of 10mo old triplet girls last Saturday to work and learn. We arrived bearing coffee/pastries at 8:30am and within minutes were on the floor with their girls. Our first lesson was “stranger anxiety” as the girls were trying to figure out who these strange guys/novices were. Seriously, was it that obvious? They decided to put us through our first test: a chorus of crying and some spit up. We managed to stumble through the test and all eventually calmed down (the babies did too). Ok, that wasn’t so difficult. Lesson #1: Remain calm and confident. Babies can & will sense your fear.
Next was putting them down for their 10am nap: checking diapers, zipping into sleeping sacks, starting the white noise on the Ipod. No fussing? That was too easy. Can’t imagine all 10mo old infants go down that easy. Was it beginners luck, excellent parenting or just sweet natured babies? I think it’s a combination of all the above. All I know is that I hope ours will be as easy. Lesson #1002: Love a sleep sack. Wonder if they come in my size (oh yeah, it’s called a Snuggie)
Getting to know “M” and “A” was awesome. We have so much in common (other than just triplets). What struck me was how easy they made parenting look. Triplets are often referred to as “super twins”, which I guess infers they are the offspring of super parents. Or perhaps it takes a super parent to raise them. All I know is that these super daddies have it figured out; from strict scheduling to homemade baby food & wipes. To video monitors, triple eating table (brilliant!), and all the priceless time to spend with their babies. Lesson # 1208: We have LOTS to learn from them.
After spending some time getting to know each other, baby duty started back at 11:30 by getting them up from their nap and changing my first diaper.!!! (Not sure why everyone is surprised that I’ve never changed a diaper until this very moment.) My baby was calm and patient, staring at the mobile while I stumbled thru a FULL diaper (thank you sweetie), wipes, diaper cream, and wrapping a tight-ish diaper. It wasn’t my best work but it should hold a blowout. Lesson #1498: With girls, wipe front to back.
Next, the girls were fed lunch. The babies are fed in a triple high chair of sorts. Picture a Formica table with adjustable legs, 3 cutouts in the table top with drop-in seats, all facing the same direction. We slid the babies into their seats and watched them get ready to eat (OMG how adorable). “A” was amazing, giving each a generous helping of puréed vegetables and praising the girls for a job well done. Very good eaters and good sleepers… maybe these really are super twins! Again, couldn’t help but hope ours will be the same. Lesson #1765: Homemade baby food is found online but I think “A” has a second career coming with a baby cookbook!
With the babies fed and dressed, it was now time for the daddies to have lunch…in town! WHAT? We are leaving the house??? OMG! So off we went strapping the triple stroller to the top of the SUV, 3 stroller seats inside the SUV, 3 babies into their car seats, (all while keeping cool in the 100+ temps). A true production, but manageable (we could do this! maybe). The real production is the amount of attention that 3 babies get in public! Of course who couldn’t resist three adorable babies dressed in matching pretty dresses?? Once settled at the table in their high chairs, the girls (all of 9+ months old) were absolute angels (yes, they must definitely be super twins). I was amazed at this to say the least but I was more surprised by the forwardness of passers-by who could not help themselves from questions & comments. Don’t get me wrong, it was all very sweet and positive. These weren’t even my children but I was totally proud to be associated with them. Although felt bad for “M” and “A” who could barely finish a bite before fielding another question. Lesson#2155: Patience is critical: Not only for the babies but for the well-meaning public as well.
Once back at home, we unload the babies from the SUV, then unload the diapers before going down for their next nap (sounded like a good idea for me also, but I digress…). We talked about what happens after they’re born, the NICU, night nurse / doula for the first few months, then a nanny going forward. The more time we spent with the triplets and their parents, the more confident we became that we could manage our own. The unknown is becoming more familiar. Lesson #3225: Three babies at once ARE doable if you have the right attitude and the cooperation of your partner. I think we have both.
Before we knew it, it was dinner time! JR and I feel like pros by now. Little instruction needed as we get the babies up, changed, and into their feeding table. The girls loved eating pureed broccoli and salmon. JR feeds, I wipe faces. Lesson #4731: Teamwork is critical (as is “A”’s recipe for broccoli-salmon!)
After dinner we all had swim time! Outfit change into swim diapers (who knew?) and THE most adorable 2 piece bathing suits (well, just the girls as JR forgot his two piece) completed the package. The girls have been taking swim lessons and anxious to show off their skills like floating on their back followed by a roll under water. Yep, these girls have skills!
Bath time was next. Now, this activity is an assembly line. With spa music in the background, each baby gets special attention from bath to lotion from “A” and “M” (amazing to see) before their last bottle of the day. While I get comfortable in the glider (nice!) with one of my 3 new bff’s, the lights are turned down and the music turns soft. A beautiful quiet comes over the room. Just “M”,”A”, JR and I with 3 of the most adorable children I have ever had the privilege of getting to know. It was truly a beautiful/emotional end to a wonderful day. Bottles are done, babies are burped, sleep sack, white noise for the night and before you know it, Boot Camp is done. NO! I wanna spend more time with the girls!!! Lesson #6798: The days will go by quickly (as with their growing up) so cherish each day on its own.
Though we were strangers at first, as the day wore on the smiles got a little wider and the hugs got a little tighter and the laughs got a little louder (and I’m not just referring to the girls). We completely fell in love with that family that day and we missed them the next. People often say that taking care of children is a lot of work. That may be true. But if JR and I can work as a team like “M” and “A”, the work will be manageable and the payoff will be WAY worth it.
Lesson # 9209: We went into this weekend hoping to learn how to take care of triplets but what we came away with was an experience we will never forget, friends we hope to have for a lifetime and the knowledge that our children will change our lives in ways we never expected…..And We Can’t wait!