Woolsey Family Chronicles

Documenting the journey of raising triplets and their wild big sister

Octopus Arms May 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 3:03 am

As the parents of triplets and a three year old, Chris and I are struggling with the obvious challenge of imbalance between the number of children we have to the number of adults in our house. I was talking on the phone to the guy at El Dorado Disposal voicing my unhappiness with the fact that they did not empty one of my two trash cans and the importance of that considering that I have newborn triplets and that we dispose of approximately 70 dirty diapers a week on top of all the other trash we accumulate. He laughed and then he said, “if only you were an octopus”. That was one of the best comments I think I have ever heard about being a mom of triplets. Yes, why can’t I be an octopus with all of those wonderful arms? Humans are not designed to have more than one baby at a time logistically. This fact presents a daily challenge.

One of my main goals in caring for these sweet babies is to make sure nobody is left crying for too long. I told myself when I was pregnant with this brood of babies that there would have to be crying babies. That I could not attend to all of those babies and that they would just have to cry at times. Well, this is proving too difficult for me. Of course babies cry. I know that and I know that babies never die of crying. But there is a certain amount of extra guilt that comes along with mothering triplets. It seems like it is very easy for one baby to get left out to cry while the others are getting held and comforted. This is too heartbreaking for me which is why I end up doing things that are backbreaking instead. I lift two babies up at once and carry them around, I breastfeed a baby and bottlefeed another on my lap, I have even pumped and held two babies on my lap. I perform ridiculous acrobatic acts to try and make my babies feel loved and not left out just because they happened to be born a triplet. Pretty soon they will be too big for me to be able to perform these acts of heroism and I guess they will just have to cry. Too bad I can’t be an octopus.

Since I can’t be an octopus I ordered the bottle slings which came today. They hold bottles and attach to the top of the carseat to assist in the feeding process when you find yourself out numbered by a pack of hysterically hungry “munchkins” as Ava calls them. Since I know you are all waiting with baited breath as to the success of these bottle slings, I will update about my experience with them as soon as I find myself needing to use them.

Elsa is having a big spitup day today and I feel so badly for her. She has literally been spitting up her food all day and I can’t keep up with the outfits. She looks so miserable. I wish somebody could help her because 5 more months is too long for all of us to wait for her to grow out of this.

I returned my breast pump today to Sutter where I was renting it. I was kind of sad to see it go but happy at the same time. No more pumping unless I need to for Preston. The girls will just be on formula since Violet isn’t a good nurser and Elsa has her acid reflux issues and needs special stuff that is thickened. It is just Preston and I. Pumping breastmilk is one less thing that I have to do everyday which is nice.

Well, it is another busy busy weekend ahead with four kids and a household to run! Hope everyone has a nice weekend.

Until next time . . . the mothership is signing off.


3 Months Old Today! May 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 2:48 am

It is hard to believe that the babies are 3 months old today. Three months ago these babies were ripped from my abdomen and entered the world healthy but small. The three months have gone by very quickly and if I had to sum up my experience as mother to triplets these past months I would say it has been the busiest time in my life and I have been filled with more love for these babies than I would’ve ever imagined. And I am not just saying that because it sounds good . . . I truly mean it.

Papa and grandma have been here visiting (aka Chris’s parents) and it is always a wonderful treat. I have many hands helping hold babies and feed babies and they are even on night duty. They call themselves “the domestics” and they not only do babies, they do laundry, dishes and basic house cleanup from sun up to sunset. They made it possible for me to go out to dinner with my friends last night which was so much fun. Thank you grandma and papa for your hard work and domestic service that is priceless.

Today was Ava’s last day of preschool at Country Days and we had a big party with a bouncehouse and a breakfast consisting of donuts, cupcakes and sugary muffins. It was a dream come true for Ava. We watched a video of the year with Ava and all her friends at Country Days and I was so struck by how much Ava has grown over the year. She evolved from a baby to a little girl over this year and it reminded me of how fast these years fly by and how your baby turns into a little girl practically overnight. I take those moments of clarity to remind myself to enjoy and appreciate these babies while they are so tiny and sweet and precious. Ava’s teachers Miss Teri and Miss April came up to me on separate occasions to tell me how much they have enjoyed having Ava in class the past year and how well behaved she is following all the rules and treating others well. I was a proud mom. But what really made me feel proud of Ava was when Miss April told me that more times than not they can see big changes in kids when new babies are in the house but that they have never seen one negative change in Ava. She is the same old funny Ava. She has transitioned so well to having three new babies in her house taking up so much of mommy and daddy’s time. That kind of change is big in the world of a three year old.

While Ava has made me crazy with all her “helping” with the babies and invading personal space while we are trying to feed the babies, etc., she loves those babies so much. She says they are “beautiful babies” and calls them sweetie pie.

The babies are officially cooing and smiling and we think we have gotten a laugh out of Preston and Violet. Elsa would laugh but she is too busy barfing all the time.

Nanny Laura says that Preston is a real ladies man. He looks deeply in your eyes with his beautiful blue eyes and gives his little cockeyed smile. Preston is mommy’s boy – my lone breastfeeder and my buddy when I go out and about. I bring Preston with me most places I go because he is so easy.

Violet is all personality and she likes to talk the most. When Violet talks she wants to be taken seriously – it is like she is having a conversation with you because her coos have different intonations and her facial expressions tell their own story. Something about Violet is so scrumptous. When I hold her up on my shoulder with her face next to mine it is very tempting to just gobble her up. Instead of eating her, I kiss her about a thousand times. She is so cuddy and loving. Violet loves to sleep in about an hour or two past Elsa and Violet in the morning. She usually starts stirring around 7:30 or 8am and wakes up with a smile on her face.

Elsa is a beauty. I am the mom so I think all my children are beautiful but Elsa is truly beautiful. She has these almond shaped big brown eyes that I take credit for, this cute little turned up nose which I don’t take credit for, and rosebud lips. I could stare at her all day. She is sweet as can be and loves to stare also but she will turn on you very quickly if she is hungry. The screaming escalates to alarming levels very quickly and you wish that the bottlewarmer took less than 4 minutes to warm the bottle.

So, this is my update for tonight. I am hoping for only one wakeup tonight and to maybe sleep to 6am. One can dream you know.

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.


A Bad Idea May 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 2:01 pm

On Friday I had a great idea. I was so proud of my fun and ambitious idea and when I presented it to Chris he also agreed that it was a fantastic idea. Since Ava was going to go with Gigi to the spring fling at Blue Oak School I came up with the idea that Chris and I should take all three babies on a shopping outing in Folsom. Ambitious, yes . . . practical, no . . . a good idea to take three babies out on the town at 5:30 at night . . . no. A bad idea. What ensued over the next couple hours was a bit crazy and not condusive to maintaining a sane disposition. It started off rocky when we had the two babies snapped into the snap n go stroller and the other baby in the magic baby sling. Once we stepped foot into Pier One the natives were restless. Elsa started crying and then Violet joined in. Preston was fussing in the sling that was proving to be not very magic at the moment. Chris and I quickly jumped into gear, grabbing bottles and binkies and shoving them frantically into screaming mouths. I must not let the general public know that we have three month old triplets and we were dumb enough to bring them all out into the world for a shopping trip at 5:30 in the evening, and that the expedition was already failing. We would get one baby settled down and sleeping and then another would wake up and start crying. They were tired and they did not want to be tied down in their carseat browsing the sale on outdoor rugs at Pier One. As we found out they also did not appreciate buying diapers and wipes at Babies R Us or frolicking down the wine section of Cost Plus World Market. At 7pm we ran into neighbors inside Famous Footwear and we had two screaming babies in the snap n go. I was initially embarrassed but I quickly let it go and thought that this is just life with infants and did I expect them to be perfect citizens of the world when we put them in less than ideal situations? My neighbor said that he couldn’t believe how quiet their cries were and that his daughter, who was with him, would really belt it out when she was little. See, they were all crying, but what polite and quiet cries they had! It could be worse. And it got worse. We headed over to Islands and called in some burgers. There was a 25 minute wait for our burgers and we would experience each and every painful 25 minutes in our car with three babies whose quiet and polite cries had excalated to a shrill scream. This video clip captured a little bit of the chaos:

Was the big juicy burger and greasy fries worth the wait in a car of screaming babies? We faltered a few times weighing our options and then decided that indeed we could not pass up the burgers and fries. During our burger wait when we couldn’t take the screaming any more we got each and every baby out of the car seat and I started nursing like a mad woman in the front seat of the car. We were shuffling babies around in the front seat like they were a deck of cards, hoping we wouldn’t drop one on the ground, or worse, out the window. I had Elsa on one boob and Preston on the other boob and Chris was holding Violet. For a time there was peace. Then we had to load them back up to head home and unrest resumed. Chris and I got home, put the babies to bed and then we went to bed. It was a bad idea but we don’t regret trying. We didn’t lose it or get stressed out or hostile with each other. We just dealt with our decision and realized that we won’t do that again anytime soon. Meanwhile, the babies are doing great. They are eating 3 oz. bottles every 3 hours. The night before last they slept from 9 to 2 and then from 2 to 6. I cannot wait — I mean I think about it all the time — until these four children sleep all through the night. That’s right, we not only have the three babies waking us up but we also have Ava waking us up in the middle of the night. The babies are 3 months old on the 22nd which means we are that much closer to better sleeping. It is pool season already and Ava is in heaven. She forgot how to swim over the winter but it only took a few days for her best dog paddle to come back to life. Next summer we will have all the kids in the pool and that should be interesting. Until next time. . . the mothership is singing off.


Celebrating Motherhood May 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 1:51 am
On Thursday night the girls were unhappy. It was 5:30 and I was all alone with the babies while Chris and Ava were on their way home from the gym. Elsa had spit up for about the 10th time in 10 minutes and was miserable and most likely hungry. Violet woke up and was crying a sort of cry like she was in pain. My best guess is that she had a bad case of gas. So there I was trying to console two little girls who were only consolable if I held them and cuddled them. The problem was that I could only hold one girl at a time and so I always had one screaming baby on my hands. What I did was take turns picking one up and cuddling them and making them happy until the other was crying so hard I thought they were going to burst a blood vessel, then I would do a baby swap and try and appease the other baby. Meanwhile the Senator was fast asleep, thank god.

Then Chris and Ava came home and Ava was hungry so I passed Elsa off to Chris for an early dinner and I was trying to feed Violet and get Ava her dinner. This is when an extra pair of hands would have come in handy. If only I had one of those nifty bottle proppers a mom in my triplet chat room shared with us. I had always made fun of them and those who resort to using them until this very moment. Now I think they are a genius invention as I am holding a hysterical and hungry Violet and trying to get Ava’s peas and corn into a bowl to microwave. So, then I set Violet down in her swing and think to myself . . . I wonder if I can make my own bottle propper using the toys hanging down from the swing. So that is what I did. I shimmied the bottle into the opening of one of the rings and it was in perfect position to feed Violet.

Pleased with my own cleverness, I peacefully prepared the rest of Ava’s dinner. And then I noticed a card from my mom’s group El Dorado Mother’s of Multiples and inside read:

Mom you are a shining start though the world doesn’t know your name.
You have no fancy title like Baroness or Dame.
Mom you really are a star, my mother mentor and friend.
A Nobel Prize for motherhood is what I’d recommend.
And if I won the lottery I’d share my win with you
I’d take you Mom on a spending spree each day the whole year through!
You may not be famous, as your face is known to few.
But Mom I think you are wonderful and I’m so proud of you!

Well, this just put me over the edge I was teatering on. I teared up and got emotional. There are a lot of mothers out there reading this and I want to wish you a very happy Mother’s Day. I know it is a bit cliche but there absolutely is no harder job that being a mother. A special little person or persons is relying on you 24 hours a day and this is no small job.

Anyway, my sleep deprivation has hit a new low. Normally I am so tired in the middle of the night that I am literally changing and feeding babies while 75% asleep. In the morning I have absolutely no idea what happened the night before. It is getting exceptionally bad because now we let the babies wake us up instead of waking them up at 1 and 4am. Well, now Chris and I are so tired that if we have a crying baby we can’t remember when they last ate or what the heck is really going on at all. Sometimes we think we are feeding one baby and when the bottle is almost gone we realize it is another baby.

Last night I remembered what happened because it made me laugh so hard at 4am. I had Violet and I was at least 75% asleep. I was feeding her in my sleep but I kept letting the bottle drop and I would be woken by the sound of sucking air. I would shake myself awake and tell myself I must do a better job of taking care of this child. I must prop the bottle higher so she does not suck air and give herself terrible gas. Well, lets just say I was awoken by the sound of air sucking on about 8 to 10 different occasions. The feeding session hit a new low when I looked down only to realize that I was trying to feed Violet from the wrong side of the bottle. That’s right, I had the nipple pointed toward me and I was trying to fit the bottom of the bottle into Violet’s small little mouth. I must say that Violet probably sensed how pathetic I was at that moment because she was so patient with me. She didn’t squirm or squack or cry. She just patiently waited for me to get my act together and proceeded to finish the bottle. How sad.

A dad who participates in my triplet chatroom recently confessed that he dropped one of his trips. He feels so guilty and wonders if it is a normal parently problem or a triplet condition. I know for me it is a triplet problem. I have on numerous occasions worried about dropping a baby because I am usually juggling too much at one time. I don’t remember worrying about dropping Ava. The closest I’ve come to baby dropping so far is when I was nursing Preston and
Violet at the same time on the couch and all of a sudden Violet rolled off my lap and slammed against the side of the couch. She was not happy, although uninjured. Then when I went to bring her back up to nurse more I hit her head against Preston’s head. Again, not a happy Violet.

Yesterday my mom and I went shopping and for some spa treatments for Mother’s day. It was glorious. Today on Mother’s Day I enjoyed my kids. Well, Ava drove me a little crazy because she was stuck in the house all day but I still enjoyed my day. Ava started out the day with a Mother’s Day card she made for me. It consisted of a large piece of lavendar paper and in the middle it said AOO and below it said AVA. I asked her what AOO was and she said it was I Love You Happy Mother’s Day. The babies were sweet and good. I am a lucky mom.

Happy Mother’s Day my mother friends. That poem is for you!

The mothership is signing off . . . I must get out of this puke drenched tank top!


The Triplets Get a Social LIfe May 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Hip Mothership @ 7:23 pm

First of all, I got a laptop computer for an early Mother’s Day gift this year and I couldn’t be happier. Now I can go all around the house and plant myself in different locations where Ava is playing and write in my blog, pay bills, entertain babies etc. I feel that my small world has opened up a little with my new computer! Yes, you will probably be subjected to more entries from me now that I won’t be holed up in the messy office to write.

The babies were out and about in a big way this weekend. It started on Friday when I decided to bring the Senator out to playgroup with Ava and I. We went to the park where Ava rode in continuous circles around the play structure on her friend’s bikes and Preston slept the entire time. I actually had to wake him up at 1pm to feed him before we hit the road. Meanwhile, Chris held down the fort with the girls at home. It was a successful outing and I must say, two kids is SO easy.

On Saturday I decided to bring Ava and Preston once again to Kaely’s wedding shower. Now, don’t think I am playing favorites with my boy, I bring him because he is my super star breastfeeder and I don’t have to bring my pump if I bring Preston. Elsa is also a good breastfeeder but her acid reflux problem makes her a bit anti-social. Violet is my easiest-going child which would make her a likely candidate for a day out on the town, but she is not a good breastfeeder. So, off we went to the shower where my children were good citizens of the world. I am so happy because I feel like I have finally gotten to the place with Ava, after 3 1/2 years, that I can take her to social events and she is a pleasant, well-behaved child. At the shower Preston slept half the time and ate some and then was held the rest of the time. As long as my triplets are held, they are happy. They are lucky little triplets because so far in their lives they have gotten to be held quite a bit for being triplets.

From the shower the whole family hopped in the car and headed down to Fair Oaks to Molly and Nima’s hood for a surprise 30th birthday party. There were probably 20 to 25 people there altogether. This was a HUGE break for Chris and I as it turns out. Yes, it is a small ordeal packing everything we need up for four kids, three of them infants, but once we got there we had many hands to hold and feed babies. The babies got passed around just like the pediatrician warned us against and we loved every minute of it. At one point Chris and I actually enjoyed a quite five minutes to ourselves in the backyard. The kids were all very good and it gave me hope for the future. Maybe we can still have a life after triplets. In fact, it is looking more and more possible as we get further into this adventure. I decided that Chris and I should attend party every weekend and bring all of our children so other people can take care of them for us while we relax. Just joking. No I’m not.

Another noteworthy event this weekend is the babies are smiling huge smiles and it is definitely not gas. These smiles are huge mouth wide open smiles. What I think is interesting is that they all three gave us these big smiles on numerous occasions this weekend for the first time. They have smiled before but we were never sure it it was a smile in response to us and it was never the big wide open mouth smile. Violet kicked off the smile weekend with her series of huge smiles while Chris was talking to her and then the other two followed suit. Boy, there is not much better than a big smile from a 2 month old!

So it is Monday and I have a bunch of random things on my to-do list. One of them is that the babies birth certificates came in and that means I have to shoot them off to about 20 different diaper/formula/baby product companies who offer free stuff to people with higher order multiples. It will be interesting to see what comes out of that little project.

Until next time, the Mothership is signing off.