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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Haircuts and Matching Dresses



I cut the girls’ hair today. This is the first “real” cut for all of them, and really it was just a trim, but it felt monumental. I have these little snippets of each girl’s hair, taped together at the end, and I marvel at how different these three little moppets are, each having come out of my womb within 2 minutes of each other. But to look at them, you might not even know that they’re sisters. Sydney has dark eyes- practically black- and hair to match. She is tall and sturdy, and looks a lot like her older sister, Taylor. She has the most ridiculously long and luxuriant hair that I’ve ever seen on a two-year-old, and she wanted me to cut it “short, like Tanner’s” but I would rather cut off my arm. Riley is a wisp of a thing- tall and all elbows and knees and arms and legs. She’s so thin that she doesn’t have enough waist or hips to hold up her pants half the time. And all her black fuzzy hair has turned to dark blond. Her eyes are blue, “just wike Daddy’s.” Bailey… well, we’re not sure where she came by her genes. She’s a good three inches shorter at all times than both of her sisters, and she is petite but so strong, she should never be underestimated. There is power in those compact little muscles (and in that super-sized attitude), and she’ll pounce on you like a tiger if provoked. Her hair is a different shade of dark blond than Riley’s, and her eyes are hazel, “just wike Kelsey’s” (our super babysitter!).

Seriously, if you were to stick them in a room full of other girls and ask a stranger to pick out the triplets, I’m pretty sure that nobody would put them together. This is hilarious to me. Whenever we go out, I see people trying to do the math in their heads; me with all these kids, calculating who belongs with whom. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told, “Oh, so you do daycare. Which one is yours?” I practically got into a fistfight with an employee at Bennigan’s (a restaurant with free kids’ meals on Tuesdays) because he kept insisting that the freebie special was only good for blood relatives. “They have to all be your own children to get the free meal,” he said over and over again. “They are all mine. ALL OF THEM ARE MINE! Seriously, I would not bring this many of somebody else’s children to a restaurant.” We got the free meals, but I’m pretty sure he never believed me. I really ought to go bring by their birth certificates.

Speaking of which, one of my neighbors also has six small children. (I like this- it makes me not the only freak show in town.) One day two daycare licensing specialists from the state showed up at her door, doing an impromptu “raid” because they’d had an anonymous tip that this woman was running an unlicensed daycare. Seriously. She had to unearth all their birth certificates to prove that the six children were indeed hers. After telling me this story, I lived in a dead panic until I could get to the birth certificate office and (finally) get official copies of the triplets’ birth certificates. Because the daycare cops would never in a million years believe me. Ever.

I’ve actually had people tell me I’m lying when I try to convince them that they are all mine and that they are, indeed, triplets. The Olan Mills photographer kept saying, “No, really. They’re cousins, right? This is an extended family photo shoot?” “No, really, I’m sure that would be fun, but this is an immediate family photo shoot. They really are all mine. Seriously.” “You’re lying!” she exclaimed, and had to sit down and fan herself. And that was BEFORE we started the chaos of trying to get a good picture.

So I dress them alike most of the time. And before you wonder if I’m limiting their sense of individuality and/or doing permanent damage to their psyche, let me assure you that my husband (the developmental psychologist) has passed off on this dressing strategy. But, to be honest, not because it’s good for their mental health, but instead because it’s good for OUR mental health. It’s just plain easier to have three of everything. And, mainly, it’s a lot easier to keep track of them when they look the same. (ie- when we are at the park, I’m just looking for three hot pink shirts and three flowered pants.) It’s a safety thing, which is exactly what I told a fellow soccer mom who side-lined me at practice one day to gently scold me for dressing them the same. Apparently she’d seen a show about this on PBS. I swallowed my initial response (“MYOB, granola lady!!! YOU try head-counting four toddlers at the same time, and then we’ll talk!!!”) and meekly promised to do better. And then I stopped at Target on the way home and bought 2 more matching outfits AND matching shoes, just to be really passive-aggressive.

I can dress them alike for as long as they’ll let me, but the fact remains: they are each very much their own person, and I love that about them.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Play-a-Rama



So we have a playhouse in the middle of our family room. Very chic, I know. I am quite sure that the word will spread and soon every fashionable home will follow suit. Playhouses will be the piece de resistance in the Pottery Barn catalogs.

I suppose this new addition to our d├ęcor is very fitting since my little ones call our family “the play room.” Ironic, since we have an actual play room, but it is upstairs and they have jointly decided to abscond upon what should be a nice family room instead. So, what the heck? No amount of classy cubby holes and hip fabric boxes can conceal the fact that my family room, is indeed, a place of play.

This playhouse was a gift from Santa, who spent months searching out the best deals and reading parent toy reviews. He is very savvy, our Santa. The shrieks of delight were heard throughout the neighborhood when the little ones finally saw their fully-constructed playhouse. Not, however, on Christmas day because… unbeknownst to Santa’s elves, this playhouse was a 5 hour construction job. With two people, that is. Guess we shoulda opened up the box and looked at the instructions before Christmas Eve. Luckily for us, the “babies” are still just two, so they were perfectly happy with the miniature kitchen and laundry center that Santa also wisely brought. (Those alone took Quinn 5 hours to put together! And he used to work construction in college!)

A special “thank you” shout-out goes to Uncle Caleb, who helped Quinn put this wretched thing together without complaining even once! (And it really did take 5 hours.) I don’t suppose he knew that his Christmas visit to Florida was going to include this, but he was the best of sports!

So, as if visiting a house full of children and chaos was not enough, we can now offer all of our houseguests unlimited play inside our newly-constructed playhouse, conveniently located in our family/play room. Come one, come all!