Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Heartache and Hope

I've held off with this post for a couple weeks because I wasn't quite sure what I wanted it to be. I do know that I do not want to appear dramatic or in despair. I am accutely aware that John and I are very, very fortunate and that many friends have bigger issues. But it is what is happening in our lives right now and I feel as though it is false to document only the lighthearted goings-on in our little world. Those are important and I love them, of course, but they are not the whole story and someday I want to look back and remember all the pieces of our history.

Anyway, I've mentioned Lizzy's developmental delays a couple times in passing, but in reality we've always been a bit concerned. Maybe more than "a bit". She has some obvious speech/language/gross motor delays and we had her evaluated by our state's early intervention program to see if she would qualify. She barely missed (still not sure if that is good or not).

Results in hand, we consulted our pediatrician who recommended we take her to see a pediatric neurologist. This happened two weeks ago and we were taken aback by his initial diagnosis. You see, I've always harbored the hope that Lizzy is just, well, Lizzy. She does things her own way at her own pace and that her pace is WAY behind her siblings. The neurologist feels there is something bigger going on, that her delays are not the result of: being a triplet, a preemie, a mellower personality, getting "lost" in a family of 4 kids. He feels there is something "biological" with her.

The result from our appointment is that she has an MRI and blood test for chromosomal disorders this Friday and I feel a little sick about it.

My feelings aren't because I care if Lizzy's "bar" may be set lower than her siblings (I don't care). It isn't that I won't go all crazy-mama-bear about getting her as much help as necessary (because I will). It isn't that we will most likely be in limbo for a few years until we know what really might be going on with her. It is that I am sad for her. No mom rejoices that her child may struggle with something they can not help having their entire life. There is enough junk we have to go through without any added help. Heartache.

But (and there is always a but), I have hope. Hope that nothing of consequence will show up on her MRI. Hope that there are no chromosomal disorders shown on her blood test. Hope that the scary words "autism spectrum disorder" will not be used in finality. Hope that she really is "just Lizzy" and will always do her own thing on her own time and all we need to do is get her the extra help she needs to set her bar a little higher.

I have this Hope because God created Lizzy beautifully in his image and especially for us. I have this Hope because I believe we are here for a purpose and not to just take up space. She is here and ours for a reason and it is for something wonderful.

The choir at our church did a rendition of the hymn "It is Well With My Soul" the Sunday after our neurology appointment and it is not only appropriate but it is my all-time favorite. I tried to find something on youtube to post, but all the renditions were stereotypically obnoxiously christian and were annoying to me. It doesn't matter, though, because it's really the first stanza that I love the most and aptly describes how I'm feeling:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well.

Monday, March 23, 2009

That Gracie

She is my little spitfire and is utterly ridiculous. She is the reason why the Big Three were on bottles until they were nearly 17 months old. Ainsley smoothly transitioned to sippy cups before her first birthday. No protest. I naively assumed the littlest wee ones would be the same. Foolish.

That Gracie refused just about every cup that had milk in it. Now, give her a sippy cup of water and she went to town. But in her mind, milk is supposed to come from a bottle. Everything else will be (and was) thrown on the floor without a drop crossing her lips. Stubborn, stubborn child. At least we know there is one thing she inherited from me...ahem.

For some reason, I did the classic First-Time-Mom routine by desperately trying every single type of sippy cup to see if there was one she would like. Which one does she prefer and will now guzzle 8 oz of milk from at a time? This one:

That's right. $0.65. Oh, and get this. She prefers the orange one. If she gets the green or blue she stares at it suspiciously, gives it a thorough examination, and only ends up drinking 1/2. If she wasn't so stinkin' cute...that Gracie.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Panic, Problem-Solving, Potties, and Peace

I was driving home from my parents' house tonight when Ainsley calmly stated "I have to go potty". Now, when Ainsley actually admits she has to go, you know it's serious. The kid can hold it forever and we usually have to make her sit on the toilet, enduring protests of "I can't go! I don't have to go! I'm not going to go!", as she is tee-teeing.

I had all four kids with me. How the heck was this going to end well.

Me: We're about 6 minutes (10, really) from home, sweetie. Can you hold it?
Ainsley: No.
Me: Are you sure? Try really hard.
Ainsley: I can't.

A quick glance in the rear view mirror revealed a pained 4-year-old face.

Me: AAAAGHGHHGHGGH! (in my head) Okay. We'll stop somewhere. Just try to hang in there. (out loud)
Ainsley: Where are we going to stop?

I had no earthly idea. I figured by the time I pulled over, got everyone unloaded, ran into random bathroom-having-establishment, there would be a puddle somewhere and I'd rather it not be in the super-cool minivan. *
I mean, surely I can't leave the kidlets in the car? Why did our friends have to move from that street we just passed? Who do I know that lives close by?

Ahhh. Brilliant thought. I called home.

John: Yes? (caller ID has to be in the top ten of greatest inventions)

This was a half-way point. My genius mind knew there would be no accidents today.

Rest of story: sped down major road, whipped into parking lot on two wheels (slight exaggeration), parked, flung open doors, briefly considered just having Ainsley squat on the grassy area, considered it again when she started hopping with her legs crossed (who would ticket a kid for public urination?), thought abandoned when I saw John pulling in to take over the triplets.

We raced inside, had to use the men's restroom because someone was in the women's (of course). This was thrilling for her = 599 questions about the who, whats, whys, wheres, etc.

Ultimately, victory. No puddles, not even a leak.

aaahhhhh. All was well.

*I do not think the minivan is super-cool.

I Gotta Have More Cow Bell!

Superbabysitter is home on Spring Break and I'm feeling our band is going on a reunion tour. Joan on guitar, Superbabysitter and I trading between lead vocals and drums. We are awesome.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

You Have To Indoctrinate Them While They Are Young

The crumbgobblers ate their afternoon snack in their high chairs, forced to watch the wonderfulness that is March Madness. They were transfixed and I am convinced their little minds were soaking every minutiae of the game. It's unfortunate that, unless some serious recessive genes rise up, our brood will have neither the height nor the hops to play effectively. It might be possible if they're quick...and don't have my lack of athletic ability.

I haven't missed a Final Four since I was 17, and I never even played. I think I've only filled out brackets one or two times and, in retrospect, it took some of the joy out of watching. Fortunately I haven't spent any time dwelling on the "whys" of that. I'm not that pathetic.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


That's what Gracie said to me and then later on to a friend the other day, and it wasn't just for kicks. She said it in that sweet voice children use when they first start talking, the voice we love to hear after months of babbling and cooing. She firmly expressed her opinion to me when she did not desire her diaper changed and it was used again that day when she decided clothing should be optional after baths.

Let the battles begin.

Poor thing. She has no clue what she's in for. :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Why Don't I Learn?

It's 100% my fault. Fooz and I were giving the kidlets baths this morning and I took the chance on not diapering Gracie so I wouldn't leave Lizzy alone in the tub. So, my sweet lil' ol' blondie pooped on my bedroom floor and then stepped in it. And then took another step. It is the only room in the house that is wall-to-wall carpet. There was a pretty little footprint. It was faint, but still.

Good memories, really. Fortunately this is the stuff I laugh about.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bad Hair Day

Lizzy has gorgeous hair. It's thick with waves and a beautiful chestnut color. She also wakes up looking like the Shaggy Dog when he isn't coiffed.

And her 'do had settled for a few minutes...

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Necessity

John's parents graciously gave the triplets a choo-choo wagon for their first birthday. We do not have a triplet stroller for lots of reasons, so this is the only way I can transport all three with any degree of ease. Did I just use "ease" in the context of triplets? Hmm...

Well, here's a decent pic of the wagon on their birthday:

Last Thursday was beautiful here and I walked the crumbgobblers to Fooz's house to pick up Ainsley. The ONLY drawback to the wagon is that it is crazy heavy walking up hills. It is deceptively not flat in our tiny corner of the world, so by the end of a walk I'm done. Other than that, it is perfect and I love it.

It is a little difficult to see the steepness of the driveway, but it was crazy hard to pull all that weight to the top. I felt like one of those mules used to haul barges on the Erie Canal in the 1800's. I'm sure it won't be the first time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why, Oh Why?

This is belated, but Saturday was crazy. I wish I could explain it away that there was a full moon, but I can't. All four wee ones are usually pretty congenial, at least in my opinion. Those of you who experience us in real life may disagree.

But Saturday. Saturday was bizarre. Lots of tears and we didn't know why. Well, we did know why, but the reasons were silly. One of the babies would destroy something Ainsley had just created - I only have two arms and zone defense doesn't work well with 3-on-1. Johnny is wonderfully attached to his dad, to the point where he goes psycho if John leaves the room. Lizzy was in a good mood, so that was helpful.

All of this was tolerable and normal, though. Something happened after the afternoon nap, though, that sent the world spinning out of control. First, Johnny stole Gracie's lovie right when they woke up. Hysterics. Ainsley somehow got trapped under a fallen baby-gate (felt bad about that one b/c she was screaming for me and I kept using the "I don't come to you, you come to me if you need something" - oops). Hysterics. A crumbgobbler, it doesn't matter which one, would freak because they had shut themselves in a room. Hysterics. Lizzy and Gracie were STARVING and needed a snack, while I was calming Ainsley down and therefore couldn't get it for them RIGHT NOW! Hysterics. Gracie refused to come down the stairs on her own to get the snack. Hysterics. She finally, fortunately, complied because what happened next would have been disastrous...

Ainsley decided it would be a good idea to ride her nylon (read: super fast) sleeping bag down the stairs. This is usually not a big deal for the rest of the world. Kids ride things like pillows, etc, down the stairs all the time. I did it when I was a kid. It was not a good idea for Ainsley for two reasons:
1. She was completely inside the sleeping bag at the time.
2. There is a metal gate at the bottom of the stairs.
You all are intelligent people. You can see how this ended. All I heard was: thunkity, thunk, thunk, thunk, CRASH, WAAAHHHHHHHHHH! I ran over to see Ainsley, in a balled-up sleeping bag, wedged under the bottom part of the gate she had taken out. Hysterics.

Did I mention she missed taking Gracie out w/the gate by about 12 inches? Hysterics from Gracie because it scared the fire out of her.

Did I mention all of this took place over the course of about 1/2-hour?

John was pulling out of the driveway to take Johnny to get his hair cut as this was happening. It took me a good 10 minutes to feel sorry for my oldest. Seriously.

Welcome to The Circus.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Big Boy Day

After this fiasco, we decided to take Johnny to the professionals for his next haircut. It turned out better than I had thought - no crying, flailing, freak-outs. He didn't even want the lollipop John had brought along as the ultimate bribe. His 'do certainly turned out better than the last time.

Not so sure...

Even more unsure...

I love the lower lip.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Such A Diva

Gracie already has a lot of quirks, one of them being she already has clothing preferences. She loves shoes and brings them to me in the morning, shoves them in my face, and grunts at me to put them on her. Of course I comply. One of her other loves is a particular pair of jams (no, not the shorts some of us wore in the 80's). She finds this specific pair of pj's, brings it to me, and demands dressing. It doesn't matter what she is already wearing - she gets all wound up about it and gets seriously mad when we have to take her precious pj's off to leave the house, heaven forbid.

Decent pictures of Lizzy and Gracie have been hard these days because they know a flash is coming and they either squint or close their eyes. I know, I know. I could turn off the flash and figure out how to make everything wonderful, but I'm too impatient and by the time I solve the problem, the moment is always lost. So I deal with squinty-eyed kids.

Gracie with her favorite article of clothing, eyes closed.

Caught before she closed her eyes completely. Nice side shot of her pj's.