If you only have one child at a time, you make choices for each child, one at a time. When you have triplets (or a litter as my daughter now calls them), there are so many decisions that need to be made and so little time to really make them. You feel like a failure if you do not examine all the possible outcomes. Even when I do try to think of everything that can happen, I still manage to get things wrong sometimes.
April is a time for warm breezes that feel like light caresses. This is the time of year when I again feel real hope for the future.
This spring, I must decide if the kids will continue to share a classroom next year. This is a hard one! For pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, the kids have been with the same two teachers and in the same class. Keeping them together was the right decision. They helped each other blossom, grow, become less dependent and not as shy. They made friends. They made progress as individuals and as a group.
Jennifer also keeps a Triple Threat blog at cdparentpages.com. Read more by clicking here.
The Tremont Montessori School keeps the first- and second-graders with the same teacher and classmates as they move up. I wonder if the kids will continue to grow and progress as individuals if they share a classroom. I also wonder if they are in three different classrooms, if I can I handle three different teachers, homework styles – and what about open houses? I already feel my stress level rising. This decision is so hard.
When you have multiples, there are so many parts of life that a singleton parent may not think about. When the time comes for the kids’ physicals, do I make three back-to-back appointments or come three different days? Does this doctor meet the needs of all the kids? Fortunately, we have a great pediatrician who has been a wonderful resource for us and given us strength when we really felt weak. The receptionists, nurses and whoever is on call are kind and know that the kids are the center of your world and treat them as such. Each child has a different relationship with the doctor and staff.
Birthday parties are a source of stress for us, too. The kids are 6 now and know that other families have parties with other children who are invited. They realize that there are different themes available. If each kid invites 10 kids and wants a different theme how do I make this work? Our theme for the last six years has been “family,” and the celebrations have taken place mostly at our synagogue. The exception was their first birthdays, when I made 172 cupcakes and only half the guests showed up due to a snowstorm. I guess that happens when your kids are born in January!
What about extracurricular activities? Three kids with varied interests and a mom with a minivan Sounds like a perfect chance to have tenderhearted moment or find a school of orange fish crackers crushed into the back seat.
Right now the cherubs are all in the same class at religious school and also attend the same Israeli dance class. Olivia wants ballet, Rebecca wants to do any dance class, and Benjamin might do well with tap. But we cannot afford the tuition for three dance classes. Olivia and Rebecca want to be in Girl Scouts. Benjamin wants to be in Boy Scouts. They all want to play baseball. At some point Harlan will be working just to pay for the kids to enjoy extracurricular activities.
All these choices have left my brain in such a state I want to sit down with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and a spoon. The bottom line is, I have my family’s best interests at heart. Some of the things we do or don’t do may leave people scratching their heads, but they work for us. My children are very important to me, and because they are so important, any decisions that might affect them in the future are thought through and contingencies planned.
I would like to think that I am making good decisions. I would like to think that maybe what I do makes a difference. The big picture is bigger with my “litter” of children. Each child deserves a mom who can see the big picture for each individual and for the family. I am that mom.
Jennifer Steuer is an Albany mom, whose busy household includes her husband, Harlan, and 6-year-old triplets Olivia, Benjamin and Rebecca.