The twins turned two in September. Granny surprised them with their first trikes. Jack and Annie adore their new rides. I adore them too – I haven’t had such long stretches to sit and read outside since the twins were born! They haven’t figured out the pedals yet, but love scooting to the top of the driveway, then racing down its gentle slope toward the street (over and over and over…) while screaming with delight. I park the van across the street end of the driveway, then sit by it in a folding chair with a book or an infant and bottle.
We also have a new-to-us stroller courtesy of old friends. To date, when taking the three out alone I’ve had to carry the baby while pushing the twins in their double stroller, or have one twin walk holding on to the stroller while the baby and the other twin ride. Both options work but aren’t ideal thanks to my back injuries and the distractable nature of two year olds. We spend a lot of time in doctors’ offices these days, and I hate letting my toddlers out of the stroller in waiting rooms. There are so many sick people touching every surface as they, too, wait for the doctor. We’re avoiding illness as much as possible this year because of the risk to the baby’s immature preemie lungs. Toddlers licking germy arm rests and rolling on the floor do not help.
Most new triple strollers are very expensive, and Craigslist in our area did not have any good options. I asked for stroller reviews on facebook, and an old friend offered me a free triple stroller she’d gotten used when her bigger kids were small. My parents picked it up, vacuumed and steam cleaned it, broke it down, packed it up, and shipped it off to us. It’s heavy (what would one expect when pushing three children…) but does a great job containing our herd of babies:
The twins had mixed reactions to their new sister. During a normal pregnancy there are many months to talk about a new baby, read books, and watch parents prepare the home. Even with all that warning sibling jealousy may flare. In our case, there were two weeks between “hopefully we’ll adopt again in a couple of years” to “Surprise! New sister!” In addition, the twins’ weren’t even two yet, so they barely understood what was happening. We ordered a few books from Amazon about being big brothers and sisters (“I’m a Big Brother” by Joanna Cole, “The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby”, and “The New Baby” by Mercer Mayer) and read them a few times a day with the kids to introduce the idea while waiting to bring the baby back from the NICU. When we brought her home, Jack responded very well. From the books, he’d learned that you rock the baby, give her kisses, etc. and he jumped into big brother role immediately with almost no negative reactions. Annie, on the other hand, exploded. She was already upset from having Mom gone so much (the NICU was a three hour round trip away), and from having family and friends in the house caring for her (not a fan of strangers). Add in a severe speech delay that makes it hard for her to say what she thinks, plus a loud new blob disturbing her sleep, monopolizing Mom’s lap, and upending the routine and Annie morphed into an outraged, screaming, tantrumming toddler. The moment we let down our guard she would try to hit the baby, claw at her face, or pull off her legs. After a week Annie started to settle down. These days, she loves her sister. At the beginning, though, one thing that helped was the classic “look, we have a new baby and she brought you each a present!” trick. The kids love helping to push the big strollers, so we got them each a doll stroller. They love racing around the neighborhood pushing their babies and stuffed animals, and the new surprises helped tire them out and keep them occupied in those first crazy new baby days before naps had developed.
The last set of new wheels around here is our van. I bought my first car, a Subaru Forester, in the half year between graduating from college and getting married. It served us well on many runs around town, cross-country road trips, back road drives, wilderness camping expeditions, and kayaking runs. In six years it hasn’t had a single maintenance issue and we love it. We planned for it to be the family car, but couldn’t predict that we’d start off our family with a double baby special. Suddenly, our roomy car didn’t feel so roomy. There was no room for a third car seat in the back, even with the twins strapped into the narrowest car seats on the market. When we found out we were adopting again we had to get a new, three-kid capable car in a rush. After a lot of research and test driving we settled on a Honda Odyssey. My pride hurts a bit at moving from an SUV to a minivan, but it’s an ideal car for hauling a host of young kids, with plenty of room to carry visitors and accommodate future children.
All in all that’s…how many new wheels around here? 22?
Here’s a gratuitous baby shot to wrap things up: