I am being reminded more and more lately about the vast difference that triplets pose to rules, routines, treats and all the things that go along with teaching young ones. I often compare my 10 year old twins to the 4 year old triplets. There is no comparison and when I compare them to my single, Mairin...there is really NO comparison.
The triplets are really pushing our patience and we are hoping that our frustration will pass soon as they continue to experience the consequences and rewards to their behavior. I find that I have to be a little more structured and a lot more rigid with my little guys. On Sunday we went to church and I always drop off the triplets at Sunday School while I go into mass. We were all doing great until Declan took the chair that Finn wanted to sit in. Finn would not sit down, would not cooperate and began his fit. He insisted that he was not going to stay and I offered that he either stay and find another seat or we would have to go home and he would have to stay in his room. He refused to sit so I kindly grabbed his hand and home we went. A normal single situation would probably be to offer that he accompany me into mass and try it again next week. This is where it is different with triplets. If I offer Finn to come with me than 2 others will want to come and then we have a situation that I cannot handle. (an hour of quiet with three boys...NOT). It will also set a standard that it is ok to toss a fit at Sunday School. I had to miss mass, take Finn directly home and instructed that he take off his boots and coat and go up to his room. He did not argue but wanted to make sure I wasn't leaving. I told him that I was going to stay here and in an hour we would go back and get the others. I also asked him why he was spending the hour in his room and he explained to me exactly why. On our way back to pick up the others he reminded me again and again that he was going to go to Sunday School next week. I treated the other 2 to a sucker when they got into the car and Finn quickly spoke up that he was not getting a sucker because he didn't go to Sunday School. I smiled and agreed and that is when it was over. I believe he got the point and he was starting with a new slate at that point in time. We headed out to the hockey rink to see the older boys play some hockey and everyone was well behaved and I was able to watch the game with minimal interruptions. (David on the other hand made 3 trips to the potty because none of them had to go at the same time...LOL)
I am so lucky to have one of the triplets best friends across the street and I have recently been offering play dates at their house for the triplets. Declan is the only one who got to go over to the play date the other day and that seemed to really make my point sink in to the other two. Colin and Finn were devastated that they could not go and I made sure to explain why each time they broke down in tears. Colin carried on for at least 45 minutes and Finn eventually got angry that he wasn't over there but they also knew why. This morning all 3 got to go over because they all stayed in their beds last night and kept their door shut. (we are having an issue of them knocking on the other doors in the wee mornings or late nights..thinking it is fun and waking up Mairin, Eamon and Liam)
I am also able to use our gym as another reward or consequence. We joined a local gym and the childcare center is fantastic. There are bounce houses, games, crafts etc and the triplets love going. The main issue I find is that I have to be careful what I offer and take away because if I am alone than there are not options to take 1 and leave 2 or whatever the combination is. I am finding that I have to think very carefully in my moment of frustration and make sure I can follow thru and be fair with what I say. I also love having somewhere to go in the evenings to fight off this winter boredom and to keep my sanity. (P.S...I get 2 hours of childcare a day. Do you realize that is 2 hours of peace and quiet...working out and the kids are having a ball at the same time.)
We are constantly reminding, talking, repeating and teaching. The dynamics of triplets is so so different. They feed off of each other and it seems like there is always one who is off on their own. They pair up often and the pairs are always different but it is interesting to see what they do together and what they do on their own. Finn loves to do dishes so he always starts on his own and Declan usually joins later. Colin is very happy hanging with his older brothers and is usually the lowest maintenance. Declan will also exit the play group to watch a show on his own. When Finn disappears and David is home I know that he is with David and following his every move. He loves watching David get ready in the morning while the other two want to eat and watch a show on TV.
I am frustrated alot of the time but also very interested in the dynamics of my triplets. I am constantly thinking of new strategies and trying to stay ahead of them....but some days I just give up and accept defeat.