I would love to be that type of person who claims they would not have done things differently. In some areas of my life, I can proudly say that, however, when it comes to my toddler triplets, I can admit that I should have done a few things differently. If I were able to go back in time, I would have changed some things in regards of how I raised my triplets, to make things a little easier in the toddler years. My triplets, who are now five, are wonderful and adoring. Some things my triplets do, however, aren’t always as pleasurable. Below, there are some tips I wish I would have followed in their infant stages, in regards to their current eating and sleeping habits, which may have helped shaped more positive behaviors in the triplet’s toddler years.
Changing eating habits
My children have a lot of problems when it comes to food. This, I blame on myself. When I say problems, I am not referring to over eating, or eating unhealthy. The problems revolve around feeding time, in general. When they have to share something, let’s say a plate of apples or cheese, it becomes an all out war. They often stuff their mouths as quickly as possible to ensure they get the last bite. It usually results in one choking, or another crying because they didn’t get the last piece. Another problem revolved around eating, is that they are constantly crying for snacks when they get bored, and despite having a schedule, they try to sneak a snack at any opportunity they can. Let’s not forget screaming for condiments, whether it is for fries, a burger, or even simple things like pizza. Although my children have fortunately always had food on the table, it still doesn’t stop them from constantly begging for more.
What I would have changed
If I could go back in time, I would have never fed them food from the same plate or bowl. This may not be rocket science to many parents, but I always would find myself strapped for time and it seemed easier to quickly feed the three darlings from the same bowl. It was quick and painless at the time, and stopped them from screaming for their food, while I was preparing for the others. As a result, anytime they actually have to share a plate (whether it is from a platter at a party or appetizer from a restaurant), they act like tiny animals. Cute animals, but nonetheless, it is a bit embarrassing. Looking back, I would have always given them their own plates, cups, and bowls. This may have given them a little more patience now, when it comes to food, and also taught them that there is more than enough to go around.
On the subject of food, I wish I would have never used snacks as a reward. The triplets always had scheduled snack times during the day, but it wasn’t unusual for me to offer up a cookie or two during the day as a reward or give a plate of extra snacks to keep them occupied while I was trying to get a few things done around the house. As a result of me doing so, they now expect a cookie or two anytime they’d like, and often get a bit rambunctious when I have to refuse them a goody. It’s almost like they turn to food anytime I can not give them my undivided attention or if they are just plain bored.
Lastly, I would have ditched the ranch, ketchup, and mustard if I knew those three things would become the root of several problems at the dinner table or when out dining. Because they were introduced to condiments at such a young age, they are now accustomed to them and expect them with every meal. Need I go on?
Changing Sleep Habits
Bed time in my house, now that the triplets are in their toddler years, is like a bad version of the Super Nanny. I swear, I have tried sitting in the room while continuously putting them back in their beds, in hopes they will catch on and just give up and go to sleep. I have done this for weeks at a time, and they still are resistant to sleeping. Nap time, as well, is a thing of the past. I went as far as removing anything that can be a distraction from their room. Nope, that didn’t work either. Finally, I tried to separate the triplets into rooms of their own (since part of the resistance comes from one or two of the children trying to keep the other awake). I don’t know what was worse, the constant battling of trying to get them down for the count while they were in the same room, or the continuous crying from being separated from their siblings. So, back to the same room we go!
What I Would Have Changed
If I could go back, I would have separated the triplets into their own rooms, around the age of one or two. This would have been around the time they were beginning to grow out of their cribs, and also may have created better sleeping habits for them now. What started off as co-bedding triplets, which is recommended by many doctors in regards to multiples, has now turned my house upside down in the evenings. By separating the little ones at a younger age, they may have become accustomed to their own rooms, sleep without distractions, and wouldn’t have to deal with the separation anxiety they did when I finally took the plunge and gave them their own rooms.
There are other things I may have changed in the earlier years of my little one’s lives besides their eating and sleeping habits, but these are two of the biggest milestones we are facing now. I would not change my children for anything, but I know, that if I would have changed the ways I did things as a parent, it may have made the household a little more peaceful and less painful.