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In the Case of Babies vs. Toddlers, We the People……….

After two and a half years on the job I think it is only my proper duty to take a stab at answering the age old question of which type of human beings are worse – babies or toddlers?  Don’t get me wrong each subset of the species has their redeeming qualities (don’t we all), but I choose to focus rather on the qualities that are not so redeeming because we all know a dose of pessimism does the body good.  Of course I’m no child expert but instead I just happen to be an observer of children (creepy much?), in particular the development of three very familiar children over the course of their first few years of life.

Now I think it goes without saying that taking care of one child is difficult.  It’s a jolt to the system that the system has never felt before.  Or so they say, what do I know I’ve never had one.  Furthermore, a second child adds to the difficulty and so on and so on.  However, after being a nanny to the trishlets I do think there is an added level to the insanity that is known as having and raising children.  I think my experience has taught me that taking three or four kids out in public is dumb no matter which way you frame it, but taking three small kids that are the same age is just asking for it.  That’s why we never go out.  We might as well be one of those families that are imprisoned by criminals in their basements/backyards or something. (I kid, I kid.)  It’s just that everything with triplets is that more heightened and that more exacerbated as you can imagine.  Which brings us back to the ever so important question that anthropologists will study for years to come – were they worse as babies or as toddlers?

Before I dive into the highly legal, reliable, scientific, and valid reasons why one group is better than the next when placed in different scenarios, let me first mention this idea of terrible two’s.  Toddlers are considered to be children from the age range of 1-3 and are given this name because they toddle around.  Well let me tell you something, they are doing much more than toddling.  There’s a reason they call it the terrible two’s and if you are one of those parents that simply says, “Oh no we haven’t experienced the terrible two’s yet,” well then you might as well and go put your child in the Smithsonian already as they are clearly a treasure and artifact and because shut up.  While terrible is quite accurate and really needs no further defining, I think it would be enjoyable to offer up a few more choice “T” words/phrases that describe two year olds and toddlers for that matter.  Tyrannical, totalitarian, time wasters, tiny terrors, trash providers, and total jerks.  Okay maybe that last one was a little harsh but needed to emphasize a point.

For purpose of this discussion the situations regarding the babies will be from the ages of roughly 7-9 months since I was not with the trishlets on a day-to-day basis prior to that (which I know is like well babies are the worse when they are first born so how can you compare if you aren’t going to reference the sleepless nights and the constant neediness but this is my made up blog post and frankly I can do what I want) and when referring to toddlers I’m talking the 2-3 age range.  From my years of service (not to be confused with actually serving) I’d like to provide various scenarios/experiences such as watching TV, loading the car, etc. to explain just how different these scenarios can be for triplet babies and triplet toddlers.  It’s like the babies are the prosecutors accusing the toddlers of being far worse than them and the toddlers are the defendants trying to prove their innocence of not being the worse humans out there.  Or perhaps like a heavyweight fight going toe to toe, round for round.  Babies in one corner of the ring and toddlers in the opposite corner.  I’ll present the rounds and thus the evidence, deliver a victor or draw for each match up, and at the end come to the conclusion to who wins (if you can call it that) the title for being the worse. (If you happened to have read the previous paragraph to this one – spoiler alert – I think you may know where this is headed.)  Let the games begin!

(***Disclaimer 1: The thoughts here about babies and toddlers are strictly based from my own experience as a nanny to triplets and can’t necessarily be generalized to the greater population but also can most definitely be generalized to the greater population.  Take them how you want.)

Round 1: Watching TV

Babies –

At the precious age of 8 months we all know the horrors of screen time that so many profess.  I happen to be in the camp that sides with exposure to monitored screen time won’t send them to the grave.  So in other words babies watching Sesame Street and smiling at Elmo isn’t the worst thing.  The trishlets viewing preferences as babies were usually of the PBS kind, usually of the friendly characters found on the block we all know and love, and occasionally of the meth loving chemistry teacher as a result of that one time I binged watched Breaking Bad in August 2013.  Oh did I say their preferences, I meant mine.  When they are babies you can still watch your TV shows because they don’t really pick up on the illegal drugs, devious schemes, and violence and also half the time they are drifting in and out of consciousness as they are bouncing themselves to a state of delirium, so technically they really aren’t even paying attention.


Toddlers –

On the other hand watching TV with toddlers is a whole other experience.  As a reasonable person you are aware that exposure to adult content found in some TV shows isn’t appropriate for toddlers and thus your TV watching habits are suddenly and abruptly shifted to the animated kind.  I mean I could probably break down most PBS Kids, Nick Jr., Disney Jr. shows with a descriptive dialogue of how great and awful they are at the same time, so I’m well aware of toddlers TV watching preferences.  It’s just that when they are two they tend to be demanding and opinionated in what they want to watch.  And of course with three of them if one gets a choice, the other two will rightfully get theirs as well.  Next thing you know you are down a Paw Patrol rabbit hole that you can’t get out of.  Adding to this problem is they tend to choose the same shows which can get monotonous and drive you the adult to sing songs and respond to audience participation all the while the toddlers sit and watch on in silence.  And as a direct result of this you begin to start questioning your existence.  And furthermore when you ask what they want to watch and you happen to suggest that it would be nice if I the nanny had a choice once in a while, they without fail will always deny your requests to watch Making a Murderer for a change of pace.  However, as they get older you can throw in viewing movies such as Home Alone, and that my friend is a downright victory for all.

  IMG_20151030_211716_104IMG_20151030_210730_843 (1)

Winner for the worse group to watch TV with: Toddlers

Round 2: Loading/Unloading the car

Babies –

Babies have these things where their car seats can go anywhere, in case you are reading this and are unaware of how baby car seats work.  So loading and unloading them when they were 7 months old usually required strapping them in, clicking them into their base, and then you are ready to boogie.  Therefore, loading/unloading the vehicle was a relatively sane and peaceful process.  On second thought, I do remember a few times where it must have felt like they were on one of those simulated roller coaster games as I struggled to heave the car seat into the back left corner of the minivan and their tiny bodies were just bopping along to the thrill of it all.

Toddlers –

There are many reasons why two year olds are so enjoyable to be around, however getting them into the car is not one of them.  I’m not even going to mention the process before stepping out the door because we all know how asking a child to put on shoes, a coat, or pretty much any necessity to make it out in the world more often than not easily sends them into a tailspin.  Because life is hard as a two year old.  When they finally get to the car the G8 summit proceedings commence and the peace negotiations begin and we hopefully settle on a treaty of who is going to sit where in a timely manner.  As they approach their seats it never ceases to amaze me what they can find, do, or see to distract them from the task at hand which is the next logical step of sitting in your actually seat — there’s a french fry from who knows when under the driver’s seat, well I must eat it.  There’s a vent above my head, well I must turn it and close it, and turn it and close it, and turn it and close it.  Oh is that a light I see, well it must be put on, duh.  There’s the dino I’ve been looking for, I must have it before I sit.  And while we are at it I might as well test out how it feels to be behind the wheel of this bad boy — These are the distractions that make the act of loading and unloading toddlers a situation that would even make Mother Teresa raise her voice.  Oh and the independence.  I almost forgot about the independence part.  The climbing in the seat on their own, the buckling of their seat belts on their own,  and the closing the doors on their own (even if it is right after they’ve stepped into the car which leads to shutting the helpless nanny out.)  There are often tears (mostly shed by me), lots of wrangling and wrestling, and definitely sweaty armpits, but once they are strapped in they are captive.  And that’s what I like, toddlers that are finally at the mercy of the one actually behind the wheel and not the other way around.  Also, because of the chaos that comes with performing the duties of getting triplet toddlers into the car this sometimes happens:

IMG_20150206_125415_615(Don’t worry I was on a road right by the house when I spotted this and he was only positioned like that for a couple hours.)

Winner for the worse group to load and unload into the car: To no one’s surprise – Toddlers

Round 3: Toileting

Babies –

Yes there was a point when I was probably changing upwards of 20+ diapers a day.  And yes there were some deadly and gross ones to make it through.  But have no fear, I made it.  And all of that is to be expected with babies.  You expect them to go in their diaper because when’s the last time you’ve seen a 9 month old walking around squatting on the potty.  These are daily things that come along with having a baby, you must embrace it and move on.  So we can’t really fault a baby for doing what they are supposed to be doing and that is going the bathroom in their diaper.  Who we can fault are……………

Toddlers – 

The toddler age is a typical time to start the potty training process.  There are many approaches to this process and what works for some doesn’t work for others and we must accept that.  With triplets the toileting process has been adventurous to say the least.  What I’ve learned is interest is the key.  If there is an interest, there might be hope.  And a glimmer of hope is what is needed when you’ve change the fifth bowel movement in the span of 15 minutes produced by a gaggle of two year olds.  The thing is you know they know that we know that they know that we know that they know that we know that they know they need to take care of their business on the toilet.  It’s when you as the adult think your child is deliberately going in their diaper to spite you, that you begin to get crazy.  You have so many unresolved questions that you ask yourself, actually just one question that you find yourself screaming: “PLEASE, WHY WON’T YOU JUST GO ON THE POTTY?”  And all this focus on learning how to use the potty just really gets to your head.  I mean as the nanny I’ve contemplated lots of things that are in direct line with this hoopla surrounding potty training.  For instance, most children are potty trained between the ages of 2-4 and one of the first things they learn to do besides not touch the pee water or to inspect the poop in the toilet by getting a closer look, is to flush the toilet.  So may I just ask you then: why is it that when you enter a public bathroom you have to be horrified by that one toilet that someone refused to flush.  This is a skill two year olds master, is it that difficult to follow through with this practice our entire lives, sheeesh.  And the other thing that crosses my mind while getting the child to use the potty is pondering about the things that actually come out of toddlers bodies.  I’m constantly in awe that a 25 lb. pipsqueak boy can push that amount of product out of his body, but I guess it is true what they say, God does indeed work in mysterious way.  Okay so anyway potty training is the worse, end of story.

Winner for the worse group in the act of toileting: Do I even have to say it – Toddlers.

Round 4: Going to the supermarket

Babies –

You don’t.  Yeah if you have one baby sure take em to the supermarket, throw them in the shopping cart no problem.  Sorry but that ain’t happening when you have triplets.  When you do take a triplet baby grocery shopping it is most definitely a solo affair and usually is just so you can have a photo shoot in every aisle as evidenced here:


Toddlers – 

Let me just paint the picture of what it is like to take toddlers to the supermarket.  I decided one day after picking Joey up from school to take him and the trishlets to the grocery store so they could get a donut.  They like the sour worms/Swedish fish that the grocery store puts on some of their donuts, so I thought why not.  Before entering the store I give them the pep talk that we are here for one thing only and if you fail in that mission you will be excommunicated from the family.  I warn them that you must listen to me and hold hands in the parking lot and most important of all no one shall cry or else your pretty little donut is mine.  So in order to make things easier I place those blinder things on them, you know the ones that you see horses wear in the city so they don’t get distracted and try to run back to the countryside, that way they aren’t blinded by the countless food/drink items available to them at the grocery store.  We get out of the car and form our red rover chain that no car or person shall break.  Often times when I am walking in this fashion with the four of them or even the three of them I find the need for a construction worker (you know the ones who hold the stop/slow signs to tell you when to go when one side of the road is being repaired) to follow us around and quickly pop up into intersections and hold a mama duck and her ducklings crossing sign which would allow us to maneuver safely in our surroundings.  A girl can dream, right?  Anyhow, once inside the store I corral them like I’m moving sheep in the rolling hills of Ireland to the donut area and let them choose one for their liking.  They of course see the thousands of other treats offered and I immediately shut down the possibility of that happening.  Because one answer, no.  No we don’t have time to actually grocery shop and no we didn’t come here to buy all the treats in the store even if your precious heart desires them.  We grab the donuts and quickly scan for the shortest line, but first we must make a stop at the $3 DVD bin so Henry can insist on me buying him The Nutty Professor.   The checkout line can’t go quick enough.  Lots of nos, lots of maybe next time, lots of reminders of the reward of the donut for attending for a few more moments, and of course stares from the cashier as she sees you’ve brought four small children into the grocery store to buy a whopping $3.22 worth of donuts.  Insanity at its best.  But sometimes taking the triplets out in public does work to our benefit.  Like that one time I took them to Dunkin’ Donuts (I’m going with a donut theme here, alright people) and asked for eight munchkins and they gave me something like 26 extra and didn’t charge me for any.  I guess they could sense my state of disequilibrium traveling with a group of two year olds that aren’t my own and decided to throw me a line.  Thank you, Dunkin’ Donuts, thank you.  And one more thing I might add is since these kids so rarely get to go to the grocery store it’s like they are stepping into Walt Disney World when they do make it inside one and that it nice to see.  Because every day occurrences should and can be exciting too.

Winner of the worse group to go to a grocery store with:  I’m not sure my toddler grocery tale brought any clarity to the situation at hand, but it would probably be very difficult to take triplet babies to the grocery store and expect to get any considerable amount of shopping done.  So let’s give this one to the Babies!

Round 5:  Going to church

Babies –

Attending mass with three babies is what every sane person wants to do.  First, you take stock in scoping out the small real estate of pews that three baby carriers can logistically fit into.  Then, you arrive with a diaper bag the size of an 18 year old girl’s hair from Dallas who is attending her debuatante ball.  When settled you are praying not to the Lord for forgiveness, good health, and yada, yada, yada, but to keep these babies silencio, and to keep the homily short, and for no guest speakers.  If one baby happens to murmur it tends to be okay because you can usually provide a pacifier or a bottle to soothe them.  If they start to cry, from my experience, it’s not that bad either because they are babies and they are cute and, you also have the option of directly banishing them to the back waiting area.


(In church with baby after he was stripped of Original sin)

Toddlers – 

On the other hand, taking toddlers to church is what insane people’s dreams are made up of.  I must be honest there have been times where we have made it without any outbursts and that in my eyes rivals the great miracles of the past, such as Jesus turning water into wine.  The other times when miracles are not happening you are instead faced with feelings of despair and regret for deciding to bring these hooligans into a holy place.  When in the presence of two year old triplets during mass you are never at ease nor should you be because the worst case scenario of them running towards the altar and jovially trying to chase the priest around is always a possibility.  Additionally, when attending church with triplet toddlers the offering of peace takes 45 minutes because everyone of course has to shake everyone’s hand.  It’s like one of those math problems that you learn to solve in 7th grade with trying to figure out permutations, if you take a group of seven to church how many possibilities of the shaking hand process can there be.  No one and I mean no one wants to try to figure that out, yet these triplets try their darndest to do just that.  Furthermore, when a toddler squeals or cries at mass it ain’t so cute anymore, and the natural reaction before extraction is to get nice and tight and whisper: “I will slap you in the face if you don’t stop these antics right now.”  Because toddlers should know better than to shed even one tear in the house of the Lord, how dare they.   There is however one benefit over babies when taking toddlers to church and that is the Texas size diaper bag no longer exists and rather you breathe a great sigh of relief when they find some other child’s left over lone cheerio under the pew to keep them occupied.

Winner of the worse group to go to church with:  Draw

Round 6:  Going to an Amusement Park

Babies –

Taking triplet babies to an amusement park is pretty much just a way in which to show off your children.  Babies can’t go on rides so what’s the point, because I don’t really see one.  It’s like when first time parents take their two month old to the zoo to impart an educational experience on their young mind when all the baby wants is to find the nearest living thing that will provide them with milk.  Mommy human or mommy gorilla they don’t care.  So same goes with taking babies to an amusement park, there isn’t much for them to do so it isn’t worth the hassle.  Unless of course you the nanny wants to take them with your sister (who also isn’t their mother) and you want to be tracked down by a lovely man who also happens to have triplets, and then proceeds to applaud the awesomeness of science because without it we wouldn’t have our kids today.  You know, him and his partner, and me and my sister who he thinks are a lesbian couple.  So if you want to confuse people into thinking you are in a lesbian relationship with your sister, I guess that is the perfect time to show off your triplet stroller at the amusement park.


Toddlers love amusement parks and it does warm your heart to see the joy that comes over their little beings when they are inside the gates of one of them.  And as a family who grew up going to amusement parks and having made some great memories at them, I am happy to be a part of them experiencing rides for the first time.  However, let’s end this Mr. Roger’s episode right here.  After one trip I won’t name names (Ocean City, NJ) my outlook on toddlers and amusement parks shifted.  There were eight of us and we wanted to go on the log flume so after we did the AP calculus necessary to figure out how many tickets were needed, we proceeded onto the ride and enjoyed all 60 seconds of it.  The toddlers loved it, but my love couldn’t quite reach peak levels when I calculated after the fact that based on the cost of the tickets sold it cost us roughly $32.00 to ride the flume.  That’s a crime.  Going to an amusement park shouldn’t force the bank to close in on your house, but often times it feels like that is the case when venturing to these family fun places.  Nonetheless, universally toddlers are elated to go to amusement parks and for that reason alone it is hard to argue against them.


(Taken not at the aforementioned log flume, but at the family and cost friendly Dutch Wonderland)

Winner of the worse group to go to the amusement park with:  Babies – I suppose for their lack of height and weight rendering them unable to ride anything.

Round 7: Going to the beach:


If you thought preparing to take triplet babies to church was fun just imagine taking triplet babies to the beach.  It looks something like this for a trip to the beach for a night:


The pack and plays, the bathtubs sized sunscreen tubes, the diapers, and the list goes on and on.  Babies at the beach require a lot of prep and the payoff just isn’t satisfying enough.  Yes it can be adorable seeing a baby at the beach as evidenced here:


But you usually can’t stay long and pulling a triplet stroller in the sand isn’t quite exactly how most dads imagine their trips to the beach to look like.  Don’t get me wrong touching their feet into the water and the cries that follow are entertaining, but you as the caretaker are doing a lot of lifting and moving and making sure sand isn’t swallowed by the handful but rather just in small doses, and thus it doesn’t make it an experience that is brimming with fun.

Toddlers –

Come to think of it having babies who aren’t yet mobile at the beach may be a better option than toddler triplets who are.  The amount of items packed for a beach getaway tends to be significantly lower because once they turn two you could care less if they are sleeping on the roof of the car or in their actual beds as long as they are sleeping.  Yes the application of sunscreen is just as dreadful as before, but the payoff is now that they have aged they can stay at the beach for longer hours.  Though with triplets and a big brother watching them by the ocean can be a challenge, in case you had a brain block and thought otherwise.  One is usually running in one direction to flirt with the lifeguard, while the other is joining another family because their hole in the sand is bigger than the measly dip you provided them with, the other diving into the wave breaks, and the last searching for the nearest boy selling ice cream.  You’re mental awareness has to be on point or else you won’t survive.  So if you are looking for an activity where you get all sandy, are constantly moving and grooving to keep track of tiny children, have to present your body in a bathing suit to others, and occasionally get to swim in the ocean, then going to the beach with triplet toddlers is the activity just for you.  Once again, they enjoy it so I’ll have to go against my Debbie downer ways and say it might just all be worth it.


Winner of worse group to go to the beach with:  As tiring as toddlers are at the beach, I think the Babies narrowly win this round.

Round 8: Bedtime Routine

Babies –

Give them a bottle and send them off.  Yes I know it isn’t that easy to put a baby to bed, but when they are 8 months old you don’t have to brush their teeth, you don’t have to shut down the circus act of them running in circles for an hour in their bedroom to exert every last ounce of energy they have before hitting the sack, and you don’t have to read and read and read because you know the tantrum that will ensue if one of them doesn’t get the choice they want.  At bedtime, babies don’t ask you for one more kiss and one more hug or assistance so their blanket is covering them just right even though you placed said blanket on them less than a minute prior.  You give them sweet words of comfort, maybe sing a lullaby, and let them cry it out until they are peacefully asleep.


Death Threats

Winner of worse group to put to bed:  With a unanimous decision – Toddlers

To save this from being a lethal diatribe on why babies and toddlers even exist, I don’t think it is necessary to provide any further evidence on why babies and toddlers are the worse in so many ways.  I mean I have plenty to say about their differences in eating habits, napping abilities, and taking them to the mall but I’ll leave that for another day.

So after going toe to toe in eight rounds of battle the results are: 4-3-1.  Hear ye, hear ye: “In the case of who is the worse, Babies vs. Toddlers, the people of the jury find the defendants, the Toddlers – GUILTY!”  Babies enjoy your victory while you can but don’t gloat too much because it won’t last.  And with a score of 3 just know that you are mere centimeters away from being the worse group of humans out there, second only to toddlers.

If anyone is looking to appeal this decision please feel free to take it directly to the U.S. Supreme Court because I’m sure once they see a case like this on their docket they will drop whatever other issues that are currently plaguing our country and tend to this matter immediately.






Lights, Camera, Minions!

We go through life experiencing things.  It is from these experiences that our own personal world and how we interact with the greater world is formed.  But what about first experiences?  You know, the first time you’ve truly experienced something.  I guess one could argue that the unpredictability and fragility of life lends itself to the fact that each day we are experiencing something for the first time, because each day is different from the last.  But I’m talking about those first experiences that you will never forget or the ones that you are dying to remember, especially those ones that as you age you wish you could reel in from your long-term memory bank.   Who wouldn’t want to relive that moment you first rode a roller coaster? Or that time you first read a book on your own unassisted by anyone else?  Or those feelings you experienced when you had your first crush?  Or perhaps that moment you first are sitting in the car in the seat directly behind the driver’s wheel?

As we get older I can’t help but feel these first experiences tend to be fewer and far between.  Maybe I simply find it more difficult to look at events and actions with the same eyes that looked at the events and experiences from my childhood.  The exact events that always seemed to intrigue and captivate our eyes.  I wish I could recall memories from my youth of first making a basket shooting over hand on my patio on the family basketball hoop or the first time I pushed through the turnstile to enter the fantasy world of Disney’s Magic Kingdom.  I can’t.  But the great thing about experiences is you can experience something through the body and the eyes of the others that surround you.

Taking care of the Trishlets for the past two years has afforded me the opportunity to do just that.  And if you were looking for a group of individuals to see the world through a different lens, those three two-year-olds are your perfect candidates.  I’ve witnessed their first word, their first tooth coming in, their first tooth being knocked out, their first experience staying upright and moving forward for more than two feet, their first biting of one another’s arm, their first completion of a somewhat complicated puzzle, their first rendition of singing the alphabet completely off-key and with letters omitted (but nonetheless adorable), and their first Houdini act of escapism from their crib.  Each day as they get bigger and gain independence getting to witness them navigate this world has been truly special.  And as they experience things for the first time I find myself stepping back and actively thinking of what it must feel like to accomplish, participate, and take hold of things as a toddling two-year-old.

One recent experience that grabbed me as it was happening and made me watch with deliberate eyes was their first adventure to the movies.  Their parents decided to surprise them and take them to see their first movie, The Minions.  And since they are two-year-old triplets, and since they would be in a public forum, I decided to tag along.  While a one-to-one ratio is not a necessity it is preferred, especially when you add in their rambunctious five-year old brother.  The Minions was the perfect choice – three main minion characters that speak a language that no one understands, getting themselves into ridiculous situations, and performing silly hijinks – how could they possibly relate to any of these themes.

This was their first experience going to the movies and I was excited to see how it all would unfold.  I desperately wish I could remember my first time stepping into the dark abyss of a movie theater recalling the sights and sounds, but getting to witness these two and half-year old triplets experience it for the first time may have been even better.  The thing about experiencing something for the first time is, there is no protocol.  You often are of unsure of how to act and you make meaning as you traverse your way through.  And from my observations and mental pictures taken of them experiencing the act of going to the movies for the first time, I imagine the internal dialogue for the three of them went something like this:

 Approaching the exterior:

What is this place with big doors?  Is this church?  Church has big doors.  But wait isn’t it Sunday, didn’t we already go to church? Please, tell me we aren’t going to church again.  I’m not ready to sing “Alleluia” once more.  Wait a minute, based on Joey’s excitement, I  know this cannot be church.

Approaching the ticket sales guy:

Who is this boy speaking to us from behind a window and asking Mommy if she has tickets?  Tickets for what, a train?  Who cares what he says.  Let me just proceed through these next doors anyway without any ticket, who is going to stop me I’m two.  I can rob this joint and wouldn’t be stopped.  See no one stopped me even though you supposedly need tickets for this place that we are currently standing in.  Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

Approaching the concession stand: 

Wow so many pictures of popcorn.  I guess there is eating at this place and drinking too.  This open space near the popcorn and drinks is the perfect place to run around so I guess that’s what I’ll do.  Oh I get it.  Mommy and Daddy brought us here to run, because we certainly don’t do enough of it at our house.  Maybe this is some sort of playground.  We run here then we eat popcorn.  We must eat all the popcorn sparing none.

Approaching the specific theater: 

Where are we going?  I thought we were going to stay by the food.  Food is where I need to be at all times or else you know how this is will turn out.  I won’t have a snack and you will not want to be around me.  While we are on that subject, why is that?  Why is it that when I don’t have a snack other people around me get upset when I start to cry about it.  I think you big people have greatly underestimated the importance of snacks.  Because if you  didn’t, you would fully understand why tears are drawn over not receiving a snack.

Inside the movie theater: 

Why are there chairs and chairs and chairs?  And rows, oh no have we’ve been fooled into going to another type of church?  We get to try out each of the chairs, right?  Sit on one decide if it is too big or too small or just right.  Let’s test this row and sit for thirty seconds and test another row.  Wowie, I was too busy finding the perfect chair that I guess I failed to notice the great big screen over there.  Is that a huge TV screen?  Where are we?  And why do Mommy, Daddy, and Aunt Debbie keep excitedly saying Minions.  And wait a second do I have sunglasses on?  Why is it so dark in here?  Is it bedtime?

Receiving snacks before the movie begins:

I like this place.  I told you snacks bring happiness and joy.  How could you not like this place?  It has snacks that we can eat while we sit and look at the massive screen.  And there are other people here too, so they must like snacks and massive screens as well.

The previews begin to roll:

Oh la la, look at the bright lights and the loud noises.  From my two- year-old powers of deduction, I can now safely assume that’s what the big screen is for.  Was that the whole movie?  3 minutes long – I hope you didn’t pay a lot for these tickets Mommy.  Wait a second, another movie?  Haha that cat is silly.  3 minutes long again?  Where are these minions you speak so highly of?  Anyways, minions or not I guess this is still pretty cool.  I get to eat popcorn, drink a little juicy, and watch 3 minute movies, oh the life.

The feature presentation debuts:

Whoa, whoa, whoa, it just got really dark in here.  We don’t watch movies like this at home.  Usually the lights are on and one of us is crying over something or another.  And usually we sit all around the room not in this lineup.  Do we sit or do we stand?  Who cares, I’ll do both.

“Minions funny, minions are silly!”  Why is Mommy signaling me with her one finger over her mouth?  Oh right, she is shushing me.  What no talking is allowed?  What is this naptime?  Oh ok, so this is a bit longer than three minutes.  Why is that mommy close to the front laughing?  Did I miss something?  I just hope it wasn’t something funny.  And how am I still allowed to be eating this much popcorn?  Did mommy and daddy pass out and not notice the obscene amount of popcorn I have consumed?  Is this place some sort of heaven?

The feature presentation comes to a close:

What is this?  Is the action over?   Where are the minions?  And why is the screen black with things scrolling across it?  Kevin, Bob, Stuart, where did you guys go?  I want to see more of the minions. They made me laugh.  I want more.  Oh wait, Mommy and Daddy are standing.  Does that mean we have to leave?  Why are people leaving?  Can’t we just sit, eat some more popcorn, and watch some more movies.  3 minutes or longer I don’t care the length, just give me more movie.  I guess we have to go.  Mommy is saying something about going home.  But why can’t we make this our home.  Oh wait, Aunt Debbie has to go to the potty.  This place has potties too, who knew!

Yes, how wonderful it would be if we could open up our brains and reach in and grab the file that stores our first experiences with doing something, but sometimes it can be even more rewarding experiencing it through someone else.  Experiences like going to the movies for the first time for my sister’s triplets highlighted how it is often difficult to make sense of something when you are first experiencing it, but eventually these experiences and routines become so automatic and predictable that we can’t remember a time when we didn’t know what would happen or we didn’t know how to act appropriately.  The saying may go: “out of the mouths of babes,” but I like to think of it also as: “through the eyes of babes.”  My firsts may not occur as frequently anymore, but they’re just getting started on theirs, and I know that I’ll take great pleasure in watching them experiencing it all.

There Will Be Blood: The Naptime Chronicles of the Trio McGinn

N-A-P, perhaps the greatest three letter word in the English language.  The joy one receives from taking a midday nap is truly a remarkable thing, and in my eyes this joy is right on par with winning a gold medal in the all-around in gymnastics at the Olympics.  When you couple the word nap with the word triplets and then couple that again with two-year-olds, this wonderful three letter word takes on a completely different meaning.  I knew the day would come when these Trishlets would no longer be confined by the bars on their cribs and would actually be in these things we refer to as beds (that I’ll have you know in case you were unaware are perfectly conducive for aimless wandering).  You see those bars on cribs, yes indeed keep your baby safe while they are in them, but more importantly they keep your baby contained.  Every baby needs to be in mini jail from time to time for not just the sanity of their parents, but also for the sanity of their aunt nanny.  And at this point in my nanny career, I long for those days of containment.

A few months before the Trishlets turned two, the hulk/superman baby decided to traverse the confining wood arrangement of his crib and escape into the utter delight of uncharted naptime freedom.  Trish and I were shocked that the smallest one was able to perform this Houdini act, and we knew it wouldn’t be long before his two compadres would join him. (I would secretly spy on Henny as he attempted this move as soon as I walked out the door, and while I was angry he was getting out of his crib and had a vested interest in his safety, I was quite impressed by his swiftness, strength, and fearlessness.) It became a daily routine of me putting him back into his crib two/three/four times all the while Gracie and Tommy looked on with a mixture of feelings of being envious of his freedom, entertained by his antics, and fury as Grace in particular would repeatedly scream, “Henny bad, Henny bad.”  As the pattern has seemingly gone in their short time here on earth, as soon as one triplet does something the other two will eventually do it as well.  So, within a few short weeks these animals were turning naptime into Mardi Gras, which only meant one thing: beds needed to be put into place.

And if we thought Mardi Gras celebrations were going down while the cribs were still in their room, boy were we wrong.  They embraced the beds whole heartedly and actually took to them immediately which was great to see.   Adding to that, the darkness of night usually was good for keeping them in their beds throughout the night, however in the lightness of day they had other things on their mind than sleeping.  (Little do they know when they grow up all they will want to do is have the opportunity to sleep during the day….what idiots.)  This new freedom meant the world was their oyster and by world I mean their bedroom, and by oyster I mean performing demolition work.  Does that make sense?  Probably not, but I think you get me.  Their bedroom essentially has turned into a WWE wrestling ring.  In one corner we have Mike Tyson (Henny) who attacks with anger and spares no sibling the wrath of his teeth, in the other we have Loud Mouth McGee (Gracie) who can be heard five houses down, in the other corner slinks the Wimpinator (Tommy) who is often the prey of Henry’s stalk, and in the final corner is the elder statesman, the knocked out nanny.

It seems like I’ve tried it all.  I’ve pretended to sleep on the floor and they suddenly turn into teenagers and join me on the floor, of course not sleeping, but instead thinking we are going to read and discuss the latest issue of YM or something.  I’ve left the room, let them play for a few minutes, and gone back to tell them calmly that now it is sleep time.  I’ve left the room, let them upset one another which is code for someone is crying, and then come in like a raging mom to scare them back into their beds.  Trial and error people, trial and error.

They have been in their beds for months now but each day during naptime anything, and I mean ANYTHING can happen.  If I really wanted to entertain myself for years I would set up a hidden camera to record them day in and day out, and then just watch the endless hours of their crazy naptime antics.  But I ain’t got time for that.  Instead, I just let the sights and the sounds continue to permeate my memory so when I am older I will never forget these days.  And you know what, I feel like we are all on this journey together, so you shouldn’t either.  Without further ado, please let me share just a snippet of the types of things, sounds, and occurrences I encounter daily around midday (Oh and to make it a little easier to comprehend I gave them some titles to categorize the descriptions that follow):

  • Habitat for Humanity – This obviously refers to the hammering away, moving two by fours, and the constant drilling sounds that can be heard coming from their room that never cease to amaze me. First off, where and what are you doing to make these metal on metal sounds emerge.  Second off, I appreciate your concern for helping build homes for those in need, but as your nanny I am concerned for your safety.  And frankly, I just don’t understand how one minute I am enraged by what sounds like a complete demo and renovation of your room, and then the next minute when I enter said room no tools can be found.  These sounds on a scale of 0 to 10 for problematic naptime behavior concerns rank at a solid 8.  Mainly because I don’t know if home owner insurance would cover the onsite injuries.
  • The Shhhhhhushhhhhhh Off – A distant cousin of The Sing Off, The Voice, American Idol and pretty much any other vocal competition can be heard during naptime at the McGinn household. Just like the contestants on some of these shows the notes get higher and higher, and no one is on pitch.  You see, when you are trying to put two-year-olds to sleep and you “shhhhh” one of them it automatically turns into a “shhhhhussshhhhhhhhhhh” off.  There is no way around it.  I have learned to refrain from this tactic, but I’m human and impulse takes over, and then once again I am surrounded by competitive shhhhhusshhhing to see who can out shush one another.  And I can tell you right now there is never a winner, and there will never be one.  The only winner is me when the shhhhhusshhing has stopped.  Oh and furthermore, the out shushing each other is not limited to just shushing, but rather any audible noise that can be mimicked.  On the scale this ranks around a 4.  Mildly aggravating but can be controlled directly by me not being the bonehead who started it.
  • Last Comic Standing – You know when the perfect time is to practice your stand-up routine when you are a two year old? That’s right you guessed it, naptime!  Not surprisingly all their acts rely heavily on physical comedy, which hey I’m not the biggest fan of, but they aren’t pandering to me so who cares anyway.  They keep each other laughing by making a silly sound or pulling a wild move out.  While yes these routines performed to clearly entertained audiences do deprive them of sleep, the laughter is too sweet to admonish.  Therefore, these types of occurrences rank about a .96 on the scale of problematic naptime behavior concerns.
  • Clue – Sometimes, just sometimes, the day turns into a real life version of the wildly popular movie Clue and the somewhat popular board game Clue. Usually it reads like: It was Mike Tyson in the center of the room with the teeth.  In other words, when he was going through his biting phase Henny almost always was the culprit and his weapon of choice was almost always the weapon found in his mouth.  The Mrs. White screams that follow are all I need to hear to know one of them has been struck, and thus on the scale it shoots it up to 9 out of 10 for level of concern.  Sometimes, there is not enough evidence or clues to solve the mystery which turns the naptime for that day into an unsolved mystery and me into an unsatisfied Sherlock.  Come to think of it, I think I would watch/participate in a game/show that essentially had troubling events take place and you then have to piece together the clues to figure out which toddler did it.  Well, there’s a truck over here by the edge of Grace’s bed, and a scratch mark on his left ear, and I have no idea where this is going but fun right! (I think those last few sentences are the only evidence needed to prove that maybe this nannying of triplets is tugging at my sanity just a tad.)  Coming up on Unsolved Mysteries a trio that refused to nap results in one being struck by teeth, but we have the survivor who walked away to live to tell about it! (Nope, this sentence provides evidence too.)
  • Running with the Bulls – Some days I am so lucky as to be transported to Pamplona. While I much prefer the Spanish siesta that is so highly touted. I am instead treated to the sounds of feet pounding the floor as they sprint so ferociously that the only logical explanation is they are trying to escape from the bulls.  They usually hit many roadblocks along the way which include slamming into their bedroom door at god knows how many mph.  So yeah nothing but peace and tranquility during these exciting nap days.  On the scale from 0-10, the level of concern for this problematic behavior in particular can be noted at somewhere between a 5 and a 100.
  • Whimpers in the daylight* – (*sung to the tune of Celine Dion’s opening line from “I’m Your Lady”) After two years you become quite familiar with what kind of cry signifies clear and present danger and what kind of cry signifies complete disregard for any sort of acknowledgement.  It becomes a bit trickier when deciphering cries through walls, and even more so when you know that if you make a nanny appearance in the room after already shutting the door it could result in screwing the whole naptime up, and as evidenced they are hardly responsible for screwing up naptime on their own so I don’t want the blame on my hands.  But back to my point, sometimes whimpering noises can be heard and it really is a crapshoot as to when to intervene.  I first ask myself what would Jesus do, and then make a split second decision like the professional baseball hitter that I am.  Sometimes it pays off when they are steadily whimpering because a roommate of theirs took a book they wanted to read (very pressing matter), and other times it doesn’t pay off when you hear them whimpering and choose to ignore it because hey they’re two now and it’s time they step up to the plate and handle their own issues, and you later walk in to find them in the corner with their tiny fingers stuck in the vent.  What can I say, you live and you learn.

So what can be gathered ultimately from me describing these occurrences is: I will pay top dollar for someone to come install those blackout blinds that rich people have in their homes.  And top dollar means my nanny salary, and if anything is top dollar it is that.  Also, it has become increasingly more obvious that perhaps toddler rooms should adapt the minimalist lifestyle – no toys just beds, padded walls, silent doors, no clothing being stored anywhere on the premises, and dosages of naptime non harmful sleeping pills.  All these I believe are very realistic and obtainable things to ask for.

Basically, I’m just a nanny trying to get through each groundhog’s day all the while ensuring these Trishlets get their requisite hours of sleep.  And you don’t have to explain to me why napping is so critical for toddlers.  The importance of napping for a two-year-old goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway.  It includes but is not limited to: it allows me to eat whatever snack/food item I want without having to share it with anyone, it allows me to watch whatever TV show my heart desires, it allows me to do my grad school work, it allows me to take a nap, it allows me to write a blog post once every seven months, it allows me to go to the bathroom in private, but most importantly it allows me to sit in silence.  Ooops it appears I forgot to mention all the benefits napping has for them, oh well.

Days of silence are always the best.  Days of retrieving them from nap to find them completely naked are fun too.  Days where you can’t find one because they fell asleep in the closet are entertaining as well.  Days where it looks like a category 5 hurricane hit the room are not as entertaining.  And any day when blood has not been drawn represents one thing – and that is victory.  So on the positive side we’ve achieved many victories in our journey together through naptimes, and I know that one day in the future that glorious three letter word, N-A-P, that I so love, will be restored to its proper order.

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Trishlets Storytime

Proof that words have meaning.  Proof that pictures are not necessary to convey that meaning.   Proof that two year old triplets can listen and be engaged with a book that does not have pictures!  (Oh and apologies for staring into the webcam.  I’m not a professional nanny but more along the lines of a teenager using a webcam for the first time circa 2005.)

Welcome to the Kern Kiddie Care Academy


Here at the Kern Kiddie Care Academy we may live by the motto, “where a toddler can be a toddler and an adult can also be a toddler” but our rigorous standards and researched based practices are what set us apart from your run of the mill daycare/preschool center.  Our students are put through a series of tests prior to acceptance so we can guarantee they are on track for the likes of Stanford and MIT.  (If you would like more information on our qualification practices I recommend you view the Full House episode where Becky and Uncle Jesse are trying to figure out a preschool for Nicky and Alex to attend, then my aforementioned thought will make much more sense to you.)

Some of the qualities, I, as the director of the Academy look for in a student are:

  • An ability to sing nursery rhymes off key
  • Mastery in drawing on everything but paper
  • A penchant for wrestling and yelling at classmates
  • Unprecedented talents in the act of dumping toys out of bins, not playing with them, then dumping more toys on top of them
  • A knack for staying in one spot for more than a minute

These qualities are just a few of the many that a Kern Kiddie Care Academy kiddie embodies, but I think in order for you to gain a true understanding of how our Academy sustains itself on a day-to-day basis it is necessary for me to highlight some of the important practices, policies, and characteristics found within our school walls.

First and foremost is safety, obviously.  Just like the ever-changing requirements found at any U.S. airport, we too have beefed up our security at the Academy.  If you have any questions about how to implement this type of security at your school/place of work, please feel free to contact me.


We place a great deal of attention on ensuring that our kiddies get a balanced approach to education and that is why each day for twenty minutes we sit and admire this wonderful piece of art.  Not only can we check discussing wall paintings off our list of things accomplished for the day, but more importantly the students’ knowledge of just one historical presidential figure is growing exponentially and by exponentially I mean not at all. IMG_20141204_110923_967

Speaking of academics, our Kern kiddies design abilities with tangrams is light years beyond their age.  (And we all know who we should credit for that……..why, thank you.)

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We adhere to a strict dress code at the Academy.

IMG_20141201_102612_134**Violators are immediately sent to the director’s office until their parents arrive with attire that obeys the 3 – 4.1 section of the Kern Kiddie Care Academy dress code which states BELLIES and DIAPERS must be covered.

We infuse literacy and letter recognition into the classroom with this original floor approach.  Which begs the questions: do we really need a solid representation of the letter M, I, or E?  Or the letter K entirely?  And an alphabet with missing letters is still an alphabet, right?


Our sensory table is a full body experience.  It’s really the only way to experience something.


We have a mentoring program where a preschooler comes in and buddies up with our pre-preschoolers to show them the ropes.  You know the ropes where sitting appropriately at a table is taught.


Our luxurious nap time accommodations rival the preppiest of the preppy dorm accommodations found at any New England boarding school.


We keep the Academy trendy by participating in throwback Thursdays through the incorporation of puzzle work with puzzles from the 70s and 80s.


Good ideas for our curriculum seem like good, fun ideas at first, but it doesn’t take long before we realize they are not.  And it takes just a few seconds longer for the instructor to then declare:

“From this day forth we shall never engage in arts and crafts again.  Hear ye, hear ye!”


And anyone who has ever said flashcards are pointless and useless has clearly never witnessed the terrific work we do with them here at the Academy.

IMG_20141217_105818_031So there you have it.  As you can see there are many facets of our Academy that make it so appealing.  And despite what looks like a day filled with dysfunction and chaos there are brief moments where the toddlers organize and somehow muster their toddlering abilities into appropriate and functional activities.


And these moments are the reason the Academy continues to stay open and thriving.  That and the lenient hours of operation that the director can so conveniently enforce.  And also the kisses that the director is allowed to receive throughout the day because of some strange nepotism arrangement.  But by far the greatest thing about this Academy in my unbiased opinion is any opportunity I get to whisper this sentence into one of my student’s ear after they have done something particularly naughty: “One more outburst like that and you will get yourself kicked right out of the Academy and you’ve got that right, your tuition will NOT be reimbursed.”  Make believe threats are always the way to go, especially when dealing with two-year-olds.  I just hope the power and control I have at this moment in my life doesn’t go to my head.

If anything you have seen or read here has piqued your interest in the Kern Kiddie Care Academy, I’d gladly send you along a pamphlet with more information for you to peruse.

Take care,

Debbie Kern

Director, Teacher, Nap Cuddler, Dean of Discipline, Lunch Lady and Lunch Monitor, Breakfast Lady and Breakfast Monitor, Clean Up Crew Member, and Dollar Tree Aficionado.