As summer comes to a close with the official start of fall upon us, it is only appropriate to pause and take a moment to reflect back on what transpired over the course of my heat filled nanny days. There were firsts, in fact quite memorable firsts. Some were developmental, some were experiences, some were health based and some were misunderstandings. Whatever the category they all made my life more enjoyable.
Going to the beach is an extremely typical summer activity unless you live in Antarctica, duh. Going to the beach with 8 month triplets and a 3 yr. old pushes the ticker towards atypical. When I signed up for this gig I knew I would most likely be going on adventures of this nature and I truly don’t have a problem participating in the complexity of it all. However, I can’t help but think of other nannies/au pairs I’ve heard (meaning I’ve read about online) of working (vacationing) in the Hamptons, being flown to Hawaii, and generally living extravagant lives. You know what though, it doesn’t get any more extravagant than sitting in the third row of a Honda Odyssey minivan squeezed between an infant car seat and a booster seat occupied by an elbow throwing 3 yr. old. My new standard of travel provides me with just enough space to reconsider eating anything ever again, but not enough coverage to avoid the prying eyes of the two other infants who robbed me of a captain chair. So take that you snobby nannies.
(Side note: Speaking of extravagant nannies I would quit this job tomorrow to be the nanny for in no particular order 1) Amy Poehler and Will Arnett (oh tear that will never happen due to the current state of their relationship) 2) Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard 3) Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck 4) Anna Faris and Chris Pratt 6) Louis C.K. 7) Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes – they don’t have any kids but you get it.)
Okay so back to our experiencing the beach for the first time with the Trishlet babies. A few days before this outing I had emailed my friends this “I am going to the beach this weekend with the troop so that shall be an adventure. I think it is wishful thinking on my part when I hope that it is like one of those beaches in Florida where you can drive your car onto the beach. Otherwise, with the amount of stuff we need to bring I’m not quite sure if it is foreseeable that we will reach sand. That or leave a baby or two at the beach house.” This is the amount of stuff we packed for the babies for TWO days:
**This heap excludes all the bags the adults and the 3 yr. old packed**
Needless to say, it wasn’t a beach where cars were permitted. But better yet I think one of those Army air package drop off planes would have worked just as well. Pick us and all our stuff up, fly four blocks, and just parachute us onto the beach because lugging all the things necessary for a day at the beach with this crew is just asking too much. (Especially when your nanny puts a certain someone on their shoulders for the walk home, and then is out of commission for the rest of the weekend from a bad neck reaction.)
Besides having all these thoughts of how we are going to physically make it to the beach, when you finally do arrive you get the sense that you want to leave immediately. The sunblock preparation and eventual upkeep for a trio of babies alone is a major deterrent. Also, I know some people enjoy going to the beach for relaxation, peace and quiet, and yada, yada, yada. I think they probably thought otherwise when they saw this thing coming their way:
Another item, strollers don’t do well in the sand. Specifically – strollers of this length and with that amount of weight occupying them. I actually took these baby peeps during the week while their parents worked to another beach in Jersey, and as my sister and I struggled to navigate in the sand with this rolling apparatus an older man with a cane felt so bad for us that he insisted on helping us. We continued for approximately 6 steps, making us set up camp 10 steps away from the boardwalk and only 300 feet or so away from the water. I know time will help us solve these problems more effortlessly. And it did because the next day we only brought one baby to the beach – problem solved.
Content as a clam to have a solo outing to the beach
While the first visit to the beach was a thrilling one to say the least, something not as thrilling was our first bout with conjunctivitis. For those not familiar with the technical term, I’m talking about pink eye. I go to Florida for a week, thus the babies attended day care for a week, and I come back to diaper rashes up the wazoo. And of course the contraction of pink eye. Working in a preschool prior to this I’ve dealt with my fair share of eye germs. The difference though is those kids I was previously in contact with stayed at home for 24 hours on antibiotics and came back contagious free, but now I’m the one at home for those 24 hours with a contagious baby who just loves to rub their eyes and then try to stick their fingers in every crevice of your face. I avoided getting contaminated at first, but it was an uphill battle keeping them quarantined from one another. We tried a contamination corner of the mat with only allowing them certain toys to play with, but let’s be honest that worked well for about 4 minutes before one of us was eventually shouting, “He’s been contaminated (referring to another baby), that plastic duck is contaminated as well, but the stuffed elephant is in the clear only by mere centimeters though.” It was entertaining while it lasted and kept me on my toes. So thanks conjunctivitis, for in the end you won by contaminating us all.
Ma, get me some eye drops stat
Additionally, over the course of the last few months we’ve hit some developmental milestones, which is exciting. First teeth popping out is adorable, but you know what also is adorable – a baby without any teeth too. Which got me to thinking. I’ve had the opportunity to witness just within a couple months that even though these three individual humans are essentially receiving the same nutrients and experiencing things in the same environment, thus keeping their nature/nurture quite consistent, they still develop at different rates. Furthermore, speaking from my teaching experience and general outlook on life I find it extremely important that we recognize that each child develops uniquely and individually. While milestones give us a base to go off of, they are not the be all and end all. Rather, what I believe is more exciting is witnessing these unique personalities take shape. Even though some may think otherwise, everyone has a personality. So whether they are moving the way they are “suppose” to be at that critical age, or doing things that are typical of babies comparable to their age, is really not that imperative. What’s imperative is that you recognize their distinctive personality and you appreciate it for the unending joy it brings you everyday.
Switching gears a tad, in addition to all these wonderful firsts I’ve previously discussed, I experienced a misunderstanding for the first time that probably had been thought about in other people’s minds, but I, or shall I say we actually met someone who verbalized it. That sentence makes no sense whatsoever, so let me give you a little back history. I do many things with my sister Susan. She and I go various places together just the two of us. We drink a soda from the same straw at the movies (gotta be cost efficient and plastic overconsuming aware). We stare at each other in silence in an hour long line waiting for a rollercoaster. We lean up against each other at standing room only concerts while snacking on the same bag of gummy bears. We order food off a menu frequently stating “We’re going to have….” I sometimes try to hold her hand when walking down the street. So let’s just say it how it is, viewing us in these settings of our lives people may think we are a couple. Obviously we are sisters, but when you are with her pushing around a triplet stroller people not only think this exact thing, but they express it.
It all went down in Point Pleasant, NJ. The funny thing is we did have the babies, which might have led people to believe it was a my two moms situation, but it wasn’t just the two of us. We also had our 17 yr. old cousin with us, which I guess makes her the babysitter in this scenario because we clearly are too young to give birth to a H.S. senior. From a distance we see a man pushing what appears to be a similar stroller through the mass of people. And sure enough as he pulls up next to us he brings along with him a carriage full of cute triplet girls. You could tell he was just overjoyed to see another triplet family. (Apparently it was spreading like wild fire throughout this amusement park/play area that there was more than one set of triplets on the premises.) He made some small talk, and then speaking to Susan and me delved into this whole “We are really showing people that it can be done” spiel. We agree thinking, right on we can take triplets out in public, yay! As we exchanged good luck with your future salutations, he starts to depart and continues on further to the tune of “Thank god for science, nowadays you really can do anything.” Then he strolled away. Apparently Sue didn’t hear the last part correctly. I had to spell it out for her that he thought we were a lesbian couple who somehow got triplets implanted, and we were showing off to the world, as two moms, that we can bring triplets anywhere. Three minutes later he returned with his husband to introduce us. It was brief, but we were in too far to back track our way out and to clarify that we weren’t actually a couple but instead just the babies aunts.
I’m happy we gave this man an excitement for what he assumed to be our mutually comparable lives. This summer I experienced a slew of firsts, but this one takes the cake. It was the first time I was openly mistaken to be in a lesbian relationship with my sister. And if we keep our old habits up, it may not be the last. End of story.
Just when you think your life coudn’t get more hectic, keep this pic in mind of how Trish feels when she comes home from work on a Friday. (Photo courtesy of S. Kern Berger)