A day in the life of triplets

We often get asked how do we do it? So I thought I’d let you in on a normal day at home with triplet toddlers. This is a day that my wife would have done alone whilst I was out at work. But as I’m at home at the moment we are running a tight ship together. Teamwork is everything.

6.am – I get up. I have always got up before everyone else in the house, reason being I need to meditate. My head needs to be in the right place to begin the day. If I wake up agitated or rushed my impatience will cause friction. I also need to give myself a chance to let my nerve meds kick in so I can get moving and mobile. Which is incredibly important when dealing with toddlers who do the opposite of what you ask and don’t stay still.

6.30 – I get Frankie up to get ready for school and wake my wife up who also meditates. This puts us both at a mental advantage to deal with whatever may come throughout the day, and to deal with whatever moods the triplets might be in with patience and tolerance. It’s good for us and them. A win win. Once Frankie has left for school the triplets start stirring. Usually between 7.30 – 8.

We normally walk into happy excited girls keen to point out with looks of concern that all the dolls and teddies ‘fell down’. Or more accurately they launched at each other at some point before they went to sleep and they ended up on the floor.They make their own way down the stairs on their bums now, so we don’t need to do trips up and down the stairs, which I’m truly thankful for.

A quick bum change and it’s straight into breakfast before we settle in to a morning of refereeing and keeping them entertained to ensure less refereeing. They are at a stage where they get bored easily and this usually ends up in tears with at least one sat in the naughty corner until they are ready to apologise to their sisters. Breakfast is usually followed by play time. They still need constant supervision though or they might end up doing something silly like getting in the sudocream.

We are now doing our best to educate them with colour charts and flash cards. This is best done one on one, or it just ends up with one or two in the naughty corner. Chaos can ensue quickly when trying to get all three to concentrate. The easiest way to teach them is for me to play with two in another room, and for Stacey to spend 20 mins at a time with one separately without distraction.

Snack time is at ten. This is chill time watching Twirlywoos. Then it’s dressed and out to play. We usually take them for a walk depending on how mobile I am on that day, or play in the garden or out on their Scootie bikes. Getting them out is important. Three toddlers stir crazy from being stuck in the house is a situation no one needs to deal with.

After a bit of fresh air we have the lead up to lunch. We usually do songs and dancing for half an hour before we get them changed. Lunch is at 12. This is followed by a dash to grab teddies and dollys to take up to bed. They then go down for a few hours sleep. As do I. I’m usually physically drained by lunchtime and my pain levels are rising. Thank God for nap time.

Between 3 and 4 the girls are awake and raring to trash the downstairs of the house. They have dinner at 4. After which they go into a slow progression of getting tired and whiney.

This means more entertaining from us. Thankfully we have Frankie home by this point so we can take one each if need be to keep stimulated and out of a sibling skirmish (or full blown attacks). We let them play as they want to in the afternoon. Our little garden is perfect for them to get out of the house and give us a chance to get a few jobs done.

At 6pm, we chill and watch ‘in the night garden’, by which time we’ve changed between 15 – 18 nappys throughout the day and broken up endless arguments. getting them calm before bath time is also important. No one wants to deal with 3 fired up hypo toddlers in a bath tub. Especially not me who baths them while Stacey gets their room, and clothes ready.

At 6.30 they have a bottle of milk and a bedtime story.

By 7pm we are downstairs, mentally exhausted and ready to have dinner and chill.

10.30 – bedtime – wake up and repeat.

Central pain syndrome

I never imagined that by the time the triplets began pre school that I would have gone through such a life changing event. One that has now affected every aspect of my life.

It has always been my main priority to take care of my family. With Stacey unable to work as a full time stay at home mum. I felt it my duty to be a good example to my daughters of man who works hard to provide for his family. And it feels like that rug has been pulled from under my feet. And il be honest, I’ve really struggled this year with the changes.

It’s difficult to get my head around that physically I am fit. Other than some wear and tear to my lower spine every single blood test and MRI scan has come back clear for any evidence of structural damage that could be creating widespread nerve pain.

It was suspected last year that the problem was centred in my central nervous system, so the tests were all a process of elimination to reach a diagnosis of Central pain syndrome. In simple terms I have haywire pain signals being sent within my spinal column, brain stem and brain. As a result of this shake up, probably caused by a car accident last year, my brain is now getting good at creating pain. And because my central nervous system is no longer functioning as it should it is in a constant state of wind up.

The advice from the pain clinic is to become my own advocate in learning about my condition. I’ve now accepted that it’s permanent and it’s down to me to find ways to manage the pain through rest, meds that work to slow down the signals in my nervous system (the strongest pain killers dont touch it) and mental management which I do my best to practice daily with non contemplative meditation. Not getting overwhelmed with negative emotions is vital. Stress can cause pain flare ups as well as physical activity.

There is currently no cure for central pain syndrome, although research is making slow discoveries around the complex condition. My case has now been accepted by a specialist neurological unit in Bristol, unfortunately I have a 7 month wait for my first appointment. Other than the group I have found on social media I am on my own with it.

Its put me out of work and caused all sorts of problems this year at home. The fatigue is difficult to deal with, I now sleep in the day just to give my nervous system a chance to calm down. The pain is widespread from my face to my lower back and hips. There are constant electric currents running through my feet which makes walking painful. I struggle to concentrate because I am in constant vigilance and awareness of what my body is doing. I have been told it will take years to get a handle on it, and in that time the pain will still be evolving.

I’m not writing this to complain. It is however a part of my life now that as a parent I have to adjust to and not become consummed by, which is no easy feat. I don’t want my limitations to stop me being a good dad. I’m determined to do as much as I can, and to stay mentally present each day for my family.

A reflection

There are some big changes happening at the moment. Namely Frankie starting high school and the triplets beginning pre school this week, t-shirts with names on are ordered to save any confusion with the teachers and staff.

Looking back over the last year is a strange view. There were unforeseen changes that have rocked us as a family, and difficulties I have struggled to come to terms with. But we have pulled through none the less.

There seems to be some light shinning at the end of the tunnel as I’ve finally found some acceptance around my health condition. I have plans to return to work to a less stressful role with less responsibility. Only working three morning’s a week to allow myself a chance to rest. The less my nervous system has to physically deal with the lesser the chances of pain flare ups.

My case has also been accepted by a specialist neurological unit in Bristol which should give me a more solid understanding of what I’m dealing with. Central pain syndrome is a permanent condition with no cure. Knowing this information has been the cause of much of my frustration and bouts of depression over the last month’s. As a man whose main priority is providing for, and taking care of my family, it’s my pride that has suffered the most in that respect.

It has been an eventful summer. We had time away with the triplets staying with Stacey’s family. A much-needed break away from the relentless routine at home. We’ve made the most of our little garden and the paddling pool. Little things that the girl’s love that keep them happy and entertained.

We have watched the girl’s grow and develop so much over the last month’s. Three very different personalities finding their place at home and continuing to thrive in a home of love and patience. It’s strange to think they will be starting school this week. Our hope is that their speech will improve with being around other children. It’s going to be fascinating to watch how they interact with others.

As much as circumstances have changed for us we have kept a constant at home between my wife and myself. And that is that we both practice conscious awareness as a way of life. We both meditate to stay awake to the pressures and stresses that crop up along the road. It has kept us afloat and more importantly kept friction to a minimum where there has been so much temptation to get lost in fear around the changes.

I also managed to get my book finished and published as you may already know. A personal story of my journey into fatherhood from a life of alcoholism and self-destruction. Written to benefit others more than anything else. If you are interested getting a copy it’s available now on Amazon

As we move into Autumn I’m feeling more optimistic than I have in a while. And as difficult a year it’s been, at the centre of it all we are doing well as a family. And to me that’s all that really matters.

Frankie

It’s hard to imagine life before triplets. I do remember the house was pretty quiet though.

Frankie, as an only child, used to entertain herself with her dolls and crafts. She used to live in princess dresses and sit in the window waiting for me to come home from work. We used to go to the park every weekend and watch princess films on a Sunday afternoon’s.

Every night I’d carry her over my shoulder up to bed where we’d have a little chat about the day and say our prayers. Then ten minutes later when Stacey and I would be settled for a film, Frankie would come back down with one of a thousand reasons why she couldn’t sleep. Itchy teeth was my personal favourite.

Now she’s almost 12 and had to adjust to an invasion of triplet sisters. And boy have they set their presence over the last two years.

It’s definitely been difficult to make up the time I used to with Frankie. It plays on my mind from time to time. Although she has grown in independence and has new interests that are more geared towards her friends, I find I miss the times we used to have before the trio arrived and took almost all of our focus and attention.

Maybe it’s because of the step dad element that I feel a pinch of guilt now and then. Anyone with new babies will be aware of the consuming attention it takes to raise them in the early years. It’s natural to do so, the trick is as always to be awake to those emotions. And not let them begin to affect me. I need clarity to be able to raise a family.

We are now well into the toddler faze. They are fun, demanding and full of beans. The times they go for an afternoon nap is a time to exhale for a few hours until the next round of chasing toddlers and entertaining their growing demands.

And among it all Frankie has remained as helful as she can be. Her kind and caring nature has remained in tact through another stressful and trying adjustment in her life.

Life was never going to be the same from the day of that first dating scan. And our home will never know quiet for a long time to come. But I am grateful for the years I had to build that vitally important relationship with Frankie. Had there already been a difficult relationship with us, the arrival of the triplets would have only created all the more stress on her.

She was my first conscious attempt at parenting, and it took a lot of commitment and work from me to be able to step into a father figure role. My relationship with her took patience as she went through the grieving process of losing her biological dad and accepted me as a parent.

I guess I’m feeling reflective of our early years together. And I have wonderful memories of our building relationship before the trio came along. She no longer lives in princess dresses, or does little singing shows for Stacey and me. Instead she is beginning high school next week and is already older beyond her years.

I’m proud of her. And my one hope is that her caring nature and outward kindness continue to stay central to her spirit. She has given me hope in that the principles of love, patience and tolerance at home can be a real foundation that all of my daughters will be free to thrive in.

A little help for a friend

This isn’t the usual post you get from me. Instead I am asking you for a little help.

There have been many times in my life that the kindness of strangers have got me through a tough spot. Only this year after being taken out of work with a serious health issue, it was the kindness of a group of triplet mums that paid for our food shopping and nappies for two months. Taking the pressure off of us enough to financially get through.

And going back through my life there have been many other times the kindness and charity of others has taken the weight off, sometimes only momentarily but enough to give me a chance to get back on track.

Before i left home, and if you have followed my blog or read my book you will know I was going through a turbulent time as a kid. There were friends and their families at that time who were kind enough to give me a sofa for the night. To take me in and get me off the street when things were difficult at home.

This week I found a member of one of those families on FB and was saddened to learn of the struggle Dan and his family have been through with their son Alfie. Due to medical negligence shortly after his birth he has had to live with cerebral palsy. A life changing condition that has left him unable to walk.

After a losing battle with the hospital for the compensation that would have helped them financially provide for the much needed equipment Alfie needs with his ongoing condition. They have turned to fundraising with friends and family.

Can you help Alfie?

My freind is a hardworking man, and he and his wife are doing all they can to raise the funds now needed to get Alfie the one thing that would give him some freedom and control by way of a custom fitted wheelchair that he would be able to use himself. And these things don’t come cheap.

They have started a go-fund-me page to raise the funds for this much needed piece of equipment that would greatly benefit this young man’s life. Even the smallest donation from you would make a big difference.

He and his family are in need of help. As we all are at times in our lives. As they once helped me.

I know any contribution would be greatly appreciated by Dan and his family.

Many thanks.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/wheelchair-for-alfie?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

The trio are off to pre school

At the beginning of September our little energetic troop will be starting pre school.

We’ve chosen the little school that Frankie finished at this year as it’s already familiar to them, and to us. On their first day we will be staying with them for a couple of hours just while they settle in.

It’s going to be interesting to see how they interact with the other children in the group. From our experience of seeing them with other children, we already have an idea of how they will likely behave in that environment.

Ava is definitely the most interested in others. When we go to the soft play she is keen to speak to other children and say hello. Lacey takes an interest but is happy to just keenly whatch what other children are doing. Blakely takes no real notice of anyone and just likes to entertain herself. She is the same at home.

It’s also strange to think we have reached such a big milestone already. Its true what they say, time flies by so quickly. It only seemed yesterday we were bringing them home and starting this journey.

I think we’ve done well to reach this point still in tact as a family. I can’t stress enough how much work it has taken from my wife and I to raise them to be such calm and well behaved girls. And I think I’ve done well to have only aged 10 years in the 2 years they’ve been a part of this family.

It has been incredibly stressful, especially for me as a first time parent. But I’ve done the best I can with my understanding of the importance of love and patience within a family unit.

Frankie will also be starting high school next month. Another big milestone for all of us. It will be a time for her to not only grow in her learning and personal development, but also to navigate the new experiences and peer pressures that life at high school brings.

I don’t doubt she will thrive there. Her kind outgoing nature will hopefully remain a solid foundation for her as she begins her new experiences.

Autumn is a time of unavoidable change. As is our home. Thankfully it’s a happy one for all of us. No matter what life brings.

Surviving past trauma – A necessity to our own children’s wellbeing

Men and women going into parenthood with conflicts and traumas from childhood face an added set of problems, that unless unresolved will sadly only damage their own children. Not intentionally, but no-body can live with emotional damage without it directly affecting another.

No-one has the perfect upbringing free from stress and external pressures. At least not that I have ever met. We all have parent’s who were dealing with their own problems when we arrived. That’s why forgiveness is so important. We cannot blame and resent others for failing to deal with stress, especially our parents. (forgiveness and approval are two very different things, when I talk of forgiveness I am talking about giving up anger)

It’s even more crucial to those parents who suffered deeper traumas such as sexual and physical abuse to become free from the fears, resentments and emotional conflicts that stay buried and stuffed down. Men seem to be less inclined to even be able to bring those problems to light, let alone be willing to ever discuss them with another. The shame, embarrassment and guilt can be too powerful to imagine ever handling.

It took me decades, until I became a parent myself that I finally reached out about my own abuse. I still find it difficult at times to sit with the memories that arise out of no-where and bring with them the dark feelings of isolation that I carried with me for so long. Only they now serve more as a reminder of my need to remain conscious of them. Rather than being dragged into them.

An openness to talk is a beginning. But as I discovered it is only a fraction of the path to freedom. For those still struggling with self destructive symptoms such as drug and alcohol abuse, who failed to find a real ongoing solution the key lies in the ability to deal with the rising emotions in real time, without becoming overwhelmed. To be able to see what passes through the mind without being affected.

As parents our need to be present in the lives of our children is crucial to their wellbeing and development. We cannot afford to be tripped up daily by the fears and pain of past traumas, no matter how big or small.

If you are are a mum or dad with a past that still creates problems for you. Perhaps you have tried every avenue of help to find resolve. Or perhaps you are still suffering in silence trying to deal with the obsessive behaviours and distractions that you use to cope. I want you to know there is hope of a new freedom. A new way to live no matter what the damage of your past.

There is a free meditation link on my home page that may help you as it did me. I also discuss my experience more in my book ‘A meditative parent; The making of a triplet dad’.

I need your help!

If you are a regular visitor to my blog you will be aware that I have recently released a book.

It’s not a parenting manual, but a personal journey into fatherhood and how I overcame the immense pressures I faced using a free, non religious meditation.

I know from my experience of working with others that there are many new dads/parents out there going into parenthood already suffering from mental health issues, addiction, alcohol problems and anger to name few of the roadblocks to relationships with the children and partners that can manifest from past traumas.

I wrote this book to give hope to those men and women, couples who are overwhelmed with the changes that occur during a pregnancy and arrival of babies.

So now the book is out and I need your help to get it available to anyone who may need it.

Perhaps you work in mental health? Maybe you work within the maternity services? If so I need you to put a word in for me, to make this book known as a real contribution of help to the rise in mental health issues in new dads/parents. Perhaps you know a charity that helps men that could add a simple link on their website.

Children deserve stability from the day they arrive into the world. That love must come from the parents. And I absolutely believe that with the elimination of stress and the destructive behaviours that can manifest from the pressures of parenthood a child will have the opportunity begin life as they should. This book points straight to that solution.

Please help if you can.

2 years of the blog

Two years ago today, sleep deprived and verging on insanity I began this blog.

It became an outlet for me as I struggled to adjust to life with three babies. And it soon became a a place of reference for other dads struggling with the changes they faced. If nothing else to see they are not alone in their struggles.

It has since been voted number 7 in the top triplet blogs on the planet. Which still surprises me as I have kept away from advertising and monetizing it. Not because I’m against it, but because I didn’t want to lose sight of it’s purpose. I have had almost 30,000 visitors in that time, many who come back regularly for a catch up on how we are doing as a family.

I’m truly grateful to all of you who take the time to read my posts and have encouraged me to keep sharing. To those who have found help through accessing the meditation link, I hope you keep meditating, trust me, life will never be the same.

If this blog has become something useful to another it is serving a greater purpose. And I’m happy to have this platform to be of use.

I have also written, and recently published a book on my emotional journey into fatherhood from a life of serious mental illness and alcoholism. And more importantly how I overcame those pressures to bring emotional stability to my family. I believe anything that contributes to a family staying the distance through the massive adjustment of babies can only be a good thing. Here’s the link to Amazon.

Up until 2 years ago I had never written anything in my life. So it has also been a wonderful experience learning a new trade as it were.

I thank you for your time. And if you know anyone may be struggling with the pressures of parenthood. Maybe give them the link to this site, or my book. Not all of us were given the tools to parent with love and patience. But there is always a way if there is a willingness.

A book for all new dads/parents

Perhaps you know a couple who are facing a pregnancy for the first time, who may already getting lost in the pressures of looming parenthood.

Maybe you know a dad or mum who suffers from anxiety and depression and use drugs or alcohol as a means of coping.

If you do, or are overwhelmed yourself by the strain of children on your relationship, this book is written for you.

Not every couple go into a pregnancy with a clear intuitive approach to what’s ahead. Some are already dragging emotional baggage that if not recognised and dealt with will not only affect their wellbeing, but that of the families, especially the children.

Going into parenthood brings a mass of stress as I discovered. And with a destructive past it became ever more important that I found a way to deal with those in-coming pressures to stop a back slide into anger and fear.

I wrote this book, not as a parenting manual but a personal account of my journey into fatherhood in the hope it benefits others. I’m no parenting expert, but I did have a way to face the stress of a doubling of my family unit in one hit. And that is what I share in this book.

Now available in paperback and ebook from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1076579477/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?keywords=a+meditative+parent&qid=1564909039&s=books&sprefix=a+meditative+&sr=1-2