The end of a chapter

Today the triplets started school. It wasn’t a case of mixed emotions, we are ready for it and so are the girls.

It feels like the end of an era. We have survived the first four years with high order multiples. And it’s been the toughest gig of my life. And if you have read my book you’ll know that’s saying something!

The heatwave summer they were born in brought hot night’s of sleep deprivation. Wondering if there was an end to the insanity and rising depression I experienced as a first time dad. It hit me hard, as prepared as I felt during the pregnancy, nothing could have prepared me for the reality. With a physical full time job and three dependent babies I struggled to maintain my stability as a father.

But I got through it, faith and meditation kept me afloat at the times I was sinking. Once they began sleeping through the night everything changed. And I became the dad I imagined I could be.

Having triplets was a traumatic experience for both of us. But I dedicated my life to fatherhood. I put my priorities as a dad in front of everything. I wanted to give them love and stability. To be a dad they could love and be everything they needed.

Bliss asleep

The older they got I soon realised the vacuum triplets created. There is little time for anything outside of home-life, they have consumed us and the work is relentless. Now toddlers they bring a whole new set of challenges. They fight and whine and have dragged us both to the edge of insanity at times. But above all they are amazing to see grow.

It’s not all bad though. They are loving, kind and caring with each other and us. The little random hugs with the whispered ‘I love you daddy’ still melts my heart. They are beautiful as much as they are little toe-rags. They have a voice now and can communicate well with us. They love dressing up, books, unicorns and cuddles on the sofa. They amaze me constantly with their attention to the things they enjoy. I love to watch them.

So now they have begun their journey of education and learning. They loved their first day and we got a couple hours free to ourselves. I took the time to meditate and read a little. It felt good in the silence of our house. But now it’s back to the squabbles and upsets, the laughter and joy. And I can honestly say they have been the greatest gift of my life and I’ve never been prouder to be called daddy.

Under pressure

There have been times that we have mentally struggled with the triplets. Like the time they all had ear infections and we lost 3 days sleep. I remember one morning with the girls screaming in pain, Stacey and I just looked at each other and broke down in tears from sheer exhaustion. We were mentally drained.

Thankfully those periods didn’t last long. Illnesses pass and life gets calmer again. Just lately we have found ourselves in the middle of an incredibly stressful situation that shows no signs of slowing down. The triplets are argumentative, hectic and full on.

There are a couple of contributing factors driving this intense time. One is that they are 4. Secondly it’s the summer holidays and we are stuck with them around the clock. It can be overwhelming. Especially for Stacey as I get to work 4 mornings a week.

They bounce off each other with uncontrollable momentum. It’s relentless from the moment they wake up til bedtime. And we are finding parenting to be a real challenge. More-so than ever. We find ourselves longing for their bedtime then experiencing guilt because we feel that way. It’s not the girls fault. They are just being 4.

We are facing the ultimate test of patience and tolerance, and it isn’t easy. Both myself and Stacey practice non contemplative meditation as a way to build from the stres we are experiencing but it’s still no easy task. As much as we practice conscious awareness our situation is still overwhelming at times. Usually by the end of the day.

We are taking solace in that they will be starting school soon. Is it bad that we feel this way? I know, we should be cherishing each day but the reality is that each night I experience anxiety in that in the morning I have to live do it all again. With Central Pain Syndrome on top of it all I’m just knackered.

No said it was going to be easy, and I know these feelings will pass. But boy having triplets is full on. And we just have to batten down the hatches and deal with it.

Hard work

Yesterday whilst at the play centre, Stacey opened up to me about how stressful she is finding parenting at the moment. And she was relieved when I said I too was not finding it easy of late.

The gang are now 4 year olds. Full of energy and are constantly bickering and whinging, fighting and have little attention to play together. There are times they play nice and are affectionate with each other but it’s rare.

It doesn’t help that they are stuck at home on their summer holidays. We entertain them as much as we can but they are relentless in their energy and ability to fall out with each other. The naughty corner has never been in so much use.

We are keeping on top of discipline to the point that it feels like all we’re doing with them at the moment. They are just hard work. I admitted to Stacey that at the end of the evening there is a certain dread rising in that when I wake up we have to do it all again. There is no escaping our responsibility. We’re both stuck on this rollercoaster.

We are finding releif in the thought that they will be starting school full time in September. We will then have free time to ourselves. With me working part time, writing for the Central Pain Syndrome and keeping this blog going, I will be free to make real time to focus on my writing. Work that I enjoy and keeps me sane at times.

Stacey will also be freed up and cannot wait til September comes. We don’t want to wish away the school holidays. After all it’s also a break for the kids to do fun things but nonetheless our home is a stressful place at the moment. And it’s inescapable.

Having triplets has never been an easy ride. From the time of the pregnancy it has been tough going mentally for both of us. New challenges arise constantly. But when one of the trio comes over for a random hug and a kiss, in that moment we are reminded of the love we have for them.

Holiday

There’s no denying it’s been a stressful year. Having the triplets stuck at home has been a real challenge for all of us. Thankfully the girls went back to school which gave Stacey a break. And a recent spell of hot weather meant we could get back outside to the park and to the pool.

It’s been especially difficult for relatives who have missed seeing the girls. My mum has been in our bubble so was still able to visit us during the lockdown but as for Stacey’s parents who live further away it has been more difficult, a visit to them has been on the cards for a while.

Thankfully the restrictions have now been lifted and life is returning to normal which means we can now visit Stacey’s family. And the triplets have been counting down the days to a visit to Grandma’s house.

It’s a 4 hour drive and the girls do well on a long trip. There’s little complaining and only the odd toilet stop. The last time we visited was Christmas which seems a lifetime ago. We always love a trip to Stacey’s parents, it means a break from our 4 walls and extra help with the girls. We also get the chance to have date night which is rare these day’s. Back home it is still hard to find anyone to babysit the trio.

There is also plenty to do whilst away, from trampoline park’s to the zoo which we will be doing next week. We also have a big park near Stacey’s parents house which the kids never get bored of, and so far we have only had the odd rainy day. Even staying in is easier. They have a much bigger house to run about it. Frankie also gets to spend time with her cousin. She has also been looking forward to a break from studies.

We’re halfway in to our visit and are having lot’s of fun. It may only be a visit to family as our holiday but we are already more relaxed with the extra help. It’s still a test of patience with dealing with three 4 year olds but that’s just the situation we live with from day to day. The girls are at a fun age right now. Everything is exciting and new with means they are easily pleased.

We are making the most of a break from the normal routine, and we deserve it after the year we’ve had. So here’s to fun times and family. And we we are blessed to have such loving relatives.

The perfect dad

I rarely take the time to stop and look at myself, to see how I’m doing as dad. But it’s good to reflect now and again to see how I can improve. I’m not the perfect father, I have my shortcomings as we all do. There are always areas I can improve on.

Because of my past it is imperative that I give my children a good foundation to build on. Honesty, love and truth are principles that I try to live by and moving forward with these pillars in place I am working towards being a better man for my kids.

It’s not always easy. Frankie is going through a difficult age. She is now a teenager and that brings It’s own issue like peer pressure from others and trying to find her place in life. I need to be more trusting and hope the way we’ve brought her up will help her stay on the right path. Losing her biological dad to suicide when she was three still affects her. With Frankie I need to practice patience. She is bright young girl and is doing well at school. I am proud of her in many ways.

As for the triplets I know I am a bit of a soft touch which doesn’t always help when It comes to discipline. There are times I give in to their demands when I have already said no ten times. It doesn’t work. They are learning that they can twist my arm, which can cause small rifts between Stacey and me. They need to see me as a man of authority, they will respect me more as they grow and that’s important as they get older. My wife and I need to stick to the same page when it comes to discipline. Because Stacey spends more time with them she is more on the ball.

A gauge of how I’m doing is reflected in my children’s behaviours and attitudes. They are all polite and well mannered for the most. The triplets can be taken out anywhere without any major outbursts. They know how to behave in public which isn’t bad for three 4 year olds. And it has all come down to loving discipline despite my small failures. They already have a good sense of right from wrong which will be vital to navigate their way through life

I don’t believe there is such a thing as a perfect dad. When you add stress to a situation it can be difficult to remain solid. We are all dealing with pressure as parents and there is always room for improvement.

I have learned not to be hard on myself but also be willing to make the changes in my life that will benefit my whole family. And as long as moving forward more than I am going backwards – I’m doing okay.

Discipline with love

As my daughters get older we find ourselves having to discipline them more. Not because they are bad kids but they are having to learn right from wrong. And this is important, for them and for us.

It would be easy to just let them get on with it when they are playing up, and I am guilty of this at times. When I’m tired or my pains flaring, I just don’t feel like parenting. I think we both get tired of them when they are running riot.

The naughty corner has worked well, and still does. They are spending less time in it as just the threat of it can be enough for them to wind it in.

But I have also learned an important lesson from educating my daughters, and that is to never discipline from a place of anger. In short it doesn’t work. Being angry and telling the kids off because they are fighting is backwards. There is just resentment being experienced, and transfered all sides. It’s like swearing at someone for swearing.

I have learned to discipline from a place of love and tolerance. It doesn’t mean I don’t raise my voice, with three fired up triplets sometimes you need to be vocally assertive. It means I’m not transferring any more anger to an already electrified atmosphere. I stay cool.

No parent has the patience of a Saint. But we can always improve our parenting skills to raise our children in a way that they can learn right from wrong from a place of love. Without adding more stress to a situation.

The birthday girls!

Last Sunday on the 4th of July, our girl’s celebrated their 4th birthday. It was a fun packed day of celebrations and the trio loved it. They had been excited all week on the count down to their big day.

It was a big milestone for them. This year will see them starting school full time. And to be honest we are ready for it. Especially Stacey who will soon have some free time during the day. She is now volunteering as a breastfeeding peer support worker after studying hard over lockdown. It’s a subject she knows all about after feeding our three for ten moths.

It’s crazy how fast the time has past since they came home. We now have walking, talking little girls who are at such a fun age. Tiring but fun. I still can’t believe I am a father to four daughters, I have my work cut out for me. Frankie herself is now thirteen going on twenty-three. She can be more hard work than the triplets at times – but that’s teenagers for you.

The triplets had a low key birthday party due to the Covid-19 restrictions but it was fun never-the-less. They had a bouncy castle and even got a visit from Cinderella which freaked them out a bit. But they soon came around.

The triplets were exhausted by the end of the day and so were we. Stacey worked hard to organise and plan their birthday. From choosing presents to sorting out a visit from Cinderella. It was quite an operation as most things are with triplet toddlers.

Their main present was a bike each. I spent the best part of the Friday night putting them together as they came in a box, which wasn’t stressful at all!

They absolutely love them. Blakely has managed to fall off three times and Lacey once, but they dusted themselves off and got straight back on. Even Stabilisers can’t stop Blakely hurting herself bless her. It’s always Blakely that seems to hurt herself. She’s also been to hospital this week after biting through her tounge after tripping over another girls foot at playschool.

So it’s been pretty hectic since I last posted but we’ve had lots of fun. And fun is important for all of us.

One last week of the three’s

I was told by other parents how fast the time flies with young children. And it has certainly been the case for us. From dealing with lockdown and all the added pressure to watching the triplets grow and develop, this last year has flown by.

Ava, Blakely and Lacey are growing into kind polite little girls. We can take them out anywhere and they always behave. They do have the occasional tantrum at home but it’s to be expected from three year olds. All in all they are good girls and we really couldn’t wish for more.

After school art time

It’s hard to believe that they will be 4 this coming 4th of July. A date they share with American independence day, much to the joy of my American friends. We will be celebrating with family and friends at a picnic which we hold for them every year. Unfortunately we can’t do everything we wanted for them due to lockdown restrictions. But will make the most of their day.

It only seems like yesterday that we were suffering from sleep deprivation and I was losing my mind with the stress of early fatherhood. I struggled badly in the first few months but pulled through and adjusted to my new role.

There are so many milestones in the first few years. From saying their first words to growing out of nappies. They seem to have grown so fast, especially over this last year. They can now hold a conversation with us and are less stressed as we now understand what they are saying.

It has been, and still is a relentless ride. Even though they are good girls for the most, there is still three of them with boundless energy. They keep us on our toes and remind me constantly of my need to practice patience and tolerance. Without a daily meditation practice I would only struggle more. I don’t believe I would cope with it all.

And now we have made it as a family to 4 years with them. They turned our world upside down and now we couldn’t imagine life without them. It is hard work, and causes a strain on us at times but we work together to make it work. Team work is vital with multiples.

I thank God every day for entrusting our girl’s to us, as tough as it gets at times.They have blessed our lives and continue to amaze us.

A spiritual path

Eight years ago I made the decision to dedicate my life to living a new way. To walk a more ulturistic path. It was a spiritual experience which brought with it the expulsion of my obsession to drink that triggered the change in me.

A life as an alcoholic wasn’t all bad. There were good times and terrible times. The problem was that I was consumed by me. By my fears and anxieties. I was driven by a spirit of resentment. One that took me to suicidal thinking on many occasions. It was no way to live a long and happy life. I also became very unpredictable with alcohol in me.

From the spiritual experience came faith. One that wasn’t reached through reading books or joining a religion. It came as a direct result of hitting a rock bottom, one like I had never reached before. A supernatural power of love did for me the impossible and relieved me of my alcoholism in a single moment. One that shocked me to the core of my being.

From that moment my life inexplicably changed. No longer consumed with myself I took more of an interest with others wellbeing. I wanted to give instead of take. It was at two month’s sobriety that I met Stacey who would become wife.

Nothing has contributed to my wellbeing and growth more than non contemplative meditation and ongoing concious awareness. I have overcome anger and outgrown my fears with a daily practice. It has allowed me to be the father I have always wanted to be. I have broken the cycles of abuse in my family by practicing patience and tolerance. By putting the principle of love at the centre of my home.

Life is full of stress and the temptation to resent my situation rises often, especially as a dad of multiples. Add a chronic nerve pain condition into the mix and some days are tougher than others. But the one thing that is certain is that I will always do my best to move forward. To grow on the spiritual path I have chosen.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

Life as dad

I thought that the first year of parenting was the toughest gig I have ever experienced in my life. I struggled badly with exhaustion, verging on depression from simply adjusting to life as a new dad with three newborn’s.

I spent a lot of time waiting for it to get easier. And it didn’t. All that happened was I got used to my new role. After the initial battering of sleep deprivation I placed my focus on being a present dad. Supporting my wife so she was less stressed whilst I worked. Taking care of the girls when I was at home and making sure I was pulling my weight.

In some ways they were easier to deal with when they were babies. For one they stayed where you put them and didn’t answer back. Now they are toddlers we are dealing with the tantrums and sass. The only man in the house I’m mostly referred to now as ‘silly daddy’. I’m outnumbered by females 5 to 1. I got my work cut out for me if I am going to remain sane.

It’s not all bad though. The triplets are great fun at this age. Everything is new to them and it’s wonderful to watch them learn and grow. There’s nothing like a triplet cuddle, they are a tight little unit that stick together and play together.

The one thing I am learning is that the more I practice patience and tolerance with them, the more confident they are growing. I rarely need to raise my voice and am mindful of my reactions around them, especially when they are playing up. It’s a test of endurance at times and a relentless way of life but it’s now our normal. I feel blessed beyond words to have the family I am now raising. My wife is an absolute legend of a mother to our daughters. She too approaches life at home with love and a sense of humour.

If you are a new father struggling to find your role. Become a man of love, patience and authority. Be a support for your partner and gradually you will find your feet. Just love your family and make them your priority. It’s a tough ride without a doubt but with the right attitude you can be the difference your family needs.