Training triplets

In just over a month the trio will be two. As they grow ever more active and curious they are needing more to entertain and stimulate them.

Their personalities are stronger than ever, especially Ava, she’s smart and a little bit of a monkey to go with it, or ‘strong willed’ as I call it. We have found ourselves at the point of starting to discipline them. Nothing harsh but they need to know what is right and wrong, and with three testing the limits it is imperative to our own sanity we are on the ball in dealing with their outbursts and sometimes naughty behaviours.

Ava and Lacey having a bundle, they all get pretty rough with each other

With the new changes they are going through we are adapting to these changes ourselves. Conversation between Stacey and I is regularly about the best ways to deal with them, teach them, and to keep working together in doing so.

Stacey handles most of the new routines whilst I’m at work. For example she has trained them to come down the stairs on bums in single file, another little thing that gets them working together patiently. It also takes some of the physical strain of carrying them in 3 trips up and down the stairs. Plus they are chuffed to bits they can do another thing by themselves.

Navigating new obstacles

We have also started taking them for regular walks on our housing estate. The sooner they learn about crossing the road safely the better, They really have come into their own over the last few months. They seem to be better with people now which is a good thing. Last week we went for lunch with them after getting them new shoes and they didn’t seem to fazed by the attention they were drawing. A few people who stopped even got a smile from them.

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Enjoying a run around on the green while learning to safely cross the roads

We live in a constantly changing environment. It’s fun, hard work and relentless at times but we continue to do our best to keep them content and thriving. Frankie is as great of a help as ever and we don’t know what we’d do without her. She has had to adapt to the shifting currents of our family life too, with all the challenges we have faced this year. She is an amazing big sister, the girls are blessed to have such a good role model in their lives.

So life roll’s on. And I still pinch myself when I look at the family I am raising. I have so much to be grateful, and so much to work for. Living with chronic pain gets me down at times, it frustrates me as to how limited my life has become over the last year. But above all of my personal problems there is only one thing that is really of importance. That I raise my family in the principles of love, patience and tolerance. Because I believe what they learn now will shape who they become in the future.

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Pain & growth. Dealing with past abuse on the the parenting journey

Before the babies arrived my main concern was reaching the due date with my family in one piece. For the babies to make it healthy, for Frankie to find acceptance around her new siblings and for my wife and I to reconnect after a stressful and unpredictable few months.

Once they were born and home, I quickly became hampered by other fears and concerns as home life became more stable. Worries that I occasionally experienced early in the pregnancy.

I’m convinced from personal experience that I have to live life in the present moment. Dealing with problems as they arise and remaining free of inner conflicts and tension so that I can be present for my family. So they can thrive.

Becoming a father brought up problems from the past that I thought I had dealt with and put to rest, but in facing fatherhood out came the fears of yesteryear. Problems I could no longer ignore.

As an adult with a past of childhood sexual abuse, it was hard to ignore the emotions that returned during the pregnancy. Once life settled they rose again. The fear, shame, guilt and anger all came back to the forefront of my mind. I was concious of it enough to know I needed to finally discuss what I needed to. To get the weight off.

My father suffered the same in his younger years and not dealing with it was one of the things that contributed to the wall between us. It is why I reached out for help, I know full well what suppressed fear and resentment can do to a man and no longer wanted it to be a problem that would affect my wellbeing and spiritual growth. I had spoken to a couple of people, including my wife about my past but it was too difficult to discuss in any depth.

I decided a neurtal person not directly in my life would be easier to talk to, especially someone who specialised in understanding the effects of that particular type of abuse.

It was early in the pregnancy when emotions from the past first cropped up, that’s when I spoke with my gp who put me in touch with a specialist organisation. It was over a year on a waiting list before I finally spoke to someone.

The sessions were incredibly difficult and uncomfortable. But I persevered and am glad I did. I came to see the reasons for many of the other mental health problems I experienced in later life. Just talking it out was a cathartic experience, I was finally able to fully get it all off my chest. A weight I no longer wanted to be burdened by.

As always it was the meditation I practiced that gave me what I needed to deal with emotional pain. To be able to let go and move on. But after carrying it around alone for so long there was also great benefit in discussing it all with another person.

All parent’s have events from the past that if left to fester will only damage those relationships closest to them.

If you are struggling in anyway with anything that needs addressing, don’t put it off, and don’t be so prideful that you can’t reach out for help.

Let it go and move on with what’s really important to you.

The band

The weekend before the trio arrived I played my last gig with my band.

I had my phone on the floor monitor throughout the gig, with a keen eye on it, just incase of an early emergency at home. Thankfully the babies waited till the due date and the show went as planned.

As a new dad I was not sure if I would be able to carry on with my only pastime. I did a gig when the babies were around three months old, but as a singer it was exhausting. Sleep deprived and with no energy it wasn’t enjoyable. It took me days to recover and I decided It had to come to an end.

The day I was going to call my drummer and give him the sad news my wife intervened.

She told me to wait. Not to quit and that things at home would become easier as the month’s went by. I was still unsure if it would ever be possible to balance a band, with full time work and triplets at home.

I took her advice and didn’t quit, and thing’s did get a little easier as predicted. The band continued after a few month’s break. I have even been able to begin rehearsals for a one off show with some other musicians in August.

It is my only outlet. I don’t drink or have a social life. But I love to play music, and my wife knew this when she met me. She loves that I have a passion, and that she gets a night to herself a couple of nights a month.

We have just began gigging again for the year after a five month break and it is tiring, a small price to pay though for doing something I love so much.

I’m glad my wife talked me out of leaving the band. And that life in early fatherhood did change. It would have been a decision I would have regretted. Because even parents need to keep on doing what they love.

Having children doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

Triplet talk – makes sense to them

On Sunday morning I went in to change the triplets. As I was dressing Ava on the floor who was happily chatting to me, I watched through the bars of the cots to Lacey who was sat on the toy box, and Blakely standing in front of her.

The two were deep into a full blown conversation complete with hand gestures, giggling and the occasional pause for thought. At one point lacey babbled something to Blakely who promptly toddled over to the book shelf, picked out a book, returned and handed it to an ecstatic Lacey.

It’s an amazing thing to watch, unfortunately we have no clue what they are saying. They talk in their own language and it seems They understand each other perfectly.

They are also happy to stand and talk to us, in depth, serious chatting about something that is obviously important to them. We simply return the conversation in the hope they pick up our word’s along the way. Sometimes they get frustrated that we don’t understand their babbling, but that goes both ways at the moment.

We also read to them frequently now, we figure the more they listen the more they’ll take in. Hopefully it’s encouraging them to say more than ‘woof woof’ ‘dadda’ ‘mamma’ ‘uh oh’ and ‘Alexa’. The bedtime routine is a time they enjoy a book the most.

The girls also understand us when we ask them to do thing’s like tidy up toys. Or get their juice bottles. They are just without the ability to talk back.

It’s normal for multiples to be behind on their speaking. Only because they spend so much time focused on each other that they have little reason to talk to us. We’re just there to change nappies, feed and play with them.

I’m told it will probably all change when they begin preschool, when they will be left with no choice but to communicate with other little one’s. I am also told many multiples will also use their own language even into their older years. But for now they are happy and growing ever more connected to each other. And the dog certainly enjoys that someone now makes the time to tell him stories.

Is parental intuition a myth?

It was a given that I would question my every move as a first time dad. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. Although my role during the pregnancy was clear, I was still facing a brand new situation. One that thankfully my wife had experience of even if only with one newborn. I had to be prepared to shut up and learn as a man who had never changed a nappy before.

Once the triplets arrived my wife naturally fell into her new role. No longer plagued by the depression and anxieties that she suffered throughout the pregnancy she was free to focus on the job at hand. She intuitively knew exactly what the triplets needed and when.

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Without fear and stress we are free to intuitively deal with life

Even the nurse’s on the scbu were impressed with her handling of the situation. They were happy to take a step back and follow directions, and allow Stacey to deal with the triplets and their needs.

It was amazing to see how in tune she was, especially emerging emotionally from the struggles she had faced in the previous months. Those maternal instincts came into play from the moment she first held Ava.

It was clear that the only thing in the way of her God-given intuition was fear. Once it subsided everything changed for her. And not even the biggest of stresses we have faced over the last 21 months has distracted her from her purpose.

As for me as a dad, It was vital that I find my own fatherly intuition. And it wasn’t easy. As with my wife I struggled with resentment and fear once the triplets came home.

I began to feel separation from her, and the more I pressured her to meet my expectations of our relationship the worse matters got. I became petty and bitter that my needs were not being listened to. Almost overnight I lost my intuition and it was replaced by self-centred fears. All that was really happening was that I was struggling to adjust. Tiredness was making everything worse. I was battling mentally to cope with work and home life.

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It was only when I became conscious of the selfish way I was acting that I was able to let go of my fears. My wife needed me present, not lost in my own concerns. I learned a hard lesson as a man who was trying my best. I was failing to live up to my own expectations as a new parent and everyone was suffering from the bitterness of my failings. It was a realisation that grounded me back to consciousness.

Without fear I was again free to focus on my role as a new parent. Which was simple, support my wife so she could focus on our daughters. Bring the principles of patience and love to my home each day. Because without the emotional drive of fear and anger there is a natural clarity that exists. And when living by intuition, in the present moment away from the emotional pull of over thinking, the next right thing becomes apparent. And it’s a beautiful way to raise a family.

The reality is real

A year ago today I was emerging through the haze of my first year as a parent to newborns. There was nothing that could have prepared me for the pressures and stress I experienced.

In those early months of adjustment there were tears of joy, and tears brought on by temporary insanity. My mind buckled by sleep deprivation while I fought to stay consistent and keep a shred of emotional stability around my family.

As my wife’s sole focus was rightly on the triplets and breastfeeding, I found myself feeling ever more detached from my family and life.

To look back now at the madness of an unavoidable and relentless situation we were thrown into. Held together at times only by the purpose I felt as a new father. Through the stress my family experienced with a high risk pregnancy, I was convinced that the principles of love and tolerance would be enough to get us to the due date. I had to believe we could make it through.

The love I had for my family and our newborn triplets became the only anchor that kept me stable in the times I wavered.

And my wife went through a hell of a lot more than me. And as a stay at home parent she is faced with going it alone each day until I finish work. She deserves a medal.

It’s always interesting to read comments from people who say they would love to have multiples, and how much fun it would be to raise three babies. And to look at the cuteness overload of the photo’s I post of my girls I can get the sentiment.

Instagram is full of photo’s depicting the prefect multiple family life. I’ve yet to see a family photo taken at home in the middle of a norovirus, or after a week without sleep still wearing the same clothes, ferrel and wild eyed. But who needs to be made aware of that side of multiple life.

But to go through the realty of what we faced with a high risk pregnancy. The sad truth of the babies that don’t make it. The pressure it put on us as a family and the intensity of caring for three dependant babies, would anyone intentionally place that sort of mental and physical responsibility on themselves?

I’m not sure that having triplets is something would wish on anyone. But for those of us who have been entrusted with this unique task. Who know the gravity of the situation we have been given and are rising above the challenges, I bet non of us would change a single thing.

Why meditate?

Think about how may times throughout the day you feel agitated. From the moment you wake up til the moment you finally get to sleep. As the stresses of the day and worries of tomorrow whirl around in your stream of thought instead of finding it easy to rest as your body wants you too, you find yourself zoning out in front of a phone or the t.v. Distracting yourself from the noise of your mind. You wake up into the same anxieties and worries. It becomes an exhausting existence.

You may be like I once was before I investigated a way to deal with stress, under the narrow minded presumption that meditation is for hippies, travellers or monks who remove themselves from the world in search of enlightenment. Surely anyone who isolates themselves from the stresses of daily life is going to enjoy peace of mind. unfortunately most of us do not have that choice. Life is in motion, we are in the thick of it and it shows no signs of slowing down.

You may not like the idea of having to become a buddhist or join an Eastern religion in order to find a way to mentally cope with the daily barrage of over thinking driven by the pressures of an unavoidable routine of work or home life, especially if you are a parent.

I mean who has the time for books and study when you spend every waking moment either chasing toddlers around and running a home, or are at work all day. Maybe you were brought up with Christian values and have no interest in riding two spiritual horses going in two different directions. It’s a hurdle many are faced with as the majority of meditation practices derive from the Eastern world.

For many of us the idea of meditation sounds nice, yet completely unrealistic in the hectic lives we live. If you were to go online you find literally hundreds of exercises promoting mindfulness. Yet how affective are these practices of distraction? If you didn’t know I can tell you that most are more harmful than helpful. Let me explain.

Distracting yourself from any problem, such as over thinking, anxiety, stress, depression or just taking a break from an overwhelmingly stressful routine. Is not solving anything. There maybe a momentary detachment from the problem as you visualise your self on an empty beach in the Bahamas – or hypnotizing yourself by focusing on your breathing but nothing really changes. You only feel you are improving but in reality you are only putting yourself further to sleep. Attaching yourself tighter to the underlying problem.

If you are practicing this type of meditation and still short-tempered, or still filled with an anxiety problem you cannot shake, this is why. People reading this who have done anger management courses may still be questioning why the tools they were given are failing them.

In order to solve any problem, firstly you need to see it – to become conscious of it. If asleep and lost in distractions (or unconscious) you will be unaware of the debris of negative energy you collect, from hour to hour, day-to-day.

We really do become pressure cookers unless we can be freed from this constant build up of negative energy called resentment. Without it we would have no internal conflict. Life would become something very different for yourself and those around you, especially your children.

So how do you become free of this force? And remain awake in a position to face the negativity in the stream of life day in day out without being affected, without becoming overwhelmed.

It’s simple. We allow light in to remove it. Sounds bizarre I know, but not that bizzare if you are willing to consider that we a spiritual, as well as human beings, each with the ability to access the opposing force of resentment that exists in this universe.

A force of light that can literally drive out the darkness we accumulate. And this life saving supernatural force of Grace can only be accessed through meditating without contemplating. Without distraction.

If there was ever a case to meditate this way it would be this. That through becoming conscious yourself. You will one day be able to show your children how to also live without harbouring resentment. To live in a way that stress will become a tool to sharpen from instead of a problem that only destroys from the inside out.

I can think of no greater gift to pass on to my daughters as a father.

Here’s the link to the free meditation exercise.

Non-Contemplative Meditation™

Happy holiday’s !

Firstly happy weekend to all of you, if it’s as sunny as it is here in the south of England at the moment I’m sure you too will be making the most of the spring sunshine.

As Easter holiday’s approach, Frankie has finished school for the holiday’s and has been enjoying a break from the classroom and school work. It’s hard to believe this is her last year at primary school. With so much going on at home 24/7 I only really noticed lately how much our little girl has grown up.

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So proud of this one, if she stays as caring and kind she will go a long way in life

She has gotten in to her first choice of high school which a good few of her friends will also be attending and she is exited about the move to a bigger school. We’ll see how exited she is when all the homework starts coming in, but for now it’s great to see her so confident. She’s a world away from the shy little girl I first met six years ago.

After a bumpy start to the year with my health and the knock on effects from me being unable able to work, we are now slowly getting back on track. I have been back at work for the last three weeks. Working in a different, less physically demanding role. It has been good to get back to a bit of normality. There have been the occasional day’s I haven’t been able to make it due to flare up’s of pain but for the most I am coping with it better now.

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Stacey would never let me be down for too long, not without a slap anyway

My wife has had to deal with a lot over the last few months. It’s been difficult for both of us to understand and find acceptance around. I have found though, as with every other problem that arises in my life, the minute I begin to resent it, I get lost and consumed by that problem. And The problem with my central nervous system has been no different. I got angry with it. Angry that I had no control over it, fearful around work and how I would take care of my family, angry that I was unable to do daily tasks some days. The list goes on and on. Simply put I got infected with resentment and it made our whole situation more difficult. And since seeing it, and letting go of it – as if by magic I am coping better.

My three month’s at home with the triplets awarded me some quality time though. I watched Blakely take her first steps to becoming a toddler. Now all three are into everything, all over the place and full of energy as they have discovered some freedom through becoming mobile. And they love music and dancing.

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Dance classes with big sister are a hit

This weekend we are heading away to Stacey’s parents again for the Easter holiday’s. A week away with family and a nice change of environment for the trio. Plus bags more room to run around in and at the moment they have tons of energy to burn off. They still haven’t developed in their speech. Yet they do mouth words along with songs. But they remain only in communication with each other and have some hilarious conversations.

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A morning board meeting, topics of discussion, chasing the dog. Trying to eat dogs biscuits without being caught. And hiding from mummy and daddy.

So whatever you’re up to this weekend and over Easter have a great time. Enjoy the sunshine (if you have any) and make the most of what each day brings. Even if that day involves 20 nappy changes and endless bizarre conversations with cunning toddlers who are clearly upping their game.

Babies deserve boundaries

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the difficulty of going out with the triplets without the constant attention. It got a big response which just highlights the problem of boundaries when it comes to babies.

Following the hassle and attention they got at a mother and toddler group recently we now have three traumatized little one’s who panic the moment anyone comes near them. To the point now that they even get upset when a known face comes into the house.

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It’s a shame as we thought they had gotten over the attention when we are out. But they have taken a back step which has made it incredibly difficult for my wife to get out in the week with them. They don’t like stranger’s. Full stop.

Imagine being a little baby still finding confidence in new environments and having strange faces getting up close and personal every 5 minutes. If they are not mum or dad they get scared. Imagine strange hands trying to pick you up when already upset by a barrage of strangers standing in front of you and staring.

I’m a first time parent to babies, still I would never think to try and take a strangers baby out of it’s high chair because it was crying to try and pacify it. It wouldn’t cross my mind, yet people are offended when we ask them not to touch them or try and pick them up as it only upset’s them further.

We have no problem pushing hands away that want to touch them. We have no idea of another’s personal hygiene, hands carry viruses and germs that we are left to deal with. And dealing with three sick babies are no joke.

Yes they are remarkable, as they are cute but they are also little human beings with fears and needs of security. Especially when out in the world.

We have had endless suggestions to just get them out into groups to socialize, and get on with it, but it has become a real challenge. Unless you are dealing with triplets day in and day out it’s difficult to be able to comprehend the attention and work involved. And to understand the effects and upsets that we later have to deal with from a disastrous trip to the shops.

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The circus is in town

Toddler’s need boundaries and respect. They are finding their feet and need to feel comfortable in new situations and places were they can feel free to relax and take their surroundings in on their terms. You wouldn’t treat any other vulnerable human the same way. And if you do you need to consider the knock on effect of your actions.

For now we are back at square one, with a lot of work to do to get them gaining trust again around anyone that isn’t us.

From self destruction to parenthood – is emotional stability really possible?

Not everybody is raised with the tools for parenting. Even those brimming with self-confidence at the idea of becoming a mum or dad can be smacked in the face once the harsh realities of the emotional strain and tiredness literally hit home. The pressures can be overwhelming to the most instinctive new parent.

Some going into parenthood are raised in loving home’s, already aware of what contributes to a child’s wellbeing. But what about those who weren’t?

Many become parent’s ill-equipped to deal with the pressures involved. Men and women already suffering from mental health problems and destructive obsessive behaviours from damaged upbringings entrusted with children, planned or not face the challenge of a lifetime in raising families who can’t escape the stressful environment they are born into.

Without a new way to face the pressures involved, rather than escaping to damaging distractions, parents fail their children and the cycle goes on.

Coming from a broken home myself I grew up full of resentment and anger towards the idea of a loving family life. It was a life I never imagined I would be able to cope with. I was too damaged to hold onto a healthy relationship and too self-centred to care about anyone other than myself.

It was only when I got sober I began to understand the gravity and effect on my life from the absence of any fatherly direction and guidance in my life. The importance of two stable influences in the life of a child cannot be stressed enough.

I also believe that any family can stay the distance, however damaged an individual beginning the journey of parenting may be. But it takes a willingness and dedication to change. Love needs to become a central force of the home.

If I was to ever change the path for myself and those who would come to rely on me I had to let go of the grip of my past. The spirit of anger I harboured had to be replaced by one of patience and love.

To become a loving parent I had to forgive, to give up anger. I could no longer carry the resentment and fear that culminated from years of frustration and bitterness at the damage of a past badly lived. It was that simple. If I didn’t let go it would drag into my family life and eventually destroy everything worthwhile.

Even the most dishonest drug addict, the most self driven anger fuelled alcoholic has the ability to become the person a child vitally needs in a parent. All it takes is a willingness to let go of the past, outgrow fear and become conscious of the responsibility in front of them.

The solution to any problem is to stop struggling with it. I had a world of fears going into fatherhood. Fears from abuse, fears of a past of chronic mental health problems and alcoholism that if I allowed to control me would have stopped me from being the husband and father I needed to be.

By not struggling I’m referring to the internal daily battle we engage in with negative thinking and the emotions that weave their way into our lives through simply becoming lost in thoughts.

If you have a head that doesn’t shut off and leave you alone. The answer to freedom from it is to separate from all thoughts as they arise to pull you from the present moment. To become an observer of that which passes through the mind. The good and bad without being affected by it.

Do this and all internal problems, fears and anxieties lose their grip. It happens Instantly as we begin to live consciously in the present moment. Free from the attachment to the over thinking mind. In the present we find freedom from all mental health issues. Obsessive thinking and behaviours fall away, replaced by a natural intuition and discernment to deal with life without struggling.

By living in this conscious state, brought about by a very special non-contemplative meditation we have everything we need to overcome fears and un-manageability. We find a new way to exist that can never fail to affect our children in a positive way. No matter how far we’ve fallen in the past, or how much we are fighting with presently.

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

Life doesn’t need to be a struggle ever again.