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How is it October already?! My boys have been in school for almost 2 full months now, so that tells you how long I’ve been meaning to blog this (and their birthday, and their party, and everything in between!). Alas, it’s the “busy season” for my photography business, what with all the families scrambling to get fall portraits done in time for cards and gifts this Christmas, so personal projects take a back seat. Actually, I think this personal project hasn’t even been in the vehicle lately, let alone the back seat!

A little background for those that may be new, or have forgotten some of these details…

I have identical triplet boys.

Last year, for Kindergarten, they were split into 3 separate classes at the very last minute. It made for a rather un-fun start to the school year.
Early in the school year, the three of them started going into the same 1st grade room every morning, for extra reading and writing time. They loved that time – both because they adored the teacher, and because it was another chance to see each other.

Ok, so now that you’ve got the background…

I’m happy to say Jackson, Ty, and Chase are together again this year, for 1st grade! Here they are on the first day of school this year…. I know I’m biased, but I find them extremely handsome!

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So how did this all come to be? Well, it started with some apologies last school year. Apologies for “pre-judging” the boys, and assuming because they’re multiples that they would be better off separated. Apologies for how things were handled at the start of last school year. Throw in an assurance that it wouldn’t happen that way again, and that they would honor my wishes in the future, and I was cautiously optimistic about the 1st grade year.

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Jackson on the first day

The caution was well-placed, because as the end of their Kindergarten year came to a close, it was looking more and more like they would be split again, against our wishes. Thankfully, their amazing Kindergarten teachers really went to bat for us, and got it done! As one so eloquently put it, Jackson, Ty, and Chase are wonderful, smart boys, who just happen to share a birthday, and they shouldn’t be prejudiced against just because they share the same birthday. Amen, teacher! Amen!

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Ty on the first day (his glasses were broken then)

In mid-May I received a call from the principal to let me know the boys would be placed together the next school year, per our request. I was excited, but I’ll confess to being very guarded about the whole thing until Sneak A Peek night, two days before school started. After all, I’d been down this “yes, they’ll be together” road before!

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Chase on the first day

Jackson, Ty, and Chase are not only together again, but they’re in the same 1st grade class they had been going to in the mornings last year. They still adore their teacher (as do I!), and even got to see her over the summer, when she volunteered in their class at church a few times.

They sit in separate desk clumps (I don’t know what else to call it!) in their room, and are making friends with the other children in their class. Their birthday was infinitely easier this year! Last year I made enough rice crispy treats to feed 3 Kindergarten classes (80 of them!), and this year I only had to bring in 19 cupcakes. Last year I wasn’t able to join them in their classrooms to hear their classmates sing, and watch them enjoy their treats, but I could this year!

Last year I found volunteering at the school very difficult. While field trips were always same place, same day and time, the boys had to stick with their respective classes, so I heard a chorus of “that’s not fair!” when I would announce which kid’s class I was going with this time. Class parties for holidays were all at the same time, so it meant spending about 5 minutes in each class, which bummed them out greatly. This year? No big deal!

Homework is identical (obviously). Last year it was mostly the same, but towards the end of the year Chase’s teacher told him he didn’t have to do one part of it anymore (even though it was still in his homework folder), and to just focus on reading. I let him do that for about a week, but then I couldn’t handle the tears and whining from the other two anymore, and told him I didn’t care what his teacher had said, he was going to do it for the sake of his mom’s sanity!

Classroom expectations, rewards, snacks, etc are a breeze now, because it’s the same.

OK, so I feel like these things need to be said…

1. Not all multiples should be together in classrooms, but I think it should be up to the parents to help decide that! Parents know their kids. They know if they will fight like cats and dogs, or will depend on each other too much, or will become too competitive, etc. My kids do well together, and as long as that continues, I’m in favor of not rocking the boat and keeping the school part of life as easy as possible!

2. Yes, I understand parents with multiple kids not the same age have to deal with a lot of these logistic issues, and you may think I need to just suck it up and deal with it. That gets a big “Eh” from me. Certain aspects are certainly not the same (birthdays, homework, field trip days, etc) while some are (the struggle to schedule P/T Conferences, classroom parties might be at the same time even if in different grades). All you need to ask your self is “If I was given the chance to make school even a tiny bit easier from a logistic standpoint, wouldn’t I?”. I’m gonna bet your answer is a “Heck, yes!”, assuming of course that it would also not be detrimental to your child’s development.

3. We did consult with the boys on this decision; 2 said they would like it and 1 said he could go either way. Each school year we’ll revisit this, and if/when it gets to the point that someone (most recent teacher, Nick and I, or one of the boys) has a strong feeling that it’s time to split, then we’ll go ahead with that. We’re not afraid to split, we’re just trying to ease what stress we can.

  • October 8, 2014 - 1:54 pm

    Cindy in San Antonio - Thanks for the blog!!! I’ve been wondering about all of you! So glad the school year is off to a GREAT start!ReplyCancel

    • October 8, 2014 - 2:24 pm

      Helen - Thanks for always checking in on us, Cindy!ReplyCancel

  • October 8, 2014 - 5:40 pm

    nellie - Our twin daughters were separated from preschool through second grade. Intermediate school found them in the same “pod,” though not on the same teacher’s roll. Grouping for instruction found them in the same group, so the same teacher taught them language arts and math. Our girls are fraternal, with very different personalities. Soon to be 40 years old, they are blessed with having a very supportive older sister (by 20 months) who was the one who felt “left out” because she was not a twin. So – I sewed for all three of them alike, and they then decided when and if they chose to dress alike. It’s so important to give our children the confidence to explore areas of individual interest. I know you and Nick will make the right decision in parenting your four wonderful gifts from God! Sending hugs, NellieReplyCancel

If you ask the boys what their favorite part of summer was, you’re likely to hear “everything!”, or “all of it!”, or “vacation in St. Louis!”. I’m their mom though, and I think I know what the real favorite part was, cause moms are all-knowing like that….

Learning to swim!

Sort of. See, it was learning how to swim finally (no pretty strokes yet, but at least they aren’t drowning), that opened up whole new doors of summer fun. As in, water slides!

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That’s right! It was double the checks on our Summer Bucket List – Learn to Swim, and Go Down a Water Slide!

The above water slide is at a friend’s subdivision pool, and before the boys could go down it, they had to  jump into the pool and then swim a certain distance to me, without touching or grabbing the side. Clearly they succeeded, as evident by the above pictures.

No more floaties weighing them down (not literally obviously – ha!), also meant far more fun at the pool! Take for example all of the fun we had at a big family pool day a couple of weeks ago. My parents were in town from Maine, so we picnicked and played at Laura & Mason’s apartment complex pool one Saturday afternoon.

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I mean really, I have to be right that this was the best part of summer! Oh, and did I mention that a couple of days after this epic pool party we took the kids to Schlitterbahn? Pretty sure that’s tops on their list too, and I know it was on mine! Sadly, no pictures from that day, aside from what was posted on Instagram. You’ll just have to trust me that all 4 of my kids had the biggest grins on their faces from about 10:30am-4pm.

As I mentioned on our Summer Bucket List post last week, we checked off a really big item this summer – we got a dog!

A little back story for those that don’t know - I have not been the dog-holdout all this time…. no, it’s been my husband Nick! He’s been anti-getting a dog, not because he dislikes dogs (he actually likes them a lot), but because he dislikes picking up dog poo. Really though, who doesn’t dislike that?

For the last 18 months or so, the boys (Chase especially) have been in a full court press with Nick to get a dog, and I could see Nick cracking, so I knew it was safe to put getting a dog on the bucket list this summer.

Our intent all along has been to adopt a shelter dog. Not only would we be rescuing an unwanted animal, but I could make sure it was an animal that was already house-broken! Plus, there’s the obvious fact that shelter dogs are far, far less expensive than buying from a breeder or pet store.

We strayed a bit from the shelter plan though, when a fellow Kansas City photographer messaged me about us rehoming one of their dogs. She’d seen my recent post about the boys’ putting “Get a dog” on the bucket list, and said they’d been considering finding a new home for their 8 month old Welsh Terrier, Gus. He was bouncy, craving attention, and really needed a home with younger kids.

I showed Nick the pictures of Gus, told him all about him (house trained! kennel trained! doesn’t shed!), and I saw him crack more. I gave him a few days to think about it, and then pressed for an answer… He was a “yes”! WOOO!

I set up a little meet-and-greet for Gus and the kids, but they didn’t know that’s what was going on. They thought we were just going over so that Anne and I could chat about photography, and them getting to play with a dog was just a cool perk of the outing.

The kids LOVED Gus from the get go! Lily was a little nervous with all of the jumping, so stayed glued to my lap most of the time, but she wasn’t crying (which I was afraid would happen, considering she cried anytime the little dog barked that we dog-sat last summer).

The next morning, I let Nick tell the boys that Gus was going to come live with us. He told them he’d gotten a text from the dog, asking if he could come live with them. Silly guy! The boys went ballistic, and Lily jumped around yelling just because her brothers were. I had a major tech-fail and messed up trying to record the reaction.

For the next 48 hours, if you saw my boys out in public, whether they knew you or not, the first thing they’d say is “Guess what! We’re getting a dog!”, and before you could even ask a question, they followed with “His name is Gus, and we’re getting him Friday after VBC!”.

Gus has been with us for a few weeks now, and everyone loves him, even Nick;)Lily calls him “My Gus” and says “I love my Gus” quite often. The boys run to play with him the minute they wake up in the morning, and we’re all highly entertained when he runs around the backyard, totally acting like a puppy!

Here’s Gus!

Gus - Welsh Terrier
Gus - Welsh Terrier

Name: Gus

Breed: Welsh Terrier

Size: Medium (he’s 20-25 pounds)

Age: 9 months

Work to do still: Break him of jumping on people, digging holes in the yard, and chewing everything in site – but we know these things will take time, especially considering his age!

Expect to see pictures of the kids with Gus in the future! He doesn’t sit very often, especially if any of the kids are nearby. I’ve caught a few, but only with my cell phone. You can see those on my Instagram feed (which you don’t need an Instagram account to view, via that link there)!