Monday, April 19, 2010

Graduating from Pre-School

Then the day came when they graduated from their preschools to start real school. (((Oh Boy! Weren’t we relieved, that we wouldn’t have to pay for their preschools anymore, because that payment was like a second mortgage for us.) No! not so soon! With just 2 ½ hours of kindergarden and another 2 hours of Paid Extended day program and arranging a driver to bring them home from EDP it was no different. Before graduating preschool, the trio were asked what they want to be when they grew up. Poojha was clear “I want to be married”. Neha wanted to be a cleaning lady while Kauvya wanted to be in the computers. All of the characteristics they saw in their mom so fair enough, but, at that moment it was shocking for me to know that my daughter perceived me as a cleaning lady. Now that Richa has started pre-school I will get a chance to know what she wants to be when she grows up too.

Recently, when Pooja, was engrossed in one of her drawing while I watched, she mentioned to me offhand “Mama, you know, Neha thinks that I’m going to grow up to be a tattoo maker because I’m such a good artist.” Atleast , her expectation of herself has reached the level where she thinks she needs to do something in life when she grows up, although last summer she was clear among the 3 to tell me that she is not interested in college and still interested in just getting married. Kauvya is so clear. She wants to do 3 things. Become a scientist, have a pet without a leash and be a mom to 3 kids. Neha is still unclear as to what she wants to be, although when one looks at the focus and motivation with which she approachs her school work or her music and dance, she sure will be something.

I feel very lucky to have kids who are artistic and creative. Their drawings are so detailed (although not neat), and they acknowledge this trait in them without modesty. ‘mama , you know I’m the best artist in my class, nobody draws as I do’. At one meeting Poojha’s teacher showed me a drawing that Poojha made of a worm and told me “look at the details Mrs.Palle, this feels like a drawing for an encyclopedia”. Their music teacher is happy with their sense of the swara’s although unhappy with their seriousness. Richa, who has just turned 3 doesn’t know the “sa de baan kaas” (richa’s pronunciation for the 7 notes sa re ga ma pa dha ni ) but is able to match her voice to the key on the keyboard. Pavan is so relieved with this ability of the kids. He loves music so much but is unable to vocalize a note correctly.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Trips to India

Then there was the trip to India when the kids were 15 month old and according to the aircraft rule, every infant/toddler less than 2 years needs an adult. Luckily, my MiL and FiL were available, and Hubby dear took the business class tickets for a comfortable ride. But the triplets had other plans. They were so excited when they got into the flight, made us think that this is going to be cool. But, they cried throughout the first leg of the flight until the stopover at Europe. It was 7 hours of continuous, hysterically crying. The kids were uncontrollable. We got enough bad vibes from all the people around us, a lady came up to my husband’s ear and told him “I bought a business class ticket, to have a comfortable flight, but you are making this a nightmare for me”. The flight attendants were of little or no help for us. They insisted that we sit down with the belt going around our self and another one that buckles our belt to the child's. They didn’t let us just use one belt, to belt us and the kid together on our lap. After crying so much, they got so tired that they slept through the second leg of the flight. The people in that flight were like “Triplets!!!!!!Oh , how cute !! The kids are so cute!.

The stay at India was another nightmarish experience for me, the kids and my family in India. Hubby dear, accompanied us to India but, couldn’t stay long. The plan was that he would come back to pick us up in about 2 ½ months. The kids were very excited to meet their grandparents and other extended family. We thought it’ll be a great experience for the kids to travel by train to meet their paternal grandparents. So, we went to Tirupati from Hyderabad by train. Within a couple of days , they started getting sick and this started the nightmare. After failing to find a proper doctor or medical facility at Tirupati, we left to B’lore to visit my Brother’s family which was a 5 hour road trip. My parents joined the kids and myself there. The kids would not get better here also. The only food they accepted was milk and it wasn’t getting digested. They had diarrhea, vomiting apart from ear infections. We tried different milk and formula’s. Every doctor gave a different advice and antibiotics. They did not check if the kids could be allergic to an antibiotic, they were so generous writing prescriptions. Soon the kids started to develop rashs because of the antibiotic and it had to be stopped. Then, we flew back to my parents in Hyd. Like magic, as if the kids felt that they were back home, they started to get better and accept other forms of food like rice/daal water etc. Having dealt with 3 sick babies for a month and a half, I had to cut short my visit to India, but Hubby dear wasn’t available to come back so soon to pick us up. So, again my MiL and FiL were generous enough to accompany me and the babies back to US.

My father had not been keeping well and loved being with the kids, so we decided to go to India again the following year. The kids were 2 ½ years old this time. Hubby dear again, left us in India and flew back to US. Having learnt our lesson, this time, we made sure that we did not travel. But, this time it was a different story. A few mosquito bites on the skin brought on so many rashes on the kids skin. We still made it through the trip. I had a very heavy heart as I left to come back home on that night. I had gone to my dad’s room to say goodbye to him. He was unable to walk but, he came out to see us off. I somehow knew that maybe this is the last time I’m going to see him. I don’t even remember if I hugged him tightly. My dad was on dialysis after his kidneys failed.

He died in another 9 months. As I flew to India alone, I did not know that I was going to my dad's funeral, I had thought that I was going to meet my dad as he was very sick. I went to his room and didn't find him there, that's when my mom told me that he had passed away the previous day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bringing up Triplet infants

Bringing up triplets infants and toddlers had its own advantages, although I shudder when I think how I managed at the time. I did feel like a cow trying to produce milk that should not end. Sure, I was grounded most of the time at home, and weekends were best spent buying groceries, but I was in a trance at the time, a beautiful feeling that I cannot explain or reproduce now. Hubby dear would usually make sure that there was enough supplies for the kids to last the week. At one store when, my husband picked up all the formula that was available, the lady at the counter inquired if we had a store of our own. The best of the outing we did sometimes was a drive to the local Idly place , where the kids and myself waited in our van while , Hubby dear ordered and brought the food to the Van. Then we had the food in the van right on the parking lot of the restaurant while the babies had their milk from their bottles.

The trio were so convenient in terms of entertaining them, they had friends by birth! They didn’t need me to entertain them. I just had to tell the story once for all for them to enjoy. On the flip side, being premature, the kids were prone to any infection. So, we couldn’t socialize for a whole year after they were born, to keep contact to the minimal.

It was amazing to watch them reach different milestones. Especially, P and N, since they are identical. They almost reached them together, although both of them had their own ways approaching it. K usually reached it later by about a month. It was so amazing to see K crawl. Actually, she never crawled, she started to walk on her fours and then, her two's. The walk on her fours used to be so fast. Like if she didn't slow down it appeared as though she was heading right into whatever was in the front, but, she was in total control of her movements. Sometimes I did see her put her knees on the soft carpet, but as soon as she walked past the carpet, her knees would be up and she would be on her four's. Her knees were so delicate. P was the chubbiest of the 3 and had a very very cute crawl, like of a toy elephant in an animated movie. Her body used to sway from left to right and back.

Even as the kids grew, their respiratory system was so prone to infection that they got sick easily. I was so scared when it was time for winter and used to envy the kids who would be out playing in the snow. If one of them was sick which would usually start with a little cough, inevitably, all the others followed her. There were countless trips to the ER. Cannot forget the time when N came down with pneumonia and was hospitalized. The other two followed in getting sick too, although didn't need hospitalization. Those experiences could make a books material all in itself.

Pregnant with Triplets

I feel very lucky that I got to experience this situation that is not available to most of the people (not that anybody would want to be in my shoes J). The first reaction when people know that I am a mom to triplets, “Triplets!, How many girls and boys?” “I know somebody who has twins.”
About them all being girls. “Wow, you are so lucky, so blessed, are you going to try for a boy now? Another comment would be,”You know , now-a-days girls are more reliable to have than boys, they care for you”. And when its known that I have a younger daughter too. “You went for another one uh? Brave one” “You are going to have to plan for 4 weddings“ (what about 4 college tuitions….? ) "4 teen age girls uh…”. And then there is this lady at the gym who referred to me as a mom who has 25 kids or something. And another one who said, “Look at the troop following you, So cute”.
Then the usual question creeps in “Were they natural?”, and the one's who feel, they were not asking me the N/F question “Do you have this in your family?”.

The Pregnancy
The only thing I remember of my pregnancy was all that monitoring, those bands on my tummy and the unending discomfort. Being small framed, I ballooned up so quickly. By 20 months, I looked like I was at the term of my pregnancy. And when I walked I had to hold my tummy with my hands as the weight was too much on my frame. My outings were just to the doctor’s office. When I walked, people thought I was in labor and offered to help me.
Then I was thrilled when I hit the 30 week mark and my travails started with a small cough. Every sneeze/cough felt like my tummy would tear open due to the jhutka. With the cold/cough's my contractions started to increase and I was brought into the hospital. The doctor told me that my platelet count was getting low and they will have to get the babies out. I was hoping to go up to 34 weeks at least, to give a good start to my babies lungs. But,every minute of the last 2 weeks had been sheer pain, I felt breathless. It had been long time that I had laid down to sleep. With constant monitoring, I pulled through another week in the hospital. Then, the day came when the doctor said we’ve just got to do it today. Hubby dear, had been off work the past week and had just reached work that morning, when I called him from the hospital and asked him to come right back. I was happy that I pulled through 1 day short of 32 weeks..

The Birth
The surgery was smooth and I could hear the cries, ‘that’s baby 1’, ‘that’s baby2’ , ‘that’s baby 3’. We have prepared a list of names that would fit the babies. Luckily, we met an Indian intern at the hospital who gave us lots of suggestions on the names since, many names could be mis-pronounced and could lead to a different meaning from what it actually means. We named them P, N, K.

I felt very odd leaving the hospital after 4 days and not taking my babies with you. Then after 3 weeks my first baby P came home. We were so excited. I was shuttling between the hospital and the baby at home. During that week, the neonatologist mentioned that we could take baby 2  home in a week and half. This time we didn’t get excited. There was already a baby at home and we hadn’t gotten adjusted to the change yet. But, baby 2  did come home in a week and half’s time and we did get adjusted to the change easily. Baby 3  was the smallest of the 3 and took her time coming home. This was difficult for me, like I wanted to tear myself into 2 parts so I could be at the hospital and home. But then, the day came when she was ready to come home too. And then, the whole family was together.