It has been so long since I have written a blog that I don't even remember who I was the last time I did so. I had to look at the last blog which was written in January of 2012. Christmas had just happened. I look at the pictures of the boys from that blog and I can't believe how far they have come. The pictures seem like one second ago and a thousand years ago at exactly the same time. That's the rub right there. Time moves at a million miles an hour and at a snails pace at exactly the same time. Maybe it's just me.
Why so long between blogs? Well, that's a complicated question. I realized that the blog here has almost 100,000 views. This kind of freaked me out. It freaked my out because I realized I liked the recognition of being a triplet Dad in the same way I liked being the lead singer of a band. In my mind the whole thing became more about me and I realized that maybe my three boys didn't want to have their whole lives splashed across the internet for the whole world to see. That's when I made the blog private. I ran the other way, which is what I tend to do. I'm all about extremes. After the last year I have come to some conclusions:
First, the last paragraph was just an excuse. I work on a computer all day, so the last thing I want to do to unwind is work on a computer. Second, I have learned that Zane would love the idea of the world knowing all about Zane and everything that is Zane. Zane would love his picture on billboards, in magazines, on You Tube, and even a TV Channel that was all about Zane. Zane TV if you will. He's decidedly my boy. Cash on the other hand wants no part of such nonsense. At least not at this stage. He's fine just chilling and being in the world of Cash. He likes what he likes and he doesn't care who notices if he's unhappy. Cade on the other hand rides a wave in between the two. He's cool in the spotlight and cool on his own being Cade.
There's a good reason to blog right there. Reading back on old blogs, it's a good way to remember. A scrapbook if you will. The blog started out as a way for me to keep the family and our friends up to date on the pregnancy, the birth, and our life starting out as triplets. It was a way to keep Carrie and I from having to tell the story a million times. When that stuff was done, then the blog seemed to be done as well.
Turns out, I was wrong. This is typical.
The story is far from over. In fact, all that stuff was easy. Really easy. That was a walk in the park. This is not a complaint, this is just how it is. So, since January of 2012 what has happened? What have we been up to? How are the boys? How is Carrie? What's been happening? I don't blame anyone for having these questions. Why? Well, we don't go a lot of places. We don't visit a lot of people, and we don't talk on the phone outside of business a whole lot. If you haven't heard from us, we probably still like you. We would probably like to see you. The simple fact of the matter is, we have triplets and we don't have time. In addition to this, trust me when I say that you don't want us to come over.
What happened 2012? Here is the short version.
We sold our house in Austin.
We went on a tour of Kansas and Illinois while our new house was being built.
Our new house is located in a town outside of Austin.
We are very lucky to be here.
Our house in Austin was too small for triplets and the neighborhood was getting bad. We are very fortunate that our business, CTK Entertainment, has done well and we were able to build a new home that is perfect for our boys. We also picked this community because the school system rocks. The teachers are awesome and the programs they have for our boys are second to none. That's really why we landed here.
Now for the tough part.
I take that back.
No, I don't take that back. It's tough. I just don't want to sound like I'm complaining. It's all we know, and on some days it's very hard. However, we wouldn't trade it for anything on earth.
The boys are delayed. It took me a while to notice this because these are the only kids I have and I have nothing to compare them to. We didn't have them until I was 36, and I didn't really pay any attention to how any other kids developed. So, when Carrie and our pediatrician started suggesting things, I went along. The first thing that happened was that the folks with Early Childhood Intervention were brought into the house and started working with the boys. These are great people and this is a great program. The boys were delayed in all areas such as speech, motor skills, ect. The idea was to get them a head start with these folks. So, I did what I do. I put my head down and went about the business of trying to make the whole machine go, and I let Carrie sweat the fine details.
These are my boys. There was absolutely no way that there was anything wrong with them. No way. Not my boys. There wasn't a chance. Just like in the NICU. There was never one second in my mind or in Carrie's mind that our boys weren't going to come home with us and be just fine. Not one thought. Not ever. There was a little girl right by us whose parents were awesome. She had the same doctors and the same nurses, and she didn't make it. However, this didn't apply. I look back on it now and I have no idea why. I guess it was a pure coping mechanism.
The boys were in ECI until they turned 3 this past June. The people came to the house. They worked with the boys and that was that. We did our best to work them as well. It's hard because you don't know exactly how to go about it. What is enough? What is not enough? You do what you can, but often times it's survival mode. You get through the day. Changing diapers, changing clothes, feeding, bathing, and teaching all get wrapped up into one thing. For me sometimes I felt and still feel that I am watching myself in a movie. I just see myself going through the day and doing what needs to be done. At the end of the day you are exhausted and you can't wait for bedtime for the boys and then after an hour you miss them and wish they were still up. I can't explain it.
After ECI was done, we found a program offered by the school district for kids with the same issues our boys have. They are delayed.
What's that mean?
Who gets to decide what delayed means? All kids are different right? Our boys are triplets. They were born at 29 weeks. Cut them some slack. Don't hit me with labels. I've been fighting labels my entire life, and I wont' have them put on my boys. They aren't old enough for labels. They can't understand labels. Don't confuse them. Don't confuse me. Don't talk to me like that.
I'm sure you've heard of Fight or Flight. Well, I don't know much about Flight.
I'm sure I'm confusing the timeline, but at this point we took Cash to the Neurologist. Cash has always been a bit behind Cade and Zane. No big deal. He was born third, so this makes sense. This is when the I heard the word meant something different to me. I heard the word a lot and to be quite frank it didn't mean much to me. It applied to other people.
Well, the neurologist measured his head because the pediatrician thought it was large. He thought Cash had a big head, which he does. He told us that it would be a while before any real diagnosis could take place. We had premature birth. We had triplet birth. We had all kinds of things.
Come back later.
We left. I felt better.
Fast forward. We start the process of having the boys evaluated to get into school. The school evaluates them and all three of them are placed on the Autism Spectrum. Apparently, they have to be on this spectrum to qualify for the classes that would help them the most. If they were delayed or if they had Autism, it was all the same. They just needed to be in the class. This is where they would get the head start that they needed. In fact Head Start is what they called it.
I am not happy. What's this label mean? How long will that follow them? What will this mean to other kids? How will my boys handle it? How will their mother handle it? You're scaring her to death, and I'm scared and I would like for you to shut up now.
Let it sink in. Go read a thousand websites and articles and scare yourself to death about it. Roll it around in your mind. Use your overactive imagination to really ramp things up and get to a place where you are about to explode.
This will most certainly help.
Turns out it didn't help. You just land where you land. The statistics are staggering about how many kids get diagnosed with this. The school was putting ALL THREE of the boys on the spectrum. However, at the same time, the neurologist wasn't willing to put Cash on the spectrum. Weird.
I'll let everyone inform themselves and come to their own conclusions about this questions. The fact is, after all the research and reading I have done, I have absolutely no idea what it means or doesn't mean.
So the boys get placed into a class. Cade and Zane are to be in the same class, and Cash will be in another at a different school. This is cool, because Cash gets pretty sick of his brother's crap and needs a break. Carrie and I are excited because he gets a chance to step out and shine on his own.
In the meantime, we have a couple of months to kill before these classes start.
What to do. What to do.
How about daycare?
We can put them in daycare to get used to being around other kids. They've never been away from home by themselves so this is a good chance to try out their sea legs if you will.
Dropping them off at daycare on their own for the first time was very very very hard. Cash cried. Zane cried. Cade cried. Mom cried. Dad may cried a little. I don't really remember.
Who am I kidding. I have always been a bit of a crier. It was hard.
Fortunately, they got kicked out of daycare on the VERY FIRST DAY.
We didn't have to miss them much.
Well, this Day Care unit was supposed to teach them how to behave and interact with others. Turns out, Cash dives across the lunch table to grab some kid's Cheetos and the daycare professionals just couldn't handle it.
What a bunch of wimps.
We took them to another daycare which was awesome and they spent the summer there having an awesome time doing awesome things and they never got kicked out once.
This was only three days a week. School was getting ready to be five days a week and this was going to be the test.
They were going to ride the bus.
We started out taking them to school just to get them used to it. By taking them, I mean that Carrie and her Mom took them. Finally we all agreed that riding the bus would be good. Now they ride the bus and the boys absolutely love it. They can't wait for the bus. They love school and they love their teachers. They are learning and growing a lot.
This scares me.
It doesn't make you not stay up all night reading medical journals online, and every other website, article, or forum you can find pertaining to the subject. All the while you fear the worst. At least that's my nature. It's not fair. Or is it fair? Why us? Why my little boy? I don't want anything to be wrong. Why is it wrong?
In the end, there's nothing wrong. They are our boys, and they are absolutely perfect.
Cade is a chatter box. He talks all the time and he is always seeking our approval. He counts. He asks for things. He sings songs. He says "GO RED SOX" just because he knows I love it so much. He smiles so big and he is so happy. He loves books and all things pertaining to knowledge. He'll bring you book after book after book. One time, he took a small book and shoved it into my mouth while I was asleep on the couch. Made sense to me. Books have words. Words come out of Dad's mouth. Shove the book in Dad's mouth, and he'll make words.
Zane craves attention and is a perfectionist. Things need to be just so, and all things need to revolve around Zane. He requires, no he demands your attention. It's tough for Zane to be a triplet because everything can't be about Zane. It's cool though because he's find with a few moments of one on one time. He wants to help with everything and him mimics what we do. He gets it right a lot and at other times misses the mark, all the while meaning well. For example, food is put in the oven to be cooked an then removed. You don't crumble it up and throw it in the oven after you are tired of looking at it on your plate.
Cash is the sweetest most loving creature that has ever been made. He doesn't say much, but he looks deep into your eyes and uses his hands to explore every feature of your face. He laughs a deep belly laugh that rings like the laugh of an old wise soul. It's a laugh that makes you think that he is laughing hard at something that you won't understand. He's a problem solver and he knows how to get what he wants. He has Mom and Dad firmly wrapped around his little Cash finger, and he might get his way a bit more than Cade and Zane. Although I'll deny it, it may ring true.
Carrie is the calm in the Triplet Storm. She keeps all the balls in the air. The household runs on the power of Carrie, and the dog, the boys, and I are very thankful for her organizational skills, her selflessness, and her unconditional love for her tribe.
I hope this has gotten everyone up to date. Everyone is good. Although each boy has his own specific struggles, the sky is the limit for each of them. There is nothing stopping them. They may have to work a bit harder in certain areas than other kids their age, but that's life. That's just how it is. The thing is, you never ever ever give up. No matter how hard the day is, how hard the task, how impossible it seems, you never ever give up. I say these words for myself as much as for anyone else.
A while back when one of the boys was throwing a fit, I would get down on their level and I would look them in the eye and say "Patience and Calm. Patience and Calm". After a while they would calm down. The phrase became a habit for me, and when we went to meet Cade and Zane's teacher, Cade threw a fit in front of her and I had to use my phrase. Patience and Calm. Their teacher heard me say it and apparently it has served her well when dealing with the boys.
I don't where it came from. I have never been patient, and I have never been calm.
Anyhow, fast forward. Cade has started repeating the phrase when he gets upset or when things don't go his way. He walks around saying "Patience and Calm. Patience and Calm."
The future here is unknown. We are doing absolutely everything we can to give our boys every advantage and opportunity to succeed. I know this. Carrie knows this. However, it doesn't stop us from feeling guilty and we question rather or not we are doing the right things. Are we spending enough time teaching them things. Could they eat better? Will they eat at all? Are we being too hard on them? Are we not being hard enough? The questions are endless.
However, I think my three year old Cade became the teacher the other night. I was the student.
I was upset with Zane. I was at the end of my rope over something with him. I don't remember what it was. I was in the kitchen and Zane was being Zane.
I said "Zane! Zane! Stop that! Stop that RIGHT NOW! I have had ENOUGH OF THIS!"
Just then out of the corner of my eye, I see Cade come running across the room. He reached up and grabbed my left arm, pulled me down on his level and said:
"Patience and Calm. Patience and Calm."