The Book of Life
Excavating in the basement storage area this week, I unearthed “Lily, Max + Sam’s Day by Day Book, Volume I” (Mark’s titling), a.k.a. “The Book of Life” (my titling). Mark and I began recording in the book on October 22, 1992, when we brought our two-week-old triplets home from Yale-New Haven Hospital. We seem to have stopped keeping records on Friday, January 30, 1993 – the last page of the book and also the eve of the kids’ baby naming ceremony. If there is a second volume, I don’t remember it…or haven’t come across it.
On the sheets of this pad, we tracked each kid’s ins and outs. That is: what the babies took in…and what came out t’other end. Who could muster an oral report at 2 AM? Who’d remember by 4 PM? These records aren’t very interesting, except to demonstrate how often we were feeding and changing diapers.. The jottings – in my hand unless otherwise indicated – evoke what it was like to get premature triplets (who weighed about 4 lbs. each at birth, about 34 weeks gestation) from two weeks to three months old.
SONG LYRICS (what else to do during 2 AM feedings?):
The Baby Song:
Lily & Max & Sam / How proud of them we am / They roll around their eyes / And hardly ever cries.
Sung to the Tune of “If I Only Had a Brain” (Wizard of Oz “Scarecrow Song”):
I wile away the whiles / And burp away the miles / …if I only had a smile / I would laugh / I would chortle / I would giggle / I’d cavort-le / …if I only had a smile.
RUNNING COMMENTS (in my hand unless otherwise noted):
[Mark’s hand]: All Home
Max will be tall & rangy? Sam short & fine boned?
They’ll never forget each others’ birthdays. Sam will be a financial wizard in Hong Kong. Lily will be saving the rainforest in Costa Rica – giving speeches, and Max will be a truck farmer in N. California – all will conference call on Oct. 7 to wish each other a happy birthday.
Smelling Max’s head, I know that no matter how old the babes are I’ll always smell them and love them. I’ll always kiss their heads and think of their babyhoods.
Sam: easy lay of the burp world.
Max: champion Arm Wrestler? Symphony Conductor? Houdini?
[Mark’s hand] Sam: Now the monk of the burp world.
[my hand] 10 PM feeding – WPLR burp contest – looking for an 11-second belch – while we’re trying to squeeze out a little squeak from each baby.
Sam: A lesson in why not to prejudge your children.
Visit to pediatrician: Lily = 5 lbs. 1 oz. Max & Sam = 4 lbs. 14 oz.
Big-time spit-up day: Sam & Lily
Max’s arms are huge – so are his hands & feet. Could he take after his Uncle Tom? Hard Man II?
All the babes are fussing more, crying more, awake more. Their heads seem bigger, neck muscles stronger. Lily consistently awakens 30 mins – 1 hr. before feed times. Sam is awake much of the time now, cries until he is held and rocked and assured of a pacifier.
At the allergist, a nurse asked Mark what the kids were going to be for Halloween. Mark’s response: “Asleep.”
I just get tireder and tireder…took a long walk (for me) outdoors – leaves spectacular – 1st time I’d been out so long in months.
11/3/92: Election Day
(two “I Voted Today” stickers affixed to the page)
Got out of the house today: to vote, to the bank, to Macy’s, to the OB. Changed my purse (to match shoes?!) – and found that I had not used my brown bag since the end of March, when I found out I was pregnant. Inside: medical receipts. List of questions for Dr. Gutman, including, “How many fetal sacs do you see?”
By the time I got to the safe deposit box at the bank, where I locked away plastic ID bracelets from the hospital (Baby Girl A, Baby Boy B & Baby Boy C…), I wept in silence in the little private room. Time lost. Time gone. Babies gained.
11/4/92: Wed. Clinton wins!
Hard night. Lily screams, then won’t eat & falls asleep. Sam is still constipated! Max just chugs along, plays with his hands, moves his head. All babes gaining head control. Born 4 weeks ago today.
Max is really starting to track with his eyes – exciting! Sam seems more comfortable now that he’s pooped some. And Lily is determined, serious, earnest…a delight.
Lots of hose-type spit-ups today – M & L both. M constipated. Feedings run into feedings. Neither Mark nor I went outside today. Flurries predicted overnight.
Everybody had a bath, production-line style. Photo shoot followed.
[Mark’s hand]: Lily raises head! 5x! Joins Max!
Sam to pediatrician: wt: 6 lbs. 2 oz.!! Head 34 ¼; chest 32; length 19 ½. Got his HIB vaccine (barely cried, brave boy!). Dr. La Camera says all’s well, answers all our questions.
[Mark’s hand]: Max & Lily go to Dr.: Both 6 lb 3 oz. Lily 19 ½ in. Max 19 ¼ in.
[my hand]: Both get HIB vaccines. The big kids do great!
We took a walk w/ the triplet stroller – freedom! Sam moved his head well.
Friends babysit while we walk to cemetery & back! Lovely to be out together alone.
6 weeks old.
Mark goes back to work. (drawing of a frownie face)
Baths relaxed the babems – Max & Sam were comatose at 6 PM feeding…Lily was calm and able to feed. Three different people; three different levels of stimulation.
Wrote an article […] on design in Woodbridge. Felt great to be back in the saddle.
Sat on couch in British art center and read Beyond the 100th Meridian. Bliss.
Today, I had it all.
First snow. Dusting.
Trip to Dr. La Camera – Max (9 lbs. 7 oz. w/ diaper). Max has “intertigo” – horrible blistering – scalded area in groin – raspberry colored & horrible. Dr. La Camera prescribes ointment 3-4x a day. He is a Wonderful man.
Dr. La Camera calls just to check on Max, whose little groin looks much better. Long walk with w/ Max in sling.
Long walk with Sam. Max’s rash looks better.
Walked to Walgreen’s with Lily.
9 weeks old today. Sam is pushing up & moving his head; pushing off of my shoulder, reaching a little bit. Max pulls my thumb to his mouth.
Lunar eclipse – easily viewed from backyard.
Horrible disgusting driving sleet, snow & rain. Why can’t we live where there are eucalyptus trees?
Lily to Dr. La Camera: 8 lbs. 5 oz. DPT and polio. 20 ½ in. long.
Dr. La Camera says: OK to let the babes cry – will teach them they can take care of their own needs.
And what about us?
Very cold; more heavy snow. Awoke to sound of snow ploughs for 1st time this yr. Turned to heavy snow by 7 a.m. High winds. Veritable blizzard.
Walk w/ Sam in snow.
Nobody to help us during day or night. Hard. Horrible colic w/ Sam.
Max & Sam to pediatrician: Dr. La Camera says they’re doing wonderfully. DPT & polio.
Max: 10 lbs. 21 in. in length.
Sam: 9 lbs. 8 oz. 20 7/8 in. in length.
Sometimes, I think I can’t get any more tired.
Mark came home from the office with 102 degree F.
[Mark’s hand]: Daddy’s Back!!
Mark & I to E. Rock with Champagne. Climb E. Rock, eat Chuck’s Chicken Salad, drink Veuve Cliquot and warm ourselves in the winter sun. Can’t believe we’ve come through the last year so well. So blessed.
Pour the remainder of the bottle onto the rock in name of each of the kids, thereby “christening” the rock in their honor.
1st night of Chanukah.
Lily takes a shower with Mom!
Sam showers w/ Mom! Walk w/ Lily! Max smiles.
Max showers w/ Mom!
Play time: Max up most of AM & early PM. Lily & Sam up early PM.
Put boys on bed at night – dangle rattles near head – they are fascinated and agitated – Max more animated – and both boys intent on seeing.
Max: Guiness Book Record SPIT – even hits toy box.
12/26/92: Saturday, last night of Chanukah
Max showers w/ Dad – Lily & Sam w/ Mom – in AM.
Lily awake more or less from 1 PM 8:30+.
Lily smiles a bit & plays.
New Year’s Day
[Mark’s hand]: Walk kids for 30 mins. Cold.
Mark & I go out to lunch & to the movies: The Crying Game. Walk kids from 4 – 4:40.
Max rolls over! Flips from tummy to back!
Walk w/ kids – great weather.
Max is incredibly frustrated – wants to play, can’t do all he wants, can’t always flip over – howlsin protest.
Lily just cries…because? Sam, too. Why?
Much screaming at night/evening.
Afternoon in library: how can I be the same person I was when last I sat in the periodical room at Sterling?
Out to firm dinner.
Max bathes w/ Dad.
Lily & Max to Dr. La Camera – HIB vaccine.
Max: 22 in. long, 12 lbs. 4 oz.
Lily: 22 in. long; 10 lbs. 3 oz.
Dr. La Camera says it’s time to add in semi-solids. Will switch back to a 4-hourly schedule, add rice, then applesauce, and hope the fussing dwindles. Also will begin to work on sleeping through the night.
[Mark’s hand]: Lily sleeps til 7:30!!!
First day with rice cereal – Lily HATES it and decides she’s never going on solids. Max says it’s OK but would be better with salt. Sam sucks his down eagerly, finishing it all, then licks bowl with tongue. “Spoon?” he says. “NO problem!”
Just imagine when they first taste raspberries, chocolate, asparagus, lettuce! Fresh green beans! The world is waiting at your feet, little babies. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Second verse: Lily changes her mind and sucks down cereal.
Snow. More sleeping through the night!
[Mark’s hand]: We wake everybody!
[Mark’s hand]: Everyone sleeps through (to 6 AM). No one cries.
Sam to Dr. La Camera: 12 lbs 7 oz…23” long!
We listen to Clinton’s inaugural address on radio in car on way home.
[Mark’s hand]: Everyone sleeps thru – No crying
Visits from Aunt Laura, Uncle Michael, Aunt Katherine, Uncle Chris, Cousin Emma, Grandad Klaus, Grandma Pat, Grandpa Jack & Annette. Friday night supper here.