Wednesday, October 9, 2013
When you find out you're having a baby, you obviously know you're going to need new stuff. Everything from a crib to a bouncy seat to bottles to diapers and everything in between. One tiny baby can fill a fairly large house with stuff pretty quickly.
Now multiply that by three.
The overwhelming thoughts of everything we're going to need to raise triplets started clogging my mind as I searched the web for the top rated baby products on the market today. First on my list was a stroller. I prefer one that will hold the infant car seats so I won't have to wake all three babies each time I take them in and out of the car; not something I imagine us doing very often, mind you, but one must always be prepared! I quickly Googled my beloved Snap n Go, my favorite product from Dylan and Justin's infancies. Instead of a big, clunky travel system stroller, a Snap n Go is literally just the bars of the stroller where the car seat snaps in, with a large storage basket underneath. Ok, they have a double. Shit! No triple? C'mon! They have to have a triple! I can't be the only person in the world who's expecting triplets! I scrolled to the bottom of the website, clicked the "contact us" tab and proceeded to write a very complimentary e-mail about my product loyalty and the possibility of commissioning the company to make a triple Snap n Go just for me. I mean, really, how hard could it be? I'll fast forward the 24 hours it took to receive a reply and let you know that, apparently, it's very hard. "I do apologize for any troubles in finding a stroller that would fit your every day needs. Unfortunately we would not be able to place any special orders for a stroller, as out strollers are mass produced overseas."
And the search continued. I found out rather quickly that the market for triple strollers is very small; even smaller when you're looking for one that will hold three infant carriers! I narrowed it down to two choices. Actually, I didn't really narrow it down; I could only find two choices! One option is called a Triple Decker, which has two models, one that holds EvenFlo car seats and one that holds Graco car seats. The other option is made by the heavily priced, Italian company, Peg Perego, and, of course, it only holds Peg Perego car seats. To save a huge blow to the pocketbook, the Triple Decker seemed like the better way to go until I read a horrible safety review from a nanny of triplets that forced the purse strings to loosen on their own. Sticker shock aside, the Peg really seemed more practical, upon further investigation. Of course, it's very large, but I'm pretty sure there's no way around that issue if I want three babies to fit in one stroller. The positive points are that it comes with three removable seats that leave just the bars to attach car seats, similar to the Snap n Go, for when they're infants then, when they get older, we can put the actual seats back in and continue using the same stroller. Sounds practical, right? Ask me again next year and I'll let you know.
To continue my stroller dilemma, it was suggested to me by a triplet mom that we buy a double and single stroller for times when I'm not alone with all three babies. Honestly, the thought of being alone with three babies pretty much sends me over the edge right into Crazy Town, so this idea seemed like a great one. So now, not only will I need a triple stroller, but a double and single one too.
And then we'll need car seats. Since we've pretty much decided on the Peg Perego stroller, we have no choice but to purchase Peg Perego infant seats to go with it. Luckily it's a highly rated brand, but like the stroller, the car seat carries the hefty price tag with it...times three. Oh well. At least it comes in hot pink!
With the largest items basically chosen, the one purchase I'd managed to avoid since I ventured into motherhood almost 13 years ago seemed inevitable. "I'm gonna need to get a minivan," I whined to Jimmi. "No! No minivan!" he balked. "I don't have a choice," I insisted. "We'll have five kids!" He tried to convince me that my barely two year-old SUV would fit us all but I was quick to prove him wrong. "We won't be able to fit three car seats across the second row so one will have to go in the third row. There's no way to get back there without taking one of the car seat bases completely out and flipping the seat forward to get to the third row every time we get in and out of the car." Reluctantly, Jimmi agreed that, although we have a few months before we'll actually need it, we should probably take a look at our minivan options. We made it to the Honda dealership about 30 minutes before closing time and were immediately attacked by the nearest salesman to the entrance. His accent was thick when he introduced himself, "I'm Jesus (Hey-soos, not Gee-zus), what can I help you with today?" I held my head in shame as I requested a gander at a fully loaded Odyssey. "Right this way," Jesus pointed as he directed us outside into the chilly night air and around the side of the building. Interesting that the top-rated minivan wasn't readily available for viewing INSIDE the dealership. As we walked, I explained to Jesus that I currently have two preteen sons and now we're expecting triplets. I just need to mention how much fun it is to see the looks I get from everyone I tell about the girls. Generally, after they're able to close their mouths, they'll give me a once-over and ask some form of when I'm due. Normally I'll play with them a little and confuse them with my answers, but at that moment, while in the process of looking at a minivan, I was in no mood to play. I gave Jesus the short version of our story until our walk came to an end in front of a cranberry mom-mobile. There's gotta be another option! "Go ahead and sit in the driver's seat," Jesus instructed as I cautiously opened the door, hoping my hand wouldn't fall off with the first touch. I forced myself to get into the car and sit down, all the while "oohing" and "ahhing" at the sheer practicality and convenience of the machine. Until I turned around to look behind me. "It's too small," I announced, stifling my excitement. Jesus stopped his mechanical sales pitch and instantly attempted to tell me that every minivan will be the same size, but THIS one has a built in vacuum! "That's cool," I agreed, "though a wet-vac would probably be a better idea." The poor guy looked defeated so I changed my argument back to the size of the vehicle. "Yes, there are technically enough seats," I explained, "but there are only two chairs in the middle row and a bench seat in the third row. I'll have to put two car seats in the middle, then walk the third one through the center aisle to the back row. It's doable, but not really convenient. Plus, the older boys will be very cramped back there with the baby carrier between them." Jesus was grasping at straws, "You can have one sit in the front seat, right?" You're not gonna win this argument, Dude. I have an answer for anything you're gonna throw at me. "Yes," I started, "as long as my husband isn't with us." Shot down! But I continued, "And let's say, for argument's sake, we all fit inside. What will we do with the giant stroller?" Jesus was out of ideas. But that didn't stop him from asking, "So, if I come up with the right number for you, can you put a deposit down tonight?" Seriously? What part of "there's no way in Hell I am driving this car" did he not understand? "I really don't think we can do that now, but we'll take your card and call you if we change our minds."
Jimmi and I got back into my beautiful SUV and started driving up the road. "What else can we get?" I asked him as I looked around, remembering all the other dealerships in the area. "Maybe a Navigator?" Jimmi suggested just as a Lincoln dealership magically appeared on our right. I slammed on the brake and turned the wheel quickly into the parking lot. We had about just about 15 minutes to peruse the options inside. The showroom was split; Ford on the right and Lincoln on the left. We made a left and a cocky, young manager showing way too many teeth shoved his hand out to us, "Hi, I'm Rob. What can I do for you today?" There wasn't time for smalltalk, "Well, we're having triplets and I already have two kids so..." He cut me off, "Let me show you the Navigator." He headed over to the suggested car and I was thrilled that I wasn't having the same feeling of panic as I had at Honda. Rob opened the doors and let us look inside. It was much bigger than the minivan and way more acceptable for my style. But then he opened the back. "I still don't think I can fit a triple stroller in here," I said with disappointment and a little bit of fear that I might end up with a cargo trailer attached to any vehicle I decide to buy. Just then, a salesman walked by, "You want the extended Navigator," he said, almost in a whisper, as if he was giving away a huge secret. The manager nodded and exclaimed, "That's why he's the salesman and I'm on the management team!" Cocky Rob left us with the nerdy, awkward salesman, who immediately asked for my license so I could test drive the giant car. "Aren't you closing in a few minutes?" I asked as he somehow managed to pull my phone number and e-mail address out of me. "Don't worry! It's my job to make sure you're happy!" Ok. Can you just GIVE me the car? That would make me happy! We followed Sales Nerd out to the lot and he pulled a large, white Navigator of of the last space in the back. The thing was enormous. It had two bucket seats in the second row, which could be ordered as a bench instead, and a bench in the third row. The storage area was a perfect size as well. I hopped into the driver's side and adjusted everything I needed to adjust, put the car in drive and headed out onto the main road. "It drives like a car," I said as I followed Nerdy McNerdson's directions around the block. Fifteen minutes later we were back at the dealership following the leader to the showroom. Knowing we're nowhere near ready to buy anything, I really just wanted to leave, but the sales pitch was coming! "I think you need to buy this car right now," the manager tried to joke when we returned, "because I don't think I'll be able to get it back into that spot again!" He was so proud of himself for that one and Jimmi and I faked some giggles. Sales Nerd excused himself to find a brochure and left Rob the Dick to chat with us in his absence. "Wow, triplets," he said. "You must be freaking out!" That's helpful, Dick, I mean Rob, thanks. "Yeah, it's crazy," Jimmi said trying not to egg him on. "It's amazing," Dick Rob went on, "you don't look pregnant at all!" The chance I'd passed up at the last dealership presented itself again and this time, I took it, "I'm not," I smiled. Rob's shit-eating grin straightened across his face and his dumbass remarks were silenced, "I...ah...you...but...Aren't you having triplets?" I kept the fun going, "Yes," I said, "but I'm not pregnant. He knocked up a woman in Minnesota and I've agreed to take the babies on as my own." Rob's face turned white and, while I was thoroughly enjoying myself, I decided to put him out of his misery and tell him the truth. "Wow! You scared me for a minute there!" he laughed. Nerd Boy returned with a brochure and asked if we'd like to make a deal tonight. We declined and he promised to call in a few days to see if we'd changed our minds. Oh, goody! And, finally, we were allowed to leave. "That was a nice car," I said to Jimmi as we drove home. And then a thought popped into his head, "Why don't you go see Lelica about an Escalade?" He was referring to one of our friends whose family owns a Cadillac dealership, among others. I quickly sent her a message on Facebook, "Tell me about the Escalade." Within minutes we had a plan to meet at her dealership the next afternoon.
It was a beautiful day for a drive as we traveled just a few miles to Lelica's dealership the following day. She greeted us in the showroom and introduced us to her husband, Jay, and we all went outside to look at the star of the day, the Escalade. It was very similar to The Navigator in most ways, but it seemed a bit more luxurious. Within minutes, the keys were in my hand and I was adjusting mirrors and seats. "Can we take it back to our house to see if it fits in the garage?" I asked, half seriously. "Sure," Lelica said. "Take it wherever you want, just be back before we close!" Since we live very close, and having a car that fits in our garage is actually a real concern, I headed in the direction of home. "For such a big car, it's really easy to drive," I told Jimmi as I moved from the main road to the backroads, into our development, and finally pulled into our driveway. "Can you get out and direct me?" I asked Jimmi. I normally don't have a problem getting into my garage, but this tank dwarfed my Lexus and I didn't want anything to happen to it. You break it you buy it! echoed through my head as I followed Jimmi's hand signals and moved slowly into the spot. "Wait!" I stopped right before the side mirrors reached the door and quickly looked around and finally found the button to retract them. That was close. Little by little, inch by inch, I pulled the Escalade into my garage. When Jimmi held up his hand signaling me to stop, I turned off the engine and got out of the car. It fit! Yes, we'd probably need to take the shelving on the front wall of the garage down, but that's easy enough. The important thing is that the car we might need to buy to fit our family of seven, plus all of our stuff, fit in our garage! When we were done admiring how the giant, white beast looked at our house, we headed back to the dealership to report the news to Lelica and Jay. This time, we actually wanted to sit down and talk about trade-ins and order time and numbers, just to get an idea. Since they're friends and they know our situation, there was absolutely no pressure and we could relax while discussing all the options. Jimmi and I left the dealership feeling like another choice could be crossed off our growing list of baby needs.
Strollers, car seats, a new car...these things don't even scratch the surface of all the stuff we're gonna need to buy, steal, borrow or inherit in the next few months! But I'm gonna stop thinking about that now and concentrate on the next few days. I'm going to Minnesota tomorrow! Lyndsay's next ultrasound is scheduled for Friday, just a few days shy of the 9-week mark. I can't wait to see our little munchkins again! Maybe we'll have some answers about the twins and their sacs and placentas. Don't forget, we're hoping for separate placentas and separate amniotic sacs so we can breathe a tiny bit easier knowing that a small amount of risk would be avoided in these cases. But, if they're sharing either or both, we'll have to take it day by day and hope for the best. Come to think of it, that's been a running theme in my life for the last two years or so. Maybe I should finally learn to live by that rule!