You have days like this one, and it seems like, really seems like, you aren't going to do anything correct. You just aren't.
And then you have a day where they play a game like the one shown in the picture. Some kind of amalgam between the game of checkers I had just shown them how to play and the game of chess they know I love.
And to be honest, four has been pretty awesome.
I was thinking about just how awesome as I scrolled through Facebook posts from other triplet Dads who have young ones and were, simply put, overwhelmed.
For a sex that prides itself on motion and doing and energy and work, there were a lot of Dads who simply seemed at their breaking point in February. And that isn't to judge; handling triplets is hard. Damn hard.
And yes, I once said about how three was the perfect age. I also once wrote "Preschool Not For Me School." What do I know? I hadn't had four year olds yet. Kids are like what I imagine it was like when the first humans figured out dynamite. Fun! Great to play with! Poweful! Very useful in the right circumstances! But boy, do you want to be in the right circumstances. Otherwise you risk blowing your arm off. But you know what, four has been a pretty great age.
Gone are the long stretches of sleepless nights. The days of diapers are behind us too. Even wiping butts is on its way out the poop shoot. Its a lot less labor intensive these days. The kids will play by themselves for at least 10 or 15 minutes before one of them injuries the other - intentionally or otherwise.
At four they really start to be able to interact. Sure, they could talk long ago, but it was mostly them communicating their needs. Now, they ask if they can help. They will actually go do something before being asked. One day, after weeks of fights and distressing mornings trying to get them ready to leave for school on time, they just showed up in our room fully dressed. I wasn't even aware they could get into their dresser, let alone that they could pick out clothes. But there they stood: three kids who fought tooth and nail to get dressed and downstairs and fed for eight straight weeks full of school days, completely ready to go.
I was dumbfounded.
And you can begin to teach them checkers. Or something like checkers, at any rate. I've heard you can teach them chess, but I've also seen dynamite used to rob a bank. I don't think you want to try that at home.
And they are helpful. Or at least, every bit as helpful as they can be. Sometimes that means that "cleaning up" consists of throwing everything they own into any available container, without regard for fit or function. Getting four-year-old triplets to clean properly is a little like trying to floss your teeth with the aforementioned dynamite; but who cares?
In the long run, it doesn't matter. What matters is that the bad days pass and the good, awesome days are what you remember.