Hey all! Amanda here, and this week I got to talk with Nicole O’Dell from What a Trip! Nicole and I met through the blogs awhile ago and of course bonded because we’re both from Chicago, where all great things come from (not that I’m biased). Nicole’s blog is just a great read no matter what! Every week she celebrates Thanksgiving Thursday and I highly recommend you try it. You could be having a terrible week and you would be surprised just how much you have to be thankful for. It will lift your spirits! Nicole is a mother to 3 singletons as well as a set of triplets. And if that doesn’t sound crazy enough, she’s a student and author (she has two new books (and just so you know, “All that Glitters” is about identical twins) order on Amazon.com by clicking.
So enough small talk, let’s get to know Nicole better….
What was yours, and Wil’s initial reaction to finding out you were carrying triplets?
Well, we were first told that it was twins. We had a full week to get used to that idea–we were thrilled. I had a picture of the embryos and somehow it looked like Disney mouse ears, so we were calling them Mickey and Minnie. Then, we had another ultrasound a week later. We found Donald Duck. LOL! No, seriously, it was surreal. The U/S tech did her thing and WHAM! Wil saw it first and said, “Um, there’s three.” We all just kind of stared for a minute or two. It was a shock, definitely. Wil and I were never afraid of having three babies to take care of. We were more worried about the pregnancy and everyone’s health.
How did your three older children take the news?
Erik (17) was happy but worried about me, Natalie (11) was beyond ecstatic and Emily (8) was sad. She really didn’t want to give up her spot as the baby in the family. But, now she says that she wishes she had never said that because they’re the best things that have ever happened to her.
How do you juggle 6 kids (and all that goes with that, school etc), a writing career, and a marriage?
It isn’t easy sometimes. I kind of have to compartmentalize. The babies win. They are such good babies and hardly fuss at all. So, when they fuss, I jump. In between caring for them, I know that I’ll have a certain amount of time to work, so I pretty much give my days to either writing or school–I rarely try to do both in one day–and then nights are for blogging and catching up with networking, marketing, etc. There’s a LOT to do to prepare for the release of my books and deadlines that I have to meet for that and for school. And, Wil gives me 3 hours of uninterrupted time at least three times a week which is a huge help.
Marriage? Admittedly, that has taken a hit at times. We’ve had to regroup a few times and pull it back together. It’s just too easy to let things slide, even with the best of intentions. But, we’re both committed to keeping things alive. Not too long ago, I was trying to sign in to a website where he had set up the password. For confirmation, it asked who his best friend was. I had no idea who he would have put as his best friend, so I asked him. He got a surprised look on his face, shocked that I even asked, and said, “You’re my best friend, Nicole.” Oh. Yeah. I forgot. I think we’ve just been on autopilot for a year and a half–since my pregnancy started. We need to grab control of the wheel again.
Can you tell us more about your books and being an author and MoM?
Everyone always wants to know how I juggle a writing career around six kids. To be honest, I don’t really know, exactly. I do know that I’m very blessed to have even-tempered, happy babies, and mature kids who have been very self-sufficient from an early age. They understand that I could work a full-time job outside the home. OR, I could work at home, be near them and do what I love. They know that there is work time and play time and they respect the needs that go with those boundaries.
So, to their credit, my first two books are being released this summer. I’m very excited about them because they’re part of who I am as a parent. Long ago, I created a little game that I’ve played with my kids that we call Scenarios. It’s where I create a situation that they could find themselves in one day–a moral dilemma. Then they come up with all of the possible scenarios and solutions to it.
It was based on that game that I created this book series, Scenarios: Interactive Fiction for Girls. Each book arrives at a moral dilemma with a choice that the reader must make. Her choice will lead her through the alternate ending that corresponds to that decision. Truth or Dare and All that Glitters
Ok, so is Grandma Party’s last name really Party??? If not how did she get that name?
Ha-Ha! No, her name isn’t actually Party. How cool would that be?? She got the name one summer when Natalie (11) was around 2. It seemed like every weekend, for one reason or another, we were going to a party. I’d say, “Natalie, we’re going to a party; Grandma’s going to be there.” After a while, we’d get ready to leave and she’d say, “Grandma? Party?” It’s stuck ever since. The kids love calling her that and I imagine the babies will follow suit. 🙂
What has been your biggest challenge as a MoM?
T.I.M.E. I’ve missed things like shopping, reading for pleasure, having coffee in a bookstore, staying up really, really late just because I wanted to, going out to dinner with my husband alone. But, I know that this time will pass so quickly so I’m trying to get as much out of their “baby-ness” as I can. I LOVE the stage they’re at right now and they are SUCH good babies–so it makes it really easy.
What made you decide to use a developmental specialist?
It wasn’t really a decision; it was more like, “Why wouldn’t we?” When it was offered to us, there was no real consideration of not taking advantage of the opportunity to help them get off to a better start.
Can you describe a typical session with the specialist? What are they looking for, do they have activities planned, etc.
In our case, the occupational therapist (fine motor skills and social skills) comes once a month, at the same time as the physical therapist (gross motor skills). They kind of rotate babies and I just sit and watch. It’s really eye-opening to sit back and watch someone else work with your child. I see things that I don’t see when I’m working with them myself.
Each month, the therapists kind of move ahead to the next developmental milestone and work with the babies to see how ready they are for that activity. For example, Logan is sitting unassisted without wobbling or falling. He can reach out in front of him and regain his upright position without falling. So, they wanted to see how ready he was to go to a crawling position when he reached forward. The physical therapist worked with him and helped him learn how to tuck one leg behind him and lean out over that leg to get to all fours from sitting. Then they showed us what we can do to work with him on that. That’s just an example, but it’s kind of the pattern. Then the occupational therapist works with them on making sounds, doing things with small obects, etc.
Would you recommend using a specialist to other MoM’s?
Absolutely. I have nothing but great things to say about my experience and I’m so glad we did this. My little ones don’t really have any delays. They’re right on track or a little ahead of their adjusted age. I attribute some of that to the awareness that Wil and I have gained by the therapy sessions. I don’t think that the three hours they spend with the babies in a month makes a lot of difference in the babies…but I do think it has changed the way Wil and I do things and see things. I’d do it all over again.
Hope you all have a great day!