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West Fargo couple feels very blessed: Sikorski triplets turn three

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Editor's note: An article about the newborn Sikorski triplets appeared in the West Fargo Pioneer on February 9, 2005.

Mike and Kristi Sikorski are the first to admit that life sometimes gets a little crazy at their house, with triplets who celebrated their third birthday last week, a five year old, and an eleven year old underfoot. But they are also very quick to tell you that they love every minute of it. "We have been so blessed," Kristi reflects as she and her husband watch their children play in the living room of the family's split-level home in West Fargo.

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On December 28, 2004, Katherine, Thomas and John Sikorski were born at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo. Katherine weighed four pounds, five ounces at birth. Thomas weighed four pounds, 13 ounces, and John weighed four pounds, 12 ounces. Although all three babies remained in the hospital for a few weeks because of their low birth weights, there were no complications, and all three children have remained remarkably healthy. "Other than the typical colds and sniffles, they've been doing great," Kristi said. "We have been very lucky."

Kristi has been a member of a Mothers of Multiples group since before the triplets were born. Talking and meeting with other mothers of twins and triplets, has given Kristi a chance to share information with a group with common circumstances. She and Mike count their blessings every day that they have healthy children and that they have extended families living close by to help out.

Nick, who was eight when the triplets were born, is now eleven, and attends Cheney Middle School, where he plays trombone in their school band. Ben, who was almost three, will be six next month, and attends kindergarten in the mornings.

Kristi was a stay-at-home mom the first year-and-a-half after the triplets were born, when RDO allowed her to return to work on a part-time basis. She now works four days a week between 8 a.m. to 3 or 3:30 p.m. as an accountant. Her hours have been very flexible, making the transition back to being a working mom easier.

The couple was fortunate to find a competent babysitter soon after the triplets were born. Renae Kyser has a degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead in early childhood education. In addition to watching the kids, she helps keep up with the laundry, cooking and cleaning, and has been a godsend to the family.

Kristi and Mike remember the first few months as a blur of feeding, burping and changing diapers. Although grandparents, Robert and Mary Thompson, and John and Donna Sikorski, came to help, Kristi and Mike functioned on a minimal ration of sleep, trying to take catnaps whenever they could. Keeping track of three feeding schedules was a challenge. The babies ate six times a day at first. That added up to about 18 bottles to heat and between 18 to 20 diapers to change each day.

"The physical demands were hard the first year-and-a-half, but then it got better," Kristi said. Through it all, the couple has managed to keep their sense of humor, laughing at the antics and predicaments their children can get themselves into.

Like the time Nick came upstairs to tell them that Ben had crawled up into one of the baby swings and gotten stuck, or the day the kids had taken clothes off the rack and Mike and Kristi found them hanging upside down like bats.

Mike laughs as he tells about the day Kristi called him at work to tell him that the garage door opener was acting up. All day long, the garage door had been opening and shutting, and Kristi thought it was due to a mechanical error, or maybe a patch of ice on the garage floor. It turned out that John had been pushing the remote button when no one was looking.

Mike's parents are retired and live only about an hour away in Wyndmere, N.D. "They help us out a lot," Mike said. "The babies take turns going there overnight." The arrangement gives John and Donna a chance to spend time one-on-one with their grandchildren, while giving Mike and Kristi a break. "Two are easier to take places than three," Mike explains.

Kristi and Mike often take their children to West Acres in the early hours of the day, before the stores are open, to let them run off some of their energy. They have a triple stroller, but they don't take it out often because they tend to get more looks and stares from people. One lady saw them with the three babies in the stroller one day and came up to them and said, "I'll pray for you."

Taking the kids in public is always a chore, and Kristi and Mike have discovered that it is easier to manage if they split up. Kristi takes two or three with her, and Mike takes some with him. They even go to church in shifts. "When we go to relatives, it's so much easier. As soon as we walk in the door someone takes one of the kids," Kristi said.

Thomas is usually the first one up in the morning, waking up between 6 and 6:30. Nick watches the kids while Kristi showers. The babysitter arrives about 7:30 a.m. School starts for Nick at 8:20 a.m. He walks to school or gets a ride with a friend's mom. Mike, Kristi, or Renae take turns driving Ben to kindergarten. The triplets' nap time is usually from 12:30 to 2 p.m. By 8:30 p.m. the day starts winding down with bedtime stories or a movie. The kids are tucked in bed and lights out by 9:30 p.m.

Up until recently, the triplets all slept in three separate cribs in one room. This fall, they got new youth beds. Tom and Katie sleep upstairs, while John sleeps downstairs with Nick and Ben. "John wonders around and falls asleep wherever he ends up," Mike said.

The next step is potty training. "I feel like some days are spent all day in the bathroom. Some say to train them one at a time, but it's hard," Kristi said. Katie is picking up on it the quickest.

The kids like to play restaurant with white dishtowels tied around their waists as aprons. Ben is the waiter, with notepad in hand, to take orders from Nick, Mike and Kristi. Katie or Thomas bring plastic burgers and fries out on a toy platter. "Mmmm, you're a good cook," Mike tells Ben.

John likes to snuggle, and curls up on his mom's lap. "How do you spell chicken?" asks Ben, as he writes his menu. Nick automatically starts spelling the word for him, "C - H - " But that's as far as he gets before someone interrupts him to ask something else. Katie shows off her baby dolls, and pipes up, "It's Jesus birthday first, and then it's mine."

"We are so blessed," Mike repeats.

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