When the triplets were tiny babies we would take them to the mall and wheel them around in this hideous stroller called the Runabout triple stroller. People would gawk at us like we were three-headed monsters at a circus show.
During one of our mall outings, Chris ran into a set of triplets who were in their 80s. The triplets were two men and a woman. In the triplet world, we call them BBG triplets. It was the newer generation of triplets meeting the older generation of triplets. In their 80s, these triplets were still the best of friends and did everything together. They said that being a triplet was a special bond and friendship like no other.
Raising triplets definitely comes with a full set of challenges. Phase 1 challenges include things like the physical inability to carry, nurse or burp three babies at one time. Phase 2 challenges include how to deal with not one but three toddlers who are having a tantrum. Phase 3 challenges include the incredible logistics of shuffling all of the kids around to school and various extra curricular activities. Phase 4 will be the teenage years, which I refuse to talk about yet.
Despite these challenges, I have enjoyed watching the interactions between my triplets. I love baring witness to how it must be growing up with two other people who are exactly your age and hardly ever leave your side. I’m constantly impressed with how well they get along and how strong their friendship is despite the fact that they rarely get any freedom from one another.
Here are my SIX observations about raising multiples:
- Interpersonal Space Issues: Multiples don’t get the concept of “interpersonal space.” They touch and climb on everybody, and get in people’s faces (in a nice way). It starts when they are just embryos all squished next to each other womb. It’s tight quarters in there.
- Sibling Translation: There is always a sibling nearby to translate when a triplet is speaking to me and I have no idea what the hell they are saying.
- Running in Packs: Multiples (especially higher order multiples) run in packs and if you mess with one triplet, you deal with the pack.
- Birth order: Multiples always know their birth order – who was born that couple minutes first and who was born last. Preston, my triplet who was born last, always appreciates when we do things in “reverse birth order.”
- Competition: Competition can be stiff in any household of siblings, but it is magnified in households with multiples. Imagine growing up with two or more people who are exactly your age. In our house, if one triplet does something first, like loses a tooth, then it is a mad race for the other triplets to follow suit. When Preston’s two sisters had lost two teeth and he hadn’t lost any, the minute his first tooth became loose he ripped that son-of-a-bitch out with his bare hands while at a dinner party.
- Multiples language: When you are multiples, you coin your own words. For instance, one of my triplets coined the term red hawk ( (pardon my pun). Instead of calling a quarter a quarter, the triplets all call it a red hawk because even though the quarter features a picture of a bald eagle, the triplets always thought it was red-tailed hawk. They also created a new term called “nature pee,” which refers to peeing in the bushes.
One of my greatest hopes for my kids is that in 80 years you will find them all together cherishing each other’s friendship and precious sibling bond, just like those triplets we saw at the mall six years ago.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.