As the mother of identical triplets, I get a lot of questions and comments from strangers. They are five years old now, and in that time, these are the things I’ve heard the most.
1. How do you tell them apart?
What do you mean, how do I tell them apart? They’re my kids! They’re three separate individuals! How do you tell YOUR kids apart! I’m appalled. Okay, not really. I get them mixed up at least once a day. But I’m not going to tell you that.
2. You got your hands full!
Why don’t you help me with that door, then?
3. Are those triplets?
Okay, I recognize that this is more of an opening gambit than a legitimate question, but three kids that are the same size, that look the same, that are dressed nearly the same…seriously? How about “your triplets are adorable/extraordinarily well-behaved/geniuses” instead?
4. Do you watch Jon & Kate + 8?
My kids were born in 2007, right at the height of the Gosselin fame. You people with younger multiples don’t know how lucky you are not to be asked this question. And for the record, no, I didn’t watch it.
Corollary: Hey, you’re like the Octomom!
Don’t even go there.
5. I feel so sorry for you!
You feel sorry for me? Why? Because I was lucky enough to have three gorgeous children at once? Because I only had to go through pregnancy and infancy once?
6. Are they natural?
Also cunningly disguised as “Do triplets run in your family?”
In other words, we’re going to ask an intensely private question about the conception of your children. And if they’re not “natural,” what are they? Artificial?
Corollary: Did you nurse them?
In other words, I’m imagining three babies and your two breasts right now.
7. Which one is the oldest?
You really think that one minute difference between them makes a difference? I especially love when someone says, “oh, that one’s taller, so he must be the oldest.” Because that one extra minute allowed him to grow an extra half an inch.
8. Are they identical?
I get why people ask me that. My boys are identical. But I can’t tell you how many parents of boy/girl twins get asked that as well. I suppose a biology lesson is in order for the people that ask them that.
9. How do you do it?
You just do. How else?
10. Oooh, triple trouble! (Or double trouble, in the case of twins)
And triple the fun, you nincompoop. Oh, and by the way, my kids can hear what you’re saying about them.
11. Now you have to try for a girl!
Since I have triplet boys, I hear this one a lot. But parents of mixed sex sets instead hear “instant family! Now you don’t have to have any more kids.” Thanks for taking care of my family planning. Personally, I don’t need another child to feel complete, thank you very much.
12. Did you know you were having triplets?
This one confuses me. Do they think this is the 1800s? I was in labor and babies kept coming out, like my uterus was a clown car? Have they not heard of ultrasounds? Or do they imagine I placed an order for two babies, but got three instead? Or is this another sneaky way of asking if I did fertility treatments? (See #6)
13. You’re so lucky!
Well, finally, you got one right!
I understand that when some people are confronted with multiples, common sense goes out the window. Next time you see a set around town, remember no parent ever tires of hearing how sweet, adorable, and well-behaved their children are.