Ask a Triplet Mom

Before we dive in, there’s something you should know…

Parenting is hard. Regardless of how many children you have or how many you had at once, parenting is HARD. I do not think my life has been infinitely harder just because I had three babies at once, I just think my life has been a bit different.

While you struggle with keeping a lone child entertained and set up playdates, I let my three same-aged boys play together!

Different.

While I mixed formula in a large pitcher each day, you made up a bottle or breastfed on demand.

Different.

While I had three infants waking at various times, you might have had a colicky baby who seemingly never slept and never stopped crying.

Different.

My triplets are identical (yes, all three of them), and while they are now 8 years old, I still remember so many details and stories like yesterday! They also have a 5-year-old sister, who added to the fun and gave me 6 months to shock people with my “I have 4 under 4” line.

Ask a Triplet Mom

Could you always tell them apart, or were there times you couldn’t tell one from the other? I feel like that would be hard to keep track when they’re little babies. I’ve read somewhere where a father considered a little dot tattoo to keep his twins from getting mixed up due to one having a health condition and needing a certain type of medicine. What are your thoughts?
There are still times that I do a double-take, but it’s not often anymore. If they’re wearing a hat, the same shirt, or have their backs to me I struggle a lot more!

There was one time when they were newborns that I was afraid I’d mixed two of them up. My husband stayed calm though and we quickly figured out that I had not mixed them up, and perhaps just needed some more sleep! From then until about 6 months old though we then used a sharpie to make dots on their heels. So I guess it was kind of like the dad you had heard about, but less permanent! I’m not sure I could have brought myself to make a baby endure one more heel prick (they go through a lot, especially if they’re in the NICU) but I could understand that father’s drive to make sure his children wouldn’t get mixed up!

Triplets

How did you get them all ready to leave the house when they were little (not yet somewhat self-sufficient)?
It was such a circus trying to leave the house! Due to the boys’ prematurity and the time of year they were born, we didn’t go anywhere beyond the doctor’s office in the first 7 months. Probably best, because I could break a sweat in January just trying to get them all loaded into the car, and I even often had my husband’s help for those trips.

When they were babies and toddlers I had to start the process of packing the diaper bag, last diaper changes, socks (which they would inevitably rip off the minute they got in the car), loading up, etc, a solid hour before it was time to leave. An hour!

Truth moment – I had a better on-time record when I was trying to get three babies out of the house than I ever did when I only had my daughter with me 3 and 4 years later. It’s like I let my guard down, and it totally came back to bite me in the butt every single time.

Triplet Mom Answers Questions

What kind of support system did you have when they were little?
My sister moved to Kansas City three weeks before the boys were born (for her first job out of college, not simply because of the boys’ impending arrival). She’s always been such an amazing support to us, including gladly taking all three of the boys for sleepovers starting at age 2. Hello, super aunt!

We had huge support from our church family, too. Meals, diapers, diapers, and more diapers, and women setting up regular visits to come hold babies for a couple of hours so that I could nap. Without that church, family life with triplet infants would have been much harder!

Triplet Parent Questions

What do you do with only two arms and three babies?
I wish I knew! I think this goes along with the common “how do you do it?!” question and my standard response is always “I don’t know…. I just did what had to be done.” Sometimes that meant a baby crying for a few minutes before I could get to him, and that was just how it had to be. When they became toddlers and wanted to walk, I used backpack leashes for a brief time to train them how to all hold hands. I’d loop the leash ends over my wrist and we would all hold hands in a line. The leash was there as a safety back-up in case the one on the end (holding another toddler’s hand) decided to bolt.

Triplets

What are some tricks you have to maintain your sanity?
Kids of the Day is probably my number one sanity saver over the years. We rocked that baby from ages 3-8! Synopsis – kids all rotated being Kid of the Day. KoD got to pick breakfast, lunch and snacks for everyone, what we listened to in the car, we watched on TV, what books to read at bedtime, etc. If you want more details, I have a Kid of the Day post on my personal blog.

How did you do bedtime with triplets?
The same way you do, but it likely takes longer. We’re not even going to go down the toddler bed path – those are bad memories. Let me just assure you that even still at 8 p.m., these boys can drag bedtime on like nobody’s business! The stall tactics are amazing, and seem especially impressive when they all are stalling together. Imagine a sleepover, every single night. Glorious for my boys, but a little taxing when mom and dad want to “punch out” for the night!

If you have more questions, ask away in the comments below! I’ll happily answer as many as I can! 

Helen and her husband are Kansas City transplants who thought they'd be heading back to New England but instead, fell in love with KC. She has identical triplet boys - Jackson, Ty, and Chase - who have somehow managed to survive life long enough to make it to third grade, and Lily who is now heading into kindergarten, and learned from a young age to duck when things fly through the room. Helen also has a newborn and baby photography studio in Waldo, Faces You Love Photography. You can read about current antics in Helen's home at her blog Three Times the Giggles.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I really enjoyed this post. Helen, you seem to have a down-to-earth approach to parenting, which I find refreshing. And I agree, all moms are superheroes, but I think you’ve earned extra credit:)!

    • Thank you, Tanya! Always my goal to be real & down-to-earth, so that’s the highest compliment you could pay me 🙂

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