Monday, August 15, 2011

Gripes & Grins: an honest account of raising identical triplets... and 2 more

People have a lot to say about motherhood, especially when you're the Mom of five kids six and under, including identical triplets.   The commentary I receive runs the gamut from the obvious (“Are they triplets?!”) to the intrusive (“Was it IVF?”) to the complimentary (“You deserve a LOT of credit!”).  My responses tend to be "Yes" (even though I'd sometimes prefer to say "No, they're cute clones I got on sale at Target!"), "No" (although really it's none of your business!), and "Why?"  Why do I deserve any more credit than any other Mom?  Did I miss the memo where I had a choice to opt out of fulfilling the basic needs of our children?  I don’t think so. Actually, I think I'm just like most Moms in that I try my best every day and will candidly admit that some days are better than others!

Since I am often asked, I always tell people that the trials we face as parents are universal, as are the triumphs.  Whether you have one kid or five of them, you will inevitably be faced with the challenges of sleep deprivation, potty training and discipline and the rewards of those first steps, wet kisses and joyful leaps off the school bus at the end of the day.  There are general life experiences that unite us as parents yet as the years pass with our identical little boys, (who are now 2 ½), I can’t help but notice that there are a few things that actually do set us here at the Lyons Den apart from the rest of the herd.

For starters, there’s the undeniable fact that wherever we go, we always seem to draw a crowd; people are fascinated by our identical little fellas and delighted to ooh and aah over them as they pass by.  For a while, this was a neat little ego-boost; I couldn't help but get slightly caught up in the wonder and remarkable cuteness of these little people we created and thus far, seem to be successfully nurturing.  Yay us!  More recently however, the thrill has started to fade. Since it's rare that I'm out with only the triplets, I am increasingly sensitive to the impact the triplet adoration has on Liam and Ciara. They are often overlooked; at only six and four years old, the big brother and sister get very little of the glory although, they deserve a lot.

Liam and Ciara inherited a lot of responsibility and high expectations when Kevin, Declan and Cormac were born.  Ciara turned two just a few days before they arrived and Liam was not yet four; both were charged with holding bottles, fetching diapers and setting a good example from that day forward.  Though they are truly remarkable kids in their own right, they often go unnoticed while the adoring public fawns over their little brothers.  Truthfully, Liam and Ciara deserve medals for essentially serving as baby nurses for the past two years and I need to try harder to remember that it's not easy to have inherited a trio of identical tots to follow in your footsteps; this is one of my unique challenges as a parent.

Another unique challenge is specific to Kevin, Declan and Cormac.  Though they look exactly alike, I have to constantly remind myself (and others!) that they are not actually three of a kind but three individuals with their own personalities, preferences and, for better or worse, their own primary colors so everyone knows who’s who.  Kevin is “red”, Declan is “blue” and Cormac is “green”.  This color-coding system seemed like a really good way for family, friends and neighbors (and yes, even us in the beginning!) to tell them apart… unfortunately, since Declan has begun to introduce himself to folks as “Blue”, I think this clever tool has backfired but, once again, I was just trying my best.

I suppose that's the universal theme here.  As a new day and new week begins, I know will once again try my best.  I also know that there will be good days and bad days and highs and lows. I know I'll regret the mistakes I'll inevitably make (like last night, when I lost it after Declan peed in Liam's Croc!) and I'll relish the little moments that later turn into major memories (like yesterday morning, when we had them ALL in the tub, basking in bubbles and brimming with grins.)  While there are undoubtedly unique circumstances in raising all of our little "Cubs", we're really just like everyone else in that more often than not, we're just trying to make it through the day and make the most of it! 

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