Wednesday, August 08, 2007

How To Talk To A Triplet Mom

Before talking to a triplet mom there are a few things you should know.

1. You must know how to count. Please, please look carefully and count from 1 to 3. If you only see 2 babies then the mom has twins not triplets. If you count all the way up to 3 these are called triplets. Not twins. Three babies is not twins! Some of you are laughing but I can't tell you how often we correct this mistake and by grown people - not kids.

2. Inform the triplet mom that she has the most beautiful triplets you have ever seen. This will get you in her good graces :) Don't begin with "are those real live triplets?" Of course they are, what else would they be? Dead - now that would be a weird thing to push in a stroller.

3. Before asking the sexes look at the babies closely. Are they wearing blue or pink? All the same thing? Sometimes girls wear blue but boys never wear pink so look closely before declaring what they are. It's okay to ask - it's weirder when you tell me what they are because usually you'll be wrong.

4. Ask knowledgable questions. We like that. I haven't met a mom yet who doesn't like to talk about her kids and her pregnancy. Ask things like "how many weeks were you when you had them?" Congratulate those of us who have gone full term (36 weeks with triplets), sympathize with those of us who did not. Please, please, please don't ask if they are natural or if we took some kind of fertility drug. It's invasive and annoying. Does it even matter how a baby is conceived? Original questions are better! "What are their names?" is a decent choice. Compliment name choice even if you hate it - unless, of course, you are trying to end the conversation right then.

5. DO NOT say that the mom has her hands full. She does. She knows this and she's heard it about a thousand times. It's not original.

6. If there are other kids please acknowledge them. Sometimes triplet is all we have but other times we have older or younger kids and they are as much a part of our family as the triplets so please don't leave them out.

7. Please don't ask if we've seen a certain TV show about multiples. Usually we have but unless it's our TV show it doesn't really apply much to our lives.

8. The only time it's acceptable to tell the triplet mom that you know another set of twins/triplets is if they are closely related to you or are your very close friends. I love to hear from grandparents of triplets - partly because it's cute and partly because I know my parents brag about my girls and I hate the thought of another triplet mom being rude to them! Same goes for my best friends - they know a lot of what goes on in my life - they're here all the time and again I hate the thought of someone being rude to them. But if it's a friend of a friend then it just seems like random talk and you have no idea what else to say.

9. As we are all naturally curious about how multiples interact it's perfectly acceptable to ask personality questions for each baby, how they interact with each other, if they notice each other, how they are doing things differently and/or at a different rate. These are intelligible questions and not too personal. Asking who is oldest is fine.

10. Finally watch the mom for clues as to how much of a conversation she wants to have. Your questions may be new to you but they are not to her and sometimes we are in a hurry. We're not trying to be rude but grocery runs can somteims get very long because of all the stops! So, please be polite to us. And, remember that we are human not freak side shows so we have our good days and bad days and sometimes we want to talk about our kids and sometimes we don't.

Best quotes to date from people who've seen us in public:

"That musta hurt!" From a guy sitting in the food court as I pushed the babies in the stroller. Very original - made me laugh and yes, it did hurt!

"Do you have a parade permit for that?" From a girl watching us go by in Harris Teeter - Kaitlyn had her cart that says "customer in training", I was pushing Caleb in the shuttle cart and Kirk was behind me pushing the stroller.

I hope you enjoyed my "how to" list - stay tuned for the week to come for more including "how to go out to eat with triplets" (not recommended) and "how to travel with triplets" - also, not recommended!


Cherie said...

LOVE IT! Thanks for making me smile today. Can I copy it and put it on my blog? I can give you credit for it. :-)

Jessica said...

OMG I love it! As a mom of frat g/g/g's I am familiar with the questions & (dumb) comments.

Cindy said...

I really enjoyed your posting. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my daughter and son-in-laws triplets. This will be my first time as a grandma and I can't wait.

Cindy said...

I really enjoyed your posting. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my daughter and son-in-laws triplets. This will be my first time as a grandma and I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

Just came across your blog,thanks it made me laugh. I have a 4 year old daughter and 21 month old triplets g/b/g. Thank you and your kids are so cute.

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the hansens said...

ah, so true. we have 4.5 minutes to get 45 minutes of grocery shopping done and someone wants to stop us to ask the same 5 questions. our kids are going to think they are celebrities :)

Susan said...

Yes! I always get the comment about my hands being full. Apparently people like to state the obvious. Oh, and the one about knowing someone with twins/trips I get sometimes and I never really know what to say back. I usually make my way out of the conversation at that time. Great post!

Anonymous said...

I think you are being a little hard on people. I have triplets but I don't expect that everyone else knows about having triplets. They can call them twins if they want, I don't get offended. They will eventually figure out that there are three. And I don't think it makes sense to be offended by someone saying you have your hands full. They are just trying to sympathize. Let people be a little imperfect.

Dickson said...

My triplets b/g/b are 8 weeks old. I totally relate to everything you posted, particularly the intrusive and completely annoying question of "did you do fertility or invetro?" (which I did niether), it's rude, would people ask that of a singleton mom? I just want to say to them "C'mon people, think before speaking!"
Love the tips!