Monday, March 19, 2007

Outings with Multiples

The smell memory of rotavirus was still with us Saturday morning. We (well, the 2 of the 6 of us over age 3) took a vote and decided to get out of the house for the day. We chose an indoor venue due to the cold snap we're having.

We have a couple of nephews getting ready to turn 12, so we figured a trip to the mall was a good choice. We don't make these decisions lightly these days. When you have multiples (especially triplets and more) you are an instant celebrity in public. We now know how celebrities feel with one exception; strangers don't know our name.

Now, if you don't have multiples, you don't understand what a trip to the mall entails:

  • There is a lot of stuff to load and unload and load and get the picture. The number of stops on a trip and the collective moods of everyone involved are carefully calculated before you even decide whether the trip is worth the effort. This particular day, I would have made a dozen stops (12 times loading and unloading) to get out of the house for a few hours.

  • You can't forget anything that you can't pick up quickly at a grocery or convenient store. If you think one cranky baby is bad, try 3 or 4 at once.

  • If at any point during the trip it is obvious that they are triplets (i.e. you have one of those bulky triplet strollers), people stop you, ask questions, sometimes try to take pictures, and then ask more questions. This adds 20-30 minutes per stop. People asking questions is a huge pet peeve of Clif's. Hopefully, once the triplets start walking it will look like we just have lots of friends or cousins and we can stroll along unnoticed.

We invited Kaiti (our 13 year old rent-a-big-sis). She belongs to Frances who doesn't mind us bringing Kaiti along to help any old time she wants to tag along. She got the honorary big sis title today when a lady at Costco was in awe of the triplets and then mentioned their big brother (Austin) and their big sis (referring to Kaiti). She beamed with delight because the only thing she likes more than the triplets are boys and the newest fashion trends. Another lady asked if they were all hers...huh?

Enquiring minds want to know..."What questions do you get from people?" Here are a few sample questions that we've personally heard with our answers. According to other triplet moms there are several more and some get very personal.


  • Are they triplets? Yes
  • Three boys? No, 2 boys and a girl (Lauren is usually in pink so this one baffles us constantly.)
  • Are they identical? No
  • Did you take drugs? No (..but sometimes we'd like to now!)
  • Are they natural? Yes (as opposed to what, aliens?)
  • Did you know you were having 3? Yes
  • Do you have help? Yes
  • How do you do it, girl? I have lots of good help. (Clif hates this question. He feels like he is being ignored for his efforts. I almost always hear this shortly after, "You know there is a father here too!")
  • Do they all sleep at the same time? usually
  • Can I take a picture? Ummm. I'm still not real comfortable with this one. Some people don't even ask. That's a little creepy.
  • Do twins run in your family? (I guess they mean multiples in general.) No, but they will soon!

The best thing about taking the kids out are the smiles we generate. I've heard of multiples parents getting negative comments. We haven't heard one yet. It is really nice to see the reactions on people's faces, especially those of grandma/pa, great-grandma/pa age. And many, many people have never seen triplets before. It just makes their day.

All of that said here's a side note: This is a little humorous mathematical equation for figuring out if the effort is worth the trip. I'm not mathematician, but I had a little fun making this up. I spent entirely too much time on this, but it exercised my brain today (that's my story and I'm stickin' to it). Lord knows, my brain needs something logical now and again.

With our 4 kids and my refusal to have more than 3 loads/unloads per trip, our minimum number is 8 and our maximum number is 768 (if my math is correct...I should double check that). This particular day, our number was 192, well under our 450 threshold. So off we went!

You know this is all in good fun and I am no where near this anal retentive. Just check out my pantry for proof. I just love to have a good reason to do a snappy little graphic. And what fun would a snappy little graphic be without the stuff to go with it?

This buggy can attract some attention!
Christmas at Stone Mountain Park.

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Mommy Brain said...

Oh I feel your pain! Now that mine are 14 months old (walking) we don't get stopped nearly as often. I think because they're no longer infants it takes people an extra second or two to realize that they're twins. And by the time they realize I've already walked past.

heather said...

Ahh, I just blogged about this topic too. We must live near each other... we went to Christmas at Stone Mountain too. I don't have triplets, but my oldest was 3 when my twins were born so I have 4 little ones too. We also carefully calculate whether a trip is worth the effort. With my husband gone and no family here, my answer is almost always NO!

Ruby said...

I'm exhausted from your outing. :)

Jen said...

My sister has a big family. She prefers to go shopping by herself now.
U know I don’t think people really look before they ask about the gender of little children. I use to get asked about the gender when its pretty obvious!!! What boy would want to be seen in pink??? What mother would do that to her son???

Mir said...

Stone Mountain?? OH MY GOSH! I didn't realize you were in Georgia as well!

What a small world. :-)

mom2triplets04 said...

Enjoyed reading your story about going to the mall. We've attempted the mall a couple of times but now that they are walkable I am mainly doing things they can walk in and out of like the library and play dates. Yes, you will still be an eye magnet especially when you are holding hands walking into and out of places. Today someone actually followed me to the car to ask if they were triplets! Enjoyed reading your blog and will check back from time to time. From one busy triplet mom to another.

Kathy said...

Your equation is so cute! I have four children, but I took 7 years to do it. Wow do I admire you. My youngest daughter, 5 1/2 has a severe genetic disease. She looks pretty normal, but is very floppy. I know how it feels to get the stares and the questions. I always get, "Is she sleeping?" when she is wide awake. Cute blog - I found you at the mom blogs. Kathy

loren said...

I'm glad you posted on my site - I thoroughly enjoyed the equation. You're right, you do need the brain exercise every once in a while.

As far as funny things people have asked me... a crazy old lady cornered me with my triplet stroller in an Old Navy and called her daughter over, yelling "Triplets! Come here honey, triplets!!!" until everyone in the store heard. She asked the "usual" questions, then asked if I smoked drugs around them because two of the girls had red eyes (they had just been screaming because they hate their stroller). I said, "Ummmm... no?" and signaled to my sister that she needed to intervene. At the time, it's really irritating, but later we get a good laugh from it!