Monday’s Expert Interview: Kristen Nelson Fraternal Triplet

 

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We all know that having children, and especially multiples is quite the rollercoaster ride. You just never know what to expect, what it’s going to be like when you get to the next stage. Have you ever sat back and just wondered what it will be like when your kids get to high school, college, the “getting married” age? It’s kind of inconceivable; something hard to fathom right now, having young children. I’ve been lucky enough to encounter lots of sets of multiples through my local MOTC (Mothers of Twins Clubs), but usually these are younger multiples. Well, internet fate led me to cross paths recently with Kristen, a 24-year old fraternal triplet, and my mind instantly went crazy with questions. I was in luck- she likes to share, and has kindly agreed to share her insights with all of you as well…

L: Something I am concerned about as a parent is making sure that all my kids feel special and loved, but sometimes it’s difficult to get one-on-one time with each of them. Of course, being a parent to multiples is wonderful, but I constantly worry about them feeling “cheated”. How did your parents make sure that you all got the attention you needed? Do you have any advice for parents with these concerns?

K: Looking back I don’t think any of us ever felt like we were “cheated.”Of course, there were (and still are!) the times when we think one is getting something over the other or the standards are lowered for one over the other but then I think about how each person is different (which is a HUGE thing when you are a triplet) and we all need different things to feel loved and special.So how my parents act to me may be what I need over how they act with my sister based on how different our personalities are.I think really it is the same as how parents give time to their single birth children- you need to make sure that each child has some one on one time with mom and dad.When we were babies & preschool age my mom and dad would take each of us out separately even if it was just to the mall and they have continued that to this day.One thing is it is always about spending time with them no matter what you are doing.It could even be allowing one child to stay up 15 extra minutes to have one on one time with mom and dad and rotate that.

L: Did the attention from strangers ever bother you as a child? At what age did it seem to subside?

K: It actually never did. I knew from an early, early age that I was “different” and so my siblings and I were fine with it. I think it bothered our mom and dad much more than it bothered us. My mom will tell us stories about how when we were infants she was walking with the triple stroller and passed a nun who said, “God bless you” and she just started crying! (really that was from the lack of sleep and oh my goodness what do I have ahead of me). Another time someone asked her if we were “real” triplets and she told them she takes our batteries out at night. Really though, as a child it was pretty cool. It still is because anytime I meet someone it is always, “oh my gosh, I have never met a real triplet!” and “Do you look alike?” and “What is it like being a triplet?” So really, the attention was never the problem as much as answering the same questions over and over again!! J I think when you grow up with being “different” and never knowing any different it really doesn’t bother you.

L: When you reached school age, were you in the same class with your siblings? Did you appreciate being together/apart? What about once you got to high school?

K:My mom actually made sure we were in different classes when we could be.In kindergarten we were all separated and then in first and second grade they only had two classes at our school so I was in first grade with my brother (and my sister by herself) and second grade with my sister (with my brother by himself).After that we were always in our own classes.Even in high school because our levels were different we were never in the same class.I definitely appreciated being apart and I think it is probably one of the best things you can do for your children to try and have them put in separate classes.It allowed us to develop our own friendships and work on our own sense of self.Everywhere else (after school, at church, in our neighborhood etc.) we were known as “the triplets” and were always lumped together.So by being in different classes it allowed us time during the day to be known for being Kristen or Kendra or Jordan and not collectively as a group.I can say the one thing that did probably bother me growing up was always being lumped as “the triplets.”But if that is the worst that happened, that was pretty good.

L: Did you and your siblings “stick together” in school? Did you all have different groups of friends?

K: In elementary school my sister and I pretty much had the same group of friends through Brownies, recess, our neighborhood etc, while my brother had his own. This was obviously just because he was a boy and we were girls, haha. When we got to middle and high school my sister always had a harder time making friends than I did and would become friends with my friends. I have always been really outgoing while she has been pretty shy her entire life. This caused some problems because I just wanted to have my own friends, but looking back it wasn’t too bad. We definitely stood up for each other if someone was having a problem but because we were always in different classes we could not really be together a lot. When we choose colleges all three of us ended up at different ones and that was probably another one of the best things we could do. It allowed us all to find our places in our respective universities without people knowing we were a triplet unless we told them. It allowed me to dive into every activity I could get my hands on.

L: How has your relationship with your siblings changed over the years? Do you feel that you have a much stronger bond than you would if you were singletons?

K:I honestly don’t know how our bond would be if we were singletons.It kind of comes back to the question, “what is it like being triplets?”All I can ever answer is that I don’t know any different.Our relationship has definitely changed through the years.When we were in later elementary school through still probably today we have always been trying to find out who we are and fight like singletons probably do.Recently my sister and I have become a lot closer because we are both in graduate school and dealing with a lot of the same issues.My brother, at 24, is still a pain.I keep waiting for him to grow up!When we were really little, probably under 7, we were all best friends most of the time.Of course, being triplets, sometimes two gang up on one.While it was annoying to be the one being ganged up upon, everyone was “the one” more than once with the other two giving them grief, so it all ends up working out.

L: OK, I know I’m not the only one wondering this… High school- what are we in for? Did you guys give your parents triple the gray hair?

K: Haha, that is a good question. To be completely honest my mom has said that she thought having three two year olds was bad but it was nothing compared to three teenagers! So I will be honest, we aren’t easy! It wasn’t even that we were bad, it is just teenagers tend to be very emotional and you have to deal with that all at the same time, and then having all three get their driver’s license at the same time. Then my sister and I have always been pretty competitive when it comes to grades, so we did have that going on. J It is funny how different the three of us are. I think if my parents had three of my brother they probably would have left the country. I was always the one who followed the rules, my brother was on the bottom with my sister in the middle. I think the thing that bothered me the most was the standards my parents have for me have always been higher based on how I act. I honestly think that isn’t a triplet thing though. As for ratting each other out, we all had our fair share of both. We tended to rat out more in retaliation against something or if we had done something and had gotten caught so it turned into an, “well she…” But I remember plenty of nights where I had to help my brother sneak in past curfew, so it just depends!

 

L: What do you feel is the best aspect of being a triplet?

 

K: That is a hard question. I will say that the pros of being a triplet definitely outweigh the cons. It is especially positive when you are little because you always have someone to play with who is on your emotional/mental level. When you get older it helps because you know your siblings are going through the same things you are and you have someone to turn to. Even if you aren’t close you know that you aren’t alone in going what you are going through. We all took our ACT’s together, got our driver’s licenses together, went off to college together etc. And so going through life it is always really nice to have someone who knows what you are going through more than other people do.

 

L: Are there any downsides?

 

K: I would have to say the biggest downside is always being grouped together as “the triplets” and always being known as a group. I think people sometimes forget that just because you are triplets it doesn’t mean that you are exactly alike. In the interaction I have had with other triplets and myself it is more often than not that triplets are SO different from each other. I think one of the reasons for that is that you work so hard to be your own self. It is a little thing but triplets never (well maybe a few sets out there) get to have their own birthday. I know it sounds weird but I have wished my whole life to just have my day to myself. Obviously everyone shares birthdays but you normally don’t know or aren’t very close with people that share your exact day.

 

L: If you could give one piece of advice to all parents of multiples, what would it be?

 

K: I know I mentioned it a few times, but I would really urge you to make sure you don’t always refer to them as “the triplets” to other people. Throughout their lives everyone is going to group them together so if their close family can recognize them as individuals more than as a group it will go a long way! And really as little as it sounds, the littlest things that can be done go a long way. Even just having their own birthday cakes instead of a group one or allowing them each to pursue their interests and take different lessons. It helps to realize that you see them all as individuals and not as the triplets.

 

Kristen was also kind enough to share some family photos with us:



Thank you so much, Kristen, for sharing your insights with all of us!
You can follow Kristen’s blog here. Stop by and say hello!

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Check back tomorrow- we have a great featured blogger, and we will be doing 2 more giveaways this week! Please leave a comment and let us know what you thought of this interview, then go visit some other multiple mom blogs!

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19 comments

  1. This was GREAT! Thanks for sharing Kristen!

  2. Good interview! I always wondered about the birthday thing too. My uncle and I share a birthday and we celebrate together on Thanksgiving..I always hated that.

  3. Thanks you, great interview. It was great to hear first hand about the school thing.

  4. Great interview. Thanks for the insight Kristen. As a new mom of triplets, I learned what not to do. No more calling them “the boys”.

  5. Charity Donovan

    Kristen…thank you so much for being so candid! As a mother of young quads, it’s so helpful to hear advice from an adult multiple. I loved this interview!

  6. What a GREAT interview!

  7. Christa @ Quintooples

    I must be hormonal because I cried the whole time I was reading this. I know that it won’t be long before my babies are 24 years old, and they are only 14 months!!!! Time just goes SO fast with five of them running around….

    Christa
    http://www.quintooples.com

  8. What a fantastic interview. Thanks for the insight.
    (I have 26 yr old twin sisters and 7 yr old twin sisters, so i have watched in phases where my kids will eventually be…)

  9. Great interview Thanks for the insight on growing up being a triplet!

  10. This was amazing. I visited her blog the other day and I so wanted to ask her some of these questions and now I don’t have to. What a fabulous interview. Thank you!!!!!

    I was also wondering. Would it be possible to separate that blog roll into what set of multiples that ppl have?

  11. What a fantastic post! Thank you! She answered some of the questions I’d been thinking about in regards to my boys (19 month old triplets). I’m going to put a link up to this on my blog…

  12. Thanks! What a great insight!

  13. That was wonderful – thank you!

    When people ask if my twins are “natural” I tell them, “No – they’re artificial.”

  14. Tamara Mitchell

    I love the interview!!! I had a great laugh at the reponse…taking the batteries out at night!

  15. What an insightful interview!

  16. Buncha Blue-Eyed Monkeys

    How awesome to get this perspective!!

  17. what a great interview! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Awesome interview! Great to hear an “adult” perspective to what it’s like growing up as a twin/triplet!

  19. I understand what your mother went though. People around us are always very discouraging when they see you with multiples. I remember even in the hospital, the nurses and doctors were always asking me how I plan to do it. They felt tired, discouraged and sometimes pitied me. I use to feel like I did something very wrong by having triplets.

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