Saturday, 3 January 2009

Triple the joy

I have triplet issues. So I cruise the triplet blogs. Seeking advice. Looking for information. Hoping for the epiphany, a light bulb moment. The sentence and when we faced the jealousy, we did it this way.

But I cannot get past the joy.

It is quite depressing. Light emanates from this monitor screen. Sometimes the light is direct from the divine, so I assume God will provide the solution to that insane jealousy over the cork bottle stopper scavenged from the kitchen floor. Sometimes the light is from a huge, boundless, parental love; that honeymoon of thirty newborn toes, wiggling simultaneously.

I am not saying that this joy is not true. I want these Olympic 3-times gold medalist triplet parent people really to have that total joy in their lives, god given or otherwise. If there were not parents of triplets out there who did not write about how much joy their brood gives them, then I think I would give up entirely. So thank god you are in joy. Continue to be so. I wish it could be packaged up. Then one of you could start up a mail order business, parcel some of it up neatly and send it to me through the post.

Neither am I saying this triple joy is not deserved. I can see people go through years of despair, much deeper than my own, in seeking these elusive children. Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are not IVF. I didn't weep through the years of trauma and misery, nor have those shovey-up bits into my doodah. If I had done so, I would feel I deserved those years of uninterrupted triplet glee. In fact nothing would stop me balancing out the pain with the joy.

But no. Shark, Squirrel and Tiger just came along by themselves. They decided to be. This is a consolation, knowing the human body is capable of spontaneously exploding into mini versions of itself. One in a million. One in fifty thousand. One in a hundred. More conceived than born. More common as you get older. In the end it doesn't matter. I can stare at that skinny thirty something whose career voice is dripping with Dior and I think, one false move from you after a third glass of chardonnay and this triplet life could be yours, sweetie.

But there's still the joy. Perhaps it comes about because parents can rest, have other lives, school their offspring, do not live their life on the triplet coalface, up against it. Many live with help.

Here I am, looking at a real life triplet mom and hoping for some ideas and thoughts and solutions and answers and approaches, and then the author writes casually, like this is real life and so normal, So when I get weary I drop the kids off at my mother's and go and catch up on some sleep! I reread that sentence a thousand times. It makes me feel lonely, like a cold hand is gripping my heart. The day after Shark, Squirrel and Tiger were born, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. And because that year an abandoned angel took up residence on the roof, spreading out its malice and breathing its stinky breath, Dig's mother was diagnosed with cancer too. If all the diagnosis wasn't enough, a friend of twenty years died a slow and miserable death of bone cancer. Can you believe that? Three in, three out.

So I do not mind saying that I find, everyday, to be the mother of a triplet set thrown suddenly into this world, screaming and yelling, amidst all the pain, misery and death, that this job of parenting is monumental hard work, both physical and emotional. And it is quite a labour to find support, or even understanding, for the issues we face. These are not three siblings, having difficulties rubbing along. Neither are they a single being with three heads, whose names people can't remember, or faces they can't tell apart. Here are three unique people facing issues about identity, competitiveness, jealousy, power, frustrations of togetherness, frustrations of separation.

And after the joy, there are the fine lines we must tread. Here are siblings who have dedicated their lives to identifying inequalities; the inequalities and unhappiness, the trauma and the pain that you, foolish triplet parent, might create and confer at any unwise, unguarded, unconscious, thoughtless moment. Like when you passed that cork bottle stopper to one side of the table, rather than the other.


Kitty said...

I'm so sorry for your losses. I can relate a little (my father died as I sat by his bedside, 4 days before No.2 was born) but not in the 'volume' of which you speak.

My mother doesn't 'do' looking after kids - it's not who she is. I don't have a partner anymore, so it's just me and my two. I get a break because they do go to see their father, but some days it's very hard. I cannot imagine how much harder it is for you.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I admire you enormously.


Grit said...

do you think kitty that there is a dreadful synchronicity at work in the universe?! it certainly appears so. and i don't think i should be admired. you should come round here when i am having a big shouty fit.

mamacrow said...

'Can you believe that? Three in, three out.'

yes, only too well.

I googled 'triplet issues' and your blog came up! woops.

had a trawl around... found lots of sickly sweet ones like you said...

This one is a little better -

however, the triplets are only 3, and they're not a homeschooling family.

here's a big page of support links, no idea if any of them are helpful of course :-o


OvaGirl said...

Grit i'm sorry. i don't have a mum but I have a stepmum in another city who adores Tricky and we live with other adults and their kids so we can swap babysitting...
and I don't have three...
You and Dig are doing an amazing job and you moreso because you are there 24/7 nonstop. And trying to educate your girls but also teach them about living and growing and becoming young, happy, independent women. And what about you?
I'm not talking babysitting but do the girls have an adult mentor, I mean one each - their own adult friend, not mummy or daddy, someone they can talk with and maybe spend time with. maybe you even have good trusted friends who could be in email contact or have regular phone calls with one of the girls. This is probably assvice and you may well do this already and I apologise if i am being rude. But i also think/believe you need time for yourself/alone. xx

sharon said...

Not the best 'welcome to the world' then! It would be trite to say surely it will get easier as the girls get older as I suspect it will just get different. Maybe in their late teens they will rub along better - if only to alibi each other! When I was in the UK and childminding I had various multiples of children at different ages and stages I did have a policy of 'if you can't share then no-one has the "insert object of contention"' along with separating the protagonists for a period of quiet reflection but I'm sure you have tried this. Although maybe that accompanied by ear-plugs for you might be even better? Unfortunately there is no easy answer and it's probably yet another of those things you will just have to endure with the help of chocolate, s&v crisps and the alcohol of your choice ;-) A real shame you cannot find another homeschooler to trade children with to give each of you a break, or more classes that all three can attend together while you catch your breath.

Grit said...

hello folks, thank you for your lovely comments and thoughtful advice. last year we tried a policy of separating for particular lessons so each of them did not feel so inundated by a sister. some lessons they continute to take together, like french, because it is not practicable nor convenient to split them up.

bah. i worry too much. the kids just have a long learning curve ahead of them, as do we.

Sam said...

Hi Grit,
I'm sorry for your losses too.

I don't have triplets, or even three children, but my two manage to fit in lots of jealousy and shouting and so on. DH helps a bit, but mainly in the shouting department! (Not that I really need help (*sigh*). I don't have anyone else to leave them with, as our family are at opposite ends of the UK.

So {{{hugs}}.

And...when I read your blog, I get Joy (...some...a bit) shining from the monitor. Not always from the words themselves, but from behind them. (If that makes sense?)

*ducks and runs*

Jody said...

My two girls and one boy (IUI-conceived) just turned eight, and honestly, one of the reasons why they're at school and not homeschooled is because they would KILL EACH OTHER at home. (Of course, they wouldn't try to break the family rule about discussing the idiotic "grades" on their report cards and comparing who got more plusses instead of checks from the art/music/gym/Spanish teachers, either, so everything's a trade-off.)

If you're interested in my take on the least happy-happy joy-joy of the triplet blogs (I keep a list of 225+, not that I read more than ten regularly), e-mail me and I'll give you my opinion. There aren't a lot of blogs out there written by folks with older kids, or folks who are homeschooling.

Now, TWIN homeschoolers with a healthy dose of exhausted snark? They're everywhere.

But two is a much more stable number than three.

Jody said...

I'm very sorry for your losses. We don't have grandparents nearby but we're lucky that we do see all of them several times each year.