Serious Wednesday Post

Can I be honest with you for a few minutes?

Sometimes…I feel like people forget about Lola.

Maybe forget isn’t the right word. But sometimes I feel like she’s invisible.

It’s happened more times than we can count. Whenever Missy and I take the kids out in public, whether it’s to Target, the grocery store, or even just to the park, we’re swamped with the same questions:

  • Are they triplets?
  • How old are they?
  • Are they identical?

Of course, “they” are always Sienna, Rowan, and Jovie. Meanwhile, Lola (usually playing in her car seat or strapped to us via Baby Bjorn or Moby)

…stares quietly without even getting a second glance. Smiling happily, not knowing or caring about the attention her sisters command.

Yet.

It’s not that I’m upset about this…we love to talk and tell people about all our children (obviously), and having triplets has been a huge blessing…but I can’t help but wonder how this will all play out years down the road. By no fault of her own, Lola will always be known as “the triplet’s sister.” She will always be the plus one. She will always be the after thought.

And it breaks me apart. But the problem is that I don’t know what we do about it. Do we have another baby so that Lola has a younger playmate?? Do we talk to friends and future teachers and ask them not to bring it up? What if it turns out that it’s something that she’s proud of?

So maybe I’m just overreacting. Over thinking the whole situation because it’s late and I’m exhausted. But I’d like to know your thoughts. Are there siblings of multiples out there that have ever gone through this? If so, I’d love to hear your two cents. Are we setting her up for a psychological breakdown ten years from now?

I hope not, because Lola is amazing. She has a smile that would melt even the coldest iceberg heart, and cheeks that are chapped from our constant barrage of kisses (they’re just too chubby not to smooch!).

We just want each of our girls to know that they are valued and loved as individuals; we don’t want Lola to feel less deserving of attention, or ever feel left out, just because she didn’t share the womb with three other babies.

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About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

19 thoughts on “Serious Wednesday Post

  1. I don’t know anything about raising children or really anything about multiples, but I have a pretty good feeling that Lola is going to be just fine, because she has been blessed with such loving parents who are already thinking about this. That’s something that makes her just like her sisters and that will always be there: the love they get from their mum and dad!

  2. Here are my thoughts as the mother to identical boy twins plus two more older boys. (All four are within 5 years of each other – so I completely understand the chaos that is your life.) I feel like it is what you make it. You set the example as the parents whether or not being the “fourth wheel” is a big deal. One thing we have done to help emphasize that our boys are “individuals” and not just “twins” is that we never refer to them as “the twins”. Instead, we always use their first names. Anytime others make reference to them as “the twins” our response includes their names (and not always in the same order.) It’s definitely more syllables, but it doesn’t lump them together. Also, whenever we are out in public and people are making a big deal about “Are they twins? Idential? Blah…Blah…Blah….”, is that after respectfully answering their question, I point out the other boys and am sure to make reference to them in some way. It may be as simple as, “And these are the helpful big brothers.” I don’t know if they even notice, but it makes me feel better. In the long run, all of your girls will be grateful to have each other. Having siblings is one of the biggest blessings in life…it roes beyond if they were born at the same time.

  3. I actually wonder if people will start to think that you have quads once Lola gets a little older. Two years really is not that much when it comes to how far apart kids look. Around three or four you might just look like a whole gaggle of same-age kids walking around. I know this was the experience of one of our friends who have trips and then a two years younger sister. I already told Missy this, but the younger one actually asked to celebrate her birthday with the triplets because she feels like she’s part of their group. I wonder when they get a little older and they do all look about the same age if you could respond by saying “Rowan is the first born, then Jovie, then Sienna, and our littlest is Lola.” (Sorry, I can’t remember the actual arrival order). You could probably do that now! Just avoid the question all together. I also remember Missy mentioning that people seem more into coming up to you and asking about the girls when they are dressed alike. So maybe that would make a difference? NOT MATTER WHAT, the main thing is that you want to make them each feel individually loved, appreciated, and gifted. And I have no doubt that you will. Plus, you have a whole bunch of people who are also going to help you do that!

  4. I am a sibling of multiples. I have twin sisters that are almost 10 years younger than me. I have actually introduced myself to their friends saying “Hi I’m the other sister, or the unknown sister”. There was never really a problem when I was younger. Of course everyone would oooh and ahh over the babies but I was just just excited to show off my baby sisters. Because of our age difference once I graduated high school and moved out of the house some people didn’t even know I existed. No fault of my parents or my sisters but I just wasn’t a visual presence anywhere so new people in their lives had no idea that they had another sister.
    I think that Lola will be just fine because they are all so close in age. They will share friends and grow up together in school. There will be a very small window of time where she will be the last one in the house.

  5. My cousin has twins and she doesn’t refer to them as “twins” but as “the boys.” They, too, have a younger brother. She has done a great job ensuring ALL the boys are treated as individuals and not as “twins” or the “twins brother.” But it’s hard!! L will find her niche, no doubt. In the meantime it’s tough for parents not to wonder how siblings and that attention will impact them. Heck, I have 2 singles and wonder how THAT will impact the other!!! Just means you’re great parents for thinking about her little heart…. and those amazingly squishy cheeks!!!!!

    • Other than on this blog, we rarely find ourselves referring to them as “the triplets” But try as we may, they will always be seen as a group no matter how much we try to individualize them. And we’re OK with that, it’s just finding that fine line or niche like you said. And just do our best to make sure Lola is just as loved as her sisters!!

  6. I am married to an identical twin, and it’s been interesting seeing their family dynamic. My husband and his twin brother are inseparable… still at age 31. They live within walking distance, text each other nonstop during waking hours, and make sure to spend at least one night a week together after work. My husband is now talking about having his brother move in with us so we can all save on rent. I’m not sure if this is normal, but since it’s not hurting me in any way, I don’t see a reason to fight it. They are not nearly as close to their non-twin sister, but they are still very close. That might have to do more with the fact that they are brothers and thus have more in common than with their sister. They both love their sister dearly, and she adores her brothers. However, it is interesting to note that growing up, the sister was “the princess.” She had to do less chores than the boys, always got more toys, and generally got away with more bratty behavior. Again, I’m not sure if this had to do with the gender difference or the twin vs. singleton difference. Like one posted above, the boys were never referred as ” the twins” growing up, just “the boys” or by their names. Regardless, their parents have always given the boys identical gifts for their birthdays and for Christmas, and as children they were dressed identical except my husband always was dressed in blue and this brother in either red or green. To this day, those are their favorite colors, respectively. … and the parents still get the boys mixed up! (In their defense, I do too sometimes, though I had to admit it.) Anyway, I think in an attempt to make the sister not feel like the least important sibling, the parents sort of put her on a pedestal growing up, and maybe even still. She always had special toys and seemed more outspoken about getting her way. The boys were aware of this, but somehow it didn’t seem to bother them too much and they brushed it off as no big deal and that it is what it is. Perhaps if the siblings were all girls they would have reacted a bit differently, though it’s hard to tell. I tell you all this because in the end, they all grew up perfectly healthy, happy and more or less well adjusted. Just go with your gut instinct on how to raise your girls. From what I can see in your blog posts, you and Missy are doing a wonderful job. I think the sheer fact that you are giving this a thought, says loads about who you both are as parents. You both are amazing!
    P.S. Are you seriously thinking about #5? 😉

    • Wow…thanks for the thoughts, mb! Thankfully we’ll never have to worry about the whole “identical” issue, and we are already seeing clear differences in personalities, too. It will be so interesting to see how it all plays out in the years to come. Hopefully I’ll still be doing this (writing) so that you can keep up!! And no, other than just talk…we’re NOT seriously thinking five! I don’t think we’d survive another!

  7. You’ve already been doing an excellant job giving Lola her share of “press time” on this blog. The comments above are all excellant but the bottom line on all of them is the same; since you are already considering how this may become an issue, God will help you and give you the gut instincts to know how to keep things fair. When your father and I visited this summer you were already giving the girls real life lessons on how to be kind and loving to their siblings. As they grow they will delight in taking turns as her teacher, her mentor and her “play” Mommy. I’m guessing that all the girls are going to be naturally so protective and inclusive of Lola that, by the time they are teens, strangers may not know, for sure, just who IS the singleton. You two are being guided by God Himself and He wouldn’t dream of letting you fall short because He knows you embrace your faith in Him. And…that you genuinely care. It’s all good.

  8. yes, you have another one, just like Missy has said. If you don’t Lola will ALWAYS be the sister of the ‘trips’…you need to do it FOR her…AND the ‘girls’…..and 5 is a great number :O)

  9. and also don’t miss the miracle here —Missy carried THREE babies for 34 weeks and they were ALL healthy and spent VERY little time in the hospital…don’t bemoan the questions…let them help you remember that this miraculous event happened and they are beautiful ! thanks be to God YOU HAD THREE BABIES AT ONCE AND LIVED TO TELL ABOUT IT !!! GOD IS AWSOME! Rejoice in His reminding you through the questions that this. was. no. small. thing ! love you dearly God worked an amazing thing through you sing His praise in your answers !

  10. This post just made me cry – we have twin girls and when we think about having a 3rd I worry so much about this exact thing. And let’s be honest, would there be some bummer feelings if #3 wasn’t a boy? Maybe. (not mine, girls forever for me! But grandparents, etc.) We try so hard to never refer to the girls as twins. They are not identical and don’t look alike at all, so that helps tremendously. We try to take each girl on errands or dates alone, and try to avoid excitedly telling people that they are a twin. I imagine doing the same for a sibling is just as important. One on one time, and special mom and dad time, will do wonders for all of the girls. Thanks for this post, it really hit a heart string!

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