As my triplets have gotten older, it’s become increasingly important to them, me, and my husband to carve out one-on-one time with each child. Initially, we tried a rotation of fun activities that our three would participate in, but our intentions had to be pushed aside amidst the shuffle of daily demands.
When my triplets were very young, taking them grocery shopping was something we did during desperate times. Fast forward four years and grocery shopping have become something to look forward to, not dread. One day while making our weekly grocery list, one of the girls asked if she could come along. My husband and I looked at each other and shrugged. Grocery shopping didn’t sound like much fun but if she wanted to tag along, sure. It was obvious that what I considered a necessary chore, was shaping up to be the highlight of my daughter’s day. She bounced out the front door, list in hand, proclaiming to our whole neighborhood that she was having special, “Mommy and me” time. Any car ride with three young children is a noisy affair, but this 15-minute trip with just one chatterbox was a pure stream of consciousness. Not having to share Mom’s attention with two other little people had her going into overdrive, excitedly sharing every little thought that entered her head. The topics covered ranged from bananas to her socks, a cool tree we passed, to how mermaids go to the bathroom.
When we arrived at the grocery store, daughter continued her enthusiastic monologue as we leisurely perused the aisles. While we were chatting about the various merits of snap peas over green beans, I realized I hadn’t had this much fun grocery shopping, ever. I hadn’t been so relaxed while out of the house in a long time either. The constant head counts, reminders to tell me if you need to go potty, negotiations that were part of our daily routine, were forgotten as I focused all of my energy on this one happy girl. The simple act of slowing down and taking the time to connect with one child made something so mundane into a meaningful experience.
At the same time, it was a little bittersweet; the realization that every day could have been like this, rather than stolen moments at a grocery store. Obviously, I love all three of my kids and can’t imagine life without them, but this was a little snapshot of what life would have been without triplets. Would I have remembered more of their first year rather than feeling overwhelmed? Would I have gotten to know them better when they were still small rather than feeling at times that it was us versus this pile of babies? Would my kids grow up resenting the fact that “mom and me time” was this elusive thing? That they had to learn to share toys and books and their parents’ laps literally from day one?
We pulled into the driveway and walked up the steps to the front door. While my daughter explained the system she’d devised to evenly share the stickers she’d gotten while we checked out, I enjoyed the sound of her voice. Just her little girl voice, not competing with anyone else’s. The door opened and we were immediately engulfed in the chaos and laughter that is our home and I realized that although I might envy parents of singletons occasionally, this is where I’m supposed to be. Stealing special moments with individual children during ordinary parts of the day – at walks, early morning cuddles, and trips to the grocery store, all the while surrounded by my crazy, messy, wonderful triplets.
This post is part of a series of essays by the contributors to our second anthology, Multiples Illuminated: Life with Twins and Triplets, the Toddler to Twin Years. Subscribe to get new posts on your favorite reader as and when they’re published.
Emily Lindblad is a teacher, postpartum doula, and mother of BGG triplets. She lives with her family outside of Boston, Massachusetts and believes that her children’s current goal in life is to try out every public toilet in the state. Find Emily on her website and Facebook.