Multiples: The Dynamics

People often ask me if having triplets simply means that I have to do everything three times, like change three diapers, dress three children or put out three snacks.

The answer is no. It's not that straightforward.

There's a whole new dynamic that takes over with multiples. It goes like this: You start to change the first child, but his brother comes along and steals the diaper. You leave the bare-bottomed child on the floor for a moment to get the diaper back, but he escapes. Now you're running after the one with the diaper and the one who needs a diaper.

Multiples seem to know implicitly at an early age that they outnumber you; so there you are, at maybe 7am, running after them. They're shrieking with giggles, in full collaboration with each other. You have no choice but to laugh with them and hope that no one pees on the carpet.

Welcome to the wild world of parenting multiples, where the challenges and thrills are equally intense. More families are experiencing the excitement of living with multiples. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, from 1975 to 1995 -- the last 20 years that data are available -- the number of twins increased from 59,192 to 96,736, and triplets and higher-order multiples more than quadrupled from 1,066 to 4,973.

Those who've studied multiples and parents who've raised them agree that the decisions to make and the lessons learned can apply to any family with more than one child.

Like this? Read these!
- Multiples: Establishing Your Routine
- Multiples: Appreciating Their Differences
- Multiples: Enjoying Life
- Multiples: The Safety Factor
- Handling a Houseful

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