Apr 28, 2008

More than Triple the Trouble


As Nature intended, most siblings fight and rival with each other. Space isn't something easily shared between human beings. Not that other animal species always aggregate lovingly, except herd animals; but even herd animals can erode and degrade their habitats to death when contained in restricted spaces for too long with too many numbers. I mean, it's not exactly like us adults share a common bed without a good fight (or more of a good nagging in our house).

In a two-sibling household, each sib has only one bi-directional interaction (give and take) in terms of sibling dynamics. Older and younger siblings wrestle with, among a million other issues, hierarchy. Since one is older, the younger usually accepts his lower status willingly. Not that I'm saying a two non-twinned sibling unit is a sure thing to a breezy sort of family life.

Twins perhaps deal more with direct competition of everything in their worlds, from toys to milestones to womb space, and do so without clear roles or status delimited by age. In other words, they intersect on a more or less equal playing field. They enter and exit each life stage together so that one doesn't have the advantage of knowledge gained and knowledge bestowed to guide or conquer the younger sibling. So while people often speak of Twinship and a bond that borders on psychic ability energized by power from the moon and stars (especially between identicals, I would argue), this can come at a cost for more quiet natured and baby faced multiples. Bereket, for example, would make a great singleton. I fear his brothers overwhelm him at times when he needs more quiet loving from me or Jerry or a little solitude.

Now take higher order multiples, triplets for example. Somebody once told me that it's not just twins plus one, it's more like having 30 babies. Guffaw! And yet I have to admit, especially after a rare occasion when only two of my three are in my care, it's tough at times, at least during these toddler days. Although I still don't think it's as hard as people tell me it is. I still can't believe we have triplets, pretty cool. Anyway, triplets, let's see . . . each child has two bi-directional interactions that may be occurring at the same time which would be, technically, a multi-directional interaction, times 3 children . . . you get it. It's complicating and sometimes overwhelming for a baby/toddler. Maybe it's the same with three kids not of the same age or close in age, but then again, there's a little more complexity to it, I think, at least for the parents. For example, toddler hood has brought with it insecurity and clinginess. How can I help one child through it when all three demand my arms?

We are often asked, Who's oldest? Which makes me double take until I remember, oh, they mean who was born first. (Is this relevant? We don't know who was conceived first or who became a blastocyst first or who implanted first. . . although how does it work with identicals? Who came first--Sira or Bereket--before the embryo split?). I just tell them I don't know, because I don't want people to present them with artificial roles. I'll tell the boys someday, it's a great piece of birth history, but I will not emphasize rank. I don't want to hear brother A telling Brother C, I'm older than you, I was born first, I get the bigger piece. I'll give you a hint though, if you were to take a guess at so-called birth order (and if you sort of know my kids by now), you'd probably guess right.

Most of the time life in Tripletland is high. After dinner is usually the best. The boys play together nice and rowdy. My fragile soul easily crushes, however, when anyone of my boys is not happy. I just want them to be happy all the time. I want them to grow up and regard each brother as their friend. A United Front. One Love. A mother can dream . . .

Now for the lows. Hair pulling, biting, tugging. All it's glory caught on the video below. Mr Bear-uh-keh-tuh (as we like to call him complete with exaggerated accent and tongue roll) may be small, but he's tough, even against Tsega-Mega. Oh, and Sira decided to dive in just for kicks; the fight had nothing to do with him. Do your little wee ones fight like this or am I just the worst mother you know??? Oh, about song choice on the video, these are the lyrics that play in my head during such trying times. It's a good thing I have a great sense of humor. :) Now I just need to work on my disciplining. . . One Love boys, One Love, just like it is written on Bereket's shirt.

One Love! One Heart!
Let's get together and feel all right.
Hear the children cryin' (One Love!);
Hear the children cryin' (One Heart!),
Sayin': give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right;
Sayin': let's get together and feel all right. Wo wo-wo wo-wo!
-Bob Marley

22 comments:

Nicolle said...

He he he... my two sisters and I still fight like that... and we're 29, 28, and 23! If there's a full fight going then it's a great time to get a bite in, that's what I always say... hee hee hee.

Stacey said...

Your kids are great and you are an awesome mother...blessed with a great sense of humor! Right now we have 2 much older girls and one three y/o (from Ethiopia) but are in the process of adopting a baby boy from the foster system (currently waiting for a placement). I can only hope I can be as calm and patient as you during times of sibling fighting etc. I so enjoy ready about your boys and seeing pictures and video of them!

Mama Papaya said...

Okay Cindy, I tried really, really hard not to laugh when they came undone. No luck.

Man I hate biting. Figs was often the target of nipping at school because the crazy kid never seemed to mind being chewed on. Much like a labrador, she would just carry on with someone attached to her by their teeth. She had about a two week period of chomping on people, but thankfully picked the other oblivious to pain child in the class to take her aggression out on. She is more of a pusher and a screamer now. A brutally demanding and oddly polite screamer. "No! Move back! NOW!!!....pease"

Scott and Emily's Blog said...

I to tried not to laugh...but it's sometimes the best thing you can do when the fighting breaks out. (at least to yourself). My little ones have the pushing and hitting down...and they both really like to scream. I think the screaming gets to me more than the others sometimes ;)

Mama Papaya said...

Sorry, laughed again.

LISA said...

I could laugh,'cause I'm not there!
Oh,memories!It was like that when i was growing up!Mom says she doesn't remember us all fighting!She must be getting alzheimers!! LOL!

jayme said...

Cindy,
I could certainly use a dose of whatever zen mama tea you're drinking because there are many moments when life with recently two year old twins (who really love trouble and egg each other on to do naughty things and then admonish each other when they find out I'm watching) frazzles me. oy!

My kids don't really push, hit, or bite, but they do pull each other's hair (followed almost immediately with a hug and an I'm sorry once they see me glaring) but they whine constantly, and fight over toys all the time. (I refuse to buy multiples of the same toy...)

one cute story and then I'll stop rambling: The twins received a baby doll for their birthday. They loved it, and when I asked Izzie what the baby's name is, she replied "baby bereket". The only way I can think of that she's heard that name is because of your boys...

Heather said...

I just finished watching many of the same "moves" between my son and former foster daughter. I also remember some pretty good fights with my brother growing up. I'm just glad I'm not the only one with kids who don't always get along (although they do love each other).

Heather

sar said...

i just found your blog about a week ago, & now i check it every day!

my husband and i are just starting the adoption process and we too are travelling to ethiopia. your boys are beautiful!

i love to watch all the videos & hear their voices...even the fighting warms my heart. :D we too would love to welcome twins or triplets into our family, and seeing the love that obviously overflows in your family just clinches that for us!

thank you for sharing!

sarah

Emily B. said...

LOL!! Tsega's shirt says "Blog This Mom"... LOL! I can picture me saying to myselft, "well ok. I will"

Amber said...

I've been reading your blog since the beginning...every video, picture, and blurb brings out the very essence of motherhood at it's best. You are a humorous, loving, confident, patient momma with boys that laugh, smile, explore and love with zest. I'm Shane and Kathy's sister/inlaw...and have always LOVED reading about your family. Thanks for sharing. I aspire to have many babies one day (and a lush shade of caramel they shall also be) and hope to have a fraction of your warm home to offer them.

Kari said...

First of all, you are a great mom and you're blessed with a patient spirit. There are days where my two girls could give those sweet boys of yours a run for their money.

Regardless, they are so cute that how can you possible say anything to them??? They would melt my willpower!

Crazy said...

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. What is wrong with everybody?

How does it make you a good mother to FILM your children biting and pulling each others' hair instead of actually doing something about it? They should get an age-appropriate Time-Out at the very least, not just a gentle re-direction with the hand and a half-hearted "no."

Put down the camera and be a parent instead of a blogger for a while.

stranger said...

I have to tell you- I think you folks are AMAZING. I can't tell you reasons without sounding cliche, and as a M.O.M. I've heard it all, and frankly saying nothing is more effective- but you already knew that ; )

My husband and I have been married 4 years and have 14 month old triplet girls. We live in an old house that we're restoring, as if the trio didn't entertain the concept of chaos nearly enough.

I have to tell you, I googled Triplet Behaviors- biting, hair pulling. When I watched your video I about cried! It was like watching my very own, though they aren't as big, and they're not walking- the attack was dead on!

I really thought we had a unique issue, but it is so nice to see we aren't alone.

Do take care!!! You have a huge heart- your boys are lucky!

Melodie Monberg said...

That video was the BEST! It helps to know that all kids fight...

Melodie.

Kristi said...

I found your blog by searching ethiopian adoption and I think it's awesome. Your boys are adorable and fun. How did you get so lucky?! Love this video! Kids will be kids and boys will especially be boys!

Cindy said...

Thanks Crazy. I did put the camera down and you don't know what happened next do you? And have you ever tried to time out 22 month old triplets at the same time? It becomes more of a yelling-out. Next time you can come over and help out. Please, I obvioulsy need it since I am clearly not a good mother and never claimed to be. Oh, and I also thank you for being my very first not-so-nice comment on my blog. Congratulations! :) For that I will not delete you.

To everybody else: thanks for your comments, you obviously understand the imperfect moments of parenting and child behaivor. And Jayme, seriously, Baby Bereket? That is soooo cute!!!!! :)

Dianne said...

Dear Crazy, Take a chill pill. You are too judgemental!

stranger said...

lol....my guess is Crazy doesn't have multiples!

Jake and Taryn said...

Even if they are fighting, they are still SO CUTE together!! I LOVE their shirts too!! I love the "Blog this mom" and the "Ethiopian boy" shirts..adorable!!

Tarah said...

Very cute!!! What an amazing mom you are. :) Do we still have dibs on one for Tt????

Jodi said...

I don't know if I have ever laughed so hard at a blog! (only because I know the frequency of fights such as these and the durability of children and sibling hood. That is a great "capture"!