I've known since they were discovered in my belly about three years ago that there is something unique about having identical triplets. I've known that the odds of this naturally occurring event are about one in a hundred million and I am convinced that we won the baby the lottery the day these guys were born -- happy, healthy and relatively huge for triplets given that they weighed well over five pounds each.
Even so, I've plodded along treating each day as though it's nothing unusual. In the beginning, we were so sleep deprived that it only seemed right to paint each little guy's big toe -- one red, one blue, one green, so we could tell them apart. It seemed natural to dress them in "their" colors and in fact, it still does. When they say you're having "identical" triplets, they are really not kidding. These guys look exactly alike. Des and I can tell them apart -- most of the time. Their big brother and sister can tell them apart -- most of the time. The challenge is when they are either A. naked or B. moving very quickly in opposing directions, as they are keen to do with a jubilant sense of "Game On!"
Our color-coding system extends beyond big toes and hand-me-down clothes to sippy cups, bouncy balls, socks and Crocs. Kevin is red, Declan is blue and Cormac is green. Their colors make it easy for neighbors, friends, preschool teachers and yes, even my own parents to tell them apart. Here's the thing though -- I fear our system is backfiring and there's about to be a rainbow revolt here in the Lyons Den. A few recent examples...
I accidentally gave Declan a red sippy cup and he threw it at me angrily proclaiming "I"M BLUE!"
When I wore a red sweater last week, Kevin tugged on it and sweetly said "Mine." To which I replied "Yours? Why yours?" To which he responded quite naturally "Because I'm red!"
Then there was St. Patrick's Day. A festival of green, if ever there was one. Wow, was Cormac ever in heaven. As our resident "green" guy, he thought the day was his own personal tribute!
Clearly, we have an issue here. Our color coding system seems to be causing a slew of issues that range from anger managment to identity confusion. As parents, we do our best and can't help but worry about how our best intentions may ultimately be doing more harm than good. All I can say is that, well, I'm doing the best I can. And I'm pretty darn positive that the day looms in the not so distant future that our color coding system will fade away... just like the polish on their tiny newborn toes.