Thursday, August 25, 2011

You can't have identical triplets?

I'm stating the obvious when I say that people are competitive. I mean, there are so many ways for us to become hung up on competition - sports, work, fashion, school and even blogging. This competitive nature also extends to the activities of our children. For some parents, anyway.

As a mom of a child with spina bifida, I think my view of the world is a little bit different. Of course I want my children to excel and to be awesome at whatever they do but maybe my measure of these achievements is different from those of other parents.

The daughter of a friend of mine has been participating in competitive cheerleading for the past four years. She is seven years old. I have heard the stories of how competitive the moms at her gym can be and so I was somewhat expecting to see this at our gym this past year with the girls' gymnastics class. We really didn't. There was one slightly annoying mom but her daughter is a year older and has moved up to the kindergarten class.

I will admit that I was extremely happy when Allie was placed in the front row during the year end big gymnastics show. Maybe I even gloated over it. My baby was considered one of the better performers. But as you all know, I was extremely proud of all three of my girls and what they achieved this past year, especially Anna, who wasn't supposed to be able to walk on her own.

The girls were enrolled in a summer gymnastics program mainly to keep them busy. Give them something to do each Wednesday. We didn't register them with the intent of keeping up their skills or pushing them to excel beyond their peers. Grammy is the one who brings the girls to class and reports back to me with what happened at the gym that day. About halfway through the summer session, a new girl sat in on one of their classes for a 'trial run'. That's what the new mom told Grammy, anyway. She asked Grammy a lot of questions and was really scrutinizing the gym and the coaches. For example, all of the girls were running around at the beginning of class to warm up.

New mom: "Why aren't they providing them with any instruction? Shouldn't the coaches be telling them what to do?"

Grammy: "Ahhhh.... They're warming up."

Apparently, the trial run went well enough because the girl and her mom appeared at each class after that. Grammy tells me that the mom is very critical of one of the coaches for reasons that, we both agree, are extremely superficial.

If you've been a reader of my blog, you know that we receive a lot of comments and are asked a lot of questions about the girls. And for the most part, everyone is kind and polite. Mostly because of comments and statements I heard after Abbey died, I recognize that people are sometimes ignorant. It's not their fault that they don't have experience with stillbirth and keeping their mouths shut would be best but their ignorance of the situation causes them to say something hurtful.

And so now we have Gym Mom, as I have nicknamed her. Here is the conversation that occurred between Grammy and Gym Mom a few weeks ago:

Gym Mom: "Did I hear you tell someone that they are identical triplets?"

Grammy: "Yes."

Gym Mom: "That's impossible, you know."

Grammy: "What?"

Gym Mom: "You can't have identical triplets. Everyone knows that it's always twins and an odd one."

Grammy: "No, they are identical triplets. Several doctors have told my daughter so."

Gym Mom: "Well, they don't look identical to me. They look nothing alike."

That conversation has been filed away as the best conversation ever regarding the girls. I laughed and laughed when Grammy told me this. Laughed. And then it happened again the next week. She insisted on telling Grammy, who I'm sure was minding her own business, that the girls look nothing alike and cannot be identical. I thought she would have gone home and googled "identical triplets" but apparently, she did not.

Whatever her intent and whether it was made out of jealousy, ignorance or competitiveness, I just don't understand.

As of last week, her daughter was enrolled in a class for the new year on a different day but Grammy believes that Gym Mom is going to change the day because of the coaches. These kind of things blow my mind. We originally signed the girls up for gymnastics as an activity to get them out of the house. I wasn't pushing for one of them to become a competitive gymnast. Who knows? Maybe one of them will and I would be very supportive of that. I feel like there's this pressure in today's society to start kids in activities and sports when they are barely out of pull-ups or they will be behind their peers. What if I had waited until the girls were in first grade to start with gymnastics? They would have missed out on three years of instruction. Crazy!

A bit off topic but the girls watched their very first episode of Toddlers and Tiaras while we were in Michigan. It was one of those nights at my grandparents' house. The girls were all overheated and exhausted and us adults were attempting to finish our meal in some type of relaxed state. The only age appropriate show I could find was Toddlers and Tiaras. I was surprised at how it entrapped the girls. They sat quietly on the couch, transfixed by the commotion of a beauty pageant. We even had to move chairs around so that they could view the end of the show while eating their ice cream.

Allie, with her eyes all big and round and her voice all serious, kept saying, "I think Story is going to win." And the winner was Story! TLC, if you are reading this, I just want to point out that even a four year old can figure out that the girl who receives the most air time is the winner.


Mama said...

Wow, can't believe gym mom is serious! Granny must have a good sense of humor to entertain her thoughts. I too get tired of random comments from strangers- you must have your hands full- when they see me and the twins plus my 4 year old. -Sigh-

Catherine said...

I can't believe gym mom. As a mom to triplets made up of a pair of identicals and a fraternal, I'm incensed at her phrase of "odd one."

Sarah said...

Catherine - Although my triplets are identical, I found her "odd" comment to be extremely hurtful. This woman has no filter. She has made rude comments about one of the coaches that I won't repeat here b/c I would hate for someone's feelings to be hurt.

Kate said...

Competitiveness can really suck all the fun out of an activity. My sister and I both did ballet, tap, and gymnastics when we were little. I lost interest in the gymnastics pretty early but my sister loved it until the coaches started pushing her (and my mom) toward competition and it got so bad that she quit going altogether. I lasted a little longer only going to ballet once a week when the instructors would have preferred 2-3 times. Unfortunately when I was 10 they flat out told me that I couldn't continue unless I went to toe shoes which I was not interested in.

Meg said...

Goodness. Even as a mom of twins {fraternal} I'm agitated by her comment! An "odd one"??? I'm glad GymMom is switching classes.

I've had people INSIST to me that my girls are identical, as if I the mother do not know what I'm talking about when I tell people they are fraternal. :)

JourneyWithTheCrosiers said...

Gym Mom sounds a bit crazy for sure! Hope she doesn't read your blog!...or maybe it would do her some good to read about some horrible sounding parent that she probably wouldn't even realize was herself! ha!
Good job to Grammy for standing up to her!

Pyjammy Pam said...

i've heard similar ignorant comments. like, "you MUST have had quads at one point."

stupid. hmmph.

i love that she thinks your girls look nothing alike! ha ha ha!

Tracey's Life said...

Wow - how rude! Your girls are adorable and honestly speaking I still can't tell them apart in the pictures. As a Mom of two older teenagers, I will tell you that I also stayed away from the competitive sports with mine. Mine love Karate at our local YMCA and not a typical dojo. I wanted them to have fun, learn some self-discipline and balance - not break boards or other kids.

They will reach a point in life soon enough that they have to compete, and they shouldn't have to do it as a child (Just my humble opinion and it worked well for us - might not for others but it did work for us)

Jen W said...

We just started tot gymnastics this week with my boys at 21 months. Only to give them an outlet for their energy and some direction for their daredevilry. They are 2 of 4 in the class, all boys. It's pretty obvious the other two boys started much earlier and my boys are "behind" already. Oh well, they napped really well that afternoon so it served it's purpose, Even if I feel like we are in the way of the "gym mom" types. (who, btw didn't so much as say hi to either my husband or me.)

Lease said...

I love when people argue with me about whether or not you can have identical triplets. I've also often heard triplets referred to as a pair and a spare, a phrase I've never liked.
I can't believe she doesn't think your girls look alike, I'm just starting to be able to tell who is who and I'm probably wrong more often than not.
It's good that she changed to another night so you (or Grammy) don't have to deal with further rude or uneducated comments.

Hope's Mama said...

Frustrated and disappointed on your behalf. People can be such jerks. I have heard a lot of insensitive stuff myself in three years. I wish more people had filters.
And yeah, I still can never tell your girls apart! I wonder how I'd go if I ever saw you guys in real life!

Krystle said...

Is she blind?!

Gah! I secretly want you to set her more ways than one!

Tracy said...

Goodness.... 1st, your girls look TOTALLY alike and yes, a quick google could put the issue to rest.

I get a lot of "Are they twins?"
"No, actually they are triplets. We also had a boy."
Blank confused stare... "I thought triplets all had to be the same sex."...


Your Mom seems very nice to just keep still. I think I'd be a bit more snippy.

Sammy said...

Woah! Some people just don't know when to stop talking apparently!


Breenah said...

People like that make me laugh. Heaven forbid the person with the experience (or medical knowledge) knows what they're talking about. I'm glad you're able to laugh it off.

KimB said...

She doesn't need to google because apparently she knows better than everyone else.

Clearly a case of one-upmanship and jealousy. They look nothing alike? Seriously?

Ashley said...

Sarah, I randomly stumbled across your blog and fell in love. I'm not a mom of triplets or twins. In fact, I don't have any children yet.... But I just wanted to say that your girls are beautiful and I enjoyed reading about your adventures in raising them. I appreicate how you are not reserved when describing your circumstances and challenges, it makes it all real.
It sounds like you are a wonderful mother! Congrats on the amazing family. :)

tx folks said...

I, too, just love reading your blog. I love how you chronicle each girl individually, as well as the 3 together.

If this Gym Mom doesn't think they're identical, then maybe she'd be so kind as to put the names on your pictures! I'm never sure which girl I'm seeing, but one thing sure...they are all simply ADORABLE!

Alice said...

Gym Mom needs to find a hobby.

Wendy said...

GymMom is my favorite. It's almost too bad she won't be in class any more because we could load Grammy up with some awesome come backs. "You know, you're probably right, GM. They can't be identical. Where did you get your doctorate?"

Stacey L. said...

I have never understood why people care about multiples being identical or not. I have fraternal twin girls who look nothing alike. I get the "are they twins" questions and am fine with that, but a few people have said, "well, they aren't identical" and one lady even said, "oh how sad, they aren't identical"....really? I have 2 beautiful daughters. I don't care if they are identical or not.