From my three-year observation of our triplets, I can assuredly state what the most valuable thing for a multiple is. It is the time one-on-one with dad or mom.
The parents’ attention is very important for any singleton, but for a multiple, especially a triplet (and, I can safely suspect, any higher multiple), the individual, exclusive attention of a parent is an asset valued much higher. Try imagine yourself as a triplet in this regard: from early morning to bed time, it is the constant fight for getting as large share of love and attention as the parents may physically give. The triplet is used to speak loud and be very assertive. There were many days where I myself had a sore throat solely because of the necessity to deliver my message to the triplets who were delivering their own important messages to me, mostly at the same time. It feels a bit like voice communication on airport tarmac. Convincing triplets that you can and should speak in moderate voice is a separate topic altogether which I will address in this blog at a later time.
Knowing this special value of individual communication helps us to create very interesting pastime for our kids. About two hours are needed for a ‘session of solitude’ in total. The individual trip must be quite short so that those waiting at home do not lose the sweetness of expectation and the happy solo trekker does not lose the sense of exclusivity. Half an hour or so. There are not many options for such trips (especially in winter, which means we must go to somewhere indoors). But it actually does not matter much where you are going, the fact that you are going separately does. The very first individual trip was with Dovydas, at two years and ten months, to a grocery store. From the time the triplets knew how to walk, I could not remember any moments more calm and a child more obedient than during that simple walk in the grocery store. His eyes were glittering at the possibility to pick up vegetables, fruit and dairy himself, on dad’s separate request directed to him and to him only, with no sibling ready to snap whatever he had in his hands and run. When we returned, Dovydas told everyone that he bought everything and, reportedly, continued to do so, in exaltation, long after we had left for the second trip with his brother. We drove with Jokūbas to drink some juice to McDonalds. It may seem so trivial to sit with your son, shy of three years, at a table and speak over a glass of juice, but it is very special for both parties if one is a triplet. With the sister we went and bought three balloons in a mall and brought them back for the brothers to complete the evening.
The solo time remains a rare commodity in our family. I am now putting additional effort to make it a bit more available. The multiples’ parents are honestly busy throughout the day, but should do their best to allocate time at least once a week or fortnight for those special one-on-ones.