I have been a triplet all my life—all 22 long, fruitful years of it—which means I’ve spent over two decades fielding questions from non-multiple births about what it’s like. Okay, in reality I guess I could only start answering questions once I could actually talk, but whatever, that doesn’t mean little baby me wasn’t listening and judging those fools.
I get that multiples are rare. I get that you’re going to have a lot of questions. And honestly, that’s cool. But maybe think about some of the things you ask before the words tumble out of your mouth, to save yourself the embarrassment of sounding kind of stupid, and to save me from having to try (in vain) to contain my eye rolls and *le sighs*. Keep reading and I promise this will be beneficial to both of us!
Wow, twins/triplets/quintuplets/whatever! What’s that like?
Since I don’t remember my past lives in which I may or may not have been a thug, gangsta rapper (more on that later), being a triplet is all I know. It’s like, how do you describe something that’s been a natural part of your life since birth? Like what if I asked you what it’s like to have brown hair? I bet you’d be all, “uhhh, I dunno?” Exactly. So here’s my best answer: it’s like having two built-in friends who are the same age as you.
Which one of you is the oldest?
…That’s a joke right? I hope that’s a joke. Otherwise, let me kindly point you to a dictionary.
Okay, but you know what I mean. Like who came out first?
All right, I’ll give you this one since even though the difference is negligible it’s clearly important to you. So: my sister came out first, followed by my brother, followed by me. Yes, I’m “the baby.” By literally two minutes. Aren’t I cute?
Did your parents use fertility drugs, or do twins run in your family?
WOW! Good to know we haven’t wasted any time moving onto invasive questions! I don’t feel completely at liberty to answer this and frankly, I’m uncomfortable. Having children, and especially having trouble having children, is really personal and sensitive info and probably not something you should ask people about when you first meet them (protip). Put it this way: would you feel comfortable divulging your parents’ most sensitive information? Yes? Great, then kindly tell me their social security numbers, birthdays, and just for shits and giggles, their favorite position.
So were you…a test tube baby?
I would imagine there are multiple births out there (or people in general) who don’t know if their parents used IVF or not. It’s not the type of conversation that exactly “comes up,” like, “Honey, can you pass the peas? And oh yeah, 23 years ago your mother and I used in-vetro and voilà, that’s how you got here.” Even if they do know, this falls under the aforementioned “this is really my parents’ business and not yours” category. Also, hey…I’m a person, not a science experiment.
So your mom had a C-section.
Yo, you got a thing for my mom, bruh? I find it funny that just because I had womb-mates, people get so caught up in the graphic details of the whole “conception” and “birth” things—I’ve never seen only children or regular siblings get asked this kind of stuff. Isn’t it weird? I personally don’t have a problem with this one IRL but out of respect for my mom, and because Mother’s Day is coming up, I’m not gonna put the answer out on the internets. I guess you can DM me if you’re that curious? I haven’t quite thought it through.
(To fraternal twins/triplets/etc.): You guys know you look nothing alike?
Yes, thank you, because being “triplets” mean we grew up without access to reflective surfaces, or people who like to point out the obvious. We’re 22. We’ve figured it out by now.
Do you guys fight?
Have you ever had a brother or sister? Scratch that—have you ever had a roommate, or person you were expected to live cordially with for some period of time? If so, congrats, you can relate: Siblings fight. People in close proximity to one another fight. I wish sharing a womb magically instilled us with this unbreakable bond that made it impossible not to get along at all hours of the day, but no. In short: yes, we fight sometimes.
Can you, like, feel each other’s pain?
Nope, not how that works. I think you’re thinking of “folie à deux,” which is when two people share psychosis, so uh, thanks for shadily implying I have a psychiatric disorder.
Tell me: What is your brother/sister thinking right now?
Why do people think this is what happens when a couple of eggs get fertilized at the same time—that the fetuses are given strange powers that turn them into an elite group of superhumans? It’s not like my parents used Clark Kent’s sperm. Unless being able to rap all the words to Fuckin’ Problems is a superpower, then I got nothing.
Isn’t it trippy to have two other people walking around on earth who look exactly like you?
Sorry guys, but I’m fraternal. Although tbh I do think that would be kind of trippy—apologies to all the identicals out there, but like c’mon don’t even lie, it’s pretty crazy when you think about it.
Wait—you’re a triplet? Why didn’t you tell me??!
Because … see foolishness above ^^. In all seriousness, I know the questions come with the territory and I do my best to answer them politely. But keep in mind that for me growing up (and I’m probably not alone), being a triplet was as much a part of my identity as my hair color or even my name. In elementary through high school, people knew me not as Sara, but as “one of the Levine triplets.” Now, I want people to know me outside of the context of my siblings, and not define me solely in terms of my similarities/differences to them. I want to be an individual first and a triplet second, and not the other way around. Which means you’ll have to wait to find out until we actually get to know each other and get to talking about our families. Besides, wouldn’t that be a little weird? Introducing myself like, “Hi, I’m Sara, and I’m a triplet,” like we’re in some kind of Multiples Anonymous meeting? I think so. I think that’d be a little weird.