The trouble with triplets: How to tell them apart? (1892)

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The trouble with triplets How to tell them apart (1892)

The trouble with triplets How to tell them apart (1892)

The trouble about triplets

There is a disadvantage in being parent to triplets, particularly when the trio look as much alike as three dice with the sixes turned up.

A Long Island man whose wife presented him with three babies of a kind — all blue-eyed and straw-haired, with features so identical that it is impossible to tell the tootsy-wootsies apart — has had to abandon his work and stay at home to keep neighbors from mixing his infants up.

The little ones have been named Rachel and Leah and Annie, and an attempt has been made to differentiate their personalities by tying colored ribbons on their arms, but it is as hard to remember the ribbon that goes with Rachel, or Annie, or Leah, as it is to find any physiognomic or anatomical mark to distinguish one from the other of the newcomers.

Just as soon as the point seems settled that Rachel is the precious little pink pet with the brown ribbon, a neighbor, who imagines that her forte is mnemonics, comes in and vehemently asserts that she is positive the brown ribbon was put on Annie, and Rachel is the one that is decorated with the blue ribbon. Then the babies have to be named and ribboned all over again.

So the excitement and suspense keep up all day and far into the night, frequent renamings and re-ribbonings being made necessary by the interference of visitors who lift a triplet from its couch and lay it down somewhere else, thus upsetting the memory system that its parents have adopted to keep on the trail of the infant’s individualities.

If Charles Lamb were alive, he might suggest branding the babies as the best means of preserving their identities. But Lamb didn’t like babies. We do, and we kindly suggest to the loving and much-worried Long Island City father that he paint the three names on one of his walls and fasten each baby by means of a silken rope and staple to its own particular praenomen. Then he can go along and attend to his business without further fear that the triplets will he mixed up by nyum-i-nyumiug and goo-gooing neighbors.

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