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Growing up being a triplet can be hard, but brings you closer together

Juniors+Kaitlyn%2C+%28l+to+r%29+Hannah%2C+and+Amanda+VanOoteghem+are+triplets+who+share+everything+in+their+lives.+In+this+photo%2C+they+were%2C+obviously%2C+young+children.
Juniors Kaitlyn, (l to r) Hannah, and Amanda VanOoteghem are triplets who share everything in their lives. In this photo, they were, obviously, young children.

Juniors Kaitlyn, (l to r) Hannah, and Amanda VanOoteghem are triplets who share everything in their lives. In this photo, they were, obviously, young children.

Juniors Kaitlyn, (l to r) Hannah, and Amanda VanOoteghem are triplets who share everything in their lives. In this photo, they were, obviously, young children.

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Living with one sibling can be stressful, so imagine living with two sisters that are the same age as you and an older one.

Sounds like a nightmare right?

For juniors Hannah, Amanda, and Kaitlyn VanOoteghem, they don’t have to imagine; this is their reality.

Hannah, Amanda, and Kaitlyn were born on Sept. 28, 1999, only seconds apart. Their parents are Mrs. Shelley and Mr. Robert VanOoteghem, and they have a 21-year-old brother named Joseph.

At first, when Shelley and Robert found out they were having a set of triplets, they were shocked.

“This happens to other people. Why me?” Shelley asked herself.

But as time went by, the Mr. and Mrs, VanOoteghem couldn’t wait for the three to arrive.

Growing up with two sisters of the same age and an older brother can be a blessing and a curse.

A blessing that all three of them can agree on is what any set of sisters can agree on: getting to share clothes.

“We are just about the same size so, when we feel like it, we can share clothes or shoes or try things on for each other,” Kaitlyn said. “Like the other day I tried on a shirt for Amanda and she judged whether she liked it or not.”

Hannah likes that she and her sisters will always be there for one another.

IMAGE / Robert VanOoteghem
Juniors Hannah, (l to r) Kaitlyn, and Amanda VanOoteghem stop for a sisterly photograph.

“If you mess with one of us you mess with all of us,” Hannah said.

One sibling coming after you can be scary, so just imagine having two.

However, just like any other sibling relationship, there are some things that aren’t so fun.

All three of them agree that it can be pretty expensive being a triplet.

“We have to pay triple the amount for everything, like with driver’s education,” Amanda said.

“For me and my sisters, it’s three phones at a time, three cars, three proms,” Kaitlyn said. “It’s a lot at one time, so we have to wait or get it ourselves.”

Being a set of three with an older sibling isn’t just hard for the children, it can be rough on the parents as well.

“(There was) not enough of me and too many of them,” Shelley said. “I couldn’t slow down enough to enjoy it all.”

Growing up, all three of the girls felt as if they weren’t looked at as individual people, but as “the triplets.”

“People group us as the same person so they expect us to act and think the same,” Hannah said.

Kaitlyn also feels that she isn’t seen as a single person.

She said, “Growing up, and still to this day, I don’t have a name to people. It’s just ‘triplet.'”

Amanda agrees with both of her sisters.

“People didn’t care to learn our names and would just call us ‘triplet,'” Amanda said. “It makes me feel like I’m just grouped with my sisters instead of being seen as an individual person.”

They even had trouble with teachers learning their names.

“Teachers didn’t care to learn our names,” Hannah said, “so we always had to have different classes and teachers.”

With the confusion between their looks, teachers even had to come up with something to call them.

IMAGE / Hannah VanOoteghem
Juniors Amanda, (l to r) Hannah, and Kaitlyn VanOoetgehm show off their sombreros.

“My teachers called us ‘one, two, and three,'” Kaitlyn said.

The girls understand it can be difficult to tell them apart, but Kaitlyn feels that being called the wrong name is better than just being called “triplet.”

“Our names are Hannah, Amanda, and Kaitlyn. Not triplet,” Kaitlyn said. “We don’t say, ‘Hey you girl/boy’ or call you ‘it.’ People expect to be addressed by their names, and so do we. It’s OK to get it wrong.”

All three of them had to share almost everything growing up, including friends.

“If one of us wanted to hang out with a friend, all of us had to hang out with them,” Hannah said.

The three of them agree their childhood as triplets differed from the childhood of just three regular sisters, whether it was for the better or for the worse.

Hannah believes she would have been able to grow up quicker as a person if she was not a triplet.

“I would have gained my independence and my own sense of identity a lot sooner,” Hannah said.

Amanda sees a difference in the time they spend together.

“We are all in the same stage in life, so we are all taking the same steps and experience everything together,” Amanda said. “We probably spend more time together than normal siblings.”

Even though being called “triplet” takes away from the joy of being a triplet, the girls believe that it has made them closer.

“I feel like we are closer than most siblings,” Kaitlyn said. “We go through all the same experiences with each other and go through the same things at the same time, so we connect better and understand each other more.”

Hannah believes that this is all thanks to the time they spend together.

“We go to every event together,” Hannah said. “We are with each other at school. We have the same classes, same homework, same friends. Whatever I do, they are right by my side doing it with me. And because of that, we are extremely close.”

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Growing up being a triplet can be hard, but brings you closer together