Tourists of the Inner Harbor: You don't need your eyes checked.
That young blond girl in the blue dress you saw in triplicate? Elizabeth, Adrianna and Laurel Kamosa, 18-year-olds from St. Mary's County. That teenage boy wearing the "Triplets in Charm City" T-shirt was, as his uniform might suggest, in fact three brothers, not one guy who gets around fast.
Dozens of sets of triplets drew stares and lots of questions downtown Saturday as part of an annual triplet convention. The 22-year-old event came to Baltimore for the first time, giving multiples and their parents from across the country a chance to share stories and lessons and bond over their shared genetic luck.
But for the siblings, their commonality is more than that. It's something you can understand only if you're a triplet – the challenges of going through school together and of the stares and whispers in public, the joys of always having someone who knows just what you're going through.
"Sometimes it gets hard, and it gets stressful," 16-year-old Hope Bradbury, of Joliet, Ill., said of growing up as a triplet. While it means you get noticed a lot as a group, you don't always stand out as an individual. "Sometimes you have to fight for attention."
While many of the families attending the convention usually shun the spotlight, they embrace it once year with a group photo and "parade" that visited the Inner Harbor this year. The triplets, most of them teens but ranging from infants to college-age young adults, said they wouldn't typically dress alike, but Saturday was a chance to make a spectacle.
Malik, Khalil and Ahmad Jones, 17-year-olds from Silver Spring, were mostly indistinguishable but for the different sneakers they wore with matching shorts and convention T-shirts. And while Malik and Khalil keep their light brown curls cropped close, Ahmad wears his hair a bit shaggier.
"In sixth grade, I didn't get a haircut for a while," he said. "It kind of became my look."
Then there were Gaby, Myrna and Astrid Hernandez, 17-year-olds from Milton-Freewater, Ore., at their second triplet convention wearing matching black blouses with patterned black-and-white pants. And the Kamosa sisters, each in the same blue-and-white-striped dress, but each with her own Vera Bradley floral-patterned purse and the same sandals but in three different colors.
"These are the only people who can actually relate to you," Ahmad said.
"We don't get to be with other triplets every day, so when it's here, it's special," Laurel said.
Workshops at the convention included "1+1=3," a session on issues that come from having three kids in the same grade at school; "Cheaper by the Dozen," on buying in bulk; and "Keeping the Magic Alive," helping parents reignite the spark in their marriage.
Many of the parenting issues covered aren't unique to families with multiples, but they can be more complicated when the children outnumber their caregivers.
"Everything comes at once," said Art Bradbury, father to Hope, sister Faith and brother Charlie. Right now, that includes the driver's test – and there is only one car for the triplets to share.
"We're going to have to fix that," mom Sue Bradbury said.
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