The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

May 28, 2012

Still together, triplets prepare for college move

When Robin and Dennis M. Daniel, of Fairdale, had an ultrasound at eight weeks, they were expecting twins.

Robin said it ran in her family and it was her generation to have them.

But the ultrasound revealed a surprise — trip-lets.

Having three children the same age might have been daunting to many parents but Robin recalled just thinking, “Well, what is one more?”

Now that Katie, Shelby and Elizabeth “Beth” Dan-iel are 17 and preparing to graduate from Liberty High School this June, the trio will leave quite an empty nest as they plan to head to West Virginia University.

“I always cry on the first and last day of school because they are growing and getting older. Then on prom night, April 6, the tears started flowing again,” she said.

The triplets jokingly suggested their mom could get three dogs to ease the empty nest.

Hellin’s Law indicates that natural triplet birth occurs once in every 7,921 births, but to the Daniels, being one of three is perfectly normal.

“We are always asked how is it different being a triplet, but to us there is nothing different about it,” said Katie.

“I don’t think of myself as a triplet,” said Beth. “I have two sisters.”

Katie said she has two younger sisters, pointing out that she was born first.

Katie is also a non-identical triplet and Shelby and Beth are identical twins.

“Usually teachers can tell me apart,” she said.

Shelby confessed that they have switched places in class before and nearly got detention.

“When we were little, we would run out on the porch and switch our shirts to try to fool our mom. But she always knew,” she said as the trio laughed.

Most of the time, however, life for the three sisters is pretty mainstream.

They attend Missionary Baptist Church, are members of the National Honor Society, run track, participate in Key Club, and volunteer together at Raleigh General Hospital.

Being part of a trio means they always have help with their homework and always have someone to talk about boys with.

Sometimes it can be comical to be so close, too, they explained.

“This morning we all woke up. They came in to see what shirt I was wearing and we had all put on our Liberty wrestling shirts and they both decided to change,” Katie said.

It is not out of the ordinary for them to put on the same clothes or say the same things at the same time.

“Probably until we were 5, Mom would put us in the same style clothes but different colors so we try not to dress alike,” she added.

The trio hopes to go into the medical field at WVU, Katie into dermatology, Shelby into pediatrics, and Beth into physical therapy.

“We can have our own little office,” Shelby said.

Staying near one another seems to be a good plan since they don’t argue too much (and they each have different taste in boys so there is never boy drama).

“If we fight, they like to double-team,” said Katie, joking dramatically. “They have that identical relationship.”

“Because there are three of us, more often than not it ends up with two of us against one,” Shelby said.

Beth said their parents often have them draw straws to avoid conflicts — like who got to drive.

Robin said the triplets were born a tad early because Beth was being crowded out.

Although born weighing only 3.14, 4.14 and 4.8 pounds, today they seem too big to be contained, bursting with enthusiasm, optimism and laughter.

Katie confessed her parents were told they could have twins or triplets again so they decided to hold off on more kids.

But their mother added, “If I could, I would do it over again in a minute.”

— E-mail: splummer

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