Even though they are a bundle of joy to their parents, Ffion, Madison and Paige can sometimes be a headache to them, too. The girls are so identical that mummy and daddy had to mark their toes with ink so as to separate them from each other. They matched the first letter of each girl’s name with the shade of nail polish on a toe.
“It’s not for fashion, we really do struggle to tell them apart,” Karen and Ian Gilbert, parents of the children said. “We came up with the nail varnish idea and it works a treat. It makes life a lot easier when it comes to our daily routine of feeding, bathing and nappy changing. The colour coding helps us to know who has had what.”
The trio was conceived naturally from one egg – against the odds of 160,000-1 according to the Multiple Births Foundation. They hope as the little girls get older they will develop individual looks and personalities to help them tell one from another. The couple have a four-year-old little girl Faye who tries to help out by painting the babies toe nails.
The family from Pontypool, South Wales, gets through more than 120 nappies and 84 bottles of formula milk a week. But the trio are already earning their keep with appearances on TV’s Casualty and the family drama Stella. Because they are so identical and can play the same baby on screen, so they get rotated while scenes are being filmed to avoid a single baby getting too tired.
“They were all TV stars before they reached the age of one. They are lovely little girls who have already brought us so much joy – in triplicate,” the 33-year-old mother said. “Going out is a military operation which we call ‘Operation Triplets’. We can’t just think, ‘Oh, shall we go out?’ We need at least 24 hours notice. It’s like packing to go on holiday every time we leave the house. We have a triple pushchair and we’ve had to get a bigger car, a seven-seater Ford Galaxy. We have treble trouble – but we would not have it any other way,” Karen said.