Triple treat as Topeka triplets journey from NICU to elementary school

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Mrs. Brun’s kindergarten class at Berryton Elementary School is three times the fun this year, thanks to three curly-headed blonde boys.

Louie, Rocky, and Giovanni Constantino are identical triplets.

"We have the same hair!" Louie exclaims when asked what's neat about being three people who look alike. But then he points to Rocky, explaining "he looks like he has a different face."

Giovanni, too, sees differences.

"I’m taller; (Giovanni's) shorter," he says.

And Louie?

"He’s so small, like a baby!"

Of course, each response is followed by a trio of giggles!

"It’s never a dull moment!" laughs dad, Louie.

That may be because parents Louie and wife Terra already had three boys at home when we first met them with their new trio at Stormont Vail’s NICU back in 2013. They bonded with Danielle and Randy Rickert and their three boys, also identical triplets. It was a rare scene since identical triplets happen only about 20 times in every one million births.

Fortunately, the Constantinos needed less than two weeks in the NICU, and it's been full steam ahead ever since.

Sometimes, a little too much!

"Giovanni had stitches on his birthday," Terra recalls, "then Louie broke his arm last summer. I don't think we had any stitches or broken bones with the other boys."

"Rocky...I had to pull a rock out of his nose with tweezers," dad chimes in,"so it’s always something!"

More fun than anything is watching each boy grow into his own personality.

"They like dogs and I like cats," Rocky says, with Louie piping in that he actually likes panda bears best.

How about their physical differences?

"Mom and dad tell us apart, but sometimes they don’t know!" Louie exclaims.

Terra says the boys have developed subtle differences in their appearance.

"Louie has a dot on his cheek. Giovanni has an elf year, if you want to get technical," she laughs. "Rocky is left-handed, the other two are right-handed."

"Let’s be honest though," Louie confesses. "The main way we know them apart is how we dress them in the morning!"

Terra concedes that sometimes is true. So far, she says the only time they've nearly fooled her was a day Giovanni wanted a second popsicle - and tried claiming he was Louie to score the extra treat.

It’s life with a little patience and a whole lot of laughter and love, including from their older boys: Phoenix, 19; Bronze, 16; and Journey, 8.

"Pretty quick it became the new normal," the older Louie said. "When people ask how we do it, we just do it."

"I wouldn’t give them up for anything," Terra said. "They're amazing. They're fun."

The Constantinos' NICU mates also are doing well.

After military service, the Rickerts moved closer to family in California and they are now in Texas, where the triplets just started kindergarten.

Danille says Maddox has emerged as the leader of the group, while Liam has a vivid imagination and will invent games for them to play, and Kennedy is the charmer, adept at using his smile to get his way.

"They love building things and figuring out how things work," she said.

Just like the Constantino triplets, the Rickert boys all are healthy as well.