Since their birthday in January, we have been receiving services through ECI (Early Childhood Intervention). Three of the four babies qualified for services based on developmental delays. I'm so happy to say that it looks like we probably won't be in the program for too much longer.
Baby A was barely crawling at their first birthday. At 15 months, he's pulling up, cruising the couch, climbing up on the stairs, and can stand on his own for about 30 seconds. He's very close to walking and I am expecting it any day. Lately, he does this little move where he plants his feet and his hand on the floor and pushes up into a "V" position with his rear in the air. I'm pretty sure he's trying to get himself into the upright position because Baby C did the same thing for about a month before he started walking on his own. Vocally, he's making a lot more sounds. He can sign the words "more", "milk", and "all done" with some prompting and is learning to sign "eat". He loves his toys and he loves to play independently. His favorite toy lately has been a red teething ring. It's pretty funny to see him carry it around in his mouth while he crawls around FULL SPEED (and by full-speed, I mean FAST. You'd be amazed to see how fast this kid crawls). He hates when his siblings take something of his and will definitely let us know he's been robbed! He loves animals especially our dogs. He can often be found playing and laughing with one of them and they're so sweet to him even when he ends up with a big clump of their hair in his hand. Baby A was also our first to discover the downstairs bathroom. Needless to say, one toilet adventure was enough to make us remember to close that door each and every time. Baby A is also our flirt. When we take them in public, he always mesmerizes women with his blue eyes and blond hair and this little half smile/half laugh that he does.
Baby B has always been our smart little girl. Although she's not walking yet, she makes up for it with her vocabulary and her conversational skills. She too was not really crawling on their first birthday, but with the help of ball therapy, she's now crawling on all four, pulling up, and cruising the furniture. She has a pretty extensive vocabulary and can say "uh-oh", "Momma", "Daniel" and "Dada" on her own. She knows the signs "milk" and "more" and can use them accordingly on her own. She also knows the signs "all done" and "eat" and can use those with some help. She has this amazing little "ha ha" laugh and when she hears adults laughing she'll say "ha ha ha". She also loves to have conversations with anyone who will listen. Her part mostly consists of what sounds like "tickle, pickle, tickle" but she knows what she is saying! She is also the one who will tell her siblings when they're doing something wrong and will get on them and correct them. Her latest discovery is sitting on the couch. She loves to be on the couch and will make no effort to try to get off on her own but will sit through an entire episode of "Daniel Tiger" on the couch by herself. But once she's there, don't take her off or you'll never hear the end of it! Baby B has also always been our diva. After an early disaster wearing shoes out the house, I decided that we wouldn't wear shoes until we were walking. When Baby C and D needed them, Baby B was fascinated by her sisters shoes so much that she even had to have them on her feet. While Baby D could care less about shoes, we were forced to go back the next day and buy two more pairs so Baby B could have her own pair of shoes. She loves to wear them and is the only one who wants her shoes on first thing in the morning and won't take them off until it's time for baths.
Baby C is our muscle man. He's so strong and we've known he would be the first to walk and he is! He took his first steps unexpectedly one Thursday while our Occupational Therapist was here and never turned back. He's now teetering around the house on his own. We were told by our therapists that babies typically only focus on one thing at a time which was true for Baby C because he was so busy learning to walk, he wasn't talking at all. Now that he's getting that walking thing down, he's also making a lot more sounds. He can say "uh oh" and "Mom" on his own and knows the signs for "milk", "more", and "all done" with some encouragement. Baby C is also a Daddy's boy. He has been for some time but when he sees his Dad, he gets super excited and wants to always be by Dad. He loves getting to crawl in bed with his Dad for a few minutes when he wakes up in the morning. Baby C is a HUGE fan of Mickey Mouse and whenever we put on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for a few minutes so we can get something done, Baby C will stop whatever he's doing and look at Mickey. Because he's so strong, one of the struggles we face with Baby C is that he tends to be a little bit of a bully and will take whatever he wants from his brother and sisters. We're usually alerted that Baby C has snatched a toy (or my cell phone) by a squeal from one of the others and while we're working hard to teach him not to take things others are playing with, it's definitely proving to be a challenge. It seems a little bit easier to teach that point when there are four of something and each one is assigned their own color but trying to teach four toddlers how to share with community property as this age is WORK!
And then there's our beautiful Baby D. Baby D is a smart little girl. She was our tiniest when she was born, but she's now our mightiest. Out of all four babies, she's the only one that does not receive ECI services. She was on the path to walking but currently is taking a break from that to work on her vocabulary. She's mocking sounds that she hears and we really have to watch what we say now because there's a parrot in the room! Her two favorite words are "Momma" which usually comes out "Mom Mom Ma" and "shoes". She also knows how to sign "milk" and "all done" on her own and can sign "more" and "eat" with a little bit of prompting. Recently, Baby D, has figured out how to take command of her world and since she doesn't have the words to demand what she wants, she's taken to crying or whining. It's a challenge as a parent because our hands are so full already that sometimes it's just easier to give in and pick her up or give her what she wants but we're working hard at teaching her words and teaching her that as soon as she stops whining, she can have what it is (if appropriate) that she's wanting. Baby D has claimed her own little spot in the window sill to sit. Every morning we have to open the blinds so they can see outside and she will take her perch next to the recliner. We can often find her sitting there with her cup or with a toy while she watches cartoons. She's also discovered the stairs which has meant yet another baby gate has had to be purchased. The other day, everyone was downstairs with Dad and playing just fine while I took a shower upstairs. I suddenly heard her "I'm in a perdicament" cry" and could tell she was closer to me than she should be. I jumped out of the shower, grabbed a towel, and sure enough, I found my baby girl on the fourth stair with a look on her face that said "I almost made it to you but it was too far to get to you and too far to turn back". It only took a minute while Dad was tending to another baby for her to get there so we've since had to install gates at both the top and bottom of the stairs. (And Adam will vouch, those things are pain for adults to maneuver, especially when we're often carrying more than one baby.)
At 15 months actual (12 adjusted), we have weened everyone down to only the nighttime bottle. Within the next month, the plan is to finish with bottles. I did try weening the amount of formula they were getting down in preparation for taking the bottles away completely however, when I did that, they suddenly started waking up at 3 AM hungry and this Mommy needs her sleep like you wouldn't believe so we are back to an evening bottle during story time for now while I work to make sure they eat more during the day.
We work very hard to make sure we are giving them a wide range of activities and exposures. My biggest fear is that because there are four of them, they will miss out on things that other children take for granted and end up living a sheltered life. It's hard work taking them out, but after spending all of the winter months cooped up, with basically no human interaction or any resemblance of a life we once lived, it's a welcomed change to get out of the house.
Last weekend we took them to Wings Over South Texas in Corpus Christi at the Naval base. We slathered them in sunblock, put their sun shades on the strollers, along with sun hats on them, packed lots of toys and snacks along with a big blanket and whisked them away. They had fun watching the planes and even though I was worried the noise might scare them, it only did when it happened when they weren't expected it. They watched for the planes and would clap for the pilots. They also got to meet a few of the Blue Angels which was pretty cool.
|I've never before this willingly let five men command control of the quad stroller!|
This weekend, another neat event took place at Whataburger Field in Corpus called Pops in the Park. The Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra put on a concert in the baseball stadium synchronized to a laser light show on the Harbor Bridge and ended with a fireworks show as the finale. The theme was Oil Fields to Sea Shells and all of the musical selections tied into the Texas culture. I was really worried since it didn't start until later in the evening but we tried to prepare with carefully timed naps and extra sleep during the day. Three of the four managed to stay awake (and not overly fussy) through the entire show and the fourth slept through about the second half of the performance before hearing the fireworks and waking up to watch them. It was definitely fun. They gave away tambourines to the audience and the quads enjoyed shaking them but their favorite part was clapping. When the audience would clap, so would the quads sometimes even keeping rhythm during the music.
|Pops in the Park with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra at Whataburger Field. (Aren't we an entourage?)|
Having Adam home has been both a blessing and a curse. While it's hard with him not having a job, I can't help but think how I would not be able to do this age alone as I had been with him working out of town. Our days are filled with taking care of the quads, teaching, and coordinating their many appointments for therapy as well as other doctors appointments and such. While one of us prepares meals, the other tends to the quads and their needs. We share the housework and have even managed to get some of the things unpacked that I was never able to do when I was doing this alone as he worked away. Still, last night, as we returned home from our outing, Adam and I peered into the open garages of some of our neighbors as we passed them and Adam said, "Oh what I wouldn't give you have such a nice, neat garage like that". Followed by, "if we just had another set or two of hands". Of course, he wouldn't come right out and say it, but I know it finally hit him after being home with us for a month and a half; there's only so much a person can do and when you're caring for four little people's each and every need, you pretty much don't get a break and by the time they're asleep, you're too exhausted to do anything more than wash the dishes, clean the table, pick up their toys, and run a quick mop underneath the quad table. For now, our house is what I can only describe as (semi)organized chaos. We do what we have to to get by, but focus primarily on our babies and their needs. They won't be this young forever so we're trying hard to savor it while we can.
I'll be honest, never in my life have I ever been so exhausted, stressed, and disorganized. Sometimes I feel like I am one thrown cereal bowl, one dirty diaper, or one whine away from the funny farm, BUT never in my life have I ever been so richly blessed and rewarded for all of the sacrifices we've had to make. I love being a mommy and although I never ever dreamed I'd be parenting quadruplets, it's by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life.