But now we're a mere four months away from their second birthday and are busy being both amazed and quite occupied by our quad squad! There's a lot more hard, long days right now—mostly because of teething—where the kiddos require tons of attention or TLC or just a constant state of change to keep them satisfied. We're still cycling through an impressive amount of Infant Advil, frozen teethers and chomped-on fingers and most everyone has a couple of molars and their eye teeth are coming through as we speak. I didn't realize what little devils those things were! Let me just say, I'll be relieved when the teething phase is over. It's long, trying and painful.
In the meantime, we're about a month or so behind with our doctor appointments so they got their 18 month check at about 19 months old. And everyone got a fantastic report! The doctor was extremely pleased with their height and weight and where they placed on the growth chart. I've got two tall, skinny and lanky kiddos (Harrison and Kailey) and two skinny, petite little kiddos (Trystan and Logan). All are healthy with absolutely no concerns at this time. They each got two shots at the appointment, but we finally reached that magical moment in time when the doctor said, "They won't be getting any shots at their next appointment." At that particular second, the heavens parted and angels began singing. Ha. We've had as many as four shots per baby at some appointments, which is a whopping 16 shots for momma to comfort the kiddos through!! A feat, to say the least!
Here's everyone's current stats, in birth order:
I've still got three brown haired kiddos and one red haired beauty and all four have the most beautiful blue eyes. Kailey's are like a steel blue color, Harrison and Logan's are bright blue and Trystan's are a deeper blue shade—and they're all gorgeous! I'm one happy mommy to have passed off that trait to all four of my kiddos at once, go me. ;)
Wanna know how an average day looks right now? Okay, here goes....
The crew sleeps an average of 11-12 hours with bedtime about 8pm and rising time about 7:30 or 8am. Which is a glorious, glorious thing and we are so grateful our sleep training paid off! They eat breakfast by 8:30am, have finger snacks and water in the play room about 10am, lunch is at 11:45am and they're in bed for naps by 12:30pm. The afternoon sleep time averages 1.5 to 2 hours, but they tend to happily play in their cribs by themselves for another hour or so after that. I put "quiet toys" like books, puzzles, soft animals, stacking cups and so on in their cribs, along with spill-proof sippy cups of water, to keep them plenty occupied before and after they doze off. Once they're up, I change diapers and either let them play in one of their rooms while I supervise or organize their closet or I bring them back downstairs to the play room. Snacks are served about 3:30pm in spill-proof snack cups and they eat these at their leisure in the play room. Most of the time, they are content to play and watch Bubble Guppies or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse until around 5:30 or 6pm. At that time, I either let them into the kitchen to explore (it's all baby-proofed) or I put them in the quad table with discovery boxes or puzzles while I finish up dinner. We all eat together as a family about 6:30pm, then the babies are cleaned up and dressed in pajamas, teeth brushed, water sipped, aquaphor on their cheeks and sleep sacks put on and lights out! Whew!
Of course, this doesn't take into account days we are out of the house for activities or appointments and they also get baths on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at some point. I have a wonderful nanny that comes for five hours on Monday and Friday mornings; my mom and step-dad spend Wednesdays with me helping out; and a good friend of mine comes Thursday mornings for a few hours to lend me a hand or play with the quads while I write articles and meet deadlines for work. Needless to say, we try our best to take things one day at a time around here!
We've been experience some new things and getting better at other things. Running around is no longer a problem, these kids are quick. We've taken them to a couple different parks as well as the open creek area behind our back yard to work their legs and burn off energy. They love it! Getting outside when the weather is pleasant is crucial and we try to accomplish that once or twice a week, even if it's not for very long.
And since we can't just run off somewhere fun every single day (or I'd die of exhaustion!), we knew we had to make their play room a place they enjoyed to be. So for Christmas, the quad squad received a jungle gym of sorts complete with a ball pit, slide and climbing space. They were already monkeys to begin with and their dexterity, balance and agility has only increased steadily. They've also mastered the slide and are no longer intimated or hesitant to slide down any number of them, tall or short. Head first or foot first, a little face plant ain't no thang!
The kiddos have enjoyed a couple play dates here and there at the mall with our multiples buddies and at friend's houses, but one new experience they got to embark on was a trip to our local library for Toddler Time! My mom and step-dad admirably stepped up to the challenge of accompanying me—my mom is a huge proponent of these sorts of experiences for the quads, too!—and away we went. Naturally they didn't sit still during story time, which I must admit was painfully boring on this particular occasion, but they did love the touch-and-feel time that included shakers, colorful scarves and also coloring at a table. They sat in adult chairs, a very novel experience, and rocked those crayons and papers like it was their J-O-B. After that, we checked out the toddler area inside the library where I was pleasantly surprised to find a tot-sized table and (four) chairs, climbing shapes, toys and a plethora of board books. A new outing and success!
We were feeling empowered afterward, so we took the whole crew to Chick-Fil-A for lunch that day and they were perfectly behaved. My sweet pride and joy. Later that afternoon, my step-dad joined forces with a friend of his in my kitchen for a guitar and violin private concert. The babies ate up every note, it really was sweet. Grandad even let the quad squad play on the violin so they could be familiar with it—and I know he has every intention of seeing that these babies are musically-inclined. :)
There's a couple of new things we've implemented in our day-to-day to either incorporate new habits, better methods or a revised schedule that better reflects the babies' needs. Multi-tasking is a constant, and a necessity I don't see doing without anytime in the
next 20 years near future. For instance, in a house of quads, clipping their toenails while they sit in their quad table and eat lunch is perfectly normal.
Meal planning for each week is now taking place on a slightly more regular basis. I attempt this every Sunday but don't sweat it if it doesn't happen until Monday. It's also not a die-hard-must-stick-to-it-the-entire-week system, but it definitely takes some of the pressure off when meal times roll around and I'm staring into the fridge wondering what in the hell to make! (You can find the free printable meal chart I use on my Organizing board on Pinterest.)
In addition to meal planning, actual family dinners are now happening on the regular. This is something I'm very proud of as it's a huge "must" in my opinion. It's a habit I am happy we've started young as I plan to continue it for the rest of our lives. Since we all eat the same thing for dinner, I prepare the food and get it all plated then put the kids in the table as daddy walks in the door from work. He quickly changes clothes, we pull up our chairs and chow down! We've found that the quads have been closely eyeing our use of utensils and have really improved in that arena. I don't hand out toddler forks with every single meal, but often enough that they've really gotten the hang of them.
Food favorites include spaghetti squash with meat sauce (I practically beam with pride when they wolf this down every time!), French style green beans, grilled cheese, blueberries, broccoli, mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, cheetoh puffs, mac and cheese, garlic toast, bananas, Greek yogurt, whole grain goldfish and turkey sausage, among many other things! They drink whole milk with all their meals (I give them as much as they want, they don't go crazy) and water, decaf herbal tea or watered down apple juice during the daytime. Sometimes I "sweeten" their herbal tea with a couple splashes of orange juice and they seem to really like that, too.
Changing up the play room has always sort of been in the cards, since I keep their smaller toys in plastic bins scattered throughout the house (like closets, corner of the play room, etc.) and switch these out about once a week. It gives them "fresh" toys that they haven't seen in awhile and keeps them occupied for hours. But with the addition of larger play items, like climbing structures, I've taken to moving things around on occasion to give them new free space to roam or a new arrangement to explore. For instance, recently I just ordered their first set of play food and they got a shopping cart for Christmas, so I put their play pots and pans and kitchens in the playroom so they could incorporate those activities together. I take other large items out and move them upstairs into their rooms, which then become new again when they play up there after naps or baths! They also enjoying playing with magnets on the DIY magnetic chalkboard fireplace cover I made, and they don't seem interested in chewing on them anymore since they understand what they're for. I use an old dishwasher basket to hold all the magnet pieces!
One of the other things we're really enjoying during this age is their ability to better understand us and communicate with both us and each other. They all have about 15-20 words down with new ones being added each week. They grasp so much more of what we tell them or explain to them, like "be right back" or "give me a hug/kiss" and simple commands like "time for night-night" and they head up the stairs. Sometimes I can walk up to the play room gate with graham crackers or animal cookies and if one of the kids is too far away for me to hand it to them, I can ask one of the babies nearby to take it and hand it to so-and-so. They feel hugely important doing this! Logan, and really the other three as well, have exhibited a desire to help with things like emptying the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, wiping down the table and handing us all their toys out of their cribs when it's time to go night-night.
It's also high time that momma and daddy have to start watching what we say! Harrison was working on a puzzle at the table and really has them down, he puts them together in record time. I was walking away and said, "That's so awesome!" when he perfectly repeated "awesome" without skipping a beat. But my heart sure did, what a sweet sound! He says it all the time now and may have repeated one or two other not-so-nice things that slipped out of my mouth, so we've now officially entered the "spell it out" phase among the adults. Problem solved for now. ;)
And that, my friends, is the 18+ month update! People constantly ask how we do it or shake their head in amazement (I appreciate it, I really do) and we just reply that we continue to take things one day at a time. We've been doing that since we found out we were expecting quadruplets and we've been doing it since the day the fantastic four arrived in our lives. Oh, and wine. Copious amounts of wine. Which I'm off to pour right now, as a matter of fact...