Thursday, August 13, 2009

Birthday Presents

Today is the quads birthday - and it's also Geana's birthday. She wrote this earlier in the week and I thought I'd share it with you today. Happy Birthday to my lovely wife... and to my four crazy quadruplets.

By Geana Morris:

OMG – were you freaking out when they told you, you were having QUADRUPLETS!?

Do you want the real answer? Or, the answer I give people on the street because I know it is what they want to hear?

Street: OMG, YES. I was totally freaking out. I was like, OH MY GAWD - WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

Real: No. Strangely enough, this weird sort of calm came over me. Anyone who knew me pre-quadruplets could tell you I am not a calm sort of person. But, when faced with the overwhelming truth of something incomprehensible, my body went into this calming mode that even I can’t explain.

As my four are turning five, it is causing a nostalgic moment in which I look back and ponder wistfully at the last five years of my life. Where did the time go? The last time I looked, I had 4 babies and now I have 4 soon-to-be kindergarteners. What’s the deal with that?

As a biological defense mechanism (I suppose) my body has forgotten some of the story re: pre-birth and birth of my quadruplets. Fortunately, I have a Discovery Health show from which my most vivid recollections come. I do remember bits, like feeding time when I would line the kids up and use my homemade bowl contraption to feed them sort of like an assembly line and singing (to the tune of Down by the Station),

Up in the bedroom, early in the morning
See the little babies all in a row.
See the little Mommy feed the little babies
Chug, chug, toot, toot, off we go

I didn’t know what to expect. I knew I would need 4 cribs, lots of bottles, formula, diapers, etc. But other than that, there really wasn’t anything to prepare for prior to bringing them home. I was fortunate to find an organization called Mothers of SuperTwins (MOST). There I joined a group specifically for Quads, Quints and Sextuplet parents. The group and reading lots of books, gave me some sense of what I would need and some decisions I would need to make along the way. Like, RSV – I had no idea what that was prior to having premature babies. But I was ready for the visitors when my babies came home.

In addition to MOST, I found Mainline MOMs. The only group of people who don’t refer to me as “the quad mom” – well, most of the time. It’s a place I could go to and be Geana Morris. I am a mother to quadruplets, therefore I get the adjective. But there, I was just a mother like the rest who had too many kids and not enough hands. Albeit, I had 8 (10 really) hands, but who’s counting. This group of women didn’t let me drown alone. They forced themselves on me because they knew if they didn’t I would’ve tried to go it alone. No – they didn’t force help like bombarding and taking over babies, etc. They forced me to get out, laugh, talk, and think about other things at a time when I could’ve just vanished into a haze of babies and all of their stuff.

Oh, and the baby nurse, Rye. I had no idea who she was. Really, an online friend gave me her info and in a desperate moment when the quads were 6 months old, I called her. She came over, took pity on me and within two weeks scheduled the babies and forced me to get dressed EVERY day. That was a hard task – not the scheduling, she had that under control in ONE day. It was the dressing thing… I had no clothes! Rye saved me and my marriage. The quads still got to bed at 7:30 every night. Everyone says “Oh…. You must have gotten no sleep for the past 4 years” I definitely play into it when it will get me some sympathy, but truthfully, from 6 months old the quads slept from 7:30pm to 7:30am EVERY NIGHT. We got more sleep then singleton parents who rock their babies to sleep and refuse to put them in bed awake letting them fall asleep on their own. Suckers! (jk – not suckers, just ill advised)

Between then and now, it is all a blur. In fact, I often come to tears when looking at photos from the last 4-5 years. I have a vivid memory of Robby pushing himself up to sit and turning around to look at me (is it a true memory or Memorex – I’ll have to go watch the shows to figure it out). I especially love the clip of Ella trying to walk at Theraplay and falling back on her bum (thanks D.H. for thinking that was worth seeing). Otherwise, my heart breaks at the memories that couldn’t be stored in this over-worked brain of mine.

I do remember lots of hugs and kisses. Sheesh – I can’t get out the door without hugging and kissing everyone. I will need to remember that and plan accordingly once I start working again. I know my kids yell, because I yell. I am trying to work on that. I do as well with not yelling as I do with dieting. Every morning I wake up and it is going to be the day I do everything right…. Usually by 10am I’ve yelled and eaten the wrong things! Some day. Some day.

I’m gearing up for the first day of Kindergarten. I can’t tell if I will be emotional or not – you know, it’s been a long five years. Will I fill up at the thought of my babies growing up? Or, at the thought of how the heck did I just do what I did? Remember, in the beginning I had no idea – I still don’t. I was looking at my sister’s 14-year old twins tonight and thinking – HOLY GOD, what am I going to do with 4 of those!? No, I think I will be filling up because they survived me. Regardless of how I messed up or yelled or wanted to be anywhere but here at times, they survived. I don’t know about you, but I know there were days when the sun came up and I thought “how can I do this again?” Thinking, this cycle never stops – day after day, after day – this is hard and I’m tired – this isn’t glamorous and if one more person rushes over wide-eyed and gushing I will scream. They survived homework and tantrums. Meetings. Boredom. Because sheesh – there were times when I was bored to death. I love them and all, but hey I loved working in town and going out to lunch and taking showers and buying clothes and talking to people too. Yea… they survived me.

So, instead of all that, I give the street answer:

OMG, YES. I was totally freaking out. I was like, OH MY GAWD - WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

Happy 5th birthday to Robby, James, Anna & Ella – the best birthday presents ever!