Amber Shawver resides in Fort Worth with her husband George, a senior government loan officer at Capital One, and their 2-year-old quadruplets: Rylin, Harper, Sydney and Mason. In an effort to maintain professional skills and a stitch of sanity, Amber practices psychology part time. She finds that her professional background is often helpful when managing her brood at home. When she finds spare time, Amber chronicles life raising quadruplets on her blog Four to Adore.
7:15AM I’m up, but miraculously the kids are still snoozing. I seize the moment to make my bed, slip into my “mom uniform” (i.e., yoga pants and a T-shirt), wash my face and brush my teeth. I then usher both pooches outside to use the restroom.
7:30AM It’s still quiet. I unload the dishwasher and begin plating breakfast. I hear the boys stirring in their room. It’s not long before laughter is billowing down the hallway. As soon as I open the boys’ bedroom door, the pair darts into the playroom as they begin zooming Matchbox cars along the rug.
7:45AM I wrestle the boys onto the changing table, so I can change their soppy overnight diapers. By now, the girls are awake, and thankfully chipper, which is rare for them.
8AM All four kids lumber into their respective high chairs and begin noshing on breakfast. While they eat, I finish tidying up and enjoy a bowl of cereal. As they finish eating, I wipe sticky hands and faces before clearing the dirty dishes and loading the dishwasher.
8:30AM Much to my delight, all four kids happily play in the playroom. I decide to finally change the batteries in a Fisher Price Little People toy, and they are enamored for a solid 30 minutes.
9AM Unlike the typical bickering, the kids are still getting along and playing independent of me. I fire up the Keurig and make myself a cup of hazelnut. It’s refreshing to see so much cooperative and imaginative play amongst them. I’m really savoring this.
9:30AM Caffeine kicks in, and I know we need to hit the grocery store before lunch. I dart to my bathroom to slap on a little makeup and fix my hair.
9:45AM Time to dress the kiddos. I want to snap a few photos for a gift to my mom. This means the girls can wear “top-shelf dresses” (i.e., special occasion dresses). I pick a pair of matching polka dot dresses for the girls, and they squeal in delight. Sydney allows me to slip her dress on, and Rylin eyes the matching dress saying, “It’s cute!” When it’s Rylin’s turn, things go downhill. She’s decided she is not wearing it. I casually eye the other options in their closet and consider my photo vision, and the fact that Sydney is already dressed. With promises of jellybeans, Rylin agrees to wear the chosen dress.
10AM I cruise the boys’ closet and snatch polo shirts that will coordinate. They are both completely agreeable and let me dress them head-to-toe without problem.
10:05AM I usher everyone into the bathroom where I pull the girls’ hair up and accessorize them with bows. They boys get a little pomade for texture, and I admire them. I then snatch a set of painted wooden letters that spell “Hope” for our photo shoot. They do not like this plan — at all. With a few scuffles and swaps, they eventually agree to hold a letter and head to the backyard.
10:30AM After I splay out four mini Adirondack chairs, each child takes a seat. I prop the letters up and start snapping photos. Of course, getting even one smile is out of the question, and I accept that. After about 10 shots, I realize that Sydney has been holding her “P” backwards. She is not willing to let me turn it around either. I manage to flip it before snapping a couple more photos.
11AM Uh oh … time is slipping away. We’ve got to go to Kroger. I scribble a list onto a tablet and dump a handful of loose coins onto the table. I promise a ride on the coin-operated Elmo car at the end of our trip. They are ecstatic. As I buckle the kids into their car seats, I explain it will be Mason and Sydney’s turn to “drive” the car part of the cart. On the way to the store, I review who is sitting where in the cart in hopes that it will be a non-issue.
11:20AM I circle the Kroger parking lot until I spy my coveted “big cart” with two seats in the buggy and two car ones in the front. After I park, I snatch the cart before anyone else can and wipe it down with Lysol wipes. When the cart is satisfactorily clean, I unfasten each car seat and ask the kids to line up in the van as I heave each one into the cart. Harper completely loses his mind when he notices the car is occupied by his siblings. In soothing tones, I remind him of the Elmo ride and that he’s in charge of holding the list. He’s thrashing and screaming as I push the ginormous cart toward the door. I notice that Elmo was replaced by a row of plants. Seriously?
11:35AM I quickly show the kids where Elmo used to be and brace myself for hideous tantrums. Shockingly, no one is unreasonably upset and Harper is calm by the time we enter the store. We manage to gather all items on our list and check out with ease.
12PM The quads chatter as I load the groceries into the van and then buckle them into their seats.
12:20PM I’ve unloaded the van and groceries just in time for lunch. The quads convince me to let them doodle in their notebooks, which Rylin is now calling her “iPad.” I nuke leftovers, then quickly dish them onto plates. The kids devour lunch.
12:45PM It’s nearing naptime, but I know there’s not a chance anyone will so much as cat nap with zero outside time. The yard is full of mud, so I announce we will be taking a walk. They plead to bring various items along for the walk, but I have zero intention of carrying two notebooks, two pens, four pairs of sunglasses and four Matchbox cars down the street. I explain that they can bring said items along, but I will not help them carry anything home. About halfway down the street, sunglasses are no longer needed and whines begin. I do a quick lesson in tucking glasses onto your clothes. Surprisingly, the quads think this is a good idea.
1:15PM It’s fifteen past naptime. I scuttle around, taking kids potty and changing any wet diapers before I darken rooms, start sound machines, and dump toys into bins. If the playroom isn’t kept reasonably clean, our Yorkshire
terror terrier will shred everything into miniscule bits.
1:30PM After reading one book, I tuck each child into bed and cross my fingers they’ll actually nap.
1:45PM Hallelujah, the house is quiet. Not that anyone is asleep, but it’s peaceful. This is “me time.” I catch up on reading my emails, Facebook and editing photos for the blog before I start prepping dinner.
4PM Sadly, naptime is over. I escort kids to the bathroom and change wet diapers before doling out a snack.
5PM I start cooking dinner as the kids play on the kitchen floor.
6PM George is home, and we eat dinner together as a family and chatter about the day. The kids scoop kibble into the dog’s dishes.
6:30PM We clear the table, wipe messy hands and faces, wash the used pots and load the dishwasher.
7PM We head to the front yard where we plant a geranium together, then the kids have fun darting around in the yard.
7:30PM Despite the protests, the kids head inside where we put them into pajamas, wash faces and hands, brush teeth, read bedtime stories and say prayers together.
8PM It’s lights out for the kids. Of course, they begin master stalling techniques: requesting water, more stories, special kisses and to be rocked.
8:15PM All four kids are tucked into bed and quiet. I finish tidying up and getting ready for the next day.
9:15PM I’m caught up with missed messages, emails and writing. I watch a little television with George and read before calling it a night.