On any given day, Jeryn Bates and her husband, Larry, go through almost two boxes of diapers — about 50 individually — and two gallons of milk.
In one day.
“When one of the kids is sick — and one of them seems to always be sick — we go through even more diapers,” Jeryn Bates said.
Welcome to the wonderful world of parenting quadruplets, a 5-year-old and a teenager.
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On Friday, the Bates babies turned 2 with a private celebration at the home of their grandparents. Ella, 5, will be celebrating a birthday at the end of the month.
Jeryn Bates said the quads’ second birthday would be a more low-key affair than their first birthday.
“Oh, (they got) diapers, things that they need,” Jeryn Bates said. “They (each got) a gift, as well, but we are having to stockpile diapers again because we didn’t have to buy them for so long after they were born because people gave us so many.”
246Number of quadruplets born in U.S. in 2014
Four Bates babies were born Sept. 16, 2014, in a Mobile hospital, where they stayed for about two months.
They were born without the use of fertility drugs, which typically increase the chances of a multiple birth. Jeryn Bates had a 1-in-800,000 chance for quadruplets.
And they’re one of three sets of quads in Jackson County.
Jeryn Bates said the last year has gone by quickly, including a recent stay in the hospital for one of the boys.
“He had a touch of pneumonia, asthma and allergies to dust,” she said.
Larry Bates, who teaches history in the Pascagoula School District, said having one in the hospital meant a completely different schedule for the entire family.
“I had to take off from work because we split shifts at the hospital and someone had to be at home with the other babies,” he said.
They definitely knew something was different. He shares a room with his brother and it was weird for him — it was so sad because one night I caught him in his room playing peekaboo by himself — but we let them FaceTime at night.
Jeryn Bates minced no words when she described the recent health setback.
“Yeah, it sucked,” she said.
And her son’s absence did not go unnoticed around the house.
“They definitely knew something was different,” she said. “He shares a room with his brother and it was weird for him — it was so sad because one night I caught him in his room playing peekaboo by himself — but we let them FaceTime at night.”
Meet the babies
Larry Bates said the children — Lawson, Bryson, Loxley and Brinkley — all have very distinct personalities and play different roles in the home.
Jeryn Bates said Lawson is the alpha male of the group.
“He is all boy,” she said. “I said he would be the first to get stitches, and he was.”
Bryson is the quiet and mysterious one.
“He can be pretty emotional,” Larry Bates said. “He’s also the one that has the most health issues with asthma and allergies.”
The alpha female of the group is Brinkley, Jeryn Bates said.
“She is wild,” she said. “She is the boss lady of everybody.”
Loxley is the oldest.
“She’s the sweet one,” Jeryn Bates said. “If one of the other ones is crying, she brings them a toy and tries to comfort them.”
But Ella, Larry Bates said, is the one that holds it all together.
“She’s such a great kid and she’s always helping us,” he said.
A day in the life
Jeryn Bates said the family gets up every day around 7 a.m. After getting them dressed and feeding them breakfast, they nap for about three hours from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“After their nap, I get them up and feed them lunch and then we load up and get Ella from school at 2:30 and then we come home and get dinner ready,” she said.
The babies go to sleep around 6 p.m. and sleep until the next morning.
“We are so lucky because of how well they sleep,” she said. “I can’t complain — Ella doesn’t even sleep all the way through the night —but I know it’s coming, but if I could, I would keep them in their cribs until they were five.”
Their coming year
Jeryn Bates said one of the biggest things she knows will happen in the coming year is that the kids will have to be potty trained.
“I’ll be glad to not have to buy diapers, but I’m really not looking forward to it,” she said.
The next year will bring several changes for the family, Larry Bates said, but they are ready to embrace them.
“The thing about having this many kids is that once you get a routine down pat, you have to change it, so we have learned to adapt quickly,” he said.
In those rare moments she’s not changing a diaper or placing a bandage on a boo boo, Jeryn Bates, who makes witty observations about being a mother of six on her Facebook page, hopes to start writing more.
“I have a blog set up, it’s called ‘Southern Blonde Wife,’ but I haven’t had time to start on it, but I hope to soon,” she said.
As she said that, though, Brinkley, started crying and wanting her mom to hold her.
“We’ll see,” Jeryn Bates said.