Under Construction: How Life has Changed

 

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I was reflecting today on how much life changes when someone becomes a parent and even more so how the change does not stop at child birth; with each stage, the child grows and the parent changes.

At conception, I grew in my passion, responsibility and intent to protect my unborn children. I witnessed a side of me that I had never seen before- the Mama bear. I was keenly aware of the needs of the “fruit of my womb” and there was nothing that was going to stop me in fighting for their lives.

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Photo Credit: Hayley Painter

At birth, I grew in love, and all that encompasses this word: sacrifice, friendship, and intimacy. I never knew this type of love; the love of a parent for their children. It is this love that grounds all future growth and is the “why” for each and every day.

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In infancy, my managerial capabilities were tested; could I pump, feed, bathe, cuddle, console, play and nurture five infants every day? We would see. We did, but not alone, and thus I grew in humility. I had to fight my pride and welcome- and rely- on the help of others. Still to this day, our family is living proof that it takes a village.

In toddlerhood, the challenges shifted to be more mental and psychological than physical. Yes, it can be tiresome to chase around five two-year-olds, but it is more challenging to teach and coach them through their new emotions, experiences and misunderstandings. It is in this stage that I took Daniel Tiger’s advice, “when you feel like you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four.” Between this mantra and my many parenting mishaps, I believe I have learned the value of remaining calm during chaos and calamity… unfortunately knowledge does not translate into skill very easily.

Today, we are in the preschool era. Being three is so very different than two. At three, children move with ease, can articulate what they are thinking and have a basic understanding of the world that they witness day-in and day-out. They are still naive to everything outside of their four walls but that presents caregivers with a priceless opportunity. Preschoolers are hungry, hungry for knowledge of all of the what, when, where, why and how of this world. It is a true joy to help a youngster navigate a new experience that you know they will remember with smiles in their heart.

Yes, I will not deny there are the threenager moments and mood swings; the “holes” in their oatmeal, the zipper that won’t budge, when they wanted triangles instead of rectangles, or even when all of the bubbles in the bathtub have come and gone. These little things that make the littles steam; it is in these moments that I pray I am able to remain calm and that my peace would transcend their anguish. It is these times that are preparing me for their true teenage years.

At the end of every day, I lie in bed reviewing the day- as I’m sure they do- recalling my good choices and my bad choices. I try to remind myself of the elementary lesson that bad choices don’t make you a bad person, or a bad parent for that matter. We are all under construction… works in progress… building, refining and polishing each other in each moment of everyday and in each stage and we all play a role in this process independent of our age.

One Small Step For…

The V-5 are now 1 year and 2 months and just 2 weeks away from their due date. Since their first birthday we have been witness to milestone after milestone, including first steps!

 

Mr. Theo can now:Quints-59

  • Cruise along with a push-along-walker,
  • Stand-up by himself,
  • Stack cups and blocks,
  • Match colors,
  • Place rings on a pole, and
  • Throw a ball.

No real words yet for Theo but he can rattle off a host of consonants. He also can recognize the word ball.

 

Ms. Bella Jumping Bean can now: Quints-4

  • Cruise with a push-along-walker,
  • Pull herself up and stand,
  • Remove her bib and shirt,
  • Throw a ball,
  • Dance like a queen, and
  • Point at things and people, especially those that she thinks should get into trouble.

Bella is great a monkey-see, monkey-do and will mimic most actions. No words yet for Bella, but she is definitely the singer in the group.

 

L.G. can now: Quints-60

  • Pull herself up and stand with assistance,
  • Match colors,
  • Point at things and people,
  • Throw a ball, and
  • Make the sign for milk.

Lily also knows a host of consonants and her favorite is Da, Da, Da, Da.

 

K-Mae can now: Quints-3

  • Pull herself up and walk slowly with a push-along-walker,
  • Collect similar objects (puppets, chewy tubes, clothes),
  • Stack cups, blocks and rings, and
  • Play peek-a-boo.

Kali loves to rattle off consonant sounds and certainly knows the word, “no.” Needless to say, she’s our little trouble-maker. For those that know the Pigeon and Duckling books…she’s our little pigeon.

 

Sweet Ellie Rose can now: Quints-36

  • Stand up along and… walk!
  • Collect similar objects,
  • Point and pull things, and
  • Place objects into a box and remove them

Elliott is the quietest quint, but when she is excited she loves to squawk and repeat consonant sounds.

T.I.K.L.E. at One Year

The stages of infancy fly by, often times I don’t recall specific days, but rather specific moments. It is these moments- these memories- that still give me goosebumps and have left footprints on my heart. Milestone stages at 3 months, 6 months and 12 months give me a reason to reminisce.

How do we spell love? T.I.K.L.E.

T is for Theodore

Theodore Joseph

T is for theo2

I is for Isabella

Isabella Marie

K is for Kali

L is for Lillian

Lillian Grace

L is for Lily

E is for Elliott

E is for Ellie

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Another special thank you to Hayley for the beautiful photos that she took of our children at 3 and 12 months. She is a very talented photographer. Her talent and patience are divine!  Be sure to check back at her homepage for more Photos by Hayley.

First Year Stats

The numbers are in! The V-5 tolerated their one-year check-up like champs.

 

fam photo

 

Here’s how they weighed in…

Theodore Joseph- “Theo”

  • Birth Length: 14.5 in
  • Current Length: 28.8 in
  • Birth Weight: 2.87 lbs
  • Current Weight: 23.2 lbs

Isabella Maria- “Bella Bean”

  • Birth Length: 15.7 in
  • Current Length: 27.6 in
  • Birth Weight: 2.49 lbs
  • Current Weight: 17.5 lbs

Lillian Grace- “Lily Bug”

  • Birth Length: 14.6 in
  • Current Length: 27.9 in
  • Birth Weight: 2.69 lbs
  • Current Weight: 17.8 lbs

Kali Mae- “K-Mae”

  • Birth Length: 13 in
  • Current Length: 28 in
  • Birth Weight: 2.29 lbs
  • Current Weight: 20lbs

Elliott Rose- “Ellie Bellie”

  • Birth Length: 14.9 in
  • Current Length: 27.6 in
  • Birth Weight: 2.41 lbs
  • Current Weight: 18 lbs

 

The kiddos also were featured on Madison’s local NBC station (WMTV-15). Check out the story and video at:

http://www.nbc15.com/home/headlines/Vanderwall-quintuplets-turn-the-big-1-270422081.html

Her First Year: Kali Mae

The fourth born. Loud from the start, our screecher monkey. Queen of the steam roll. Expressions that make your heart smile.  A face you can read like a book.

Most likely to steal your toy with no regard. Will likely stand on her head before her feet. Most likely to have her name mispronounced correct them with a smile.

Ms. Kali Mae.

Her First Year: Lillian Grace

The third born. Our resilient Lily bug. Simultaneously, two steps behind and two steps ahead. Campaigner for attention and knows how to work the crowd at any social event

Most likely to toss her cookies. Will likely be a scaredy cat like her Mama. Most likely to share her toys, her opinion and her heart.

Ms. Lillian Grace