When I learned that the Bell Quad Squad planned to relocate to the Dallas area I was ecstatic. I envisioned epic quad play dates plus some adult time with parents in the trenches. A few months ago, the Bells finally made the big move up here. However, I presumed they were overwhelmed with moving quadruplets across state, searching for a new home, and fielding visitors. The last thing I wanted to do was pounce on an already over extended family. Last week, I knew it was time for the epic quad play date. The tell-tell sign was Amber’s Facebook post of herself sitting in the apartment lawn encircled by to Exersaucers, a Jumparoo, and a quilt littered with baby toys. I know that we can feel cabin fever from being cramped in our house. I can’t imagine contending with 11 month old mobile quadruplets in a two bedroom apartment, even just temporarily. I messaged Amber to see if she was up for the adventure and she happily accepted the challenge.
As it turns out, planning a quad play date is quite an undertaking. Amber and I messaged back and forth for a solid three days before the big event. Topics of consideration included schedules, getting lunch for ourselves, and what Amber should pack (or not). After a lot of banter, we hatched a fool-proof plan. At first we were frustrated by seemingly opposite feed and nap schedules. However it worked out rather well in the end. Prior to their arrival, I set up our four pack ‘n’ plays in our study and master bedroom while Amber loaded her Suburban across town. While she was en route, Amber stopped by Chick Fil A to snag some lunch for the Mamas (Hooray for that!).
Amber arrived with babies in tow just as my crew began waking from their morning nap. As I settled my babies in the feeding table, Amber let her four acclimate to their new surroundings. They seemed to enjoy their new surroundings and became comfortable quickly, with the exception of Logan. Poor Logan was having an “off” day and was less than pleased with the whole ruckus of eight babies. I’ll admit, I expected there to be one or more unhappy babies and figured one or more would likely be mine. I was relieved that there was only one unhappy camper in the bunch and she didn’t belong to me (sorry Amber B!) Not bad to have only one baby fuss given the circumstances. There was one Shawver family member that was far more upset than Logan though. Lily protested being quarantined on the opposite side of the fence. I haven’t a clue why a Yorkie would want to roam about with EIGHT babies crawling at her and grabbing her. Most of the day, babies took turns peering through the bars of the gate at Lily as she whined about her situation.
After my babies gobbled up their lunch, I practically hosed the table down and we traded out babies. It wasn’t long before Amber had all four of her babies fed that we had all eight babies in the den for official play time. For the first time, I thought our den resembled a day care class, but I loved it. The babies spent time exploring on their own and also noticing unfamiliar faces and toys. Amber brought some of their favorite toys along for familiarity, but they fascinated my babies with novelty. Her toys made me once again realize I underestimate my babies’ abilities. Rylin surprised me when she rolled a bus on the hard wood and they all enjoyed the rocking horse. It looks like George and I will be searching for some riding toys and the buses housed in storage will soon appear.
Despite all of the babies (especially Rylin) having “stranger danger”, they all seemed to know that the other Amber was okay. Rylin and Sydney crawled right up to Amber and engaged her as if they were old friends and Harrison buddied up to me like we’ve known each other for years.
To both Mama’s delight, we managed to get ALL eight babies to nap simultaneously! It started with protests from many, but even Amber’s babies in the new place settled. Amber and I enjoyed the bit of peace as we ate our own lunches and enjoyed grown up conversation together.
As babies woke from slumber, Amber and I snatched them up one at a time to keep them from disturbing others. Once all eight were up it was play time again. I’m not sure how much time passed, but at some point good moods faded and Amber inquired, “Do you have a Baby Einstein?” I’m not sure if you’ve ever witnessed a baby watching one of those DVDs, but they are magical. As soon as the music filled the den, eight little heads turned towards the television and sixteen eyes fixed on the screen. We took the opportunity to line all eight babies up to snap a picture. Of course still and quiet babies was short lived. It did not take long for Mason and Kailey to escape for greener pastures, but it was nice while it lasted and it helped the fussing cease. About the time Logan felt at ease and relaxed, it was time for the Bell babies afternoon bottle and dash to beat rush hour traffic. Quad mamas are forced to be efficient, but there is one thing more efficient than a quad mama: TWO quad mamas! In a flurry, we had the den tidy, babies fed and changed, four babies in cribs and four more loaded into a Suburban in record time. It was a successful quad play date for all! We’re looking forward to a repeat of the action and maybe even a play date with Quadfathers included.
While the day was a success, I was tuckered out by the end of it. By the time our babies were tucked into bed for the night, I decided it was time to wind down with a crisp glass of pinot grigio and a warm chocolate chip cookie. Well deserved, I think.
Amber B. also wrote an account of our day at Texas Tales: Two Ambers = Eight Babies! She has a couple of cute videos you’ll want to watch if you’ve got a minute to spare.