A little more than four years ago, Jennifer Hanselman of Cuyahoga Falls gave birth to sextuplets and shared her new arrivals withCleveland Magazine readers in our April 2004 issue. So we recently checked back in with Jennifer as well as Alex, Isabella, Logan, Lucy, Kyle and Sophia (and 6-year-old son and big brother Connor) to ask what she’s learned along the way.
If they can break it, they will.
I used to have to save them from themselves. Now, I have to save them from each other.
Keith and I had a lot of help watching them when they were babies. Once, we wrote their names on the bottom of their feet with Sharpies so people could tell them apart.
We would not have made it without our church.
I always stay up too late. I’d much rather sacrifice the sleep for the extra hour of peace and quiet.
I’m the happiest any moment when they’re not fighting.
They think of way more stuff to get into than one kid could.
People keep telling me we should get a dog to clean up the mess after meals. That would be the fattest stinking dog.
I pray a lot — especially for Kyle, who was diagnosed with autism this year.
The best days are the days they know what to expect.
Keith and I love our DVR.
I buy eight gallons of milk a week.
Our two refrigerators and extra freezer have been a big help.
They like their food separated. I like casseroles.
We chose brown grout for the kitchen floor and a black and brown checked couch for the family room. I steam-clean my carpet every three months.
When I’m sick, I suck it up.
I had my tubes tied after I had them. But I take birth control pills just to be doubly sure.
I try not to step in unless I see blood.
The little things like dishes and laundry are not important.
I don’t let them watch TV with commercials. I’ve found it gives them a case of the gimmees.
Sometimes, you just have to count on them having a very bad memory.
The boys are much lower maintenance than the girls.
Keith and I have definitely learned that we don’t snap at each other. It just makes everything worse.
Take time to play.
No matter how rotten the day is, or how big the mess is, the bad times pass and a better day is right around the corner. The trick is finding patience and strength to get to that better day.
Jennifer is working a sequel to her book “Party of Nine: The Triumphs and Traumas of Raising Sextuplets + One.” Visit www.partyofninebook.com. Twin Falls United Methodist Church in Munroe Falls coordinates donations for the family.