Documentary about couples bringing up multiples, including new parents with triplets as they bring their babies home, plus 21-month quadruplets and 5-year-old triplets and twins.
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Carl and Kelly have become parents to a baby girl.
She's definitely got my toes.
And this baby boy.
Oh, and this other baby girl.
Carl and Kelly haven't got just one baby.
They've got three.
And they're going to face a whole other world, bringing up multiples.
They sleep, they eat...
But they're not alone.
SONG: "Voodoo Child" by Rogue Traders
In the last ten years, the number of parents with multiples
has shot up by a third.
LITTLE BOY SCREAMS
We're going to show you the challenges Carl and Kelly will face
by meeting parents with multiples aged nine months,
two years and five years.
You sit there in tears, thinking, "How will you get through this?"
We'll fast forward to find out how you feed them...
One bowl, one spoon, three mouths. Gets the job done a bit quicker.
-..how you dress them...
-Where's your tie?
-I don't know!
..and how you get them to the shops.
Once we're out I think, "Why don't we do this more often?"
And this bit reminds me why.
-Get out now!
-..and tantrums multiplied by three or four.
This is parenting at its most extreme.
We're triplets! End of!
In Leeds, 27-year-old Carl Copeland and 29-year-old Kelly Wright
had triplets born just five days ago.
So, over here we've got Corenza.
She's the eldest out of all three.
This is the feisty one. This is the one that likes to have tantrums.
I like the fact that they've got this feistiness to 'em, though,
cos they're so small. It makes you feel like they're not so vulnerable.
And then we've got Carissa. She weighed the same as Corenza,
but she does look slightly smaller.
She's the youngest out of the lot of them,
and she's the one that's gaining the biggest personality.
And then this is Cassius.
Hello, son. You can see they all look like me.
The triplets were born 11 weeks prematurely,
and weigh just under three pounds,
so to help them gain strength, they're in incubators.
You don't realise how...
how much of a wonderful feeling it is to hold them,
but when you've not been able to hold them for a week
and then you finally get a cuddle, it's so nice.
Cassius is Carl and Kelly's first son.
That's something special in this family.
I'm over the moon. I've finally got a son.
Don't get me wrong - I will never treat him any different
to any of my kids, but...poor lad's got nine sisters!
Because I've got three from previous relationships,
Kelly's got three, and then we've got Sky and then we've got the triplets.
Meet the Copelands -
Kelly and Carl,
and Kelly's other daughters, Ayesha,
When the triplets come home,
all nine of them are going to live in this rented three-bedroom house.
Carl and Kelly have been together for two years.
After the birth of their daughter Sky,
they thought their family was complete.
I actually went to go see about having a snip.
I was told that they'd prefer me to be over the age of 30.
When we went for the first scan, she said, "You planning more after this?"
I was, like, "No, at all." She goes, "I've got something to tell you."
"You're having triplets." I actually went sort of dizzy, in a way.
It was like a head-rush. I couldn't believe it.
I laughed and cried at the same time.
'It was just, like, "Oh!" You know?'
It's going to be a challenge, and we'll have to be ready for it.
One baby is hard enough to look after,
let alone three. What Kelly and Carl will need is a routine,
key to bringing up multiples, as any other parent knows.
Fast-forward to when babies are nine months,
and meet 29-year-old Megan.
She's mum to triplets. She knows only too well from experience
why routine is important.
She's got it down to a T.
I think it helps you to plan things a bit better,
and you know when they're well rested and well fed,
they're happier, and in my mind that's got to be better.
Yes, it helps me feel sane, I suppose,
but if they're happy, it has a knock-on effect on all of us,
whereas if you have no routine, when they cry,
you don't really know why they're crying,
because you just don't know if they're over-tired,
if they need some stimulation. If you've got a routine,
it just gives you a better understanding.
Meet the Jacksons.
29-year-old Megan and 36-year-old Mark
have nine-month-old triplets,
Fergus, Isaac and William,
as well as two-year-old Phoebe.
The Jacksons live near Bath and have been married for three years.
After Phoebe, they thought they would have one more child -
but one unexpectedly turned into three.
Shock. Yes, that's the obvious emotion, isn't it? Shock.
You kind of have a plan for your life, don't you,
your hopes and dreams for the future, and then all of a sudden,
someone delivers you a piece of news that completely turns that on end.
I'd wake up at two o'clock in the morning.
My mind would be racing with what this is going to mean for us, really.
Whenever I'm at work, I just play a little video clip on the phone to myself,
which reminds me why I'm at work and why I've got an easier job.
With nine months' practice under her belt,
and after preparing nearly 300 meals,
Megan's learnt less is more.
You're nearly done.
In the early days, we might have started off with three spoons,
but you soon realise that you just need to go for
whatever's easiest, really. It's a lot quicker and easier
to do it this way - one bowl, one spoon, three mouths.
It gets the job done a little bit quicker.
Do you want a bit more, sweetie? BABY CRIES
Fast forward to 21 months old, and babies are now toddlers.
There's an extra dimension to simple things like dinner -
hard enough with triplets, but Emily Bates has quadruplets.
We've got Leo, our little man,
and we've got...oh, Kayleigh. I had to look,
cos they look the same. Oh, no. That's Kayleigh.
And that's Jessie May, and then the other one was Carrie.
Yeah, I'm going to get your din-dins.
It's 5:30, and tea-time for toddlers.
The quads have outgrown their high chairs.
Instead, Emily has bought a miniature dining-room suite for four.
Come and sit at the table! Come and sit on your chairs.
Good girl, Jessie.
There's Carrie's. They've only been doing this a week.
They probably could've done it sooner.
A little bit more and you're done.
I could just leave them to it, but I like to make sure,
and they're used to me watching them.
They don't all eat at the same time, then you've got the issue
of when you bring in the pudding next,
that they see it, so then they don't eat their dinner.
No, you don't hit your sister! It's not funny!
Meet the Bates family from Peterborough -
Emily and Simon and their quads Jessie, Kayleigh,
Leo and Carrie.
31-year-old Emily and 36-year-old Simon
have been together for eight years.
They wanted to start a family four years ago,
and after trying for three,
they eventually went to Turkey for IVF treatment.
While I was pregnant, it was concentrating on getting through the pregnancy
and them all being OK, and then it was reaching the C-section date.
I think it was more focused on that than anything else, wasn't it,
not the fact of actually what you do afterwards.
It's tough enough being first-time parents,
but Emily and Simon had four babies at once.
The night-feeds were killer. Imagine the logic of it!
You'd be, like, feeding one, and it would be, like, "Oh, God."
And then there'd be the second, and two more to go.
You sit there in tears, thinking, "How will you get through this?"
And then you've got to get up and do another one.
It's just dealing with the now, not what you often get from people -
"What you going to do when this happens?"
or, "What you going to do at school and later?"
You don't think about it.
But now the quads are nearly two,
Emily and Simon have more time to reflect.
It's not what you'd choose,
but I couldn't imagine life to be any better now, to be honest.
I think we're lucky and it's really special.
But if you'd asked us that a year ago,
I wouldn't have said the same thing.
Come on, Leo, cos your hands are mucky.
HE CRIES No. Sit down, Jessie.
At 21 months, the quads are becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Oh, here we go. Sit down, Kayleigh. Sit down, babe.
Freed from the constraints of the high chair,
tea-time turns into mayhem.
That's naughty! No!
Hard to concentrate for this amount of time.
There we are. Little bit more and you're done.
Little bit more.
Oh, who's that? See them do their little ritual.
SHE LAUGHS Are you going to give Dads a kiss?
Yes! Thank you.
Simon works full time as a construction manager,
so most of the parenting is down to Emily.
But so he doesn't miss out, she's saved the best jobs for when he gets home.
You don't want to film this. This will be a bit of a smelly.
Be a bit of a smelly one, isn't it?
It's an hour since supper, and the evening regime has run according to plan.
But there's one last task.
Come on. Night-nights. Go on, then! Up you go.
-Up we go! Come on, go-go-go-go!
-Come on, mister.
Four years on, and the daily routine becomes even more complicated
for multiples of school age.
In Pontefract, Yorkshire,
24-year-old Ricky and 29-year-old Rachel are picking up their kids.
They have five-year-old twins who started school in September.
This is Eva. Say hello, Eva.
Where's Eliot gone? Eliot! Are you going to come and say hello?
But their brood doesn't stop there.
They've also got four-year-old triplets,
and they're joining them in the same year.
-Harry, going to say hi?
-Where's Alfie gone?
-Say hi, Billy.
Say, "Hi, guys."
Meet the Joneses.
Ricky and Rachel, Ellie, Eliot, Evie,
Harry, Alfie and Billy.
In 2006, with one set of ten-month-old twins,
Rachel discovered something she didn't expect.
She was pregnant again.
What she didn't realise was that she was also in labour.
I'm one of them people that,
if somebody else had said, "I didn't know I were pregnant,"
I'd have said, "You've got to know."
First thing I thought is that I were miscarrying.
I thought I were miscarrying, so I had to phone an ambulance,
and I'm saying to the lady, "I think I'm losing my baby."
And I just remember her smiling and saying,
"No, cos I can see two little feet."
So I got to Pontefract hospital car park,
and I says, "I'm not doing it." She says, "You've got to."
"You need to get this baby out now."
at 20 to three that morning,
Harry were born in the car park
of Pontefract hospital maternity ward.
Just as when they thought Harry was the only new member of the family,
they got another big surprise.
The nurse went to give me an injection,
and as she's gone to press my tummy to inject,
she's felt that I were still contracting.
Anyway, before I managed to get into theatre, Alfie were born.
They came and said, "Some good news for you, Mr Jones."
"You've got another set of twins." I thought, "Oh, bloody hell!",
And as they got used to the idea of another set of twins...
The doctor said, "I'm not happy with this."
"I need to do a thorough examination."
And he just found what he described as a little ball
under my rib, just tucked into a neat little ball,
which were Billy.
Triplets never, never ever crossed my mind.
-Until they came out.
-Until I saw them, yeah!
There's only ten months between the twins, Evie and Eliot...
-We're both five.
..and the triplets, Harry, Alfie and Billy.
Harry and Alfie are identical.
-Triplets! We're triplets.
We're triplets! End of!
# Three little unexpected children simultaneously
# The doctor brought us and you can see
# That we'll be three forever #
With two sets of multiples of school age,
Ricky and Rachel have worked out a very simple but strict routine.
It's five minutes' walk from school.
Come on. You know what to do. Take your shoes off.
And then once home, it's reading, play, tea, bath and bed by seven.
-Where are they going?
-To the hairdresser.
Ricky and Rachel have spent five years
perfecting this strict routine.
But that could all unravel, because they're moving house.
So I'm going to have rewiring...
kitchen, bathroom, no floors...
So we're going to have to move,
and we could be there five, six, seven weeks. We're not sure.
Where we going to live while we're doing this house?
We're going to find a new house. That's what we're going to see.
We're going to have a new house in a few weeks.
The new house is in South Kirkby, the next village.
Ricky works shifts as a security guard,
and Rachel can't drive,
so getting the kids to school is going to get a lot trickier.
It's only a five-minute car ride, but with me not driving,
it's going to such a pain to get the kids to school
for quarter to nine every single morning.
Everything's going to change. They'll have to be up earlier.
They'll have to be in bed earlier,
so they've got to establish a completely different routine.
In Leeds, Kelly and Carl's triplets are now four weeks old.
They're still in hospital, and it's Carl's turn to look after them.
-See you later.
-See you later. I'll give you a call.
-All right. See you.
Like most multiples, they were born prematurely,
and need looking after.
Carl visits the hospital twice a day,
and even has his own special password.
-Hi. It's the triplets' dad.
What I tend to do is, just give them a wash from head to toe,
and clean their face,
dry them, dress them, change their bum.
Basically it's like having a bath, a bed bath.
The triplets have put on half a pound each since they were born,
but they're still very fragile, and need round-the-clock care.
I was scared to do this when they were first born,
because they're so tiny.
Feels like I'm actually doing something.
For the moment, Carl can really enjoy the fact
that he and Kelly have 24-hour babysitters.
I've never experienced anything like these.
You've got to be so delicate with them.
These little miracles, these babies...
It makes you realise...
..there's other people to think about rather than myself.
The conclusion I've come to is, that's it.
This is all about my kids now.
The full-time attention the triplets get in hospital
won't be practical when they're at home.
Kelly has older children to look after.
Whilst the two eldest are at school, her attention is divided
between ten-month-old Sky and three-year-old Sophia.
I don't like bread!
I know. I'm here.
I can't wait for it all.
I keep picturing three babies, three high chairs,
Three cots, things on the floor, three swing chairs...
-..and three babies, isn't it, Sky?
It's a full-time job giving the attention one baby needs
when they first come home, let alone three.
What Kelly could do with is an extra pair of hands.
Nine months down the line,
that's exactly what 29-year-old Megan has.
When the boys were small, I used to wake up in the morning,
if I knew I had a whole day by myself,
probably with... definitely with a bit of a sense of dread,
just, "Right, now I'm going to have to get through this,"
and, "How's it going to be?"
It's a constant round of feeding...
..and sleeping, for the nine-month-old triplets.
What the nannies give Megan is something every multiple parent would like more of - time.
It means it's not quite so full-on.
I can get on with a few things I wouldn't ordinarily be able to,
make a few phone calls, etc, etc,
prepare some meals, you know, that kind of thing.
But when they go home, you have to adjust to doing it all by yourself again.
But it is good. They're angels, really.
It's only two hours since the boys got up,
but already it's time for their morning nap.
I think it might be bedtime for them.
-Yeah. Let me grab a boy. Come on, boy.
Going for a sleep.
They have a morning nap,
quarter past nine until about half past ten,
and then they go down for lunchtime sleep.
Who's a good boy?
There we go.
Peace and quiet, hopefully.
And thanks to nanny-power, Phoebe gets more time with her mum.
"She played with him and played with him."
Sit down for a minute.
I can't sit down for too long, though. I'd never get up again.
Four years on, Rachel's attention is split five ways
between her twins and triplets,
even on a simple trip to their new house.
The family are moving five miles down the road to the next village.
Take your coat off, Harry.
This is our bedroom!
-What do you think? What do you think?
Your own bedroom, yeah?
To keep her boys quiet, Rachel resorted to using dummies.
That was five years ago,
but she's been too afraid to take them away.
First priority is to get them off them dummies ASAP.
They're way too old, and that's been my fault,
because I've relied on dummies, a pacifier.
When Daddy's been at work and it's been a 12-hour shift,
stick a dummy in, and it's worked, but it's worked for too long.
The boys are really, really reliant, and it's affecting speech,
it's affecting the teeth. It's affecting a lot of things.
What is your teeth doing because of your dummy?
-They're not coming down. They're going...
-Out to the front. Yeah, that's right.
And why are they going out to the front?
-Because we're sucking dummies.
-Because you're sucking dummies.
One thing Rachel knows from experience
is that for this to happen, it's the one-for-all, all-for-one rule.
When we move to this house,
I think that we should throw them dummies away,
-and we'll see who can do it the longest...
-..and the bestest.
-They can't, cos they're babies.
-Do you want to be a baby?
You do? Billy's going to be the biggest boy, aren't you, Billy?
Tell us you're going to throw your dummies away.
I'm going back to the house, and I'm throwing all the dummies away in that big bin.
Well, that's really sensible.
In Leeds, the triplets are now seven weeks old.
And as they get stronger, the day that they come home gets nearer.
Going to build a spaceship. No, I'm putting the cots up.
But it's expensive kitting out multiples.
So far we've spent three grand,
but we've bought the cots, the swings,
Moses baskets, steriliser...
That is 14!
..er, bottles, nappies and clothes galore.
Yeah. All sorts.
Cost an arm and a leg.
Carl's not working at the moment,
but he's done lots of different jobs.
I worked for Yorkshire Water,
landscape gardening, car valeting...
I'm just one of them lucky people that's just great at everything they do.
Apart from this. This is proper baffling me.
It don't pay me enough. It really doesn't.
For all these kids, you need more than £7.23 an hour...
..or whatever it was.
Money is going to be even tighter now for the couple.
Bringing up one child costs on average ten grand a year.
Multiply that by three, and by the time they're 16,
you're hitting half a million.
It's a good job Carl is planning to support his family in the future.
I'm going to be a painter-decorator. I've just passed my exams for it.
I meant to start college already,
but it's too soon,
-as I'd be leaving Kelly at home with all the kids.
-All of them!
We've got enough kids already to understand
that as they get older, their tastes get more expensive.
Nope. It will not get any cheaper.
Nine months down the line, for Megan and her triplets
the costs keep mounting.
-Jo, Annabel, do you want coffee?
-"Yes, please. Yes."
Megan has got professional help, but childcare like this
doesn't come cheap. It costs tens of thousands a year.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but your salary is around...at least 25,
But Megan is lucky. Living so close to a training college
means that her nannies are free.
I'd be paying huge amounts of money, huge,
especially if I was having two people.
I mean, especially with the four children,
if we were paying a full-time nanny, I can't imagine many young nannies
would fancy taking on four children by themselves.
Sometimes no salary in the world would be enough for that.
It is expensive, really expensive!
I mean, we spend about £50 a month on nappies.
Milk... Just before they were weaned, they were drinking a lot of milk,
and we were spending £40 to £50 a week on milk alone.
I might as well have been stuffing their nappies with £50 notes. It was really expensive.
The cost of multiples steps up another gear
when, like Emily, you've got toddler quads.
She's had to fork out thousands to fit her quads into one car.
There you go!
It was brilliant, actually. We looked at a lot of people carriers,
we couldn't afford to buy something new,
with one of the English models.
We didn't know this model existed at that point.
All the typical ones, the seven seaters,
cos we needed the boot space to fit the quad pram.
It's not a very popular car.
Top Gear voted it an ugly car.
I wouldn't not buy a practical car because of the way it looked,
but it's wonderful.
And there are still a couple of spare seats, just in case.
And if we ever did have any more children,
there's a bit of leeway left, as long as it wasn't twins.
The car's a big, one-off expense for the long term,
but things like clothes only last a few months,
and that's when it really starts to add up.
It is expensive because they grow out of them quickly,
so even if you buy it cheap, it's still expensive.
Bought a lot of stuff off eBay, car-boot sales,
just wash it up nice. You can find some lovely stuff there.
As well as her quad bus, Emily's got the latest quad pram,
but you might need an engineering degree to put it together.
It was expensive, though.
Brand new it would have been £800, from New Zealand,
but we paid £400 for it.
You're going at the top, queen of the castle!
They can sleep, now, as well, in there.
Supersize buggies are great,
but they need supersize doors to get through.
This is brilliant, though, this pram,
because it is narrow, and it fits in a lot of places.
And now the quads are walking,
Emily's expenses are about to explode,
as she has eight little feet to worry about.
-Going to measure your feet, Leo.
-You're Leo, are you?
-Just going into the F, so four and a half there.
Oh, look at those!
£45! But look at that. It's a work of art.
Oh, shut up.
If Emily wants to go out shopping, she has to take the quads.
But they're at an age where they don't want to be in the buggy.
You sit in there and play with the glasses.
Oh! Put that back where you found it.
That's it. You have a paddy there while I do that.
Makes my life easier, as well.
And with four children to watch,
Emily needs eyes in the back of her head.
They've only just started this, because they know what it's like
to have the freedom to be out of their buggy, and they want more,
which is fair enough, so I won't be able to get away with doing trips like this for much longer.
And whilst Emily is distracted, Kayleigh makes a break.
That's a good girl. You don't run off, do you?
And Emily takes it all in her stride.
Ricky and Rachel's costs have just rocketed.
Their multiples have started school, and that means uniforms -
more than £100 a go.
And just try getting them into them!
If you could show me that you can get dressed,
I'd be really, really, really happy.
-Fine! Pass me my clothes, then.
-Then, that's fantastic.
Spend about ten minutes putting your shirt on, don't we?
With five identical uniforms and little between the sizes,
it can get a bit confusing.
Mine's a ten. That's a ten.
It takes them just half an hour to get ready,
and now Rachel does the final onceover.
What have you not got on, Billy? We've put a shirt on,
we've put a jumper on, we've put socks on,
we've put pants on, we've put trousers and shoes on.
-What have we not put on?
-Tie. Now, where's your tie?
-I don't know!
I think it's in the washing basket.
Feeding time at the zoo!
Um, a full English breakfast.
There's one last thing before school.
Boys, what did we say we were going to do
when we went to this new house? What were the deal?
-What we going to get rid of?
-I don't need a dummy any more.
I don't need a dummy any more.
Right. So shall we do that? Let me find them, then.
Most children stop sucking dummies when they're two.
After almost five years, they're finally facing the job.
Come on, now. Big boys.
-Say, "Bye, dummies!"
-One last suck.
-That's it. Done.
-Goodbye to them dirty dummies.
Show them dirty dummies where they belong.
-Put them in the bin, then.
There we go.
By the time we come back, we should be dummy-free.
I hope. Fingers crossed.
Right. Off to school.
Ricky and Rachel are moving house, and with the children at school,
Rachel gets on with the packing.
Rachel has lived in the village for her whole life,
with her mum and dad and sister in the next street. She relies on them to help with the children.
This is my sister Vanessa.
She's going to be a domestic goddess today,
clean out the house for me from top to bottom.
Having a sister with multiples hasn't rubbed off.
-I've only got one.
-She's got mine to borrow and send back.
-She don't need more.
No. Don't need any more. I don't need any more.
I think people have seen...
Especially close family have seen just how difficult it can be
with multiples. It's not... It's not the easiest thing in the world.
It's not the hardest, but it's always harder to look in on somebody
than it is when you're actually dealing with it.
They've still got a routine, like any other family has.
You've just got to be a little bit more strict with it.
But with the house move, the routine's going to have to change.
That's what worries me now, because everything they're used to
is now up in the air, so it's kind of starting from scratch again.
I can see blue. Yay!
Whilst Rachel and her family move out,
in Leeds, one of Kelly and Carl's triplets has moved in.
Cassius, at ten weeks old, is finally home.
He's doing well, yeah.
He has the feed at half eleven,
then he has another feed at half past three,
and then not till half past seven in the morning.
Since he was born, Cassius has had one-to-one care.
But with four other children at home,
Kelly just won't be able to give him that kind of attention.
We have said that. We did underestimate
how hard it is going to be,
because they're just constant attention.
Cassius is on three-hourly feeds,
so they're hoping that the next triplet home
will fit into his feeding pattern.
I'll feed him while Carl is feeding the other.
It'll have to be like that if they're around the same time feeds.
The reality of having three babies home at once
is starting to sink in.
So we get Cassius home, we get used to him for a week,
then Carissa, get used to her for a week,
then Corenza, then get used to that for 18 years.
At the new house, Rachel is starting to realise
that it's not just the kids' routine that will have to change -
it's also hers.
It doesn't seem far to Ricky, who can drive, but when I can't,
I might as well be miles away.
It's only about a five-minute car ride,
five, six minutes in the car, but when Ricky's at work,
we're going to have to take taxis or buses.
It's just... It's just too far.
With her mum on the phone, it suddenly dawns on Rachel
how much she relies on her family for help.
I know it seems close, but I've never been this far away from you!
All right, then. Thanks. See you. Ta-ra.
SONG: "Corner" by Allie Moss
# When your world
# Trembles and quakes...
I was all right till I talked to my mam.
God, you'd think I'd emigrated!
Never been away from my mum this far.
I think, when people say, "I don't know how you do what you do,"
but I can only do it because I have them behind me all the time.
They've always got my back.
I just feel...so cut off from them down here.
When you think I'm coping, that's because I've had them to help.
-I've not always done it on my own.
-I know exactly how it is.
# When your world
# Trembles and quakes...
I feel pathetic!
# And your footing suddenly shakes #
After a night of three-hourly feeds,
Kelly and Carl's routine marches on through the day.
Come here, Sky. Sky!
-Go to Dada.
But now two of the other children are up.
Leave the stuff alone. Now sit down.
-Oh, Mummy! Oh, Mummy! Oh, Mummy!
-Too late, love.
And at ten months, Sky is just too young
to understand how fragile her little brother is.
-Get off. Get off.
-Hey! Come here!
You stay away.
It's a nightmare so far, with these and with him.
I'm just thinking, "What will it be like when I've got three at home,
and these?" Sky, you're like a bull in the china shop, aren't you?
It's just non-stop, from morning till night.
I can't believe Carissa's home in the morning.
Tomorrow's your last day, mate, isn't it? Your sister's on the way.
It's all about the kids now, innit? Life's finished. Life's done with.
No more life.
Kelly and Carl's newborn triplets are non-identical,
and are already becoming three little individuals.
He's just chilled out now, really.
Corenza's very feisty,
and she's more laid-back.
Megan and Mark have got identical twins amongst their triplets.
They've decided not to dress them the same.
The boys are very different, personality-wise.
I don't really want to dress them the same
because I want them to be their own people.
You do tend to lump them together all the time.
For example, all the photos we've got,
it's the three of them together, and they do everything together,
and one thing we'll try to do as they get a bit bigger
is provide experiences on an individual basis.
I've started doing it now. If I'm popping out,
I'll take one of them with me so they have a bit of one-on-one time,
as opposed to just all being together, I guess.
Megan is also noticing that the non-identical triplet, William,
is different from the other two,
particularly in the way he plays.
The other two just throw things round, very rough and tumble.
By nature, we play differently, more carefully.
He likes to build towers, and he'll allow you to do that,
whereas the other two will promote anything
of any order. They'll throw it all over the place.
As children get older, they become more headstrong,
as Emily is finding with her quads.
Come on, eat your hoops. I've got a busy day. Busy day.
Emily has a set of identical twins in her quads.
When she had IVF, she had three eggs put back in,
but one of the eggs divided into two,
and that gave her identical twins.
That's naughty! No!
Oh, I thought that was Kayleigh! Oh, I hate that -
the idea I'm telling the wrong one off.
Right, let's go in the other room. I've got to get ready.
Even though she sometimes finds it difficult to tell the twins apart,
like many multiple parents, she dresses them the same.
What about Leo's shoes, Jessie? Where's his shoes?
Where's Leo's shoes? You going to get them?
I'm quite proud, as well, I suppose,
that they are identical, if I'm honest,
because identical twins aren't the most common.
Ricky and Rachel also have identical twins,
Harry and Alfie, among their four-year-old triplets.
The third triplet, Billy, is non-identical,
but he has the biggest personality.
I've got my seat belt on!
I'm singing a song.
# The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep #
Billy's way in front. He's always been way in front.
I can't understand that, because Billy were the poorliest,
the youngest of the triplets, and he's way in front,
and not just by a little bit.
He's on a par with Evie and Eliot.
He's doing things that they'd be doing.
Thanks a lot. See you later.
# I'm coming home
# I'm coming home
# Tell the world I'm coming home #
It's 11 weeks since the triplets were born,
and with Cassius already at home, it's now Corenza's turn.
Ooh! Fresh air, babe.
First bit of proper fresh air she's had.
She's nice and cosy in there, but good for her lungs.
Bless her. She's going to be in there for a few weeks also.
-Are you for Carl?
-Yeah. Me, mate.
Who is it?
Is it a little baby?
Look at him giggling!
-Get them together.
She's getting fat compared to him, isn't she?
How you been, boy?
-Been chilling? Yeah!
-It's nice to have you home.
Look at that! BABY GURGLES
It's now been four weeks since Ricky and Rachel moved.
They've adjusted their day routine.
Ricky's on nights, leaving Rachel on her own
to get all the children fed, bathed and into bed.
I'll see you later.
-I'll see you tonight.
-Your dogs are drowned.
-I'll see to them. I'll dry them.
-See you tonight. Love you.
-In there, now.
In there. Sit down, or you don't have anything.
This is where your dad comes in handy, isn't it?
As soon as they hear Ricky getting angry, they do as they're told,
it's a different story for Mum.
It's hard for Ricky because he's at work.
I'm having to ring three or four times a shift,
and every time I ring, then he has to speak to the kids.
They play me up a lot more than they do Ricky at bedtime,
so sometimes it's quite hard for me to get them to bed.
-Can you get yours, Evie, or not?
Sometimes actually being a multiple can get too much.
Ellie, where's Billy?
-Bath, bath, bath, bath.
-You are kidding me, Ellie!
-What you doing in there?
-I'm having my tea in here.
-To be quiet.
Ahhhh! Come in the kitchen. Evie's sat on the worktop.
Come on. Fetch your chair. Ah, is that why you've come in here?
Billy wants quiet. It is quiet if you shut up.
Meanwhile, in Keynsham, with the nannies gone for the day,
Megan's left on her own to do bath and bedtime
for her nine-month-old triplets.
You sit there, boy,
and let's get that bath running, shall we?
Right, then, who's coming in first? Who's fussing?
Come on, then, big buster.
There. I do enjoy this time, but it can just be a bit fraught.
But it's nice. I like seeing them enjoy themselves,
and they have a lovely time in there.
But I think, really, once they are properly mobile,
it's only something you can do when someone else is around,
and then you could bath them in turn rather than all at once.
Even though her twins and triplets are older,
Rachel doesn't have the time or the help to bath them one by one,
so she's sticking with a tried-and-tested regime.
Three in, three out. Three in, three out.
Right. Big wash. Hands, legs, knees. Come on.
But as the children get older, bath time becomes more of a free-for-all.
Usually I'd do the triplets together, then Evie and Eliot,
but madam's dived in. Come on!
-Why are you doing this? Come on.
-I'm not having my hair done.
There are moments when I have to take a step back...
SHE EXHALES And just...
But I've never felt... I've never felt at breaking point with it.
Ellie, I want you to stop. Every time they come in,
it's because you've done something.
It's a lot easier when your multiples are babies.
Come on, then.
BABY GURGLES Yeah.
There we go.
Billy, come on, please! Counting to three, Billy!
And the kids test Rachel right up until bedtime.
-Get laid down, now!
Rachel's just about had enough, when Ricky calls.
Hello? Hey up.
They won't... They just won't go down.
"Right, listen. I'm speaking. You be quiet."
"Get yourselves in bed. Get yourselves covered up,
close your eyes and go to sleep. Right?"
-Give Daddy a kiss.
'That were definitely not a normal bedtime. Definitely not.'
Even though Rachel's been pushed to her limits,
she knows from experience the benefits of being consistent.
It's school holidays this week, and most people probably think,
"They won't have to stick to that bedtime."
But if we lose that routine at all, then, everything just falls apart.
Plus they have been up now 13 hours, so...
they must be ready for a sleep. I know I am.
With her nine-month-old triplets fast asleep,
Megan reaches for her own milk before bedtime.
Just what I needed.
In Leeds, with two of the triplets home,
Kelly and Carl are settling down into their family routine.
-She had a bit of mince today.
-Can you see the babies?
Carl is off to do the school run...
..and Kelly is left alone with the babies and ten-month-old Sky.
Are you hungry?
Let's put this bib on,
because if you're like your brother, you'll spit it out.
You're next, mister. Don't worry.
It's only just started now.
Oh, my God, how am I going to cope?
They're going to turn me grey. I can just see it now.
They're all going to want picking up at the same time.
No! No! No! Ooh, Jesus!
Whilst Kelly is juggling her babies,
in Peterborough, Emily has got her hands full with her toddlers.
And today she's decided to take the plunge
and leave the quad buggy at home.
But for toddlers who have just started to walk,
it's all a bit of an adventure.
Come on, Leo! Come on! Leo!
I can see him.
Once we're out, I think, "Oh, why don't we do this more often?"
And then this bit reminds me why.
Come on. We're going out. You love where we're going.
Emily is taking her quads to the baby gym.
We're going to play!
At least it's not raining heavily.
Stay with Mummy.
This is the palaver bit.
Right, watch your head. Come on, then.
My little chicks! My little chicks! Cheep, cheep, cheep!
Oops! This is the thing.
They're not so steady on their feet. Up we get!
You're all right, Kayleigh. It's not major.
I'm hoping it will get easier each time for them as they get steadier on their feet.
This way! No, this way!
Oh, sorry, Leo! Sorry! This way.
This way! It's just this thing with direction.
This one always wants to go... You're sitting in a puddle.
Up we get.
At the baby gym, the quads finally have some freedom,
and Emily can meet up with other multiple mums.
I find we kind of draw to each other.
Yeah. Like, we met yesterday.
-You think, "Oh, somebody in the same boat!"
-"I'm not in her boat."
It's nice to feel you're not surrounded by children all the time.
You see the way other people do things, and watch things,
and, "That's good. I'll try that,"
or you soak in little tips and things along the way.
Back at the car, Emily realises that she's forgotten something.
Oh, my God, the keys. I didn't leave it unlocked, did I?
I looked in my bag and I couldn't find them.
Just keep calm, Emily. Keep calm. I thought I put them in the bag.
Unless I didn't lock the door...
Did I actually leave them in the car?
I left them in the ignition!
And whilst Emily's distracted, Kayleigh sees her chance again.
Kayleigh! Come here, honey! Come on!
No. Come to Mummy! Oi!
Where's my Kayleigh?
Where is she going? Kayleigh!
Little devil! Out of all of them, she's the one who runs off.
I should've grabbed her first. I should know her by now.
That's naughty! No! It's not funny. You stay with Mummy.
It's not funny. You come when I tell you.
It's Sleepless In Leeds for Kelly and Carl.
It's 11 weeks since the triplets were born.
One of them is still in hospital with feeding problems,
but two of them are now home.
The novelty's gone out the window now.
It was easier when they were in hospital.
They sleep, they eat...
and shit. That's it.
They've been up every three hours feeding and changing the babies,
and on top of that, one-year-old Sky is teething.
Sky was just screaming down the house when I came home,
so I ended up down here with the babies,
and she ended up in my bed with Carl.
-When you all go to school, guess what I'm doing?
I'm off back to bed.
They leave at 25 to eight. Another four minutes.
I'm nearly done, Mummy. I'm nearly finished my scrambled eggs.
You need to eat, love, otherwise you're going to be late.
Ayesha, quick. Leave that. Run upstairs. Brush your teeth.
It's only just the beginning for Kelly and Carl,
but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
It was over four years ago
that Rachel and Ricky brought their triplets home for the first time.
They've been through it all, from sleepless nights and nappy changes
to toddler tantrums and tears.
And now, with so much experience under their belt,
they really have come out the other side.
We knew that it were going to be absolutely hell
for the first few years.
A lot of people were waiting for us to fall flat on us faces.
Today Rachel's got a treat in store for her twins and triplets.
They're all having their photographs taken in fancy dress.
No. Come on.
A lot of times I'd think, "I can't do this any more."
"I can't carry on."
And Rick said, "We've been through worse than this."
And I think having that reassurance from Rick
has made me be able to do what I can do
with the boys and twins.
or we'll be going to the police station.
-I hope you're going to smile nice.
I hope you're going to do nice smiles.
-Who's going to smile the best?
Are you all looking at me?
It's not been an easy ride, but if you've got support from each other,
you can get through anything.
Look at the camera!
# Oh, oh, sweet child o' mine
# Oh, oh, sweet child o' mine #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Bringing up one baby is a great experience for many parents, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. There's the through-the-night feeds, nappy changing, tantrums, not to mention the cost. One baby can set mum and dad back an average of 10,000 pounds in the first year. Now imagine that multiplied when you're bringing up twins, triplets, quadruplets and more. It's happening more and more in Britain, with a large increase in the number of multiples born in the last ten years.
In this eye opening programme, we are on the frontline of parenthood and meet the parents bringing up multiples. We meet young parents to triplets and see their first few weeks as they bring their babies home. We then fast forward to meet other parents further down the line - nine-months triplets, 21-month quadruplets and 5-year-old triplets and twins - to find out what it's really like to raise a big brood. Strict regimes, choruses of tantrums - this is parenting at its most extreme.