Family reflects on 'chaotic' life as quadruplets mark 1st birthday

Published: Friday, March 1 2013 6:55 p.m. MST

The Consolo quadruplets, Lucille, Daniel, Charlotte and Anabelle, are photographed at their home in Roy on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

WEST POINT — When the door swung open at the Consolo home, five small heads peered around a corner and through a safety gate from the the stairs above.

The quadruplets, and older sister Dorothy, were perfectly entranced. Soon, though, they flopped to their backs and Charlotte started screaming.

"Spinning dragon," her parents explained knowingly.

"If there was a tape of Charlotte screaming, the U.S. government could use that to end the war on terror," Natalie Consolo said of the baby's bellow.  

Daniel, the sensitive one, quickly joined in. The two parents handily grabbed bottles and babies and soon had two children on each lap. But Dorothy, almost 3, felt left out and started whimpering.

Mom stacked the two girls on one leg, and Dorothy and her gaggle of stuffed animals took a place on the other.

"I think the last year has been a good recipe of chaotic, sleep-deprived and very interesting," Anthony Consolo said.

"I would call it chaotic," his wife confirmed.

The couple had been trying for a second child when they learned they had naturally conceived not one, not two, but four babies. It's now been a year since their family grew from three to seven.

Quadruplets Daniel, Anabelle, Lucille and Charlotte turned 1 on Monday. The couple decided to forgo a party until next year and instead hired some babysitters and went out for sushi.

"We had a '(Let's) celebrate that we survived' lunch," the mother explained.

"A first-year survival party," her husband added.

When the quadruplets first came home, the couple's LDS ward organized volunteers to come to the home to help for four hours each day, six days a week. After about four or five months, the parents took over on their own.

"It's an oxymoron," Anthony Consolo said of life since. "It's a combination of being extremely blessed and very strong moments of, 'What did we do to deserve this?'"

He went back to work in May after buying Tuscany Gardens, a wedding venue in Roy where he plans and hosts weddings. He logs 70- to 80-hour work weeks, often leaving his wife to hold down the fort at home on her own.

"You just sort of have to hit your stride," she said. "I know that this has to be done at this time, how long they generally sleep, so I get everything else done in between. ... Once they're up, they pretty much entertain themselves. They've got built-in friends. They run around, scoot around and they just play."

Each day they just focus on what needs to be done and in so doing, the couple has tackled the tasks before them. They've even managed to take the entire family to the grocery store. "We got a lot of attention," she said.

"I think one of the main things that got us through was the firm focus on the babies' needs and welfare and doing what you can to take care of them. That's all you can do," Anthony Consolo said.

"And energy drinks," he quipped.

They've also learned to rotate which quadruplet sleeps in the same room as Anabelle — "the loquacious one" who will wake up in the night and babble to herself.

"Otherwise they don't sleep," Mom said.

Charlotte's troublemaking doesn't stop with the screaming and they've learned to keep any toy that she can use as a club away from her. Lucille, unfailingly mellow and calm, is the thinker and the dancer.

The best way to get everyone going is with Psy's ubiquitous "Gangnam Style" song. "We had it on while we were getting ready," the busy mom said. When the song was played to calm them, the babies started rocking side to side.

Through it all, Consolo said he still comes home to find that the children are clean and fed, the house is well-kept and the dishes are done. It's deepened his respect for his wife and the work she does.

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