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Day 745 in the life of the Dozier quadruplets

By Lauren Howard
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2447

Tuesday, Feb. 15, 8:30 a.m.: Day 745 in the life of the Dozier quadruplets: Three girls in fuchsia Cinderella sweats, boy in Mickey Mouse version. Three heads of sandy hair, another with tawny brown locks, combed just before Daddy announces pancake "bite-bite" time. It's not the 2-year-old quadruplets' preferred eggs and grits, but shortcuts are essential.

Mommy scoops breakfast off the tiny table before 40 fingers reach the syrup (an ideal medium for finger-painting). A girl dutifully opens her mouth for a bite. While moving clockwise to the next mouth, Mommy lauds her chewing as an extraordinary feat. Bite No. 5 goes to another girl just as she washes down her first mouthful. The clockwork sequence lasts only one go-round before boredom with eating gives way to musical chairs.

Daddy blocks the exit in anticipation of Taylor and her fast feet. She takes a detour toward a baby gate and Daddy plucks his little bundle of endless energy before she can scale it.

9:15 a.m.: Ty and his minutes-younger sisters accessorize with plastic bangle bracelets. They experiment with brave new possibilities, such as the ankle cuff and nose ring. Jenna alerts Mommy to the second juice spill of the day, most likely caused by one of her more careless siblings.

9:45 a.m.: Daddy pops a Nick Jr. episode of "Blue's Clues" into the VCR. The quads freeze for 90 seconds, mouths ajar and feet planted in front of the television. "Uh-oh Daddy," they chime as the episode. Meanwhile, Mommy is changing yet another dirty diaper leftover from a wave of upset stomachs.

10 a.m.: Daddy kisses his four girls and boy "night-night," before retreating to his room for a nap. Daddy's Girl (Jayla today) follows, her tiny fists clenched for pounding. Two howls and his willpower crumbles. Just one last hug . . .

10:30 a.m.: Using the toilet may be most parents' goal for their children, but the Dozier quads are fixated on their thrones. They gravitate toward the new and unexplored potty chairs and leap at any excuse for Mommy's undivided attention. The siblings also have entered the age of envy, and anything, potty time included, is fair competition. Even Jayla insists on her turn, though spina bifida forces her to use a catheter.

10:45 a.m.:Taylor, a.k.a. Bug, discovers a new "toy" (electrical cords) behind the television chest. "That's electricity," Mommy says, stooping to her wild child's eye level. She backs her stern tone with a slap on the leg instead of the typical swat on the diaper. Taylor briefly touches her leg, looking unsure of what caused the sting, then saunters away in search of new adventure. Her siblings heed the warning, and Jenna braked from twirling her curls and sucking her thumb.

11:45 a.m.: The quads practice table manners with unlimited access to four plates of fish sticks and french fries with "dip, dip, dip!" they chant. One of Mommy's eyes follows the quads during several rounds of 'hide-and-seek meets peek-a-boo,' another focuses the sizzling fries and her "third eye" detects who's eaten how much. Her best friend Stacie Puckett arrives and Daddy emerges from his short rest to jump into the mix. Little hands start waving, desperate for the squirt of soap that signals the end of lunchtime.

1 p.m.: Limited vocabulary doesn't prevent jabbering, and each quad's intermittent screams create a high-pitched noise that rarely ceases. When delighted squeals develop into contagious terrible 2s syndrome, it's naptime. Stacie and Mommy curl up with the babies on the queen-size mattress lying in the corner of the quads' bedroom (Baby beds proved too dangerous for the rambunctious). All four are asleep in minutes. Mommy hangs out with Daddy during free time; they tinker with a malfunctioning garbage disposal.

3:30 p.m.: Ty stripped bare during his nap and wet the bed. An unfazed Mommy throws the sheets into the washer, which has become a daily ritual. She and Stacy dislodge legs stuck between rail spindles, as Ramen noodles brew for dinner.

5:15 p.m.: Family and friends drop in for kisses in exchange for a heart-shaped cake, candy and stuffed animals. This does little to break their fascination with a pen, notebook and cell phone.

6:15 p.m.: Helping hands tie eight shoes before nestling the toddlers into the second and third rows of Mommy's Chevrolet Tahoe. Mommy enjoys her last few months of country music radio before "Barney" and friends take control. A quad or two entertain themselves with a race to slip off their sneakers as soon as the laces are retied. Mommy reaches Sears, a quad-friendly store. (They have shopping carts.) Her search for kiddie comforters is a miss, but Mommy seems satisfied to be out and about in the corridors of Colonial Mall. She and her loyal helpers, on hand to retrieve quads on the loose, head to the pizza parlor for Mommy's only sit-down meal today. Playtime with pizza bites allow the adults to eat solo, and mirrors provide a couple of quads time to adoringly gaze at their "pictures" on the wall.

Day's end: Mommy has yet to appear frazzled, and Daddy is finally rested for his midnight shift. No open wounds, minimal cases of terrible 2s. Mall walking expends mschievous energy and gives Mommy and Daddy a reprieve from bathing the children before bed. By the next night the quads would be teeming with excitement for bath time, their favorite activity.

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