A day in the life of the Burke family - Quadruplets, now 5, go to kindergarten

| 21 Feb 2012 | 06:16

Vernon — It’s a new world for the Burke family. The quadruplets — Morgan, Jimmy, Shannon and Lindsay — are now kindergartners. The children had all attended preschool at Walnut Ridge School, but now that they are in “Big School,” there’s a lot more going on. Jimmy is excited to be in Computer Lab and the girls, Morgan, Shannon and Lindsay, are thrilled to find that there is an actual library in the school building. It takes a bit of preparation to get this gang off, but their mother Monae Burke has it all under control. Her rigourous schedule works well. It starts with breakfast at 8 a.m., quickly followed by cleanup at 8:30. The children get dressed and groom between 9 and 9:30, play for a bit, clean up again, have lunch, clean up once more, brush their teeth and next thing you know, it’s noon and time for everyone to get their shoes on, water bottles in their back packs and pop into the car for the ride to school. Monae Burke gave up bus privileges for the morning kindergarten class, which the quadruplets had been assigned to, in order to have one more year of mornings with the routine that has worked so well for all of them. In school, Jimmy and Lindsay have Mrs. Barone and Morgan and Shannon have Mrs. Sweeney this year. Their mother liked the idea of pairing the quadruplets for their classes. She says she is already seeing them start to form their own friendships individually in class and she likes the fact that they will be paired for homework partnering. When the school day ends, at 3:35, it’s back home for more of the routines that have kept things running smoothly in the Burke household. And it’s not just Morgan, Jimmy, Shannon and Lindsay who follow the schedule. On the list at 4 p.m., for example: Mom empties backpacks, checks for school work and homework. Somewhere in the evening hours, there’s time for play, TV and bath all before bedtime: 7:45 p.m. Of course it’s not over for mom, though. Night before school: Snacks are packed in backpacks, school paperwork in backpacks, water bottles filled and in refrigerator, outfits chosen and laid out on playroom table. And, after a good night’s sleep — it will be time once more for breakfast, cleanup, backpacks, school, homework, snack, cleanup, TV, toothbrushing, playtime, cleanup ... Strength in numbers Monae Burke, mother of the quadruplets, offers her experience and advice to others who want to join a peer and support group for families of twins, triplets and quadruplets. The Twin and Triplet Mothers Club of the Lake Area meets on the second Thursday of each month from September through June at the Butler High School Cafeteria on Bartholdi Ave. A “cope session” is followed by a program and business meeting. Call or e-mail Burke at 973-875-4494 or TwoPlus4@ptd.net. More locally, a Mom to Mom gathering meets at St. Francis DeSales Church, Route 517, Vernon, on Tuesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. The contact person is Cathy Carney.