The mum of four quadruplets who were “miraculously” born through IVF has spoken of the “madness” to get her kids ready for school now they’ve reached the age for it.
Nurse Selina Torbett-Ashe, 31, gave birth to her four children at just 29 weeks four years ago in what she described as a “little miracle”.
Four years on and they are to start reception class next week.
Having a set of identical brothers starting school all at once was something parents Selina and Kev could only dream of .
But in July 2017 and against all the odds , Roman, Austin and Arlo and their sister Raeya were welcomed to the world with only a minute between each tiny baby.
Weighing just 2 to 3lbs each, the four siblings spent almost two months in hospital but their neonatal days seem only five minutes ago for parents Selina and Kev.
Selina is nonetheless all set for their new school adventure and has already bought 20 polo shorts, 15 pairs of trousers, eight jumpers, five skirts and four PE kits - and that’s only half of the uniform list.
Far from being worried for her kids, who are on their marks with shiny new shoes and matching rucksacks, Selina jokingly said “it’s the teachers I am worried about”.
The Torbett-Ashe family from Wincester, Hampshire, also have an older daughter, Myla, six, who will be keeping a watchful eye over her younger brothers and sisters as they start their school adventure.
Selina said: “It’s a very exciting time for them. They are ready for this next step together.
“That’s the great thing about being part of a multiple , they will always have each other.
“On their first day, they won’t be walking in on their own, they already know three other people in the class and they will always have someone looking out for them.
“Behind the chaos of quads that’s a very special bond that they are very lucky to have.”
As their first day approaches , Selina admits she hasn’t yet labelled the huge order of uniform items but said she is used to sky high piles of clothes - and four times the price tag.
She said: “I think we have spent £400 on school items with a logo and another £200 on shirts, skirts and trousers.”
“When they were babies, I used to change 30 nappies a day. We do everything in large quantities , even a fish finger tea uses an entire box.”
With older sister Myla, Selina is used to the daily school run , but admits she is dreading the morning drop offs .
She said: “It will be madness in a morning, but it always is in this house.
“They will be having school lunches so that’s one less job for me and like any sized family we just have to get into a routine .
“I will need my own rucksack for the days we walk because no doubt I will end up carrying five bookbags and five water bottles -let’s hope they don’t all bring artwork home on the same day.”
Waiting on place allocations was a daunting time for the couple - especially when one email was missing and Selina was left thinking only three of the quads would be joining their sister at the local school.
She said: “I can laugh now but seeing three emails arrive at midnight on allocation day and then realising one was hidden in junk, was very stressful for a moment.
“Thankfully they all secured a place at the same school and the class is only small so they will certainly take up a percentage .
“They are all really excited to be going to Myla’s school, they are not worried at all, it’s their teacher’s I’m worried about.
“The boys are enjoying pretending to be each other . If they are looking at me face on , I can tell them apart instinctively, but if they are facing slightly away, they try and pretend to be each other.
“It will be exciting to see them develop as individuals, they have always been known as ‘the quads’ so it will be great to see their own personalities grow and making their own friends.”
Selina describes eldest quad Roman as laid back and chilled, while Austin who is a minute younger, is mischievous, has no fear and loves to make people laugh.
Arlo arrived third in line and his mum describes him as a cheeky charmer, with an answer for everything.
Lastly, the boy’s little sister Raeya is small but feisty.
Selina said: “She is smaller than the boys but can easily hold her own and they are fiercely protective.
“They do have a lovely friendship, when they are not wrestling with each other and they all adore Raeya.”
Like most mums, Selina can’t believe the time has come for the quads to go to school.
She said: “One of my favourite sayings is; the days seem long but the years go quickly .
“Looking back, since they were born, the time has really flown by . It seems like only five minutes ago we found out we were expecting four babies and the difficult decisions we had to consider.
“They are our little miracles and despite the mess and madness I have loved having them at home.
“I know I will be gaining a little bit of freedom having them all at school, but the house will be empty and very quiet.
“They are all going at once which will feel very strange.
The nurse added: “When they started preschool nursery just for mornings, I felt so lost I bought a puppy.
“Next week I think I will just enjoy a hot cuppa and five minutes peace and quiet.”
reception class 幼儿园小班
on one’s marks 一切准备就绪
school run 上学
morning drop offs 早晨送孩子上学
the days seem long but the years go quickly 日子似乎很长，但岁月如梭