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Monday, 25 December, 2000, 09:35 GMT
One-in-500,000 Christmas
Colin, Sandra and the triplets [photo courtesy St Helen's Reporter]
Colin, Sandra and triplets. Photo: St Helen's Reporter
The Stanley family of Merseyside first had one child, followed by twins, then triplets. The odds of naturally conceiving in this 1-2-3 sequence is one in 500,000. What does Christmas Day hold for the brood?

First Colin, 40, a builder, describes the logistic nightmare that is 25 December.

We'll be stopping in for the day. If we try to go out for a walk or something, by the time we get the triplets all changed and ready to go out, it'll be time to bring them back in again.

Against the odds
Lisa, 27 March 1984
Lee and Emma, 20 May 1985
Amy-Jane, Edward and Scott, born six weeks early on 1 July 1999
We won't have any presents under the tree until Christmas Eve, after the babies have gone to bed, or they'll be at them.

And we've had to fence the tree off behind the sofa so they can't pull the lights down.

They keep us on our toes. In most families, there's just one baby at a time and you can take care of it. But with three, they all head off in different directions at once.

We'll give the younger three their dinner first - I expect they'll then crawl around the rest of us trying to take food off our plates.

Hefty bill

The babies will eat the same as the rest of us - turkey, sprouts, carrots, all the traditional stuff - but we'll blend it up so it's easy for them to eat. We'll have to lay in a 20lb turkey to feed us all.


The babies will leave the toys to one side and play with the wrapping paper

Christmas has been more expensive this year. It'll probably cost us about 1,500, what with decorations, food and presents - actually, most of that has gone on presents.

It takes a good couple of hours to wrap them all up, but only half an hour to undo them all - then the babies will leave the toys to one side and play with the paper.

Just like the older three when they were little, the younger three spend more time playing with the wrapping paper than with their presents.

Here, Sandra, 39 - who originally wanted just a boy and a girl - explains how she copes with her six-strong brood.

There'll be just the eight of us for Christmas dinner, but it'll be hectic. The house will look like a bomb has hit.

It was much calmer last year, as the triplets slept most of the day.


It'll be hectic - the house will look like a bomb has hit

This year, they'll probably wake up at 8am. When they start crying, we'll bring them down to see the tree and all the presents. There'll be thousands - we won't be able to move for presents.

The older three will man the babies while I cook the dinner - and I'll get Colin to peel the potatoes and carrots the day before.

But just getting the babies ready is a whole morning's work. By the time they're bathed and fed and changed and dressed, it's about time to put them to bed again.

No more

They're all bathed in the same bath, all at the same time - so the bathroom is flooded and I'm drowned.

While I'm trying to get the nappy on one, the other two are trying to get to the stairs, or get up on the chairs. It means I'm on the move all the time - all the time.

When the other three were babies, I was just 22 and could deal with all them. Now I'm just a wreck. We're not aiming for more, because knowing my luck I'll end up with quads.



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21 Dec 98 | Medical notes
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