WASHINGTON – Rules for a three-legged race had to be stretched as more than 100 sets of triplets and quadruplets tied their legs together for four- or five-legged runs. It was part of a weekend of fun at a national convention to connect families who find new ways to do things all the time.
The annual Triplet Connection National Convention was in town,and hundreds of children and their parents were spending three days with big families like their own.
Some,like the eight-member Rauber family of Haymarket,Va.,arrived in matching red,white and blue outfits to mark their genetic and patriotic ties.
“We call ourselves the Brady Bunch,” said Kevin Rauber,42,a businessman and father of 6-year-old quadruplets – three boys and a girl – and two other children,a daughter,5,and a son,8.
The convention has a serious side too,offering parents seminars in budgeting,dealing with personality differences and integrating sets of multiples into families. While parents attend classes,their children meet members of families similar to their own.
“It's an excuse to go on vacation,and you see people doing the same thing you are,” said Nancy Yurick,a receptionist and 46-year-old mother of triplets,two boys and a girl,16,from Pitman,N.J. “Other people don't understand.”
Triplet Connection is a nonprofit group designed to aid parents with stresses of pregnancy,early childhood and adolescence. Dealing with groups of three or more kids is far more complicated than planning for one,said convention director Kree Lindsay. The group has a quarterly newsletter,information line and packet for expectant mothers.
Lindsay,the 52-year-old mother of triplets,joined the connection in the late 1980s and began the annual convention after seeing the impact counseling and support had on parents of newborn multiples.
“Once the kids get older,you adjust and get used to it,” Lindsay said. But dealing with that many babies at once can be difficult,she said.
Lori Rauber,42,said she found Triplet Connection while she was pregnant with her quadruplets. The group sent her an information packet that warned about the added complication of carrying so many children.
“It totally saved my life in getting me through the pregnancy,” she said.
And now the group is helping her children in other ways.
“It's fun to see other families like mine,” Erin Rauber said. The Raubers had never met another family with quads until they attended this convention.
The families participate in games,visit museums and dine together.
The Yurick family has been attending conventions for three years,Nancy Yurick said. The family planned to see the National Mall,the Holocaust Museum and the U.S. Mint.
Last year's convention was in St. Louis,and next year's will be in Las Vegas,Lindsay said.
Lindsay,who also works in entertainment operations at Disneyland,picks the site according to family friendliness and safety for the large numbers of children.
“When I do site inspections,I check the size of elevators,” Lindsay said.
Such attention to detail is necessary when planning for multiples,Lori Rauber said.
Families with triplets and quadruplets require extensive planning for simple tasks like laundry and trips to the grocery store,she said. She owns two washer and dryer sets and drives a conversion van with an extra seat.
Rauber's three boys share one room,the three girls share another,but they all get along like most other big families,she said.
Rauber's sons Nick,8,and Ty,one of the quadruplets,said they like having a large family and enjoy having enough boys to pick on their sisters.
“We torture them,” Ty said.