Twin-credibles: Think your house is busy this Christmas? This family has three sets of twin boys under 4!
Published 24/12/2015 | 06:51
Christmas can be chaos in a house of small children.
But this family has three sets of twin boys - aged four-years-old and under - to keep an eye on.
There is not a minute to spare in the home of Ciara Neill, originally from Clondalkin, Dublin, and her husband Adam Place, who live in Portlaoise, Co Laois, with their six boys.
Ciara's day is mapped out with feeds, changes and school runs for children Max and Nathan (4), Lucas and Caleb (23 months) and Roman and six-month Sebastian.
"It was a huge shock to have the three sets of twins," she told the Herald.
"My aunts are twins and my mam's cousins are triplets, so there are twins somewhere in the family, but it was still even a surprise when the first set came along.
"I think there is another woman in Portlaoise with three sets of twins and a baby, but I haven't met her - people like us don't tend to get out much."
She said between the six - two of whom attend the local Gaelscoil - there is always something to be done.
"It's non-stop. My day starts at 5.45am and the youngest two have their last feed at 11.30pm.
"I actually have a schedule where I have written down everything to do, all the feeding times and everything. Along with that there is the usual cleaning and washing to do in the house.
"Sometimes I'll be there thinking I have something to do, and then I realise it's time to pick up the two from school.
"It is pretty intense. Adam works in Dublin, so he gets in after 6.30pm or 7pm, after Max and Nathan are gone to bed, and then he makes all of the lunches for him and the boys," she said.
Although Ms Neill said the boys have their moments, luckily they get on very well and there is no jealousy between the brothers.
"If one is crying then someone will be running around looking for a soother or patting their head," she said.
"With boys they fight over a toy and then it's all forgotten. I always wanted boys and think if I had six girls, I would want a boy. I had two younger sisters who were close in age and I would have seen all the drama and arguments they had.
"It is organised chaos here, but it is lovely as well, those moments when there is no screaming or crying and they are all just sitting there playing.
"Adam's siblings were much older than him so he felt like an only child at times and I can see that there is a novelty to it for him when he's looking at them all.
"It is hard for us, but it's not their fault that there are six of them and we don't want them to feel they miss out on anything."
To give the family a much-needed break, Ms Neill's mother is bringing the family to a hotel for Christmas dinner.
"Apart from that my plan is to be in my pyjamas in front of the fire and get as much help as I can from their dad while school is off," she said.
"Surprisingly, they haven't asked for a lot for Christmas. At first, the older two were looking at the Smyths catalogue and they wanted everything - but now they all have three each on their list for Santa."