On Aug. 2, 2019 Emma, Harper, Haven and Taylee Johanneck celebrated their first birthday.
To say that a lot has happened for the Scott and Michelle Johanneck family in the past year would be an understatement.
What has life been like for the Redwood Falls quads?
According to Michelle, no one word could describe the past 12 months.
It has been challenging, exciting, unbelievable and a whole lot of fun, she said.
Sitting in the middle of the Johanneck’s living room floor (actually there was very little time sitting still surrounded by four one-year-old girls), Michelle reflected on all that has happened and the amazing progress these four little girls have made.
It was into this past December before all of the girls made it home, with Harper being the last to make the trip, as she faced more medical complications than the others. While she is a bit smaller than her three sisters, Harper seems to do just fine, and Michelle confirmed in terms of her physical health she is doing very well. In fact, she is probably the busiest of the quads always moving, climbing and being curious.
Over the past year as Michelle has watched her little girls grow she has seen them all develop different personalities.
“These are clearly four very different people,” said Michelle, adding for her it has never been a problem knowing who is who.
Then again, she is their mom.
While raising one baby is a challenge for any first time mom, one can safely say having four children all one year old in their house is much more than four times the work.
“It can be exhausting at times,” said Michelle, adding she is looking forward to the day when all four of them sleep through the night.
One might not think at first about how even the simple things like going for a walk can become much more complex for a family with quads. Loading all of them into their vehicle for even the shortest of trips just means planning ahead and getting them ready much earlier.
Two bags full of diapers, snacks and a change of clothes typically come along on any outing.
Yet, Michelle would not change a thing, because, as one hears her talk about Emma, Harper, Haven and Taylee one can clearly recognize that she loves being a mom.
Yes, she admitted, the house may be a little bit messy at times, but she would much rather let that go, because that means she is spending time enjoying the moment of just sharing experiences with them.
Having quads means getting into a routine, and that means planning everything from breakfast (all of them are eating solid food now) to 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. naps. There are times for walks and for playing, and Michelle said she always makes time for reading books.
Along the way, Michelle has received support from others who are the parents of quads, and she said those who have experienced what she and Scott are living through right now are more than willing to share advice.
From the day the girls arrived home, and even long before they were even born, there has been an overflowing amount of support from family, friends, neighbors and the community as a whole, and Michelle expressed how grateful she and Scott are for that.
While at first visits had to be limited as the girls adapted to new life and efforts to avoid illnesses were made, there have been lots of people who stop by to play with the girls. Michelle said she appreciates those visits, especially those times when other kids come to play. That social interaction with other kids is not always that easy for them simply because of timing and planning.
Michelle said she also likes it when there are opportunities for the girls to have one-on-one time away from their siblings, as that allows them the chance to further develop their individual personalities and interests.
Emma was the first to walk, said Michelle, adding she typically is ahead of the game in most things. She is also the first born.
Michelle said she cherishes those milestones in life, adding she looks forward to all of them. Yes, she agreed, everything from the first day of school to learning to drive, prom and graduation are all going to be very interesting events for Emma, Harper, Haven and Taylee, as well as Mom and Dad.
One can follow the progress of the Johanneck quads on Facebook at Juggling 4 Johannecks. There may not be posts all of the time, but one would not expect that from Michelle. After all, she is a little bit busy every day.
“It is hard to believe that a year has gone by already,” said Michelle, adding she knows the years will go by fast.
Michelle is just glad she gets a front row seat for this ride of a lifetime.
– Submitted photo