Christmas has well and truly arrived in the Clark household. Darcy, Elisha, Caroline and Alexis – a whirl of shiny eyes and strawberry blonde hair – all grin at their prized possession, the giant 7ft Christmas tree they’ve just helped their mummy and daddy put up.
With only a few sleeps left until Christmas, there’s a distinct tinge of excitement in the air for this adorable foursome.
It’s the third Christmas for the South Yorkshire quads who made medical history when they were born back in March 2013 – with all four babies being created from a single embryo.
Parents Justin and Christine Clark, of Brinsworth in Rotherham, had tried for a decade to have children before finally attempting IVF – and hitting a home-run on their first try,
“People think our life must be chaotic, but it’s normal for us,” smiles Justin as the girls dance around the living room to their favourite song – Tiffany’s 80s hit I Think We’re Alone Now – in their Christmas jumpers.
“Four toddlers running around shouting and playing is our normal and we can’t imagine it any other way.”
Christine explains that Christmas morning will begin like any other day, with the girls waking between 6am and 8am before eating breakfast and getting dressed. After that, the girls will be allowed to open their presents in stages throughout the day, so it doesn’t get too much for them, before the family enjoys Christmas dinner at home.
Justin also reveals they have managed to ‘hold things down’ this year when it comes to gifts and there won’t be the mountain of presents under the tree people might imagine.
“We don’t have the luxury of space,” says Justin, aged 45.
“The girls are only two-and-a-half so there’s no point in overloading them with tons of presents we haven’t got room for and they don’t need.”
Christine, aged 38, adds: “We’ve got one main present for them all to share and then a couple of small gifts each, plus their stockings with colouring books and things in – they all really love to draw.”
And Christine says that, despite their physical similarities, the girls are all real individuals with very different tastes.
“Alisha is a really girly girl, she loves to play with dolls, while Alexis is a bit of a tomboy who’d much rather be climbing on things and playing with cars,” she explains.
“We’ve never dressed them the same and we encourage their different interests and their independence from one another. We’re raising four individual people.
“Having said that, they are very close and if one gets upset, they all get upset, or if one is ill, all the others look after her.
“Last Christmas, all four girls ended up in hospital with bronchiolitis just a few days before December 25, so we’re really looking forward to a nice quiet Christmas all together at home this year.”
Christine’s family, who live down south, will be coming to visit in the new year, bringing with them more gifts for the little ones.
“That’s another reason we don’t go nuts with gifts,” says Justin.
“Everybody buys them things so we’d end up with far too much if we spoiled them rotten. I’m sure, as they get older, there’ll be a little more ‘I want I want,’ but they’re too little really to understand this year.
“Plus we’ve always taught them that ‘I want’ doesn’t necessarily get. They’re really good girls.”
Christine says the girls do, however, know about Santa, but that she and Justine have resisted taking them to see him so far.
“It can cost £6 a child for a visit to Santa, so it’s a lot of money for all four,” she explains. “It’ll be different probably next year when they’re asking to go and they’re really excited, so we’ll wait until it means more to them.”
She’s also not sure the girls understand yet that they’re going to be getting presents.
“It should be a lovely surprise for them,” she laughs.
“We’ve never gone in for buying multiples of things – four scooters, four fire trucks – as we want the girls to learn to share and they’re really good about it.
“They’re sociable girls, you have to be when you grow up with so many siblings, and they also really enjoy playing with other children, which is nice.
“They’ve got three Christmas parties this week, at the various groups we attend and at nursery, which should give them lots of chance to play with their friends.
“We’ve also watched The Snowman with them, which they really love, so they’re definitely getting into the Christmas spirit.
“It’s a really exciting time in our house.”