smu polo ‘It feels good to be together’
today, the Ferrill family will do what they always do on the quintuplets’ birthdays: watch home movies from the day they were born.
And their mom will be crying.
But not with a lack of empathy. The freshly 11 year old siblings have plenty of that. The quints will tell you their favorite thing is when they’re all together as a family.
Jenny said that’s one thing that hasn’t changed since birth.
“For the first part of our NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) journey they were co bedded, and if one of them had a drop in their heartrate another one would almost simultaneously,” she said. “When one is struggling, it really affects the others because they want to make each other feel better.”
When one quint is upset about something the other can explain why, even if they never discussed it.
“Mom feels pretty lucky that we have each other to keep us from being lonely,” Irelyn said. “It feels good to be together.”
The Ferrill parents explain their kids’ intuitions and relationships with each other are strong.
“They have these special meetings where we get kicked out of our own bedroom,” Pete said.
While the girls, Irelyn and Kieran, like to draw and sing songs the boys, Landyn, Layne and Drayden, play on computer games and practice tae kwon do they just broke their first boards. But all five siblings enjoy playing with each other, and some of the boys hope to join their sisters’ dance class when enrollment opens up.
Having a strong understanding of what it means to be a family,
the quints also are able spend time with grandparents and great grandparents on a daily or weekly basis. Jenny’s mother often goes with the group for doctor’s appointments, tae kwon do and dance classes.
All the Ferrill children were diagnosed with different medical conditions that would make going to traditional school difficult. Jenny and Pete are both able to stay at home. Pete has a graduate degree in industrial organizational psychology and works in network marketing, and Jenny homeschools the kids.
Kieran and Layne have a rare retina disorder that makes them sensitive to light. Their house has tinted windows, low lighting and magnifying devices to make reading easier.
“Partly because of structure of schools, they couldn’t get the accommodations they needed,” Jenny said.
Irelyn also has Type 1 Diabetes, most of them have asthma and some of them go to physical therapy once a week.
“I don’t think any parent wants their child to be affected by any long term medical condition, but they are definitely more mature and have greater empathy for others because of it,” their mom said.
Caring for others is something that comes naturally for the family. This year they helped donate food to hurricane victims, and last year the kids collected their old clothes and toys for a family who lost its mom.
While a common misconception of children who are homeschooled is that they’ll struggle to socialize, the Ferrill parents said that does not apply to the quints.
“Anytime we go somewhere and they don’t know anybody, they’re very quick to make friends and involve others,” Jenny said.
Pete added they’re also very entertaining to be around.
“You don’t even need to talk because they’ll do all that for you,” he said.
Their parents also describe them as being very alike and very different at the same time. They also all have a huge love for animals,
but are interested in different species.