Hats off to bouncing Buthelezi quints
'Twas the week before Christmas and not a single thing stirred - which was unusual for the Buthelezi household.
A scan of the room revealed the famous quintuplets, two sleeping on their tummies on the couch and one each in the arms of Mom, Dad and their child-minder.
The new parents, Joe Buthelezi and Prudence Ndlangisa, looked fresh and excited for the babies' first Christmas photo shoot, despite having had only two hours' sleep the night before.
The couple will be spending a "quiet" Christmas at Ndlangisa's family home with the five newborns and her four-year-old daughter.
On September 6 the couple, and their obstetrician Dr Moeng Pitsoe, were surprised with quintuplets after expecting to deliver triplets by caesarean at the Clinix Botshelong-Empilweni Private Hospital in Vosloorus, Gauteng.
Now, almost four months later, the babies are at home with their parents and two carers in Boksburg. The biggest change is how much there is to do - preparing bottles, feeding, laundry, bathing and changing nappies.
Buthelezi said the household electricity consumption had doubled and there was a marked increase in the family's water usage. "Just about everything has gone up."
But, for the couple, the hardest part of raising quintuplets is trying to give each child individual attention.
The siblings did not stir until they were placed together in front of the camera. It was the Christmas hats that did it in the end.
Siyanda, the only boy, was not impressed and tried to wriggle out of his hat. Sindisiwe, the smallest, was next to him and also tried to remove her hat. Instead it slid right down to her chin. Her cries set her brother off and both began a chorus. Luckily, it did not disturb sisters Simosihle and Sbahle, who cuddled together asleep at one end of the line, or Slindile, who sat wide-eyed on the other side.
The quintuplets' parents follow a strict routine of feeding every three hours, and get through R700 worth of formula a week.
The Buthelezi quintuplets are only the fifth set to be born in SA since 1960. Ndlangisa had taken ovulation induction drugs after trying to conceive for a long time.
Her first scan revealed four babies, but as her pregnancy progressed only three were seen so it was a surprise when five were born.
Buthelezi said the community has been especially warm to them. "Most people we meet, especially elders, think that this is the best thing they have experienced in their lives. Some even think that Jesus's coming is near," he said.
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