Meet the Dad Behind 'Sextuplets Take New York'
The Carpio sextuplets, now 2 years old, hail from Queens, N.Y., and have been starring on TLC's reality series "Sextuplets Take New York" along with their parents Victor, 37, and Digna, 33, and their 10-year-old brother Jhancarlos. The final installment of the eight-episode first season airs Oct. 5.
We've been following Genesis, Joel, Danelia, Jezreel, Jaden and Justin, getting a peek at the family's modest three-bedroom home and experiencing the daily challenges the big brood faces every day.
After putting his little ones to bed recently, Victor Carpio spoke with ParentDish about how he and his wife make it all work.
ParentDish: What was your reaction when you got the news you were having six children at once?
Victor Carpio: I was shocked, especially because at our first doctor's visit the doctor only picked up five heartbeats. When we went back two weeks later we were told it was six.
PD: How did you prepare Jhancarlos for getting six siblings?
VC: He had wanted a brother or sister to play with for a long time. When we told him he was getting six new playmates, he said, "Wow!" That was incredible.
PD: How did he adjust once the babies came home from the hospital?
VC: We were careful to make the transition smooth. We explained that because Mommy and Daddy were giving up their bedroom for the babies, we would need to move into his playroom to sleep. After we got his permission for that, he seemed OK with it and how things would change. I also made it a habit to spend a lot of quality time with him by taking him to the movies, out to dinner or to the park to play.
PD: What about when the babies are around? How do you divide your attention among seven children?
VC: We make sure that we always play together as a family. Digna, Jhancarlos and I each play with two babies so everyone is included and can bond.
PD: How did you prepare for their arrival?
VC: A district council member from our area knew about our situation and helped gather a collection of items like diapers, strollers and clothes. After our story was featured on the news we got all of these donations from all over the city and New Jersey, too.
PD: How many diapers do you go through a day?
PD: How do you feed six babies?
VC: My wife cooks for them every day. She only gives them fresh food and, trust me when I say, these kids love to eat.
PD: On top of all this, you still hold down a full-time job?
VC: Yes. I am a groundskeeper for New York City's housing authority in Queens.
PD: How do you and Digna divide and conquer chores and responsibilities around the home?
VC: From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., while I am at work, we have someone come in to help my wife. Once I get home I am hands on. We work together, we are a team. We usually go for a walk in the park, then we prepare dinner, take baths, read books or I play guitar.
PD: How do you bathe six children?
VC: It takes an hour but we do it together and now have a system. The trick for me is counting backwards so I think I have fewer kids to clean (laughs).
PD: When your children were born, they weighed less than 2 pounds each.
VC: Yes. The biggest one was Genesis and she was 1 pound and 9 ounces. Jaden our son was the smallest at 1 pound and 4 ounces.
PD: So, the babies were in the hospital for a while?
VC: Yes. Jaden was there for four months. His lungs were so weak when he was born. To this day, we always have to keep a close eye on him. But the rest of the children started coming home after three months. I remember how my wife and I were running back and forth to the hospital constantly to be with our children.
PD: It must have been so hard on you and your wife to see your kids that way and tend to another child at home.
VC: I remember every day anticipating what the doctors would tell me about their weight, their breathing and their progress. But my wife and I have a lot of faith and turned to our faith to pull us through.
PD: How do you manage six little ones all at once?
VC: We keep them on a schedule and teach them to respect the schedule. If we don't keep them on a schedule this place will be chaos.
PD: So, with so much going on, why do a reality show?
VC: Two reasons. One, we want to educate people and two, I want the best for my children. I am excited to share my story with the world because I am proud of my nationality and more importantly, my family. My children are a blessing and I want the world to know how thankful I am for them.
PD: How do the kids respond to having cameras and a crew in your house?
VC: They are great. They act like no one is in the house because they just go about their business.
PD: What is the most important lesson you want to teach your children?
VC: Family is the priority.
PD: What are your toddlers doing right now?
VC: Jaden was the last to walk and he just started about three weeks ago. They are all talking and saying words like Dada, Papa, Mama and they love to get into everything and make a mess. They always seem to be fighting for the remote control.
PD: Has having so many children brought on a lot of stress to your marriage?
VC: No. In fact, it brought us closer together. Not only did we go through so much while the babies were in the hospital, but now we are so busy taking care of them we don't have time to fight (laughs). We call them our miracles.
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.