Tienge and Jim Renner longed to become parents and they were delighted when they received word that Tienge was expecting. The good news was followed by even bigger news…times 3 when they were told they were expecting triplets. Tienge and Jim realized the blessing they had received and understood as well the challenges they would soon be facing. Tienge was placed on bed rest for the last months of her pregnancy and the babies were born several months early. Mom had used most of her leave prior to delivery, so Dad stayed home after their birth to care for the children before returning to his job.
The babies had many developmental delays and the family was referred to the Early Steps program at Children’s Home Society. Early Steps, in turn, referred the family to Kids Incorporated’s Early Head Start program and in August, 2013, these two girls and a boy were enrolled at Brandon’s Place at Lincoln, located in the Lincoln Neighborhood Center, not far from dad’s office at FSU. Landon, McKenzie and Vanessa were entrusted to two teachers: Ms. Monica and Ms. Linda, who are in charge of the baby room.
Ms. Monica recalls the triplets were very small, somewhat withdrawn, and had difficulty eating at the time of enrollment. The teachers developed a plan and set up strategies that included a schedule to introduce skills to help them eat, crawl, respond to their caretaker(s), etc. The teachers talked, sang and read to the babies and soon encouraged them to eat baby food from spoons as well as drink from their bottles. They helped them develop their gross and fine motor skills by placing them on mats and encouraging them to crawl and ultimately to pull themselves up and to begin taking steps and walking. They constantly walked on developing relationships through hugs and kisses and telling them they are loved. A physical therapist came into the classroom regularly and worked with each of the babies.
Seven months after they enrolled at Brandon’s Place, the children feed themselves and are showing unique traits. Landon is more analytical and loves stacking blocks. Vanessa loves music and moves, claps and sings with the music. McKenzie, the oldest of the three, has become “the boss” of her siblings. She and her sister love playing with pop-up toys. The children are multi-lingual; in addition to English, they have also learned Chinese from their mother. Dad serves as President of the center’s Parent Committee and it’s obvious both mom and dad are loving their role as parents and are taking it all in stride (times 3!). When you see the triplets with their parents, you realize how much the partnership between Early Head Start and Early Steps has helped shape the future of this family in a positive way!