MEET the McIntyre family: mum, father and every one of the 10 of their youngsters. Also, if Heather McIntyre has her direction, number 11 isn't excessively far off. Additionally, she's visually impaired.
Meet the McIntyre family: mum, father and each of the 10 of their kids. What's more, if Heather McIntyre has her direction, number 11 isn't excessively far off.
Heather and Garry McIntyre have been married 21 years, and have children Kurt, 20, Sebastian, 19, Jacqueline, 16, Kirama, 13, twins Lance and Quillan, 11, Quintessa, 8, Jacinta, 5, Arnold, 4, and Myfawny, 15 months.
“When we got to number four I said, ‘no more’, but they turned out to be twins, so Heather got her six she wanted and then we decided we liked having children,” Mr McIntyre, 56, said.
And baby 11 is not out of the question.
“Or 12, that’s up to my wife, I’m just a dutiful husband,” said Mr McIntyre, who works as a personal trainer.
Mrs McIntyre, 41, has been pregnant for a total of 7½ years, but she is also blind, making this feat of motherhood extraordinary.
It also adds two guide dogs, the retired Hero and Narjee, the current working dog, to the burgeoning family.
Five of the children are also vision-impaired, having inherited their mother’s congenital cataracts.
“When the kids are little I’d have bells on their socks or those little rattle bracelets you can get so I could hear where they were,” Mrs McIntyre said.
“I help them with their homework, which is done in braille.
“I was totally blind with the first three children but when Sebastian had cataract surgery they thought they’d do it on me and now I can see some light and dark and in strong sunlight I can see bright colours,” she said, adding her kids were always the ones dressed in fluorescent colours at the park just so she could keep track.
The family purchased a four-room home in Penrith nine years back and quit any pretense of claiming a vehicle to oblige the home loan.
The four young ladies share one live with two bunks. Arnold, 4, shares a live with his twin siblings who are additionally in bunks, while 20-year-old college understudy Kurt and his 19-year-old sibling Sebastian are out in the back room and infant Myfawny is in a bed in her folks' room.
There is just a single restroom, which gets an exhaustive exercise.
There is no proper program for tasks except for all the kids are answerable for washing their morning meal plates every morning and supper time is divvied up among dishwashing and washing the youthful ones — all without contention.
“Our kids don’t fight. Like all siblings, they have words with each other, they may get annoyed and tell them so, but they don’t fight,” Mr McIntyre said.
Feeding this horde is a finely tuned art performed by mum, who spends most days in the kitchen.
“Monday is sandwich day because the bread is fresher,” she said, so after a walk to the shops, Mrs McIntrye picks up 10 loaves of bread, enough to make 55 sandwiches for the week, and freezes them.
Three bunches of bananas and 80 apples are divided up for lunches and 2kg of self-raising flour goes into making muffins for school lunches as well.
As they don’t have a car, Mrs McIntyre walks to the shops with her guide dog several times a week to stock up.
She estimates she spends $150 on fresh fruit and vegetables, and $300 on groceries each week.
The family also spends $1200 a quarter on electricity, while their water bill comes in at $400 a quarter.
And then there is the washing — four loads a day.
Living on one wage with so many children means careful planning.
Christmas shopping is done well in advance with the use of lay-by.
And they don’t do holidays, opting for family outings on public transport.
“We had a picnic under the bridge for the Vivid festival and we go to Taronga Zoo once a year.
The vision-impaired kids can hear the elephants being washed and we also have Foxtel because it’s cheaper than going to the movies,” Mrs McIntyre said.
The last AMP. Natsem report from 2013 put the average cost of raising two children from birth to leaving home at $812,000, which means the McIntyres are up for $4.06 million to get their kids out the door as adults.
“You read about those kids who are at home ’til 25 or 30, but ours won’t be, I don’t think they’ll stay — they’ll be happy to get out the door,” she said.
“Whatever makes them happy.
“I just love motherhood … you get to be a teacher and you get to choose how you want your kids to be, and everything is based on love and kindness.”
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