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Quads keeping parents busy

Five years ago this week, the Adamita family doubled in size when mom Mary Jo gave birth to quadruplets. It's been a whirlwind ever since.

First there were the challenges of four newborns and years of near-constant diaper changing. Then came their first steps, potty training and, two years ago, the boys' venture into preschool. The quadruplets _ Sal Jr., Joseph, Sam and Domenic _ turned 5 on Nov. 5. The family celebrated with a low-key celebration that day, then had a huge backyard birthday bash Saturday.

The quads invited their entire classes from Deer Park Elementary, neighborhood friends and relatives. Mom and Dad rented a gigantic inflatable obstacle course.

Sal Jr., though, gave Mom and Dad his own special present. When he was 2{, doctors diagnosed Sal Jr. with autism, a developmental disorder that manifests itself in problems with social interaction, communication, and an intense interest in repetitive activities.

During the family's low-key celebration Monday, Sal blew out the candles on the small cake. That, Mrs. Adamita said, was a big deal.

"He never did that before," she said. "That was very exciting."

As the children have grown, Mom and Dad have had to hurry to keep up.

"I'm learning how to spackle, repair fans, paint," said Mrs. Adamita, who also has two teen sons from a previous marriage. "They've gone from spilling things to breaking things. It's amazing what four little boys alone in a room can do."

They can empty a refrigerator in a heartbeat.

"They don't stop eating," Mr. Adamita said while Domenic munched on cheesy Goldfish. "They can go through a box of cereal in one morning. I can't imagine what they'll be like as teenagers."

He added: "The next big stage will be dealing with school, homework and moving into bunk beds. And we thought the toddler years were bad."