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MALCOLM and Pam Pusell
wanted three children.
Today - three pregnancies later - they have six, four boys and two girls.
Their family arrived one. two, three for Pam, 33, and Malcolm, a 37-year-old industrial officer, of Corrimal, N.S.W.
First they had a son. Grant, who is now
Second were the twins, Craig and
Michelle, now three.
Third, the triplets - Rodney. Jennifer, and John - born prematurely on Friday, April 13.
"'We're not superstitious about numbers," the Pusells said, crossing fingers.
The one-two-three family has created quite a stir in Corrimal, a small coastal town where the pace of life is geared for people to get to know each other.
This lack of hustle and bustle is
reflected in Pam and Malcolm. They take life as it comes, calmly and with humor.
Even so, the dramatic doubling of their family did make them blink. "I've never heard the like of it before." said Malcolm. He thinks it must be some sort of a record.
Twins don't run in either family. Nor were fertility drugs involved.
Malcolm said: "Unthinking people say. 'Oh. a multiple birth . . . pills!' I say, 'Just think a bit. Why on earth should any couple with three children need a fertility pill?'
"This lol was completely unplanned."
"When the twins came, we thought, 'Good, we've got our family over and done
with'." said Pam.
Pam Pusell with first-born Grant, nowa five-year-old.
"Neither of us is an only child."
Malcolm said, "Although Pam at first wanted two. we decided on three."
Pam had a premonition her third pregnancy would be multiple.
"It was just a funny feeling I might be carrying triplets or quads.
"Don't ask me why! Early on in the pregnancy I said as much lo Mum, because I remembered how it felt carrying the
"Then the gynaecologist confirmed it."
Next months were spent reorganising the household, making ("I usually cut out the pattern. Mum sews it up") or buying three sets of everything.
Largest of the five weeks premature babies, Rodney, was 19in. long and weighed 51b. lOVioz. at birth; Jennifer, 18Viin, was 51b. lloz.: and John, 18in.. 41b. loz. Eight weeks later their weights respectively were 101b. 13oz., 91b. 7oz., and
Their arrival created havoc in the Pusells' three-bedroom house.
Cirant gave up his bedroom and moved in with Craig and Michelle.
First birth, one baby; second birth twins; third birth, triplets. That's the remarkable record of Malcolm and Pam Pusell. Do they fear quads next time? "Oh, no!" they exclaim. 'These are absolutely
nur last "
By LORRAINE HICKMAN
His room is now the triplets' nursery. Three cots, cupboard overflowing with nappies, baby clothes and baby bottles (labelled "One." "Two," "Three" to ensure that each triplet gets his or her correct amount of formula), plus a bottle-heater at stand-by beside the power point.
At eight weeks, the triplets were being fed every four house, which takes up to IV: hours. "We haven't been getting too much sleep." admitted Malcolm.
They say they couldn't manage without the help of Pam's parents. Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Hansen, who are next-door neighbors.
"Usually Pam's mother slips across at night for one feed, which gives one or both of us a straight four or six hour sleep."
"When we moved here, everyone went on about 'Oh. you'll be sorry with the in-laws on the doorstep." But they're tremendous relatives and neighbors. We
couldn't have got through this without
Grandad, retired schoolmaster Mr. W. K. Hansen, lends a hand by giving John his bottle.
Second to arrive were the twins, Craig and Michelle, who are now three years old.
Mrs. Hansen also helps with morning feeds. Mr. Hansen, a retired schoolteacher, helps with feeding the triplets, too, and also cooks meals for the rest of the Pusell family, which Mrs. Hansen brings across to them. "Pam wouldn't possibly have time for cooking." said Malcolm.
Mr. Hansen does much of the shopping and takes Grant to school in the mornings. "You wouldn't get too many grandfathers helping out like Dad's done," said Pam.
Mr. and Mrs. Hansen just smile. "We enjoy our grandchildren," they say.
Pam said. "I felt Mum did so much for the twins, she and Dad should be left free to go out together and do the things they enjoy . But she does love babies, so it works
out all right "
Her parents were due for a trip to Switzerland when the twins arrived. The trip was put off because of them.
"Dad joked that if that happened again.
he'd pack his suitcases and go overseas permanently.
"When the triplets were confirmed. I
went across to him and said. 'Dad, start | packing your cases'!"
Friends come in a couple of days a
week to help Pam with the house^^H They include a number of the local Church 1 of England congregation. Malcolm is 1 I churchwarden and lay preacher. Until the 1 arrival of the triplets, he was Sunday 1
The congregation's help extended fro"1 " prayers for Pam and the triplets before their arrival (she had a very difficult birth with the twins) to a hand with «e housework - and regular batches
cakes whisked fresh from the oven to her
"We can't say enough about ouf friends." say the Pusells. "You won jo
find better people anywhere in the won ? I
Pam treats her offspring with resp#
for their different personalities L || all children, they're such individua^ j
Jennifer is an expressive l¡K'e T. * ? Let's say she doesn't suffer in silence- J ?
Turn to Page 20
Above: Malcolm and Pam Pusell and their 1, 2, 3 family (from left): Michelle, John, Jennifer, and Rodney (on their mother's lap), Craig, and (sitting on floor) Grant.
Left: Pam and the third arrivals, eight-weeks-old triplets (from left) John, Jennifer, and Rodney.
Five-year-old Grant Pusell wears a face mask as he watches his mother feet, baby brother Rodney.
THE 1,2,3 FAMILY
FROM PAGE 18
"John demands a gentle rock to get to sleep. Even at this age. he knows his mind.
"Rodney is always the first to do anything - waking up. eating, and so on.
The one-two trio have reacted to the three
enthusiastically. "1 was afraid the triplets might be a
bit much for the other three,
but definitely not so!"
Each has adopted his or her own triplet. Grant has Rodney. Michelle mothers Jennifer ("She's very possessive about her. too"). Craig keeps a watchful eye
"They always want to come in at feeding time,
which can be a bit of a nuisance, but that's balanced
by the big thing of them
loving and accepting the triplets," said Pam.
The one-two Pusells have individual face masks (Pam has drawn pictures on them so each child knows his or her own) to prevent passing on coughs and colds.
Pam. secretary- to a local real estate agent before marriage, makes an effort to be a well-informed mother.
Books on child psycholo- gy lean amicably against fairy stories and classics on the lounge-room shelf.
Pam did a child psycholo- gy course after the twins "to cítase the mental dust away.
But I'm afraid it went in one ear and out the other," she said.
Malcolm is the
disciplinarian - soft touch style. It is a measure of his success that Grant, Craig, and Michelle are spontane- ous, yet polite.
Grant's sense of merri-
ment regularly swamps a natural shyness. And that -. complements the always
As Malcolm and Pam observe, the one-two Pusells will meet their match when
the three get into circulation.
Even now, daily routine is
more hectic than Pam and
Malcolm ever thought life could be when they met at a local dance 11 years ago.
"I didn't want to go." said Pam. "The only reason I did was my younger sister was so keen and she wanted someone with her."
They courted for four years before marrying, then
settled in Corrimal. Pam's home town.
It was quiet going at first. But now life depends on the triplets' demands.
"If their feed is at 5.30 a.m.. as it often is, we don't go back to bed." said
"By the time the feeds are over, the others are usually up and about."
For a while now. they've left Grant. Craig, and Michelle to put their own
plates on the breakfast table.
"It was necessary, but, as we have discovered, for the best. For some reason, they're eating breakfast
much better now."
When they wake up, Pam dresses the one and the two. "Or, if feeding-time is still on. at least I make sure they're warm in dressing gowns."
Then it's breakfast time for Pam and Malcolm. He leaves for the office around
Pam likes to dress the children then, make the beds and mop the polished wooden floor. By which time the triplets are usually hungry again!
At the moment. Malcolm and Pam are planning to extend their 13'^-square house by adding another two
"Ifs an expensive busi- ness, but we'll have to do it," said Malcolm.
As Pam points out. "The two girls will need a
bedroom to themselves with
lots of hanging space.
"And so will the four boys."
The triplets' arrival has meant a pretty tight familv budget.
"Sometimes we wish they were quads because that
would mean Government assistance," said Malcolm. "Honestly I don't know how anyone else in our situation would manage.
"Ifs pure luck we've got relatives of the calibre of
Pam's parents so close and willing to help - and our
First birth, one baby: second birth, twins; third birth, triplets: Do they fear quads next time?
"Oh no," groaned Mal- colm. "This is absolutely our
"Yes," Pam agreed.
"But then, that's what we said last time!"