They have been through more in their brief lives than most of us experience in a lifetime. Travonte, age 4, Tramonte, age 3, and Tranayjah, age 2, are the children of single father Terrance.
Terrance had known Savalas (children’s mother) for more than 20 years when they finally came together. He knew she had a history of heart disease and had a pacemaker, and that she was already mother to eight children herself. But she wanted more, and so Travonte and Tramonte were born. Both Terrance and her doctors warned her against getting pregnant again, but she wanted a girl. Six weeks after giving birth to Tranayjah, she passed away.
Terrance and Savalas had shared responsibility for the kids. After she died, the children were embroiled in a custody battle between Terrance and Savalas’ older children, who took them away from him until a judge gave them back to Terrance. The impact on the children was devastating. “First, you lose your mother and you don’t know how, and then, at the same time, Dad, who is always there, suddenly he’s not there anymore.” Travonte, called Taytay by his father, felt her absence the most. “Her presence is very missed by him, he’s the one I’m dealing with the most,” says Terrance. “He has a lot of temper tantrums, shut downs, blank outs, he has these moments where he’ll cry and say, ‘I want my mom.’”
Once the children were back in his custody, Terrance needed to find daytime child care for them, so he could continue to support his family. “I researched a few childcare places and everybody kept saying ‘we can take the younger one but not the older ones’ or ‘I’ve got room for the boys but not the girl.’ I needed someone who could take them all.” Given what they’d already been through, he felt it was important to keep them together; no more separations. “I was giving up and one morning I got a phone call from [Turnquist] saying ‘we have a spot for all three kids now.’ I did a little research and visited, the staff walked me through, and I was like ‘You guys don’t know how much of a blessing!’ Ever since that day I thank God for you guys.”
Speaking of his little ones, Terrance says: “They are all my angels. Travonte, he’s a character of his own. He’s a bright young boy, shy and bashful, he loves basketball. Tramonte is more in your face. He’s my eater, you gotta keep the refrigerator full for him. He sees himself being a football player. Tranayjah, she’s a character among characters, she’s expressive, when it comes down to face gestures, impressions, picking things up, she’s one in a million.”
But the older children had challenges. Both Travonte and Tramonte had trouble with language. “You couldn’t understand what they were saying, Tramonte would go about mumbling. I think they were more scared to speak out, so when they talked, you had to make everybody be quiet just to get a simple sound out of them. Travante’s equilibrium was off, he was just clumsy, with bad hand-eye coordination. The guys had temper issues, they didn’t like sharing, they would get really aggressive, they would shut down.”
Since coming to Turnquist, things have improved for Terrance’s children. Both Travante and Tramonte have benefitted from Turnquist’s brain-based approach to child development, and both have also received occupational and speech therapy. Now, says Terrance, “they’re outspoken, you can hear every word clearly. Even my mom notices, she says to them ‘oooh, you’re talking so good!’ It’s a dramatic, dramatic change. Their physical movements are more coordinated. Travante, he still jitters side to side a little bit, but I think that’s him being silly at times.”
Terrance credits the staff at Turnquist with these gains. “They learned how to eat with a spoon. I didn’t teach them that, they were here most of the time, because I was working. Being able to have them come to the same place every day, with the same teachers and the same other kids is giving them stability they wouldn’t have had prior to that because of all the chaos. I tell everybody about you guys because I hadn’t found a daycare that took the time – and I don’t even call you guys a daycare, I call you a learning school, the services you provide these kids are way beyond being a daycare in my eyes.”
Do you need child care? Call Turnquist today at (612) 789-1236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about enrolling your child in our program!