By Aly Thomson in Halifax
TIGNISH, P.E.I. — They say it takes a village to raise a child, and one small P.E.I. community has been personifying that proverb after a single mother gave birth to triplets.
Residents of Tignish, a town of roughly 700 in western P.E.I., have come forward to help Hayley Arsenault, who gave birth on Jan. 5 at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.
There’s even a signup sheet to keep track of daily shifts to babysit little Hogan, Rylan and Finn.
“We are bonding with them already. They’re just precious,” said Tignish retiree Alice Mokler, 70.
Mokler said she and her two sisters, all retirees and grandmothers, enjoy feeding and cuddling the three tiny boys.
“When you see them laying in the same crib — three little heads — it just touches us.”
Mokler said she and her sisters all live less than a kilometre from Arsenault’s house and love children, so were glad to be among those offering help.
She said the triplets and mom will often be sleeping when they arrive, so they just let themselves in and wait for the babies to wake up.
“We go to the crib and if they’re awake we start our daily chores. We pick them up, feed them, burp them, change them, cuddle them. Each of us hold one, ” she said.
They also help out with housework, she said.
“She told us she fully trusts us with her babies, and that’s really something. I’m touched by the fact that she’s so warm and welcoming to strangers in her home.”
Arsenault said she reached out for assistance on social media because her mom was going back to work, and securing some help at home would give her parents some peace of mind.
“We are so thankful to live in the community of Tignish, where everyone is always willing to help out those in need,” said Arsenault in an email.
She also noted that neighbours have organized a benefit for her and the triplets on Feb. 25.
Mokler’s sister Anita Arsenault, who is not related to Hayley, said word of the collaborative babysitting has been quickly spreading in the community, where she says “everybody knows everybody.”
“It’s wonderful to see. We hope we’ll be able to make a difference,” the 68-year-old woman said.