Updated August 10, 2020 - 11:01 am
For those parents still struggling to adapt to having their kids at home — all day, every day — Deon and Karen Derrico can relate.
The North Las Vegas couple has been housebound, more or less since March, with their 14-year-old daughter, Darian, and 9-year-old son, Derrick.
Along with their 8-year-old twins, Dallas and Denver.
Their 6-year-old quintuplets, Deniko, Dariz, Deonee, Daiten and Daician.
Plus their 2-year-old twins, Diez and Dior.
And their infant triplets, Dawsyn, De’Aren and Dyver.
“You learn when you have multiples of multiples,” Karen says, “that you work smarter, not harder.”
Viewers can see some of that work on display in the premiere of “Doubling Down With the Derricos” (10 p.m. Tuesday, TLC).
“We always wanted a large family. We desperately wanted a large family. And we didn’t do anything outside of the normal to have a large family,” Deon says. “But we never pictured multiple multiples.”
To put the Derricos and their 14 children in perspective, they burn through $2,500 to $3,500 a month on groceries, including 15 boxes of frozen waffles and 20 rolls of toilet paper a week. Deon installed a barber station in the garage so he can cut the boys’ hair. Whenever they go out, the children line up in birth order to make it easier to avoid a “Home Alone” scenario.
Should each of them get on a Zoom call, it would look less like “The Brady Bunch” opening than a bingo card.
If you were wondering why it took this long for the family to land a reality show, well, they were close once. The Derricos had their first brush with fame in 2013 with the birth of the quintuplets. Deon says more than 10 production companies expressed interest in giving them a series.
Then 2014 happened.
“I had a bogus criminal case that came up, and it put everything on hold,” Deon is quick to point out.
Four years later, in April 2018, he was acquitted of multiple real estate fraud charges. That August, two remaining charges were dropped. Undeterred, Deon still lists his occupation as real estate investor.
He insists the family “absolutely” would have had a show back then had those charges not been hanging over him. But he’s found a silver lining. The day after the Review-Journal published a story about the end of his legal battle, producer Lori Rothschild Ansaldi read it, reached out, and those conversations led directly to “Doubling Down With the Derricos.”
‘We make it work’
Having their own reality series isn’t just about the fame, although Karen admits that’s part of the attraction. When they first started having multiple births, the Derricos didn’t have many resources to turn to for help.
“We want to share what we went through,” she says, “and how we’re able to raise our children and maneuver through some of these different obstacles and trials and things that happen in our day-to-day life. … We want to show, ‘How do you do it when you have multiples on multiples?’ ”
Some of that maneuvering comes via scheduling. The Derricos try to organize appointments, such as trips to the doctor or dentist, in groups: quintuplets, triplets, twins and “triplins.” (Diez and Dior were born with Carter, who died a few hours later, and the triplins designation is a way to honor his memory.)
That grouping strategy goes for sports and hobbies as well, Karen says.
“We will not be going to 11 different activities. ‘These are the extracurricular activities for this month: swimming, soccer. Who wants to do it? OK, everybody else, you go next month.’ ”
One of the biggest challenges comes in finding a place for everyone to sleep in the family’s four-bedroom, 2,400-square-foot home.
“We have bunk beds everywhere,” Deon says. “And we have a couple of cots for those who want to sleep in the room with us when there’s too many to sleep in the bed.”
There are always two or three kids sleeping between the two of them in their California king, he says, joking that it’s their way of making sure they don’t end up with any more siblings.
Just when you’re trying to do the math and wondering if some of the smaller children end up sleeping, cartoon-style, in dresser drawers, Deon mentions GG’s room.
GG? There’s a GG crammed in there, too?
That’s his mom, Deon explains, who lives with them, as well.
“You’ll meet GG in the second episode,” he adds, laughing.
The Derricos are in the process of acquiring a larger house.
In the meantime, Deon says, they’re relying on the strategy that gets them through most every challenge.
“We do what families do: We make it work.”