The McCaughey septuplets — the first septuplets in the world all known to have survived infancy — turned 16 today. And they want to drive as soon as possible.
Life for this Iowa family, which never starred in a reality TV series, is "quiet in some ways," dad Kenny McCaughey told the Des Moines Register. The kids are sophomores in high school, some have braces, play in the band, compete in sports. Their older sister attends community college.
Their 1997 birth riveted the nation. Baby food and diapers were donated, along with a seven-bedroom house and a van. They still have those last two items. The babies -- Joel, Brandon, Nathan, Kelsey, Natalie, Alexis and Kenny -- ranged in weight from 2 pounds, 5 ounces to 3 pounds, 4 ounces.
After the delivery of seven relatively healthy babies, their doctor remarked: "It just strikes me as a miracle." Time reported on the call President Clinton made to Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey: "When those kids all go off to school ... you will be the best-organized manager in the U.S.," Clinton said. Bobbi replied, "That, or I will be in a straitjacket somewhere."
Kenny McCaughey spoke to the L.A. Times in 2001, recalling the point at which the reality of having seven newborns really hit. It was the day of the birth.
"When you actually see all seven of them coming out," he said, "it's like, 'Oh, my! Is this really happening?' "
The public support made a huge difference after the children were born, McCaughey said: "Honestly, who knows where we would be today" without the donations and help that flooded in.
These days, the septuplets are interested in getting their driver's licenses, though Dad says, "When you have a job, you can have a car." Bobbi McCaughey told the Register that "relationships with friends and members of the opposite sex" are a common topic of conversation. And the couple is thankful they never had to face the temptation of reality TV.
With a big family to support and the lure of money, "it would be difficult to say no," Kenny McCaughey said. He's glad he never had to make the choice.
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