McCaughey septuplets turn sweet 16

McCaughey septuplets: When the McCaughey septuplets were born on November 19, 1997, they were the world's first living septuplets. While media attention has largely fallen away over the years, the world is celebrating their sweet 16 with them.

Blank Children's Hospital/Reuters
The McCaughey septuplets were the world's first living set of septuplets at the time of their birth on Nov. 19, 1997. Baby Kenneth, just one of the seven, is shown here at a week old. The McCaughey septuplets turned 16 yesterday.

The McCaughey septuplets are 16 and say they don't mind that they're taking a lower profile than years ago.

The seven children – Kenny, Kelsey, Natalie, Brandon, Alexis, Nathan and Joel – of Carlisle, Iowa, became internationally famous when they became the world's first surviving septuplets in 1997. They were on the cover of national magazines and featured on network television shows.

But as the seven children celebrated their 16th birthday Tuesday, the family tells The Des Moines Register it's nice to live a more normal life.

Nathan McCaughey says the attention was fun, "but in other ways I never liked it, all these cameras following you around everywhere."

As the media attention subsided, the family was able to settle into being just that: a family. The septuplets and their 18-year-old sister Mikayla reportedly all get along with each other well enough, a fact that they attribute to each having their own room and personal space.

They deal with the same teenager issues that other families do, from braces to drivers’ education; but for the McCaughey family everything is multiplied seven times.

While many families struggle to keep household budgets in line, those issues are amplified for the McCaugheys.

"The biggest challenge is making sure they keep up with certain things but not keep up with certain things, trendy things," Mr. McCaughey told the Des Moinse Register. "Three of them have cell phones and a couple have iPads. But even I'm on a pay-as-you-go phone plan."

The parents, Bobbi and Kenny McCaughey, say they enjoy being able to have conversations with their children now that they're older.

And Bobbi notes, "It's fun to see the work pay off."

The septuplets all entered high school last year. They all started playing in the marching band and Mr. and Mrs. McCaughey cheer them on during halftime at football games. No word on what it’s like to live in a house where seven children are learning new instruments.

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