McCaughey septuplets turn 16; first set to survive infancy

November 19, 2013 (CARLISLE, Iowa)

Seven of them turn 16 Tuesday. The famous McCaughey septuplets made history in 1997 when they became the world's first set of septuplets to survive infancy. Those seven babies came home to mom, dad and big sister Mikayla and settled into a life of seven times the diapers, seven times the bottles, seven times the birthday cake.

"The 16 years has gone by really fast," said dad Kenny McCaughey. "There have been some long moments and there have been some, you know, good -- it's -- it's been just normal, typical -- you know, times seven."

There's Kenny, Alexis, Natalie, Kelsey, Nathan, Brandon and Joel. Two of them, Nathan and Alexis, have cerebral palsy. All are spitfires, young adults who can't imagine life without one another.

"We can just use each other as friends if, like, other friends aren't available," said Natalie.

"If you're, like, having a bad day or something, you could go to Other -- other siblings," Alexis said.

"If somebody's pickin' on you at school or something, you have six other brothers and sisters to back you up," Nathan said.

That's not to say the siblings always agree, especially about music.

Sweet sixteen is a rite of passage for any teenagers -- the McCaugheys Included; they're dating now. Three of them have significant others. Kelsey's had a boyfriend for three months, she said.

And they're driving. Six out of the seven septuplets recently got their learner's permits -- which means that, along with their 17-year-old sister there are seven drivers in the house fighting over one available car

"The big thing's gonna be, you know, who gets the car when," said mom Bobbi McCaughey. "Until they can afford to buy their own car."

At 16, bona fide adulthood looms -- and with it the bittersweet reality of soon going their separate ways. But the McCaugheys say a full house is a happy house.

"We... all just -- are able to -- to help each other," Natalie said.

"We're more people to hang out with and get close to. And just tell -- tell anything to. It's -- it's fun," Kelsey said.

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