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Quintuplets entering new stage

MOORHEAD, Minn. — In a couple weeks, the Christoffers family will sing “Happy Birthday” five times.

Each of the Moorhead quintuplets will get their own rendition of the song when they turn 12 on Nov. 30. Bobby, who died at 6 months, gets one in his memory.

“We want to remember him because he’ll always be a part of our family,” said mom Collette, 41.

When they were born, preemies Jacob, Bethany, Bobby, Kevin and Alyssa all weighed less than 2 pounds.

Believed to be the first healthy set of quintuplets born in Minnesota, the Christoffers kids have come a long way since their days in intensive care.

“It’s hard to believe that they started off under 2 pounds,” Collette said.

Ten years ago, the quints were scampering around their Moorhead home in diapers. Now they’re navigating the hallways of Horizon Middle School in Moorhead.

“It’s a big change all at once. It’s a big change for one, let alone four,” said dad Mike, 44.

New this year are “pods” (two kids are in one pod, two are in another), locks on lockers (two are righties, two are lefties), and the short time allowed between classes to swap books.

“I think they were mainly nervous about finding their classes,” Collette said.

With four kids in the same school in the same grade, school fees, photos, uniforms and physicals all come at the same time.

“There are challenges all the time. The challenges just change,” she said.

Their older sister, Emily, a 15-year-old sophomore at Moorhead’s Park Christian School, welcomes the change because it means more homework to help keep her siblings out of her hair.

“It’s not like me constantly doing homework and them being loud,” she said. “Now we’re all doing homework.”

Month of celebration

Until their 10th, the quints had their birthday parties outside the home, at places like Chuck E. Cheese or a hotel with a swimming pool.

“After their 10th birthday, then we kind of toned it down a little bit,” Collette said.

Last year, they all wanted separate parties, so it was a month of parties.

This year, it’ll be a two-part sleepover with movies, pizza and cupcakes, boys and girls separate.

“It’ll be on the same day, but we’ll be doing different things at different times,” Alyssa said.

There’ll be a family party, too, around Thanksgiving. November is a month for celebration for the Christoffers.

Christmas will be scaled back this year to save for a summer trip to the Grand Canyon, inspired by a fourth-grade project of Jacob’s.

“We’re going to bite the bullet and take a road trip,” Collette said.

But first they’ll pay Bobby a visit at the cemetery like they do every year on the anniversary of his death, June 6.

Meanwhile, the kids are saving their weekly allowance, which they earn by doing chores on a chore chart, for goals of their own.

Alyssa wants an iPad Mini; Kevin’s aiming higher.

“I’m saving up to go to Vegas,” he said with a smirk.

Meredith Holt

Meredith Holt is a features/business reporter for The Forum who covers topics in health, mental health, social issues, women's issues, arts and entertainment, food and more. She also writes a column on health and wellness, body image and media representationShe was a copy editor/page designer for six years prior to joining the features team in March 2012.

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