Sixteen (Times Five) Candles

updated 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

It seems like only yesterday that Ray and Michele L'Esperance were decanting vats of baby formula and changing 70 diapers a day. They're still juggling, but now it's curfews, cell phones and learner's permits: Their kids, the first test-tube quintuplets born in the U.S., turned 16 on Jan. 11. "I guess things are going to change now," says Ray, 43, a deputy sheriff, a little wistfully. Adds his wife, 50, a former model: "They can go bowling or out in groups, but they won't be dating. I guarantee it."

The L'Esperances, who brought three other children to their marriage, say some things haven't changed. Veronica, the flirtiest baby, now has guys lined up at the door. Alexandria, a "long, lean screaming machine" as an infant, says her mom, is now "taller—and screams louder." As for the lone boy, Raymond? He's still the lucky one: "The girls fight with each other," says Michele, "but they leave him alone."

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