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Wave bye-bye to the Somoano quintuplets

By CARY DAVIS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 31, 2001

WESLEY CHAPEL -- Life is changing all the time for the Somoano quintuplets. Now 20 months old, they are beginning to walk and talk. They're getting bigger, stronger and more independent.

Soon, though, the quints and their parents will face what might be their biggest and most challenging change yet.

The Somoanos are moving to Orlando.

For any family, moving is a traumatic experience. But when you've got five babies, you're not just leaving behind a house and a few friends. You're leaving behind an entire support network.

"We're going to have to work on that," said Jack Somoano, the quints' father. "It's going to be a little stressful."

The family is moving because Kathy Somoano, the quints' mother, got a promotion. For years she has managed the Thrifty Car Rental at Tampa International Airport. Now she will be a regional manager over the operations in both Tampa and Orlando.

The move, hard as it will be, was a no-brainer. Kathy is the family breadwinner, and the family's health insurance depends on her job. Jack, who runs a catalog shopping business from home, takes care of the kids during the day.

The quints -- Alyssa, Brianna, Cody, Dante and Evan -- were delivered by Caesarean section April 25, 2000. Twelve weeks premature, they were the first quintuplets born at Tampa General Hospital. In the beginning, the health of the babies was a big concern for the first-time parents. Alyssa weighed just 1 pound 2 ounces at birth. Brianna developed a staph infection that nearly killed her. Now, though, health isn't a concern. Alyssa weighs 17 pounds. Brianna, whose development had been slower than the others, is talking.

The big concerns now are the move and selling their house. It's been on the market since September, and they have yet to get the first offer.

Once they get to Orlando, they will have to find a new support network of volunteers to help Jack. The one good thing about Orlando for the Somoanos: Kathy's parents live there.

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