HURLEY, MS (WLOX) – The moment you enter the Cochran house in Hurley, it feels like you've walked into a daycare. The Cochran quadruplets and their toys have taken up the entire living room. With dad away at work, it's up to mom to keep up with the active bunch every day.
"My lap's just not big enough," Sandra Cochran said. "It's been busy. But with each new age, you find a new happy point."
Cannon, Gunner, and the girls, Lauren and Avery celebrated their first birthday on August 18th. They are very mobile, vocal, and so curious, they couldn't keep their little hands off our camera.
It's hard to believe, just a year ago, the quads were born premature. They each weighed between two to three pounds and battled all sorts of medical problems. Then, they spent months at home, hooked-up to breathing monitors and were in and out of the hospital.
"With every age, you have a new battle," said Cochran. "When they were babies, it was feeding them every four hours. Now it's seeing who plays well together and who doesn't play well together, making sure they're not constantly fighting or biting."
Their lungs are still weak. A simple cold can land them in the hospital. But the adorable siblings are on track developmentally. And each day, they show more and more of their unique personalities.
Cannon is the oldest and the loudest.
"He's my needy one," said Cochran. "Cannon is definitely a momma's boy. He wants to be in my lap, at my side, in my sight at all times."
Gunner is the heaviest, weighing in at a hefty 27 pounds.
"Gunner is very shy, gets embarrassed very easily, but he's the heart of the group. He likes to stay on top of every body, make sure they're OK," said Cochran.
While her siblings have blue eyes, Lauren's eyes are brown. She seems to gravitate toward certain people.
"Lauren loves men. Boys, little boys, big boys, it doesn't matter. If there's a man in the room, he's going to be holding her," said Cochran.
And then there's Avery, the future musician.
"Avery is very independent and wild," said Cochran as she watched Avery climbed on top of her toy piano. "She'll tell you off in a heartbeat. She's going to be in a rock band."
The next step for the little ones is learning to walk and talk. They have plenty of room these days to explore and grow. In July, the Cochrans moved out of their cramped trailer and into a brand new six-bedroom house right next door.
"It's just been so much more room. You're not on top of each other. They were living in the kitchen in the trailer and anytime I had to do the dishes or anything, I could wake them up," said Cochran.
"What do you all want for lunch? It's going to be a bad day when they answer me," Cochran asked the group during lunch time.
A special table allows mom to feed all four hungry mouths at once. They're no longer relying on a high-calorie formula. They're eating adult food now.
"If we go out to eat, they can have part of our food or we'll order something off the kids' meal. So we like places where they have kids eat free," said Cochran with a laugh.
The infants follow a strict eating, sleeping, and playtime schedule. The routine helps Sandra and Matt Cochran keep the hectic household running as smoothly as possible. And the couple always makes sure to give each child plenty of attention, including the quads' big sister Hannah Noelle.
"She's a huge helper. It's always been normal for her to have four brothers and sisters. She interacts with them, she plays with them, she'll go get the diapers for me," she said.
"I just love them," said Hannah Noelle. "All of them are my favorite."
According to mom though, Lauren is Hannah Noelle's favorite.
With a four-year-old and four babies to raise, every day brings joys, challenges, and adjustments. It wasn't what the Cochrans expected when they walked into a fertility clinic two years ago.
"If I could rewind the clock and go back, I would do it all over again," said Cochran. "Because you want a child and God chose to give us four at one time and I don't know if I will every know why. It never gets old. You have five kids and you love them so much, it hurts."
The Cochrans do get a lot of help. Every week, family members, ladies from a local church, and a couple from George County take turns babysitting the quads. And this year, the babies were named Ambassadors of the March of Dimes of Jackson County.