Another cooperative Lauren child arrived yesterday, just in time to claim first-born-in-Maryland honors for 1992.
"Say cheese," the child's mother, Julie Lauren, told dark-haired Sally Laura Lauren. And halfway through her third meeting with the press, the newborn obliged with what must pass as a smile.
Sally arrived just after 12:50 a.m. at the Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly. Except for the distinction of timing, the infant's arrival was uneventful. She weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces.
Ms. Lauren had been engaged on New Year's Eve at her "24-hour-a-day job," tending her four other children.
"I never get a breather," she said.
When it was time to leave for the hospital, the 25-year-old Hyattsville resident said her children were "getting wild -- eating and coloring."
Julie, 5; Susan, 4; Nicky, 2; and Bianca, 18 months, were largely unfazed by their mother's departure. "When I left they said, 'We'll see you in a couple of days, mom.' "
Ms. Lauren learned that another child had been born at her hospital just before midnight on the last day of 1991, missing the designation of first-born -- but gaining something else.
"They get the tax deduction," observed the hospital's administrative supervisor, Sally L. D. Showalter. Ms. Lauren, who is unemployed and separated from her children's father, said the timing of Sally's birth had no tax consequence for her.
"It's good luck," Ms. Showalter said.
Ms. Lauren seemed willing to settle for the convergence of "a new year and a new life."
And, given what she said was the joy of having four well-behaved children, she was undaunted by the prospect of another child to rear in the midst of a recession.
"They all stick together and help one another. I couldn't make it in life without them," she said.