A birthday three-peat in Coon Rapids

  • Article by: CURT BROWN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 7, 2010 - 9:58 PM

Like mother, like daughter, like granddaughter: A Coon Rapids mom shares a June 1 birthday with her mother and her newborn.

Paula Ballanger, 56, daughter Rachel Koep, 29, and granddaughter Roxie, just one week old.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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It's a good thing Paula Ballanger isn't the selfish sort. After all, she was born on the same day -- June 1 -- as her daughter, Rachel, and now her week-old granddaughter, Roxie.

"It's not hard," said Ballanger, 56. "We're moms: We learn to share."

The three generations from Coon Rapids defied 272,910-to-1 odds, according to bookmakers in London, where a grandfather, son and grandson pulled off the same three-peat May 8. Michael Soma, a Ph.D. student in statistics at the University of Minnesota, said the probability of a girl sharing a birthday with her mother and grandmother is one over 365 squared or one in 133,225.

"But there are roughly 155.8 million women in the United States," Soma said. "So the probability of this event happening is really a mathematical certainty."

In fact, Soma's probability calculations estimate there could be 1,169 U.S. females who share birthdays with their mother and grandmother.

Number crunching aside, proud new mother Rachel Koep, 29, figures she'll never celebrate her own birthday.

"I used to think having the same birthday as my mom was a double-edged sword because, by the time I celebrated my own special day by myself, my mom would be gone and that would be really sad for me," she said. "But now I'll never have my birthday alone."

Family custom calls for individual cakes with their own candles, individual renditions of "Happy Birthday to You" and individual birthday wishes.

"Now we'll now have to continue that a third time," Rachel said. "Everyone is going to wonder: 'Aren't we done yet?'''

All three generations weighed in at 6 pounds, although the ounces varied. Roxie, Rachel's second daughter, came a few days after her due date.

Rachel, her husband, Paul, and their 6-year-old daughter, Zoe, all went to the movies to celebrate Rachel's birthday. The saw, fittingly enough, "Shrek 3-D."

By the way, Roxie's 77-year-old great-grandmother, Eldora Werner, is alive and well in Columbia Heights. She was born on June 21 -- 20 days too late for the grand birthday slam, the probability of which is ... oh, never mind: Let's call it astronomical.

Curt Brown • 612-673-4767

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