SILVER SPRING – Kenny Beath dismisses all the rumors his friends tell him, that the first baby of 2000 will win a free education, a $1 million prize or other windfalls.
Still, the 19-year-old Annapolis student and father-to-be, seems to get a little excited swapping such stories with other parents who are expecting around New Year’s Day.
“My friends tell me all these stories … that they will be giving away a million dollars to the first baby born in the millennium, a free education. I’ve even heard the government will pay to bring up the child until it’s 21,” said Beath, pulling up a chair in the large, gray room where childbirth classes are held at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.
Eight other couples in the room are participating in childbirth preparation exercises, like counting contractions, under the supervision of an instructor. The group is racially diverse and ranges in age from their teens to their 40s.
But for now they have something special in common — millennium babies. And gift rumors. Like Beath, everyone in the room has one to share.
Becky McDermott, 29, said with a laugh that she had heard all babies born on New Year’s day will get a free supply of diapers.
But there really are some extra goodies out there for the first baby or babies of the millennium, albeit on a smaller scale. Aberdeen, for instance, will recognize the first baby born in the city with gifts and a celebration.
Anne Arundel Medical Center is putting together a gift basket with contributions from local merchants for the last baby of the old millennium and the first baby of the new one born in the hospital. The first 500 moms and babies in the hospital would also get free T-shirts, said Mary Lou Baker of the Annapolis medical center.
As for the million dollars, Beath conceded that “it’s probably just a myth.”
“We just want our baby to be born healthy,” he said of the boy his girlfriend, Courtney Smith, 18, is expecting.
McDermott, of University Park, does not expect to win any goodies, since her son is due to arrive on Dec. 28. But she’s sees a financial bonus either way.
“I can claim a tax deduction,” she said.