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Having a Leap Day Baby: How Does That Work?

My first baby came right on time. My second baby came 2 weeks early. When I found out I was pregnant the third time, I looked at the calendar and his March 22nd due date and oh-so-prophetically proclaimed, “He can come any day he wants as long as it’s not on Leap Day. I’d hate to have a Leap Day baby.” 

Twenty-three days before his due date, my placenta detached and my Leap Day baby was born, fighting for his life.

The craziness of his birth is a whole different story, but the uniqueness of his Leap Day birthday has been a source of contention ever since.

Some people hear his birth date and smile, asking if we celebrate Feb 28th or March 1st. Some simply ask, “Yeah, how does that work?” Others are confused,  completely unaware that Leap Day actually exists (Yes, grown adults have argued with me).

But what makes this Mama Bear growl is when people tease him that he’s almost 4-years old.

My body failed him on the one day that I did not want him to enter this world, and I don’t take kindly to people teasing him about that. I try to politely smile as I correct them. “No, he is almost 16 years old but yes, this will be his 4th birthday.” One extra calendar day does not affect how old a child is.  Don’t mess with my Leap Day baby.

Leap Day Baby

My sixteen-year-old son isn’t accustomed to reading mom blogs, so I’m not worried about him reading this and dying of humiliation. The truth is, he’s a scrappy kid that could handle himself well if he was ever being teased maliciously. But most of the teasing he receives is from friends and family who adore him. They mean nothing by it and he takes no offense; such jabbing rubs me the wrong way, and I absolutely loathe it.

Yes, yes, he’ll be 64 years old before he has his 16th birthday. Haha. Funny, funny. Gee, we’ve never heard that one before.

No, no, he doesn’t want toddler toys for his birthday. How very original of you to suggest it! People think they’re so very clever.

Did you really just tell my little boy (back when he was little)  that he doesn’t have a birthday this year? What kind of monster are you?!

While the jokes and teases irritate me, the lack of knowledge concerning Leap Day absolutely astounds me.

I’m pretty sure that I learned about Leap Day in Kindergarten or 1st grade. It was always a big deal every 4th year when that special day came around again. Yet, I’ve had grown adults tell me that February 29th doesn’t exist. I had a pharmacist tech argue with me that I would have to give her “his real birthday” or she couldn’t locate his medication. She went as far as to tell me that she was trying to enter his birthday on her computer but that date wouldn’t register. When I told her to enter the year 2004 first, she quickly learned that Leap Day is real and February 29th exists every 4 years.

People scare me sometimes.

Some Facts About Leap Day

Since Leap Day is an obscure holiday that only rolls around every 4 years, it makes sense that very few of us are familiar with the traditions and superstitions surrounding this day. After a little digging, I found out that:

*Leap Day was introduced over 2000 years ago by Julius Caesar

*An old Irish legend states that St Brigid convinced St Patrick to allow women to propose to men on Leap Day which was not allowed any other day of the year.

*All Leap Day Babies are invited to join The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies

*In Scotland, it used to be unlucky to be born on Leap Day.

*In Greece, it is considered unlucky to marry during a Leap Year, especially on Leap Day.

*Leap Day babies are also often called Leapers, Leapsters, or Leaplings.

*You have a .068% chance of being a Leap Day Baby.

What’s It Like Having a Leap Day Baby?

happy birthday balloon with cake in background

Photo by Raychan on Unsplash

To answer the questions, “How does that work?” and “When do you celebrate?”, the answer is: it varies. Our family has the tradition of eating birthday cake for breakfast so we almost always do that on February 28th for him. But like most families, we celebrate with parties and outings whenever it’s convenient. When Leap Year rolls around, we tend to do something a bit bigger for him to celebrate the fact he has an actual birthday that year. This year, our Leap Day baby will celebrate his 4th “real” birthday as he turns 16. I see lots of chocolate cake and paintball in our near future.

Regardless of his traumatic entrance into the world and the irritation of his birthday, my Leap Day baby has been one of my greatest blessings. He’s smart and funny; kind and loyal; clever and witty. He loves his mama and Jesus and all things chocolate. He’s a wonderful young man with an unusual birthday, but I couldn’t love him more. 

And being born on Leap Day isn’t all bad. When he was four years old we celebrated his first “real” birthday, and our local radio station actually invited him to speak on the air.

With only 187,000 Leap Day Babies living in the United States, finding a birthday buddy is extra fun! And I guess when he is 84 years old, it’ll be fun to tell everyone that he’s celebrating his 21st birthday.

If YOU are a Leap Day mama, I’d love to hear your stories and struggles. Do the jokes bother you? Have you ever argued with someone who doesn’t believe February 29th exists? Do you do anything special for his/her Leap Year birthdays? I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

2 Responses to Having a Leap Day Baby: How Does That Work?

  1. Avatar
    Rebecca Toebben February 29, 2020 at 8:50 am #

    I remember learning about leap year as a child. One of my friends was born on Feb 29. Her birthday was celebrated on Feb 28, except during leap year, but any birthday parties were held in Feb or March close to her birthday. She would get teased some about her age, but she didn’t seem to care.

  2. Avatar
    Dianne June 13, 2020 at 4:58 pm #

    Love this article! You make me laugh!

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