Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Leapling DOES Have a Birthday, Thanks For Asking

My baby is turning one.  I'm somehow unprepared for this.  I'm fairly certain that this is the last time I'll have a first birthday party to throw.  I'm getting nostalgic about all those squishy newborn days. But it isn't just that. We've got another layer to deal with.

We can't put her birthday on our calendar this year. There is no February 29.

When you have a Leap Day birthday (or one of your kids has a Leap Day birthday), you get the inevitable questions and comments.  Some people were watching me like a time bomb around my due date, hoping I would go late because a Leap Baby would be so cool.  Some asked me if I was going to be induced so that I wouldn't have the risk of a Leap Baby.  People ask me if I'm going to tell her what her "real" birthday is. People ask if she'll have trouble getting into school, getting a license, registering to vote, having legal drinks.  But the main one is...

So, when do you have her birthday?

About 4 million people are born on February 29. The chances of having a birthday on February 29 is about 1 in 1450.  There's actual an Honor Society of Leap Day Babies (Reagan is a member).  Most on that site refer to themselves as "Leaplings". Since having a Leap Day baby, I started looking into it, as we get ready to celebrate Reagan's first year.

Yes, it actually exists.

Some people love their special day, some people feel forgotten.  Some people love that this date makes them unique, others hate being teased that they are only 3, or 8, or whatever.

I'm not sure how Reagan will feel about it, once she has actual "birthday awareness". Right now, I'm the one fielding the questions and comments on her behalf.

So here are my thoughts.

1. Reagan IS turning one this year. You age a year for every 365 days and 6 hours.  On the next February 29 she will be 1461 days old. Forty-eight months. That's not one.  However, it will be the first day she can celebrate on her birth DATE.

Interestingly, if you were born after 6:01 pm, no matter what kind of year it was, your first "birthday" wasn't until the next calendar day at 12:01, then next year at 6:01, etc.  That happens every year until Leap Day "resets" the calendar.  It'll stay that way for three years, then go back.

2. 70% of Leaplings celebrate on February 28.  It's the last day of February, which is how they identify their birthday. Some hold off until March 1. It's the day after February 28, which is when they were born.  We will celebrate, as a family, on the last day of February.  She was born in February.

I realize that by the point I made about time of birth, she would very definitely be a March baby. But I'm sticking with this celebration day anyway.

3. Milestone birthdays, and the benefits that come with them, are at the discretion of the state you live in.

Apparently, some states even allow you to choose an alternate birthdate for your license to avoid confusion.  

Basically it boils down to the this. No matter what questions Reagan gets, no matter what jokes people make, I don't want her to go through her childhood feeling like she doesn't get a special day unless it's a Leap Year.  It breaks my heart as I read quotes from kids and adults who've said they have been told they "don't have a birthday". When you're a kid, your birthday is something you look forward to all year. So it's our job to make sure that Reagan always feels like she gets her special day, no matter what the calendar says.

We may need to get this when she's grown.

I'll be honest. I didn't want a Leap Baby. It's the kind of thing that's cool when it's not you. I thought I was home free when we were still home at 10:30 pm on February 29.  But Reagan had her own opinions and very definitively chose her own birthday.  Trust me, I couldn't have stopped her. 

My Leapling...12 hours old.

It's part of who she is.

I hope, that when she's aware of birthdays, she embraces her special day.  She feels celebrated, she feels unique, and she knows she'll never be "cheated" out of a Happy Birthday.

And if necessary, to cover all her bases, she can make both sides happy, and have a two day celebration!

Already showing a stubborn streak...she wouldn't show the camera her shirt!

Happy Birthday to my Little Leapfrog!
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