Being born on Leap Day leads to special attention, some isolation, local ‘leaplings’ say

Folks born on Leap Day, or Feb. 29, usually celebrate their birthdays on Feb. 28, because they are February babies, not March.

“I celebrate on Feb. 28 because it’s the last day of February. And there’s a there’s a whole lot of people that think that I should wait for March 1, but I didn’t think so,” said Mark Tremblay, of Troy.

Amber Queen, of Urbana, also shares that belief.

“I wasn’t born in March ... but there’s mixed opinions with leap-day babies on how they celebrate,” Queen said.

And when there is an actual Feb. 29, on the calendar, the Leap Day birthday folks celebrate.

“We are going all out for her tomorrow and we’re gonna have, like a party on Friday with friends, but tomorrow we’re also gonna do some pretty cool things,” Jennifer O’Laughlin of Mechanicsburg said Wednesday. She has a daughter who was born on Feb. 29.

“We are going to go to Build-A-Bear because they have this special if you’re born on the 29th. And we’re making cupcakes for her whole class.”

Build-A-Bear workshops seem to be a popular choice for people born on Leap Day, as the company announced a new promotion offering those with Feb. 29 birthdays to create a bear for just $4.

Tremblay doesn’t plan on going above and beyond for his “true” birthday.

“I mean I celebrate a birthday every year, even though it’s not on the calendar,” he said. “And I certainly get older every year.”

Yet despite this outlook, he admitted “it is a birthday that a lot of people can remember. So you do get tend to get more cards and things like that when when there’s an actual birthday on the calendar.”

Others said there is a slight feeling of isolation compared to those with a more traditional birthday.

“There’s lots of Leap Day babies around the world that are feeling forgotten every once in a while,” Queen said. She has experience with stores denying her birthday specials during non-leap years.

There is a silver lining to this though, as being a leap year baby can be a point of connection for two strangers. Tremblay said he doesn’t meet leap year babies often, but “when you do run into them though, it it is like you have connection that you wouldn’t have with with another stranger. That birthday kind of ties you together.”

Queen said she personally knew three other leap-year children throughout her childhood, which gave her a strong community.

“When I turned 16 human years, but four leap years, the Ohio University men’s Glee Club was performing that day at our high school, Alexander High School. They called all four of us ‘leaplings’ down to this gym floor and sang us ‘Happy Birthday’ in front of the whole school.”

She said that one of her fellow leaplings had a leap-year baby of their own years after this.

Others interviewed for this article said they had at least one person in their life they knew that shared their birthday.

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