One Giant Leap


Art by Katharine

Feb. 29, 2012 is just an extra day on the calendar, a quirk to the usual 28 days of February. But for leap day babies, the 29 is the birthday they’ve been missing for the past three years.

The worldwide leap day baby population approximates 4.1 million, with the U.S. boasting 200,000. Two of those leapers are sophomore Hockadaises—Tai and Paige.

While leapers may seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to celebrating their actual birthdays, both girls enjoy their special cases.

“It is really exciting when somebody asks you when your birthday is,” Paige said.

A leap year for the girls usually equates to major birthday celebrations— Tai gets to throw bigger parties and Paige has a running tradition of taking special trips with her family.

For her fourth birthday, Paige went on a Disney cruise in the Bahamas, and for her eighth, she went skiing to Taos, N.M. However, instead of traveling for her twelfth birthday, Paige threw a rock climbing party with her friends.

For this leap year, Paige has plans for to take a trip over the summer to celebrate while Massimilian hopes that she will be able to throw a big party for her sixteenth birthday.

And having a great conversation starter is just another side benefit to being a leaper. “When people ask you an interesting fact, you always have something to say,” Tai said.

Moreover, many companies offer special deals for leapers.

“I remember getting a free leap year t-shirt when I turned eight from the Build-A-Bear store,” recalled Paige. And food stores like Domino’s offer free pizza as well.

A common misconception about leapers is that people forget that leap year birthdays only happen every four years, meaning Upper School will not see a new leaper until after Paige and Tai graduate.

But being a leap day baby is not all fun and games, especially when the girls have to suffer through the same refrains of bad leap day jokes.

“A lot of times, people ask me if it said that I am four on my license when I’ve lived on Earth for almost 16 years,” Tai said, but quickly clarified, “I am 16 years old.”

– Kathy