THE PARENTS PAGE
Congratulations! You have a Leap Day Baby!
WHEN WAS MY CHILD BORN?
Your child was born on Leap Day or Leap Year Day. They were NOT born ON Leap Year. Leap Year is the whole year and lasts all year long. Babies born on February 29 were born ON Leap Day.
WHAT DO I CALL MY CHILD?
We are Leap Day babies, not Leap Year babies. Anyone can be born IN a Leap Year. We were born ON Leap Day. There's a big difference. So, for example; your child is a Leap Day baby, who was born on Leap Year Day.
HOW OLD IS MY CHILD?
Your child is the same age as any other child born in the same year as your child. However, those of us born on February 29 also have this special way to talk about our birthday that can be a bit confusing to everyone else at first, but its super cool once they get it. It is NOT correct to say your 8-year-old child is "2 years old" as it is obvious they are not. Instead, there are a few ways to say it correctly, such as the following:
Here are some to think about:
1. My child is 2 Leap Years old.
2. My child is 8@2
3. My child is 2@8.
You’ll get a better response when you say it correctly, and it is important to be correct. Saying something like, "You're turning 8 on your second birthday!" or "You'll be 3 again on your 12th birthday!" might be good alternatives to use.
Some little Leapers grow up to really like the whole concept. Others prefer to celebrate the annual age they are turning. Until they reach an age they can understand what is going on, it is important to allow Leapers to age and celebrate like everyone else does. It's only right, because we do age just like everyone else.
When it is your baby's first birthday (one-year-old) they are only one quarter (1/4) in Leap Years. First Birthdays are sometimes made a big deal, but the baby probably won’t remember that event. It's usually for the adults, so it might be a good idea to go ahead and have the First Birthday party that *you* want while they are still too young to have an opinion. Depending on the child, you can repeat it, when they are 4 years old, at 1. And, please remember, they still *get* a birthday, and they still turn each age. Leap Day babies simply get to celebrate the actual day we were born on differently than others do. Yes, it’s as straightforward as that.
WHEN DO I CELEBRATE MY CHILD'S BIRTHDAY?
In Leap Years, celebrate their birthday ON February 29th. We only get to do that every 4 years. In off years, we can celebrate on February 28th, because we were born in February. However, because we were born the day after the 28th, we can celebrate on March 1st if we want to. Or we can celebrate both days because we can! And some of us do! Alternatively, some Leap Day babies pick a day out of the year that is not in February or March to be their birthday for that year.
When it comes to celebrating at a birthday party, frogs as well as leaping lizards, are big deals. Getting the child items that reflect their Leapness is always fun, such as the ones you can find in the LEAP THIS shop.
WHEN WILL MY CHILD BE OF LEGAL AGE?
Where you live will determine when your child may drive or be considered an adult. Regardless of when we celebrate, we will not be our next age until *after* midnight of February 28th, no matter what the next day is—February 29 or March 1—depending on the year.
CAN MY CHILD GET FREEBIES ON THEIR BIRTHDAY?
When it comes to getting a free meal at a restaurant or something like that on their actual Leap Day birthday or in an off year, it is the manager’s decision. Some people can see the fun in this, which is cool. I have heard of many Leap Day babies who got a free meal, or they got in some place for free, or they received a discount. However, again, it's usually up to the manager and, on an off year, they may make the argument that the 29th is not there. Just take it in stride; after all, we're just talking about a meal or a one-time freebie. It's simply fun.
When I was 11@44 and with a group of friends, I asked the manager of the movie theater we went to if I could get the "12 and under" price because I had just recently turned 11. He thought that was so cool he let me and my friends in for free! I'll admit THAT was fun!
TEASING YOUR OWN CHILD
I have heard stories about parents or grandparents who have teased their little Leapling regarding their birth date. Not cool. Please do not tease your little Leap Day baby about their birthday. They will get enough of that outside the home from people who don't understand the coolness of Leap Day.
Please don't say things like -
"If you don't behave…”:
- “I will make sure your birthday is NOT on the calendar next year!”
- “Your birthday won’t be on the calendar next year and you won’t get a birthday!”
- “You won’t get a birthday next year!”
That is just mean.
This is your child, who believes you, trusts you, and takes what you say as truth. Please don't use their birth date against them. They need you on their side as someone who “gets it” when others don't.
Learn all you can about Leap Day to make it easier on you and your little Leapling. When it makes sense to you, it will be easier to explain it to them. And, it's your extra day too, so why not know what it's all about, right? Hey, bonus to you!
ARE THEY 2 OR 8?
Please don't make a big deal over them being "1" or "2" when they do not want to be. They've already been 1 and 2. If they are really excited about turning 4, 8, or 12, please rejoice with them, and celebrate that.
Something like "You're turning 8 on your 2nd birthday!" or "You'll be 3 again on your 12th birthday" are good alternatives to use. You'll find a comfortable way to say it to your child.
In other words, allow them to be 4 and 8 (instead of “1” or “2”) while you celebrate their Leapness. When they are older and have a clearer understanding of the day they were born on, and if you made it a positive thing for them when they were young, they just may appreciate their birthday more.
Please continue to explain to them why their birth date is not on the calendar until they are of an age they can understand it.
Thank you for getting Leapified for your Leapling!
WHAT TO EXPLAIN TO YOUR CHILD
Parents love to overuse "It's because you’re special!" Well, for me, that only worked for so long. I wanted to know why I was special, and I still wanted to know why my birthday wasn't on the calendar every year.
The technical reasons don't really work on very young kids. "Because you're special" doesn’t give us concrete answers to our "why" question. My suggestion is to tell your little Leap Day baby the truth from the beginning, which is...
Your child was born on February 29, otherwise known as Leap Day or Leap Year Day. Either is fine.
Leap Day represents a balance between the universe and the planet earth itself. OK, maybe that's too much for them to understand. It actually represents a balance between the way humans keep track of time and how the planet rotates around the sun. That's a little easier to understand. Leap Day also represents a balance between the seasons and the calendar. Pretty basic, right? Depending on your child’s age, they'll understand, but they probably won’t really "get it" until their 2nd and 3rd Leap Day birthday (when they are 8 and 12).
Prepare yourself and, especially, your Leapling for the questions you'll get from others. Maybe you already get them. If so, then you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't heard the questions, you will in due time. You will likely hear these questions over and over. And that's OK, because people are curious.
1. When do you celebrate?
2. How old are you really?
3. What does it feel like to not get a birthday?
The questions may sound ridiculous, with obvious answers. I think it's the way the question is asked. Of course, we have a birthday. We age, we celebrate that age every year, and we "get" a birthday.
The question people are really asking, but may not know how to ask, is: What is it like to have a birthday on a date that's not on the calendar every year?
Some may even blurt out, "Oh, my gosh! You poor thing!" Just calmly explain to them what you do and that it's nothing to seek therapy over.
WHY IT'S SUCH A BIG DEAL
People alive today do not know life without clocks and calendars. We have always been able to tell what time it is, what day it is, what month it is, and what year it is.
There wasn't an 8th day where God said: ”Let there be clocks and calendars in abundance.” Someone had to figure it out. Several people did, and then it took thousands of generations to perfect it.
The calendar has been through many changes. It is now at what many consider its most perfect. There is a reason why the calendar we use today, the device we use to keep track of days, weeks, months, and years, has been the way it is now for hundreds and hundreds of years. The reason is the fact that we experience the seasons about the same time every year. In other words, the seasons occur pretty much over the same months, every year. THAT is a big deal.
Think about this for a minute... If we didn't have an extra day to keep the calendar in sync with the seasons and rotation of the planet, we would eventually have to celebrate holidays that normally happen in one season in a totally different season. For example, in the parts of the world where Christmas is usually celebrated in the winter, it would eventually end up being celebrated in the summer.
To plant, grow, and harvest, we need dependable time frames we can count on. If we didn't have that extra day to keep the seasons lined up with the calendar, it would be extremely hard for us to try to maintain our crops.
Leap Year Day was added to the calendar at a time when February was the last month of the year. Once February was promoted to the second position on the calendar, it retained the responsibility of keeping the calendar in line with the seasons.
Therefore, it's because of that extra day—February 29, Leap Year Day—that the calendar is as accurate as it is. How wonderful that is! How cool that we were born on such a great day.
From my research in the last 8 Leap Years (how many annual years is that?) it’s clear that we were born on a day that represents something really cool, and that we have something unique about us that not too many other people have. That feels good, I'll admit. It's neat. It's fun. It's cool.
Well, OK, it didn't feel good when I got teased about it in elementary school. My second-grade teacher asked if we knew someone born on February 29, so I raised my hand and told her I was born on that day. Right there in front of the class, she said, "Oh, you poor child." Can you believe that?
Teachers today have so much more information about Leap Year than teachers in the past. But there still might be an UnLeapified teacher lurking somewhere in a school district we might have missed. If you know of one, give them our web address: www.leapyearday.com.
There will still be kids who taunt Leaplings with "You don't get a birthday" in that sing-song style kids do so well, or who say things like, "You can't play with us, you're only a baby." But at least now, maybe more than ever, parents, teachers, and students will have a clearer understanding of what Leap Year and Leap Day are, and why. And from that, I hope they will all think of it as I do, that it's a very cool day to recognize in general, and it's a very cool day to be born on.
So be patient with your Leap Day baby. Teach them what it is, why it is, and how special they are for being born on a day in history that represents balance and harmony.
There certainly is no competition that "holiday babies" experience. We are a unique bunch of people, and you can learn more about Leap Year and Leap Day on this site.
So be aware, be Leap Year Day Aware, and make sure your child's teacher is too!
Check out the TEACHERS page for fun facts and Leapified learning tools. My prayer is that you will educate yourself on the subject, so you are able to help your child and others understand what it means to be a Leap Day baby.
FEBRUARY ZODIAC: Pisces
FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE: Amethyst
FEBRUARY COLOR(s): Purple, Turquoise
FEBRUARY FLOWER: Violet, Iris, Primrose
The Flower of the Day
for February 29 is the
Forget Me Not flower.
WHO AM I?
I am Raenell the Leap Day Lady. I am not a child psychologist, or a doctor, or even a parent! However, I have been a child, and I am a Leap Day baby. I simply want to give you a Leap Day baby's perspective to help you understand your child's Leapness. Please feel comfortable contacting me if you have any questions or comments regarding this subject. You may contact me below.