Forever young, leaplings celebrate

Being born in a leap year has its own rewards, you don't age very fast

Sooke resident Jessica Robinson turns 10 today, making her another year older but still younger than her sons, 17-year-old Zachary and 16-year-old Jacob Humphreys.

And now that Emily Bailey is eligible to get her driver’s licence, at four years old she’ll be the youngest Esquimalt resident to get behind the wheel of a car.

Robinson and Bailey were born on a leap day, an extra day in the Gregorian calendar that rolls around every four years. The addition of Feb. 29 balances the calendar with the clock and synchronizes the seasons with calendar dates, according to official timekeepers at the National Research Council of Canada.

“I kind of want to find more people who are leap year (babies) and actually talk to them and find out if people ask them the same questions,” says Bailey, the only leapling, as leap day babies are known, out of 733 students at Esquimalt High.

Even though she is four years old in leap years, she is also celebrating her sweet sixteen.

As her unique birthday approaches, the attention she gets ramps up and the questions start coming.

“I’ve been asked, ‘Since you don’t have a real birthday most of the years, doesn’t that mean you can’t get your driver’s licence when you turn 16?’” she said with a laugh.

“You get teased a lot for being so young, especially since I’m so tall, too,” said Bailey, who is five-foot-11. “People are like, ‘Oh, you’re the tallest four year old I’ve ever seen.’ But it’s pretty fun.”

Meanwhile, Robinson, a legal assistant who works in a downtown Victoria law firm, will celebrate being fabulous and 40 by blowing out a mere 10 candles.

Her sons will likely take particular delight in wishing her a happy birthday. They have attempted to get her to say yes to them by reminding her she is younger.

Robinson’s counter quip always works: “’But I’ve been around the sun more times than you,’” she says.

Teasing aside, Bailey and Robinson have been waiting for four years for their real birthdate. In non-leap years they celebrate on Feb. 28.

When Robinson was a kid, sometimes her parents would throw her a birthday party in March.

“When you celebrate your birthday in March it’s kind of like patting a cat backwards,” she said. “It’s good, but it doesn’t feel right.”

This year, Robinson planned to make the most of her special day.

“I get the full 24 hours,” she said.

emccracken@vicnews.com