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Leap Year Parents Face Dilemma: How Often To Celebrate Kids’ Birthday

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Jennie Jones holds her newborn daughter Jemiah at Rush University Medical Center. Jemiah was born on Feb. 29, 2012, one of at least four Leap Year babies born at the hospital on the same day. (Credit: CBS)

Jennie Jones holds her newborn daughter Jemiah at Rush University Medical Center. Jemiah was born on Feb. 29, 2012, one of at least four Leap Year babies born at the hospital on the same day. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 02/29/12 – 5:10 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – The question for parents of babies born on February 29 is: should they celebrate their child’s birthday once every four years, or twice every year?

Parents of Leap Day babies were opting for both strategies at Rush University Medical Center, where as many as six Leap Day babies could be born this year.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, parents of Leap Year babies are already making birthday strategies for their children born on February 29, meaning they’ll either have 25 percent as many birthdays as the rest of the world, or twice as many – depending on their perspective.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

Dr. Ashish Arora and his wife Kelly said they’re thinking of dual birthdays on February 28 and March 1 to bracket the usually missing February 29 for their newborn daughter Ahna. That will allow each side of the family a chance to throw a party, so Ahna might be in line for twice as many parties as the rest of the world.

“She’s beautiful, like her mom. She’s adorable; a little princess,” Ashish said.

“Her due date was February 28th, but she just came on the 29th,” Kelly said. “She was great. She was so cute.”

Kelly and Ashish have spent the night at Rush pondering how life will be different for little Ahna.

“At the age of 4, she’ll be asking for our car keys,” said her dad. “That will be really weird.”

Just down the corridor at Rush, Jennie Jones cradled baby Jamiya, and said she’ll celebrate her birthday every four years when February 29 rolls around. But she promised each party will be a blowout.

After three full days of labor, Jones seemed quiet, looking ahead to a future in which she just hopes Jemiah will be whatever she wants to be.

Jamiya is the second leap year baby in her family. She’ll share her special birthday with a cousin.

“He was born four years ago on the 29th and he finally had his first birthday,” Jones said.

Nurse Chris Murphy said Rush would be having at least four Leap Year babies for sure, possibly as many as six if the newborns decide to arrive on Wednesday.

Murphy said all the babies seemed to be on schedule, “doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing; eating, sleeping, peeing and pooping. That’s what they do,” Murphy said.

Only about 200,000 people are born on February 29 in America, a pretty select group. That’s why, at Hinsdale Central High School — which has six students who were born on Leap Day — class president Robert Buddig decided some special recognition was in order.

“We were so surprised,” said Buddig about the number of Leap Year students at the school. “I thought there’d be two or three.”

Six sophomores all turn four today. Classmates sang happy birthday and gave out balloons with the number 4.

Jake Hall says it was “very nice. People have been saying hi to me all day.”

“I saw the balloons,” says John Cascio, a Leap Year twin. “Next thing i know they’re singing happy birthday. I was pretty embarrassed. But it was fun.”

Still, being a Leap Year teenager has its downside.

“The worst part, like everyone saying I’m 4 years-old, and I should be in preschool or something,” Jake Sherlock said.

“My parents told me I’ll really enjoy it when I’m older,” said Maxmie Brunet. “But right now it’s kind of annoying.”

When they’re 80 and they can say they’re 20, maybe they’ll appreciate it more.

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