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Happy birthday to you – but not again for 4 years for Concord leap year baby

Last modified: 3/1/2016 12:41:06 AM
All babies are special, of course, but Summer Natalie Russell is extra special, and will be extra special again in the year 2020.

In the years between, however, she might be a little confused.

“She’s not going to have a birthday for four years!” exclaimed Summer’s sister, 8-year-old Darien Milioto, as the family gathered around Summer’s mom, Jackie Milioto, in the maternity ward of Concord Hospital.

Summer arrived in the world at 4:37 a.m. Monday, making her one of the first, if not the first, leap year baby born in New Hampshire this year.

Being one of the rare people with Feb. 29 on her birth certificate is likely to prove both fun and irritating as life goes on, judging from comments on websites devoted to “leaplings,” as they sometimes refer to themselves.

The irritating aspect will be official documents and online forms that don’t recognize that February sometimes has 29 days, a problem when personal information has to be just right or the TSA balks at letting you on the airplane.

The fun aspect is more obvious.

“It’s kind of neat,” Jackie said as she cradled her 9-pound-8-ounce daughter.

“I think it’s cool,” agreed Peter Russell, Summer’s father. The couple live in Barnstead with Summer’s sisters Darien Milioto and Callie Milioto, 5, and Russell’s two children, Cash, 6, and Arianna, 15. He works at Albany Engineering Composites in Somersworth, and she works at Ruby Tuesday in Concord.

Judging from online comments, it may be more than just fun: Apparently it’s not uncommon for restaurants and shops to provide Feb. 29 freebies to people who were born on leap day.

Assuming 2016 proves average, between two dozen and three dozen babies were born in New Hampshire on Monday, including at least one born at Concord Hospital.

It’s not clear how many leaplings live in New Hampshire.

Since there is one Feb. 29 every 1,461 days – with slight exceptions every few centuries, when things get messy to keep the calendar accurate – you might think there’s a 1-in-1,461 chance of being born on a leap day.

But that’s not quite correct, because February is one of the slowest months of the year for births. The U.S. birth rate in late summer and early fall is about 8 percent higher than it is in mid-winter, so the odds of a leap day birth are actually more like 1,500 to 1.

Since there are about 1.4 million people in New Hampshire, that implies there are 933 leaplings living in the Granite State. Roughly.

The website leapyearday.com, which is for Feb. 29 babies, includes 50 members who have self-identified as being from New Hampshire. This includes one who noted in her comments, “My ex-husband got remarried to a woman born on the same day. . . . Clearly he does not believe in astrology!”

As for Summer, she was due to be born a week ago and her grandmother, Kim Bourbeau, said people began to get excited as her entrance into the world was increasingly delayed.

“I hadn’t really thought about it until two or three days ago, then I realized it might be on the leap year. I thought: That would be cool!” she said.

Despite the adults’ excitement, it should be noted that in the family “baby pool” to guess the arrival date, it was Callie who chose Feb. 29.

As a side note, the family has some experience with babies born on unusual dates.

Jackie’s sister, Kerri, was the first baby of the year born in Lynn, Mass., said their father, Kenny Bourbeau.

“We got free drinks all over town,” he recalled, laughing.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313, dbrooks@cmonitor.com, or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)


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