A birthday every four years? For Louisiana ‘Leap Day babies,’ Thursday is a big deal

A birthday every four years? For Louisiana 'Leap Day babies,' Thursday is a big deal
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Jessica Boutwell was born in 1980, but technically she’s only celebrating her 11th birthday this week.

That’s what happens when you come into the world on Leap Day, which only comes around once every four years.

As a child, Boutwell not only had her real birthdate pass every four years, she also shared the birthday limelight with a brother, whose birthday was March 1, and a sister, whose birthday was March 2. While she didn’t think much about the significance of her once-every-four-years birthday growing up she said she tries to make a big deal of her special day as an adult.

Jessica Boutwell, of Lafayette, and her son Channing, who is now 14. Jessica Boutwell celebrates her 11th birthday on Feb. 29, 2024.

The mother of three boys says she will spend the day at the ball park with her sons. 

“People should know that we do get to celebrate our birthdays even in non-leap years,” she said.

Initially, Boutwell, who lives in Lafayette, says she wouldn’t wish the birthday on on her own children — unlike Amanda Barbee, in Baton Rouge.


Maddux Leap Paar celebrates in the confetti of the LSU women’s basketball team’s national championship win. Maddux, 4, celebrates his first birthday Feb. 29, 2024. 

When she was expecting her first child, who was due March 11, 2020, Barbee started talking early about the possibility of her baby being born on Leap Day.

“I was hoping he would be a leap baby. I kept telling everyone that if he’s born on this day, we would have to name him Leap,” Barbee said.

Her husband and family weren’t quite as thrilled with that possibility as she was.

Barbee, associate athletic trainer with LSU’s women’s basketball, was on the road in Nashville with the team the night before Leap Day and was planning to head to Arkansas for the weekend game. 

But she woke up the morning of Feb. 28 having contractions and was admitted to the hospital that afternoon.

“He was born Saturday morning around 5 a.m. on Feb. 29,” she said. “It’s like I knew he was going to be born on Leap Day.”


Maddux Leap Paar, 4, celebrates his first birthday Feb. 29, 2024. 

She says her whole family was concerned the baby’s name would be Leap.

“I wanted his name to be Leap, but his dad wouldn’t agree. We compromised and made it his middle name,” she said. “My husband and I took all the way to check-out day to come up with a first name to go with Leap.”

They settled on Maddox Leap Paar. This year, he celebrates his first actual birthday — even though he’s turning four years old. 

Barbee is sad to say that she will be traveling with the basketball team and will miss his first real birthday. 

“I get emotional when I think about not being here, but my husband and mom have got a lot of fun planned,” she said.

Plans to celebrate Maddox’s first birthday include donuts in the morning for his class, stopping by Blue Zoo for a special event for Leap Day babies, followed by building a $4 bear at Build-a-bear, another $4 special for Leap Day babies. 

Barbee isn’t sure that her son will understand the significance of his birthday passing every four years at this age. 

“But maybe by 8 years old he will,” she said. “As a mom, now I think sometimes, ‘Did I wish something bad?” she said. “You know, I had that mother anxiety. ‘Will he not like that he doesn’t have a birthday every year?’ But I believe he will grow up to appreciate it.”


About Mary Weyand 11873 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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