What’s it like to be a leapling:  Noah Hawk

Leap Year baby Noah Hawk will turn 12 on Feb. 29, however, he has technically only had three birthdays.

12-year-old Noah Hawk is excited about his upcoming birthday.

He’s made plans to visit an indoor trampoline park, have a NERF Gun battle and enjoy time with his friends.

But Noah and his family are particularly excited this year because he hasn’t technically had a birthday since 2016. Noah is a rare Leap Year baby, otherwise known as a ‘leapling.’

This article begins a three-part series in which the Review will individually introduce three Hawkins County ‘leaplings:’ Noah Hawk, Kelley Jackson and Lisa Linkous.

A rarity

When you look at it from a statistical point of view, it’s quite a rarity to be born on Leap Day, and it’s even more fascinating that the Review was able to find three in Hawkins County!

An article from ThoughtCo.com explained the rarity like this:

“Assuming that birthdays are spread uniformly throughout the year, a leap day birthday on February 29 is the least probable of all birthdays. We start by counting the number of calendar days in a four-year cycle. Three of these years have 365 days in them. The fourth year, a leap year has 366 days. The sum of all of these is 365+365+365+366 = 1461. Only one of these days is a leap day. Therefore, the probability of a leap day birthday is 1/1461. This means that less than 0.07% of the world’s population was born on a leap day.”

Do you celebrate differently on leap year? Noah is in sixth grade at RCS and will be turning 12 on February 29, but he technically is still a three year old.

According to him, this year will be a little bigger of a celebration than on non-leap years.

“I might get to have a few more friends over than normal,” he said. “And usually, on leap years I get a few more presents ‘for being patient’ my mom says.”

What have you got planned for this year? “When he was eight, I actually made his birthday ‘leap’ themed and decorated with lily pads and frogs. But, this year I think I will do something different since he’s turning 12—that theme might be a little too childish for him now,” Noah’s mother, Kim Hawk, said with a laugh.

Though the Hawk family hasn’t completely ironed out their plans, Noah explained that he would love to go to an indoor trampoline park.

“After that, I want to have a huge NERF Gun battle and a sleepover with some friends,” he said.

What day do you celebrate on? The Hawk family doesn’t always stick to one particular day on non-leap years. Some years, it may be Feb. 28 and others, it might be March 1. They usually wait until the closest Saturday so that they can celebrate when Noah doesn’t have school.

This year is particularly nice, since Feb. 29 falls on a Saturday.

Have you ever had any problems with official documents?

Thankfully none of the ‘leaplings’ the Review spoke with have experienced any problems with legal documentation, though Kim Hawk explained that, when Noah was born, she “wondered from the beginning if it would be a problem.”

Living in the digital age seems to have made some aspects of legal documentation easier. In fact, all three mentioned that, when online documents provide a drop-down menu or a calendar through which to choose a birthday, they always offer the option for Feb. 29 on leap years.

This can be problematic, though, if you accidentally choose the wrong year.

Were you due to be born on Leap Day?

Noah was definitely not due to be born on Leap Day. In fact, his parents explained that they hadn’t even considered it as a possibility.

“Silly me, I don’t look ahead,” Kim Hawk said. “He was due on March fifth, and I just looked at the calendar in March. My previous two children were born late, so I just thought, ‘I carry by babies a long time.’ Never once did I look at the calendar in February and see that that year had the 29{sup}th{/sup}. I never thought that could be a possibility. Ever.

Even though Kim went into labor on Feb. 29, Noah was nearly born on March 1.

“I was laying there, waiting for the doctor, and I asked, ‘what is taking so long?’” Kim explained. “I was told that they were busy. Many women had scheduled a C-section today because they wanted their babies to be born on Leap Day! I said, ‘are they crazy?’ Noah was officially born at 10:30 p.m., and just before that, I begged the nurse and said, ‘can’t we just wait until after midnight?’ She said, ‘Honey, you have had two children already. You can’t wait.’”

Advantages and disadvantages? “As his mother, I felt like I wanted him to have a day on the calendar every year because he’s special,” Kim Hawk said. “His dad, though, looked at it like, ‘it’s special that he was born on a special day’ and Noah views it that way too.”

He also explained that there are some pretty humorous aspects to being a ‘leapling.’

“Sometimes I can think to myself, ‘I am the fastest three-year-old on the track team,’” Noah said with a laugh.

In fact, this was a pretty common theme among the three ‘leaplings,’ as each of them has heard plenty of jokes about their ‘actual’ age.

“When I tell my friends, they all just kind of laugh,” he said. “It’s all a big joke to us because I’m supposedly just going to be three.”

Kim also explained that Noah’s unique birthday seems to stick in everyone’s memory perhaps more clearly than other birthdays.

“All of our friends and family always remember it more because it is a special day—even distant people,” she said. “Many people even send him notes.”

As far as the negatives, Noah explained, “there aren’t any” though he did express his desire for a summer birthday so that he could celebrate with a pool party.

“It’s nice, but it’s just a birthday,” he joked. “It’s not like it gives me super powers or anything.”