Why’s my birthday not on the calendar?

Mum Stacey Clarke, of Firth Park, with her daughter, leap year baby Marney Leigh-Clarke.
Mum Stacey Clarke, of Firth Park, with her daughter, leap year baby Marney Leigh-Clarke.
Have your say

BUBBLY baby Marney Clarke might have reached the tender age of 12 months - but it will be three more years until she can celebrate her first birthday.

Unbeknowns to the blue-eyed beauty, choosing to come into the world at 5.11am on February 29 last year means her first official birthday won’t fall until 2016.

Giving birth to a Leap Year baby came as a big surprise to mum Stacey Clarke, 23, of Firth Park, Sheffield - as her first daughter was not due to arrive for another two weeks.

And, while Marney’s special day might not show up on the calendar, that will not stop her family from celebrating her reaching the one-year mark.

Her mum and big brother Riley, three, will shower the tiny tot with cards and gifts today instead.

Stacey said: “She’s still tiny so she’s not got a clue about her birthday whatever day it is!

“She’ll have to wait until she’s a bit older to understand what it means being born on that day.”

Being born on a leap day, Marney is part of a very exclusive club which also includes American rapper Ja Rule, Pope John Paul III, and former Coronation Street actress Wendi Peters.

The chance of being a ‘leaper’ or ‘leapling’ as they are known, is around one in 1,461.

Stacey said: “It is a bit strange having a Leap Year baby. I said we will celebrate it on the 28th every year until it’s time for her actual birthday. I don’t know anyone else born on the same day as her.

“It’s been a good first year with her, she’s a lovely baby - but she likes crying a lot!

“She’s teething at the minute though so she’s got a little bit of a bad temper!”

Along with a first birthday comes a first experience, as Stacey, of Keeper’s Close, Firth Park, also plans to take Marney - who weighed 7lb when she was born - swimming for the very first time.

She said: “I’ve never taken her before so I thought it’d be a nice thing to do to celebrate her day.”

* While most of us presume February 29 falls every four years, an anomaly occurrs every 400. A year that is divisible by 100, but not by 400, is not a Leap Year. So 2000 was a Leap Year under the Gregorian calendar, as was 1600, but 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not.

* The first warrants for Salem witchcraft trials in Massachusetts, USA were issued on February 29, 1692

* The tradition of a woman proposing on a Leap Year is said to come from St Bridget in the 5th century. Accounts state that she complained to St Patrick that women had to wait too long for their suitors to propose, and he then gave women a single day in a Leap Year to pop the question - the last day of the shortest month.