A mom gave birth to 3 leap day babies. It's only the second case recorded in the world.

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A mom gave birth to 3 leap day babies. It's only the second case recorded in the world.
Leap year babies Xavier, Remington, and Jade Estes are celebrating their 20th, 16th, and 12th birthdays on February 29, 2024. But are they really aged 5, 4, and 3?Courtesy of Louise Estes
  • Xavier, Remington, and Jade Estes were born on February 29, 2004, 2008, and 2012, respectively.
  • The trio is 20, 16, and 12, but have only celebrated on their exact birthdays 5, 4, and 3 times.
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When Xavier, Remington, and Jade Estes sliced their joint birthday cake earlier this month, the numbers on the top said 20, 16, and 12.

But, an extra set of single figures on the cake indicated their "technical" ages of 5, 4, and 3.

The trio — born on February 29, 2004, 2008, and 2012, respectively — are so-called "leaplings" due to their Leap year birthdays.

Leap days, which happen every four years, recalibrate the calendar to account for the 365 days and almost six hours it takes the Earth to revolve around the sun.

The makeup of the Estes family is known only to copy that of an older family in Norway. Heidi, Olav, and Leif-Martin Henrikson — born in 1960, 1964, and 1968, respectively — hold the Guinness world record for most siblings delivered on consecutive leap day years.

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"We didn't bother to apply because it's all about coming first," Louise Estes, the mom of Xavier, Remington, and Jade, joked to Business Insider.

The Estes children think that their status as leaplings is cool

Nevertheless, she said, her kids "got a kick" out of their situation.

"They think it's pretty cool," Estes added. "They've been laughing at the fact that they're turning 5, 4, and 3 this year — although it depends on who is counting."

A mom gave birth to 3 leap day babies. It's only the second case recorded in the world.
Xavier, Jade, and Remington Estes with their birthday pinatas.Courtesy of Louise Estes

"They have an extra strong bond because they have the same, unusual birthday," the mom-of-five said.

Estes met her husband, David, at Brigham Young University in 2000. They got married three years later. Xavier, who was due on March 1, 2004, was born a day early.

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"When my waters broke, David was excited because it was a leap year," Estes said. "But I was just tired and ready to go, whatever the date, and as long as everyone was safe."

Xavier was delivered at 2 a.m. on Sunday, 29 February. The staff at the hospital marked the occasion by giving his parents a uniquely designed card to mark the date.

"It was very fun because it had frogs all over it," Estes said. "Everyone associates leap day with frogs."

The couple had their second son, Xander, in July 2006. They conceived their third baby, Remington, in the spring of 2007.

"I'd always wanted my kids to be close in age, so I was very lucky," Estes said. "I remember telling David that we might get another leap-year baby if we conceived around that time, but I never in a million years expected it to happen."

They were told that Remington was due on Tuesday, March 4, 2008. They kept their fingers crossed that he'd arrive sooner. "Sure enough, he was born on Friday, February 29," the 48-year-old, who was induced, added.

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The mom thought she was done after having 4 kids

She said that Xavier, who turned 4 that day — or 1, if you play it by the book — was extra thrilled to welcome his brother, believing he was "another birthday treat."

The Estes went on to have a fourth son, Seeley, in December 2009 and, according to the mom, thought their family was complete.

"We'd gotten into our stride by number four," Este told BI. "But it was a lot of work, and mentally, I was done."

She said that she thought David, 49, was joking when he suggested they try for a fifth child in the spring of 2011 — hoping it might be born on the auspicious date of February 29, 2012.

The employment counselor wasn't so enthusiastic — at least at first.

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"I said, 'First, if we try to do it on purpose, it won't happen, and, second, it'd mean five kids. Are you kidding me?'" she said,

Still, she came around to the idea after David offered an incentive. "He said, 'What if it's a girl this time?'"

A mom gave birth to 3 leap day babies. It's only the second case recorded in the world.
All 7 members of the Estes family photographed in 2022.Courtesy of Louise Estes.

They got pregnant immediately, with a due date of Saturday, February 24, 2012. However, Estes gave birth to her daughter, Jade, five days later — on February 29. "I'd never been late before, so the doctor decided to induce me," she said.

The happy event led to them appearing in international media. "We felt a bit like celebrities," Estes said.

She said that they enjoy teasing people by saying they are 5, 4, and 3, not 20, 16, and 12.

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Estes said that the leaplings are very much individuals

When it's not a leap year, Xavier, Remington, and Jade celebrate their birthdays every February 28. "We'll have a big party," Estes said.

Of course, the most memorable get-togethers occurred in 2016, 2020, and 2024 milestones. This year's celebration happened on Presidents Day inside a church hall in the Estes' home city of Payson, Utah. More than 40 people attended.

"The children had separate piñatas for them and their friends," Estes said. Xavier picked a llama, Remington chose Minecraft, and Jade chose a red chile pepper. The cake was decorated with characters from Marvel. "They're all fans," Estes said.

She said the trio had lots more in common — but were very much individuals.

"We've told them — along with their two brothers — that they are extremely precious and special," Estes said.

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