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A leap year baby reunion

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Little Zane Sherman, Tristin Strom, and Emma Thorson all strolled into a St. Mary's conference room decorated for a birthday party Wednesday.

They didn't realize it, but for the three of them, it's also a reunion of sorts, as they were all born at St. Mary's on leap year four years ago.

Hospital officials say they were able to track down three of the four babies that were born on Feb. 29, 2008.

And although they're all technically only one, they've all got different ideas as to their birthday numbers.

"I'm three," said Zane, who his Detroit Lakes parents say is quite a talker and socialite.

Tristin, a Lake Park boy who is affectionately called a "firecracker" by his parents (and claims he is a dragon), puts up five fingers to signify his age, "I get to run faster now like my dad, 'cuz I'm older," he said, playing with birthday stickers.

"I'm four," said Emma from Audubon, who her parents call independent and strong willed, "I want a couch for my birthday," she said.

None of the leap year kids seem to have an understanding of why their birthday is so special (The odds of being a leap year baby are 1 in 1,500), but it also didn't seem to matter to them.

They all still get parties every year either the day before or after the 29th.

"He doesn't get when people ask him, 'Are you one or are you four?'", said Zane's mother, Miranda Sherman, "He just looks at them like ... uh, what?"

Emma's mother, Anita Thorson, says although her due date was right on leap year, she didn't think for a second she'd actually have her child on that day.

"But then when I went in that night with some contractions, the doctor asked me if I wanted my water broke or if I wanted to wait, and I had it broke because I wanted her to have a leap year birthday," said Thorson.

Tristin's mother, Caroline, says she believes he waited a full week past his due date specifically to be born on that day.

"But it didn't even hit me that it was leap year until we were filling out the paperwork," said Strom, who agreed that whether they were all planned for that day or not, their unique birthdays make them all special.

New leap year babies

Right upstairs from the party, chimes were going off in the hospital.

Three more families were celebrating their brand new leap year babies Wednesday.

And if the odds of them being born on that day weren't already rare, two of the babies happened to be first cousins.

"I can't believe it, it's almost too cool," said Jesse Warren, who just became a dad to a little girl they named Macy Rose.

Warren's sister, Darla Warren, was just down the hall and around the corner, and only hours later gave birth to another little girl who they named Cloe.

"We were both scheduled to be induced on (March 1), but both ended up going in a day early," smiled Darla, "It was weird."

The leap year cousins met each other for the first time that night.

"I suppose we'll have birthday parties together when they get older because we're only 10 minutes apart," said Jesse Warren.

"She'll be young forever," giggled little Macy Rose's mother, Jenna Hoban, who initially didn't want her daughter to have a leap year birthday. "I think it's cool now, though."

Although she was scheduled to be induced Thursday, the "big snow storm" that the area never really got drove Hoban to come in early because she didn't want to be stuck in a blizzard in labor.

"And then it didn't even snow!" she said, laughing.

Only two doors down another little baby girl lay all bundled up, hanging out with her mom, Melissa Warren, her big sister and her grandma, Joyce for the first day of her life.

This baby girl Warren didn't have a first name yet -- in fact, she was lucky to even be born in a hospital.

"I barely made it here," said Melissa Warren, who only by coincidence has the same last name as the other Warren parents down the hall, "My mom drove me here at like 5 in the morning from Ponsford and I was already (dilated) to 8 -- the doctor barely made it."

Baby girl Warren's due date wasn't until March 10, so her early, unique arrival surprised her mother.

"It's kind of weird --I never thought I'd have a leap year baby," said Warren. "I think it's cool, though."

What's even "cooler" is that the reason there is a leap year to begin with is because the earth takes 365.242 days to orbit the sun, meaning those extra hours would throw the entire calendar system off by 24 days within 100 years.

That would mean we'd soon be having winter-like weather in July and warm, sunny Decembers.

Leap year fixes that.

So in theory, these kids are already part of a solution to the world's problems.

"Yeah, I knew she was special," said Hoban. "Look, she's already making the paper -- she's famous!"