Wednesday, February 28, 2001
Steamboat Springs James Light Lockhart may be the only 2-year-old in Steamboat Springs who plays the violin and Bach no less. That's because his birthday, Feb. 29, only comes around every four years. And though James may look and act like a normal 9-year-old boy, he is actually part of a group of astrological anomalies who are found only once in every 1,461 people.
James is one of the approximately 4 million people around the world who were born on Feb. 29; 200,000 of whom live in the United States, according to the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies.
The Lockharts still celebrate James' birthday each year, though James' mother, Nina, said some family members forget to mark the date on their calendars. The family, however, always comes together as close to the date of his birthday as possible (usually March 1) to celebrate.
Today Nina Lockhart will make cinnamon rolls for breakfast to celebrate James' birthday, because James is playing his violin in a concert tonight with the Youth Orchestra. She said James has just recently begun to understand why he is technically only 2 years old. James himself said he doesn't mind being different, because the celebrations and the cake that goes with them are basically the same.
Nina said she thought about the possibility that her son would be born on a leap day nine years ago as she and her husband drove to the hospital.
James said he sometimes gets teased by his brothers and sisters about his technical age, especially when they go somewhere with age restrictions.
James celebrates his birthday, for the most part, on March 1, though within the leap day community, opinions differ on when people should celebrate. About half of the leap year babies celebrate in February while the other half celebrate on March 1, according to the Honor Society.