Life as a leap year baby

Ferris student to celebrate fifth birthday

Graphic media management sophomore Karen Reardon was born on Feb. 29 and therefore has only had four birthdays.
Graphic media management sophomore Karen Reardon was born on Feb. 29 and therefore has only had four birthdays. Photo by: Aubrey Kemme | Photographer

There is a student at Ferris who is a toddler.

Graphic media management sophomore Karen Reardon will be having the first birthday she’s had in four years next week.

“I’ll be five,” she said. “I’m only four years old right now.”

Reardon is part of the .07 percent of the world’s population born on Feb. 29. This year, Reardon gets to celebrate her real birthday for the first time since 2012.

“I celebrate a lot harder on a leap year because I get really excited,” Reardon said. “People appreciate my birthday more because I only have it once every four years. It was really fun to send out the Facebook invite that says ‘Karen’s 5th birthday.’”

Reardon said being a leap year baby hasn’t made her life significantly different other than the toddler jokes people direct towards her.

“Really nobody cares until I bring it up and then they make a toddler joke,” she said. “It’s especially bad when I have a boyfriend who makes toddler jokes like, ‘I can’t believe I’m dating a four-year-old.’ I get a lot of pedophile jokes.”

When she was growing up, Reardon said her parents used to tell her she didn’t get a birthday when it was a non-leap year.

“They used to tease me constantly about it and say I wasn’t getting a cake or presents for another three years,” she said. “My mom would say, ‘You don’t get a birthday this year, it doesn’t work like that.’ We always still had my birthday Feb. 28, I just got teased a lot that I wouldn’t.”

Reardon said she always celebrates on Feb. 28, not March 1. Facebook also says her birthday is on the 28th.

“Facebook has a very eloquent system for this,” she said. “They post your birthday as Feb. 28 so people still write on my wall. I’m surprised Facebook actually thought of it, it’s such a rare issue.”

However, her driver’s license and registration disagree on what month her birthday belongs in.

“My license says my birthday is in February but the registration says it’s in March,” Reardon said. “I’m just waiting to get pulled over and get a ticket for it.”

Reardon’s birthday falls on a Monday this year, but her and her friends are celebrating on Saturday with a wine and cheese masquerade party.

Reardon is from Jackson and involved in Gamma Epsilon Tau and the Graphic Arts Association. She volunteers at the Animal Rescue Coalition of Mecosta County, works at The Rock and wants to work in Green Bay after she graduates from Ferris.