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Leap year birthday holds special meaning for family of Oakland twin boys

Leap year birthday holds special meaning for family of twin boys in Oakland
Leap year birthday holds special meaning for family of twin boys in Oakland 04:43

The Erickson family of Oakland looks forward to Feb. 29 every four years with joy and gratitude thanks to the special meaning it holds in their lives. Their twin boys were born 11 minutes apart, one arriving in the final minutes of Feb. 28, 2016, and the other in the first minutes of Leap Day.

"Mornings are chaos as you might imagine with three boys," said Summer Erickson, the twin's mother, on the birthday of the older twin, Miles. It was just like any other in their household. "You know, begging them to eat breakfast before school, reminding them to brush their teeth and get dressed about 10 to 12 times."

The twins and their older brother Bruce love to play basketball in the morning around the kitchen, while their parents try to keep them on track. They have so much energy, that it's not unusual for the twins to go into the backyard, jumping on the trampoline for as long as they can.

"We get dressed, we play, play with our dog, and we also eat breakfast," Miles said, who was born at 11:58 p.m. on Feb. 28.

Their dog is a new addition, Bagel is a puppy who arrived in their home just last week. Walter, the slightly younger twin, asked for a puppy to join their family. He is also turning eight this year but likes to think he's not that old yet.

"Since my birthday is on a leap year, and that means I'm only two," he said. Walter was born at 12:09 a.m. on Feb. 29. "Dogs are my favorite animal and I really wanted a puppy because they're cute and fun to play with."

They can make light of their birthdays now and look forward to fun traditions, but their family had no time to enjoy the novelty or think about it when they were born.

"It was like the scariest time in our lives and those first few weeks with all of the tests and the scans and the unknowns," Mrs. Erickson remembered. "We promised ourselves in the NICU, when things were pretty harrowing and uncertain that if we were able to bring them home, that we would celebrate and just express our gratitude every four years."

The boys were born at 26 weeks and spent 69 days in the NICU at Sutter Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley.

"We're just going to throw this humongous party we're gonna invite all our NICU nurses, all our doctors, all our friends, all our family, everyone who helped take care of us," said father Ryan Erickson.

The tradition will continue this weekend and once again they ask that instead of presents for the boys, donations be made to the NICU in honor of the twins' incredible story.

Another fun tradition for the boys when their birthdays are on different days is they each get to choose where they want to have dinner and dessert on the evening of their special day. Usually, they share February 28 with one birthday celebration when it's not a leap year.

"They're pretty good at sharing and they're pretty good at sharing their birthday but they definitely don't miss out on the opportunity to have their own thing on leap year,"  Summer Erickson said.  

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