Rare Leap Year Birthday brings unexpected joy for Oakland twin boys and their family!

The Erickson family of Oakland looks forward with joy and gratitude to February 29 every four years for the special meaning it has in their lives. Their twins were born 11 minutes apart, with one arriving in the final minutes of February 28, 2016, and the other in the first minutes of leap day.

“Mornings are chaos, as you would imagine with three kids,” Summer Erickson, the twins' mother, said on the birthday of the older twin, Miles. He was like anyone else in her house. “You know, begging them to eat breakfast before school, reminding them to brush their teeth and get dressed 10 to 12 times.”

The twins and their older brother, Bruce, love playing basketball in the mornings in 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 out into the backyard and jump on the trampoline for as long as they can.

“We dressed up, played, played with our dog and also had breakfast,” said Miles, who was born at 11:58 p.m. on February 28.

Their dog is a new addition, Bagel is a puppy who arrived at their house last week. Walter, the slightly younger twin, asked for a puppy to join his family. This year he will also turn eight years old, but he likes to think that he is not that old yet.

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

Now they can take their birthdays lightly and expect fun traditions, but their family didn't have time to enjoy the novelty or think about it when they were born.

“It was like the scariest time of our lives and those first few weeks with all the tests and scans and the unknown,” Ms. Erickson recalled. “We promised each other in the NICU, when things were pretty heartbreaking and uncertain, that if we could bring them home, we would celebrate and just express our gratitude every four years.”

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

“We're going to throw this huge party where we're going to invite all of our NICU nurses, all of our doctors, all of our friends, all of 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 gifts for the children, donations be made to the NICU in honor of the twins' incredible story.

Another fun tradition for children when their birthdays are on different days is that each one can choose where they want to have dinner and dessert on the night of their special day. They usually share February 28 with a birthday celebration when it is 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 the opportunity to have their own leap year event,” Summer Erickson said.

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