Bethany and Victoria Lawler of West Richland have accomplished quite a bit despite having celebrated only four birthdays.
The fraternal twins are working toward earning their driver's licenses. Victoria enjoys making jewelry. The Hanford High School sophomores are pianists, but Bethany also plays the violin and prefers Mozart and Beethoven.
"I don't like anything that started with the organ," Bethany said. "Terribly boring stuff."
Their fourth birthday is today -- leap day -- but they actually now are 16 years old.
"We've discovered the secret to eternal youth," Victoria said. "When people say 'Oh, I'm 36,' we can say 'We're only 9.' "
Birth certificates and most government agencies, such as Social Security, use Feb. 29 for those born on leap day, but leaplings occasionally encounter bureaucratic difficulties using their true birth dates. Some computerized dropdown menus don't include Feb. 29, The Associated Press reported.
Their mother, Mary Lawler, said the girl's quirky birth date wasn't planned. Her pregnancy was troubled partly because of fertility issues that required her to use a donor to conceive. The twins were born prematurely.
"My goal was April Fool's Day," said Mary Lawler, an obstetrician. She is raising her daughters on her own.
Norma Johnson understands how important being born on leap day is to remaining young. The Pasco woman, who turns 84, also is celebrating her birthday today.
"Most of my grandkids are about to get older than me," she said, laughing.
Remarkably, there's a family history regarding twins and leap day with the Lawlers. Mary's mother's first cousin also had twins born on a leap day.
Peter Brouwer, co-founder of the Honor Society of Leap Day Babies, lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has calculated the chance of being born on leap day as one in 1,461 -- 365 multiplied by four, plus one for the extra day in the four-year cycle, according to the Associated Press.
According to Mary Lawler's calculations, the chance of someone being born as a twin on a leap day is one in 130,000. And when there's no Feb. 29, the Lawlers celebrate a birthday for each girl -- one onFeb. 28 and the other March 1.
"That's what we've always done, and it's worked out beautifully," she said.
In off years, Brouwer told The Associated Press, most leap day babies celebrate their birthdays in February "because they're born in February. We call them strict Februarians."
-- Ty Beaver: 582-1402; email@example.com