“He was planned early because his little sister was born early,” Leslie tells PEOPLE. “He just chose to come a day earlier.”
Lincoln Michael Van Der Hulst was born at 6 a.m. on Monday, February 29 in Holland, Michigan.
The chances of being born on a leap day are 1 in 1,461 and leap babies’ – also called leaplings – true birthdays occur just once every four years. In some countries, like the U.K. and New Zealand, February 29 isn’t even recorded as a legal birthday.
The Van Der Huslts hoped to spare their son all of the confusion by scheduling a C-section for March 1.
“In a way it’s fun and novel that he has a birthday every four years but in a way it’s also sad that we don’t get to celebrate the day every year so we just figured we’d wait until the first and kind of avoid that,” Leslie says.
Still, the family is thrilled by the early arrival. “He’s doing wonderfully and we’re getting used to the idea of having a leap year baby,” she continues.
Lincoln’s big sister, 2-year-old Brooklyn, is also quite excited – though this is tempered by her disappointment that her parents didn’t allow her to name the baby “Hot Chocolate.”
“She has not wavered from that,” Leslie says. “She still likes to call him Hot Chocolate but we’re hoping at some point she will call him Lincoln.”
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Ever the planner, Leslie has devised a new way to make the best out of Lincoln’s disappearing birthday. “We’ll just give him two birthdays,” she says with a laugh, “one on the 28th and one on the 1st.”