LAWRENCE — Ebony Lillianette Maldonado-Gonzalez will enter preschool at age 1, get her driver's license at 4, be eligible to vote when she's 41/2 and can retire at 16.

As a Leap Year baby born on Feb. 29, Ebony will have an "official" birthday only once every four years and live what seems to be a relatively short life, according to the Honor Society of Leap Year Babies.

The odds of being born Feb. 29 are about 1 in 1,461, according to the society.

Ebony was one of two Leap Year babies born at Lawrence General Hospital this year.

The 8-pound, 1-ounce daughter of Sanauri Gonzalez and Ivonne Maldonado came into the world at 5:39 p.m. The other baby, also a girl, was born at 8:32 p.m.

Maldonado, 18, kissed one of her cheeks as Gonzalez, 22, caressed the other. Looking on were Maldonado's sister, cousin and her grandmother, Gloria Cintron.

"When the doctor told me Feb. 29, I thought for a minute, February only has 28 days, then I realized it was a leap year," said Maldonado, a teacher's assistant at Little Sprouts. "I hoped it would happen on time because it's cool to have a baby born on that day."

Gonzalez, a computer engineer at C.B. Technology, was just as pleased.

"We will celebrate her birthday every year, but every four years it will be extra special," he said.

Sitting on the hospital bed, Maldonado held Ebony in her arms, as Gonzalez sat near their sleeping newborn. Ebony wore a yellow Sponge Bob pajama suit accented with a pink headband and was wrapped in a white crocheted blanket.

Maldonado's due date was March 3, but she did not mind having an early delivery.

Holy Family Hospital in Methuen had three Leap Year births.

Logan Matthieu Downing was born to Kaitlin Downing, 25 and Ramiro Perinho, 32, of Haverhill at 8:30 a.m. He weighed 7 pounds, 6.9 ounces.

"It didn't cross my mind," Downing said of the day, even though her doctors had planned the Caesarean section delivery for then.

"Having a baby is special anyway, but the day will be special for him because it only happens every four years," she said. Downing worked at Holy Family Hospital's communication department. Her boyfriend is a manager at Valvoline Oil Change in Haverhill.

Downing said she will celebrate Logan's birthday in February. He joins brother Jacob Michael Downing, who turned 1 on Feb. 17.

"It's certainly a distinction to be born on Feb. 29," said Lynn Walsh, secreterial coordinator in the maternity ward at Lawrence General. "It's almost like a competition like the New Year baby with the parents."

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