Clare Chisholm, born eight years ago, figures she’s just 2

Clare Chisholm was only 4 the last time she had a birthday. Now she’s twice that old.

Or, by Clare’s logic, “I’ll really be 8, but I’m actually just 2.”

Clare’s mom and dad, Cindy and John Chisholm, said Clare enjoys the joke of having a “rare” leap year birthday. And sometimes, when there are chores to be done that Clare isn’t excited about doing, she’ll try the “I’m just a baby, I can’t do that,” line.

Cindy said when she first found out she was pregnant with Clare and knew the due date was the end of February, one of her fellow teachers at the school where she was teaching joked she might have a “Feb. 29” baby.

“I just thought, ‘No, that would never happen.’ Then the Feb. 26 due date passed and it started looking more and more like it would.”

Feb. 29, 2000, was a Tuesday, and Cindy said she was in labor most of the day. Then she developed preeclampsia, which is a condition in pregnancy where the blood pressure can become dangerously high, and doctors decided to induce labor so it would progress.

Eight-pound Clare Aubrey Chisholm was born at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 29, 2000.

Asked if on non-leap years she celebrated her birthday on Feb. 28 or March 1, Clare laughed and said, “Most the time, both.”

“Really we do,” said Cindy. “We try to make it special.”

This year, though, even when there is a Feb. 29 on the calendar, Clare said she’ll have to wait for her party because of her busy schedule. This year, she’s having a skating party — on March 8.

Clare is the oldest of Cindy and John Chisholm’s three children. Jack, whose birthday is Sept. 28, is 5 and Elin turned 3 on Jan. 19.

Sarah Torres throwing ‘sweet 16’ party tonight

BANGS — Turning 16 is an exciting time in any teenager’s life, but it’s especially true for Sarah Torres of Bangs. “Real” birthdays are rare occasions.

That’s because Torres was born 16 years ago on Feb. 29, and she decided the occasion merits a large-scale “sweet 16” party. So that’s exactly what she planned at the Elks Lodge tonight, where family and friends from as far as Fort Worth and Austin will gather to help her observe the special day. Her family is bringing in Great Time Party and Event Planning of Fort Worth to handle the arrangements.

“I don’t get many birthdays, so that’s why I’m celebrating so big this year,” Torres said earlier this week.

In addition, she’s reserved some time on her birthday to apply for her Texas driver’s license.

“She’ll also be looking for a job,” her mother Hortencia Torres said. “She’ll have to pay for auto insurance somehow.”

The teenager, the daughter of Hortencia and Gilbert Torres of Bangs and a sophomore at Bangs High School, has invited more than 100 people to attend. Included in that number will be her sister, Veronica, who is 18 and going to school in Fort Worth. She was born on the 29th, too, Hortencia Torres said, but in the month of July.

The other years — those without a Feb. 29 — come and go with small family birthday observances, Sarah Torres said, and those are usually scheduled for Feb. 28, not March 1.

“I wasn’t born in March,” Sarah explained.

Sarah was profiled in a Bulletin story four years ago, when she turned 12, but she and her mother had to think what they did to celebrate that year.

“I think we went to Abilene,” Hortencia Torres said.

“Maybe so, I can’t remember,” Sarah Torres replied.

Regardless, the Torres family traditionally hasn’t held parties for their two children as they got older, at least nothing beyond a family gathering. But “sweet 16,” especially one that falls on Feb. 29, is different.

“If we lived in Dallas, I could do a lot,” Sarah said. She said she has seen reports that restaurants are giving free meals today to those born on Feb. 29, and places like the zoo are granted free admission.

Still, Sarah figures to get special recognition here.

“I’m the only one in my high school (born on Feb. 29),” Sarah said.

The teen is in honor society at Bangs High, in the gifted and talented program and competes in UIL computer application events. She’s also been a member of the Brownwood Police Explorers for two years.

“When I was 12, I said in the paper that I wanted to be a writer when I grow up,” Sarah said. “But I know what I want to do now. I intend to do something in neuropsychology. I know that’s ambitious.”

Sarah can actually celebrate the passage of another year on her actual birthday roll around only once every four years. That has prompted Hortencia Torres to sometimes attempt to get a children’s prices for her daughter when they are buying tickets or meals.

“I tell them she hasn’t even had her fourth birthday yet,” Hortencia said. “Then they look at Sarah, and say, ‘No.’”

Hicks plans a treat for herself ; family may have some ideas, too

Rebecca Hicks of Early figures she’s in for something special on her birthday today; she’s just not certain what it may be. But from quiet conversations her husband, Jim, has been making with other family members, she figures something must be in store.

Hicks, who was born on Feb. 29, 1972, in San Saba, has the opportunity to really celebrate her birthday only once every four years.

“We normally celebrate my birthday on Feb. 28 when it isn’t a leap year,” Hicks said. “It’s pretty traditional, dinner out, that sort of thing. But I’m going to allow myself a little luxury this year. I’m going to treat myself at Fancy Day Spa.”

Hicks also has today off from her job at Friedman’s Jewelers in Heartland Mall, but that has nothing to do with her birthday. It’s just the way the schedule worked out this week.

“My mother said the due date was the first of March, and she swore I wasn’t going to be born on Feb. 29,” Hicks said. “But guess what?”

Hicks can’t remember anything special that was done on her leap year birthdays while she was growing up.

“They were just like any other year,” she said, “only on Feb. 29 instead of Feb. 28.”

She and her husband have three children: Robert, Samantha and Jimmy III.