8-Year-Old Boy Ready for Second Birthday

Category: Local News
Created on Friday, 28 February 2020 16:06

Sentinel Staff Writer
    Isaiah Norris is the youngest second-grader at Keet Gooshi Heen – by approximately six years. Unlike most one-year-olds, Isaiah knows how to read, write, and spend V-Bucks in the online videogame Fortnite. He knows that his favorite pizza is the Taco Pizza from Agave; that he’s not allowed to have a pet dog, cat, rat or mouse (he may settle for a Betta fish); and that tomorrow, he will turn two.
    That’s because his birthday is Feb. 29, a date that will roll around on Saturday for only the second time since Isaiah was born in 2012. (Not to worry: even in non-leap years Isaiah has a party - but on March 1, one day after his actual birth date.)
    To learn about leap years, the Sentinel contacted Aziz S. Inan, a University of Portland electrical engineering professor and expert on calendrical rarities who was quoted in newspapers around the country in the days leading up to 02-02-2020, a rare “palindrome day” that also coincided with the Super Bowl. (At the time, he told the Sentinel he had a slight preference for the ’49ers.)
    Inan referred the Sentinel to a 2008 article he wrote in the University of Portland campus newspaper. The article explained the basic premise of leap years: they’re built into the Gregorian calendar – the calendar used by most of the world – because of a difference between the number of days in a regular calendar year (365), and the number of days it actually takes for the earth to travel around the sun (roughly 365.2425).
    You’ll notice that .2425 doesn’t quite equal one quarter. This tiny discrepancy, the article continued, means that with a leap year every four years, the Gregorian calendar would creep ahead of the solar calendar by some 10 minutes and 48 seconds per year, or three days per 400 years. The solution? Take out three leap years every 400 years.
    The next non-leap year disguised as a leap year will be 2100 – which means that Isaiah will have an eight-year wait between his 21st and 22nd birthdays (when, unlike most 20-somethings, he may have gray hair).
    But Isaiah says he’s used to waiting, and seems to know how to capitalize on what few “real” birthdays he does have. He said that on his first leap day birthday, in 2016, there was both a bouncy house and a Spiderman-themed cake. Speaking to the Sentinel on Thursday he shared his vision for his second Feb. 29 birthday (which his mother says will include a Fortnite-themed cake).
    “I jump on my mom, and wake her up, and then I play some Fortnite, and then I go to my birthday party, and then I finish it, and then my friends come over, and then we play some video games again, and then we go to sleep,” he said.

Isaiah Norris gets a slice of pre-birthday cake at Pizza Express Restaurant Thursday. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

    When the Sentinel asked its toughest question – how he felt about the fact that his 6-year-old cousin Brayden Evenson is technically older than he is – Isaiah appeared unfazed.
    “We actually both are the same age,” he said. “I’m 8, and I’m 2, and 8 minus 2 equals 6.”
    Statistically speaking, Isaiah is a rarity. Inan wrote in his 2008 newspaper article that the probability of being a leap day baby (assuming equal distribution of birthdays across the calendar year) is roughly 1 in 1,500. But with Superman, Pope Paul III, Ja Rule the rapper, and Frederic of “The Pirates of Penzance,” Isaiah is in good company.
    By Inan’s calculation, Sitka, with a population of 8,532, should have 5.688 resident leaplings – yet the Sentinel found only one other, Kaeden Skultka.

Kaeden Skultka (Sentinel Photo)

    Kaeden, a saxophone, chess and Fortnite enthusiast, will celebrate his third leap day birthday Saturday, but says he’ll put 15 candles on his cake – 3 on one side and 12 on the other – to represent his two ages.
    Though Isaiah also has devised a way to represent his two ages (on Saturday he’ll tell people he’s not 2 or 8 but 28), he didn’t have much time to elaborate – he and his mother were on their way to New Start Aquarium & Birds Thursday to check out Betta fish.