Friday, January 21, 2011

Atilla the Hon

It's generally agreed, I think, that Christmas babies get a raw deal. His birthday forever overshadowed by the unrelenting promotion of Saturnalia, throughout his childhood he will have scant chance of even seeing his friends on the day, never mind getting his fair share of prezzies and well-wishes from them.

On the other hand, no-one will ever suggest going to McDonald's for his birthday. So, y'know, swings and roundabouts.

My son was born at an antisocial hour on 27 December last. That's as precise as I'm getting in a public place like this - I don't want his identity being stolen before he's even old enough to know it. For purposes of this blog, I'm going to call him Atilla.

I don't intend to bore my public for the next fifteen years or so with a recitation of his boundless genius and achievements. He spoke his first word before he was two weeks old (my father, a devious Scrabble player, assures me that 'erm' is a perfectly good word). He fills nappies industriously, usually within minutes of having one fitted. He needs no alarm clock to wake him with the dawn, or even earlier, despite partying well into the small hours the night before. And although it is customary to describe babies as 'defenceless', he has shown a level of resource and precision in fending off untimely attentions that, I feel, augurs well for his future security.

In short, I'm sure that within a few years you'll be reading about him in the press, so you won't need me to keep you abreast. Which is just as well, as I'm still reeling at how much laundry one small person (who only wears about two garments at a time) can generate.

In the meantime, what to do about his birthday?

We could, of course, simply lie - tell him his birthday was in August or something. But there doesn't seem any likely way of keeping up that pretence. Sooner or later it will dawn on him to wonder why his passport and other official documents show the wrong date of birth, and then his trust in us will be considerably undermined.

Or we could try raising him as a Buddhist, to despise both vain material possessions and arbitrary calendar events. How hard could that be?


My present idea is to celebrate his name day. "Atilla" is celebrated (in Hungary, at least) on 7 January. Perfect, except of course that that's not his real name.

Truly, fatherhood is an awesome responsibility.