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.


Anonymous said...

Ah, the naming of names.

This seems like the right opportunity to post in public what I emailed you a few weeks back. Surely, a chap who calls himself "vet" for the reasons you do should've taken the opportunity to call his son "Havelock".

Best wishes to my new nephew.

vet said...

I might have considered that - but "Havelock" doesn't much suit him.

Besides, it sounds silly.

mumsie said...

Does the Hon stand for honourable or is it your eccentric way of referring to a well-known historic figure?

Shame about the nameday being already on 7th Jan. Much too close to Christmas for comfort.

You should have gone for your heritage; St George's day (23rd April) is easy for an Englishman to remember. It is also the birthday date for your godfather as well as your niece.

I'm very much looking forward to meeting young Atilla and personally witness his cleverness.

vet said...

"Hon", in this context, is an abbreviation. Pronounce it as if you were referring to a well known historical figure, and it will give you a clue.

I'm not going to saddle the poor kid with a name like George... and it's a bit late to rearrange his birthday now.

7 Jan may be close to Christmas, but it's into the new year and probably within term time, so that's okay. But irrelevant anyway.

Fun fact: Atilla the Hun, according to legend, drank himself to death on his own stag night. (It wasn't his first wedding.) Now that's a fine and honorable way to go.

Wisco said...

My mom's birthday is about a week before Christmas. She never wants anything -- or, at least, that's what she says.

Buy her a birthday gift or make her a cake and she's always delighted.

Eric Lester said...

Congratulations and best wishes to you and your family.

It's been a long long time since I last visited here. Nothing personal, just my loosely-loaded brain.

The Mrs. has a Christmas birthday, this year was a significant decade. Totally out of character, I threw her a party. Rented a room, invited everybody I could think of, and didn't tell her until it was too late to make me call it off. I haven't seen her that happy in a long time.

vet said...

Good to see you, American dudes.

Wisco - parents always seem to be saying that. I think it's maybe a defence mechanism they develop after seeing the sort of gifts their kids start buying for them when they're maybe eight.

Eric - thank you. Nice to see you whenever you drop by.