Seldom Said

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Iestyn Emrys Albertella was finally born at 1:31 am on Saturday 19th August 2006, weighing in at a very respectable 7lb and 8oz in old money. Alice had been having contractions since about 5am the previous morning, but things seemed to be progressing very slowly (if painfully) until gone midnight. Once things really started to happen, though, it was all over very quickly and suddenly there he was: our gorgeous little boy, announcing his arrival into the world with a muffled cry.

Muffled, it transpired, because his little head was still caught up in the amniotic sac, which had preceded him, unruptured, into the world. A good omen, apparently, this 'caul' over a baby's head - a recurrent element in Celtic folklore, reputed to confer the second sight and protection from drowning. Which makes his middle name, Emrys, derived from the Roman Ambrosius and associated with the enigmatic figure of Myrddin (or Merlin), seem all the more appropriate.

Maybe this explains why Iestyn has cast a spell over us both. For this tiny, wonderful, precious and vulnerable creature - with fine fur on his ears like a little mouse, and impossibly tiny and delicate hands, and a wrinkled scalp that seems too big for his head, and deep deep deep blue eyes, so dark they seem almost black - has certainly captured our hearts. Abruptly, our whole world is focussed on this bright new life and we realise that all of the cliches about parenthood are true.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Waiting game

I've been in a kind of limbo for the past couple of months, but it's about to come to an end. Oh, it's been pleasant enough, but I'll not be sorry to put it behind me. I might more charitably describe it as a period of reflection - although until fairly recently I've actually been too busy to do that much reflecting.

At work, I've just finished the second month of a three month notice period - almost all of the rest of it will be taken up with paternity leave, before starting work for a different company in the same field in mid-September. I've had plenty to keep me busy, so I've not given much thought to the new job yet, but I have had a chance to look at my current employer through new eyes. As you might expect, I was already quite conscious of the company's flaws, otherwise I might not have decided to leave, but I have always maintained that most of these negative points were far out-weighed by the positive aspects of working here. It's been interesting to realise that these positives have mostly been personal to my own (really rather fortunate) experiences, rather than being an intrinsic part of the culture.

At home, the waiting continues (although hopefully not for much longer) for the arrival of The Gussie, which is our 'work-in-progress' name for the baby (just in case you were wondering, it's short for The August Project). Its official due date is in two days time, so theoretically it could decide to make its grand entrance into the world at any moment. We've even picked out a pair of names (one for each flavour) now, although we're obviously going to have to wait and see if they fit. Over the last few weeks we've been steadily accumulating some of the paraphernalia of parenthood, but I'm sure this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Whatever changes and challenges my new job may bring, I'm sure they'll be far outweighed by the demands of fatherhood. In both cases, however, this waiting game has most definitely been one of eager anticipation, rather than anxious apprehension. Up to this point, these two new adventures have seemed rather distant and abstract, but now, as their hour draws near, I finally can start to get really excited.

Inconsequential thoughts rarely worth muttering out loud