Sunday, 23 July 2017

Parental Leave

Full-time salaried work is the hallmark of a badly organised society. If society were better organised, there would be zero unemployment and a lot more holidays. I love a bit of paid time off and the arrival of my first-born son was rewarded by the UK government with a blissful work-free fortnight. 

I'd heard that that neonates slept for like 18 hours a day, so thought I'd use my parental leave to catch up on a bit of reading. What I'd failed to realise was that I would be spending those 18 hours panicking about whether or not this small human that I had suddenly assumed joint responsibility for was still breathing. A month in and I'm a bit more casual. I can update this blog from the sofa while he is on the floor asleep on a cushion*. The breathing checks are now every thirty seconds or so rather than constant like in the early days.

Rudyard Kipling says in the first of the Jungle Books that "...there is nothing so unlucky as to compliment children to their faces." I'm not sure about unlucky, but it is unsettling when people say in the same breath how cute a baby is and then how much he looks like his father (he's ginger and has my snub nose, the hair on his forehead is growing in - mine is going the other way). 

Perhaps I had the Kipling maxim somewhere in my subconscious when I mentioned to Charlie that I thought Finn Jr (alias - before anyone accuses me of unimaginatively naming my son after my blog which is named after my imaginary childhood friend) looks a bit like a Slitheen - the ludicrous farting aliens that appeared in the first couple of seasons of the relaunched Dr Who. This is now on my list of things that with hindsight I wish I hadn't mentioned. 

Here's a selfie I took in the hospital just after Finn Jr was born. We had to go into the surgery for the final stages of labour. They gave me my own set of scrubs. They are labelled 'dad' just in case anyone noticed my calm air of competence and mistook me for a consultant anaesthetist or something.  I'm sure you'd all rather see cute baby pics than me in my scrubs - but it feels slightly unethical to use these precious images just to garner a few extra hits on my blog.

Baby's waking up now. Next week: Why Kant's "On Education" should be required reading for all new parents.

*Please don't fill the comments section with chastisement about the cushion thing. It is a specially designed baby-safe cushion.