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Location: Cornwall, United Kingdom

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Auntie Bronte

We are an auntie. At 17.55 my sister Nx had an extraordinary little boy named Jack, who weighed nine pounds four ounces. This is considerably more than I weighed when I was born, so I hope he turns out to be a moderate eater, and does not become a centre back, because they tend to incur injuries, although Frank Lampard did the other day, and he’s a midfielder. Everyone thought he'd be a girl, but as a bitch I'm glad he's not: no worries about enduring what his darling mum just went through. She's so brave, and did brilliantly.

I’m really excited, as I’ve never knowingly had any relatives born before. My siblings all went to different places, and they never write or call, so they could be anywhere. Nx was an absolute star, it seems, and apparently did everything dead naturally, which is what my mum did; just gas and air, so it all went well. Didn't swear, either, which surprises me.

I can’t believe I’m an auntie. Nothing ever happens to me. I did have a funny tummy this morning, and had to get S to take me out to chew grass at 06.30; maybe it was sympathy pains…She did start labour at 04.30…

Of course in the way of things all the attention has been on the new baby and the new mum; has anyone paused to consider how I feel about this? Oh, no. Until now, I have been the baby of the family. Now this new sprout will usurp me. Does anyone consider that? I think not.

I don’t begrudge him though. Gz said he’s like Popeye, surveying the world through one eye. It must be really weird, to suddenly emerge and find there’s a world out there after all the comfort and security of the womb. A bit like going to a Millwall match. All of a sudden there are things to consider, like food, breathing, dealing with all these drooling relatives; people weeping over you. I just think it’s sad he doesn’t have other puppies to romp with. Must be really lonely for him.

We shall see him and the parents pretty soon, I suppose. I wonder if they’ll let me lick him? I don’t suppose anyone has had the gumption to do this so far. He’ll need a thorough licking to get him sorted out.

S is excited to hear he might have red hair. To my mind that’s a worrying factor. Something to do with recessive genes.

G has been on the phone all night, crying and laughing. This (the birth) is something we all thought might never happen. Thank God it has. A new life has begun. He doesn’t know it yet, but he will do great things. Out of adversity, and with all the odds against him (and her), he has entered the world and changed it. This is a child who will be wonderful, and I look forward to teaching him to retrieve biscuits in the river.

I’m not usually an emotionally excitable dog, but tonight I feel I could burst. Even though the attention is all directed elsewhere, I can almost condone it. My nephew Jack will do such things…

I must start a package of reading materials: Shelley and Blake of course; Kafka for when he’s older. S would like for him to get into something more demanding: Proust, Paul Auster, Dickens, Sylvia Plath, Paul Bowles…Personally I think maybe The Very Hungry Caterpillar to begin with.

I’m a bit old to prance about much, but tonight I’m dancing.

If I could sing, I’d do that, but all I can manage is a rather unpleasant howl. A dogophony.

Just to finish today’s events: men came to do the garden, and the birds had to wait till they’d gone to get back to the feeders S has put up. They get through a bag of sunflower seeds within three days. It’s more expensive than my food. He is quite excited that a nuthatch pair has been visiting, but if you ask me that’s a worrying development. It’s bad enough with the tits.

So; Jack, if you’re reading this, God bless, and sleep tight. We all love you, and special, special love to Nx, for managing to produce him, on budget, on time, more or less, and to specification. These years as a project manager have obviously not been wasted.

Is he named after that scary guy in Lost? The one who looks like a hairless King Kong? I hope not. My little nephew is a darling, and is his own person. I can’t wait to smell him. If he pulls my tail he’s toast. No, not really. But my mum taught me the benefits of a judicious nip on the rump.

Happy birthday, Jack. I love you.