On… Errol

So, I kind of had a baby last week.

His name is Errol.

And he is perfect.


Yeah, I didn’t really mention the whole being-knocked-up thing. For lots of reasons… it wasn’t the best pregnancy ever, but the details are not exactly lighthearted-blog-appropriate. I felt – and feel – extremely protective of him, which is you know, probably good, since I’m his mother and everything – and so I wasn’t feeling very, hmm, open. You know.

Plus, I kind of feel that pregnancy is mostly interesting to people who are knocked up, or maybe if it’s one of your best friends. Otherwise, it’s boring. Talking about cravings / kicks / scans / pain / problems / excited impatience is boring. Trying to find a midwife when you’re on holiday in a small French town at short notice is kind of exciting, but then again, it’s kind of not. (Midwife in French is ‘sage-femme’, by the way, which means ‘wise woman’… see? Boring.)

All in all, the only good thing about my pregnancy was that it had a deadline. But the birth was pretty damn great – I had Errol in Switzerland, where the hospital system is about as close to perfection as you can get. I had a c-section, which was absolutely wonderful, and I’m breastfeeding, because, you know, I’m a liberal wench and I think formula is evil. See? All you non-mothers out there are wincing and saying ‘overshare, GemGem, like, gag me with a spoon’.

Anyway, I don’t think baby blogging is my bag. Other people do it far better than I ever could. I feel the same way about weddings: I posted a few photos of mine here, but I wasn’t about to bore you with like, the menu plans and table centrepieces, you know? It’s just not my bag. I blog a bit about writing and a bit about reading and a bit about me and a bit about stuff I like and always, above all, I blog with the aim of entertaining you. So I’ll write a bit about Errol, but I promise this won’t become a blog dedicated to his bowel movements, or whatever.

Having said all that, I understand why people do blog about their babies, as the urge to hold him up for the world to admire is overwhelming.

Look at him! Isn’t he beautiful?

It’s hard to write about babies and baby love without sounding at bit pathetic and/or insane. We’ve all seen formerly normal friends become Facebook babytards. You may have seen those online baby forums where mental women bang on about ‘DH’ (which I thought stood for Dick Head, apparently it’s Darling Husband) and ‘DS’ (Darling Son) and ‘DD’ (you can probably guess). Come on. Did they hand out a lobotomy with the epidural, or what? I read something once where Julia Roberts wrote to Oprah, of all people, about her newborn twins, saying they woke up ‘smelling of promise’. Lame. I was like, gag me with a fricking spoon, Roberts. Stop gushing.

But I’ve tried for the last 20 minutes to write about how I feel without gushing. And if writing cliché-free, non-gag-me copy about happiness / love / joy is hard in books, then in real life, it’s nearly impossible. My apologies, Julia.

So I’ll just say it once, very quickly, in a low voice: I am so happy.

And my friends, you should see Fox. The man giggled yesterday. Irish men don’t usually giggle, unless the better part of a bottle of whiskey is involved.

The moment I saw Errol… I can’t explain it. I’m not a good enough writer. He’s tiny and calm and thoughtful and happy and perfect and…. oh man. See? I can’t explain him. Words are not enough.

In an attempt to avoid death-by-adjective, let’s just say Errol is perfect in every way, more than I could ever have imagined was possible. He’s tiny and sweet and warm, with a habit of making happy little sighs when he’s sleeping and mewymoans when he’s feeding… My heart is full.


EDIT: Okay! More photos. Now these are just a couple from the first few days – mostly in black and white as, well, we were feeling arty. Also I looked like shit. I will download more in the next few days and post them. I swear.

This is the full shot of the one above. Tiny and sweet.

Errol at one day old. He is nestled in a bonding band thingy that the hospital gave us. I am so in love with said thingy that I want to wear it everywhere and wrap my favourite people up in it. And I mean that in a totally non-kinky way. (This is taken with my crap phone, by the way, thus the graininess. My mother has already requested I sharpen it up with Photoshop. How do I tell her I just do words?)

Trying to be arty. Two days old. As soon as I fix said Photoshop skill deficiency, those pesky freckles and wrinkles will be gone and I’ll sure as hell sort the eyebrows out. Mine not his. And maybe add a jaunty hat.

Witness the artiness.

Again, my crappy phone, but cool shot, huh? This is a tired, stubbled and unusually serene-looking Fox resting in his hospital-issue camp bed (6.3″ man, 5.10″ bed = fun fun fun) with three-day-old E-Dawg. I love this photo. I love that hospital. I love my doctor. I love Fox. I love Errol. I love you. I love everything.

More photos to come. Also, the books that are sustaining me through the feed-sleep-feed duskiness of this week.

EDIT! Okay! One month later and I have had requests for more photos of moi preggers and Errol. As ever I am happy to oblige. Now remember, if you are not baby-lovin’, don’t read on. I am probably about to be a babytard. What can I say. I love him.

Motherin’ – so far, at least – is a hell of a lot easier than pregnancy. And babies are kind of easy, too. The past month has felt a bit like having a friend come to stay who keeps getting wasted. You just have to check on him regularly, make sure he eats when he’s supposed to, hasn’t soiled himself, do his washing, etc. One of my friends described her kids as ‘really cool flatmates with attachment issues’. Seems pretty much on the money.

Okay, first: preggers.

This is me at 38 weeks. Thanks to some pesky hip problems, walking – and in fact sitting – wasn’t really a thing for me by that stage. My ass was pretty much permanently attached to that sofa, laptop precariously perched on cushions so I could write. I am lucky I didn’t end up looking like Jabba the Hut, now that I think about it. It’s probably because I was very sick almost every day for about seven out of the nine months. Seriously, I don’t know how bulimics do it. Throwing up is a NIGHTMARE. I threw up day and night, at home, in taxis, in supermarkets, doing yoga, on the street, in passport lines at the airport, in bed. I threw up when I ate and when I didn’t eat. I threw up when I was reading and writing and sleeping. Basically, I threw up. Anyway, back to the photos.

Errol Fletcher (Errol after Errol Flynn and Fletcher after the Chevy Chase movie Fletch) (yep, seriously) is just the funniest, sweetest, calmest little dude.

We just realised, by the way, that in Fox’s hometown of Cork in Ireland, people with a strong local accent pronounce it Earl. Pretty funny. (Fox dialled down his accent when he moved to London. Apparently the Euros in his office couldn’t understand a word he said. The moment he touches home soil, however, he becomes as Cork as they come. Lots of ‘how yas’ and ‘happy outs’ and the odd ‘feck’.)

Self-portrait of me with Errol last night.

I realise this photo looks like it was tinkered with because I’m so ghostly pale, but I swear it wasn’t. iPads take weird photos – something to do with having the pixel-quality of a nokia phone from 2001 – and I’m kind of a pale person. (I stopped fake tanning at about 34 weeks when it took an entire Vichy tan tube just to cover me. No, really, it did.)

And a few new ones from this morning, when he was feeling very serious and thoughtful.

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22 thoughts on “On… Errol

  1. Dizzy C

    Congratulations, he is beautiful!

    Being a mummy does kind of make us want to babble about baby a lot. Apparently it is nature making us focus on the new baby and blot out everything else around us, (hence baby brain).
    I am still doing this and my youngest is 4 next month! :)


  2. annelise

    Errol is beautiful and I love his name – very dashing. He's sure to be a heartbreaker.

    Congratulations again and yes, lots of pictures please. xx

  3. P

    Oh my god, congratulations!!!!! You kept that one so quiet, I never would be able to if it was me! (Listen to me, I'm acting like you're my best friend and you didn't tell me!)

    He's adorable. Absolutely adorable. Sooo happy for you! *does happy dance and goes away to find man to procreate with. Probably won't tell them that's why i want them. It might put them off.*

  4. The Time Sculptor

    Congratulations Gemma – both on welcoming your beautiful baby to the world and on managing to keep your pregnancy a secret in the blogosphere for so long!

    These weeks and months will stay special to you for the rest of your life… even if you're far too tired to realise that just now!

    Keep smiling :-)
    Jane Gray

  5. Carolyn

    Gemma – I'm a baby person in the 'your child is an edible angel but please God can we also talk about something else?' way. And that said, Errol is absolutely lovely and your picks of the whole family exude with your joy!! Thanks for sharing and congratulations!


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