I AM a grandfather.
A girl. Seven pounds. Length 51cm.
I knew you’d ask.
I want to know why babies get special treatment. How come it’s actually illegal to produce a packet of flour without its metric weight, but we keep producing babies in pounds and ounces with impunity? How come height is good enough for real people but babies have length?
I suspect there is some kind of fraudulent notion in vogue that babies are more accurately stretched out if you lie them down than if you stand them up. My observation is that either way is wildly inaccurate. A 51cm baby could be 3m long when it uncoils. Like a carpet python.
Why am I sharing all this with you?
I knew you’d ask.
Because if I don’t keep prattling about inconsequential nonsense like length, weight and sex, you are sooner or later going to ask me her name.
I warned you about it in this column several weeks ago – what would happen if you allowed your daughter to fraternise with a bloke who eats grasshoppers…
My granddaughter’s name is Sage Thursday.
Look on the bright side. If he was into exotic plants, and not herbs, I could be dandling Agapanthus on my knee. Or Venus Flytrap.
Even in the world of herbs I reckon we escaped relatively unscathed. True, we mighty have been lucky enough to get Rosemary, but lurking on the herb spiral like a grandparent’s nightmare are Basil (yes, I know some people are called Basil, and that’s very sad, but at least they’re traditionally boys), Soapwort, Parsley and even Dill!
I reckon Sage is merely a superficial wound in the battlefield of baby names. If she is going to suffer schoolyard gags about onions and stuffing at least she’s not going to have her name shortened.
True, her peers, with the diabolical malice of which only children are capable, will change the phonetic emphasis and turn it into Saggy, but you can’t have everything.
I have to admit that’s my fault. When she was born I happened to remark that it was Thursday, and how few people ever had any idea what day they were born on.
So the happy couple decided to make it easy for her. Sage Thursday.
I was surprised they didn’t go the whole hog and call her Sage Thursday November Twenty Nine Day Before The Full Moon. But I kept my mouth shut and offered up a silent prayer that she wasn’t born on the second Sunday after Epiphany. Or on August Bank Holiday Monday.
And besides, there are bigger problems. I mean, what is she going to call me?
Despite the grey hair and the tendency to groan when I climb in and out of armchairs I still reckon I’m too young to be a grandad.
Nor will I succumb to those dreadful Americanisms like Pops, or Gramps.
But the problem can wait. I’m sure it will be resolved by Sage Thursday herself when she reaches the age of reason, which I estimate will be in about a month and a half, such is her prodigious intellect.
It’s genetic, of course.