I’ve taken more than 1,800 photos of my son and he’s not yet 10 weeks old

If I’d been a parent in the 80s, I realise I would have been that strange, sad man at the corner shop; my wallet bulging not with cash, but a folded concertina of baby pictures

My son is beautiful. I don’t mean as a perfect little iteration of life’s grand design; I mean merely, aesthetically, he is pleasing to look at. I was not a particularly beautiful child. Or, if I was, the fact went consistently unrecorded by the camera technology of 1980s Ireland. Perhaps they’d not yet discovered glass and contrived lenses from potato skin and gravel. This could explain why the few pictures that survive of me as a baby – I can only presume the rest were so hideous they are now buried in a tar pit – show me looking like a blurry photocopy of Ken Dodd’s kneecap.

Of course, every parent believes their child is beautiful, even those couples whose babies look like they’ve recently retired from long and harrowing careers as oil rig workers. They say this evolutionary urge to find babies cute is to preserve the child from predation by jealous parents, before which, I presume, our mammalian ancestors routinely got sick of all the crying and threw their furry little parasites into nearby lakes.

Deep down, part of me worries that I’m caught in this same process. The issue isn’t so much that I would end up with a homely child – even I am not that shallow – but that I’ve been spending his entire life telling everyone how gorgeous he is. Do people wait until I leave to laugh? Both at my self-delusion and my cretinous little offspring himself who, for all I know, resembles a lump of white dough rolled in dog hair?

One wonders how this evolutionary impulse has warped into the kind of mawkish behaviour I now find myself capable of. If I’d been a parent in the 80s, I realise I would have been that strange, sad man at the corner shop; my wallet bulging not with cash, but a folded concertina of baby pictures. These I would tumble toward hapless cashiers like the triumphant final cavalcade at the end of a game of Solitaire for Windows 95.

In fact, I’m worse than that guy. How many pictures could even the most demented bore fit in his wallet: 10, 20? I’ve taken more than 1,800 photos of my son and he’s not yet 10 weeks old. And I will show you every single one of them until my battery packs in, or you manage to fake your own death.

That being said, you might disagree based on the image of him I volunteered for use as the picture for this column (in the print version, that is – online readers will have to content themselves with a stock image of a rattle or something).

My wife feels it doesn’t show him at his best and, truth be told, it doesn’t, but it is a particularly fetching one of me and, as there are only about six good photographs of me in existence, I went with it.

I love the boy, but being pretty comes easy for him, the rest of us have to take the breaks that come our way.

Of course, if you’re interested, there were many better photos of him from that shoot and if you hold on one second I can show you, just wait, I have them here, let me get my phone…

Follow Seamas on Twitter @shockproofbeats

Contributor

Séamas O’Reilly

The GuardianTramp

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