An On Time Arrival; A Departure Indefinitely Postponed.

by Harry on September 20, 2006

Oliver Clement Brighouse Mothersname was born this morning (Wednesday) at about 8.40 central time, by C-section. At 8lbs he has the smallest birthweight of our children, much to his oldest sister’s joy. Both he and his mother are doing well.

He’ll have two adoring sisters and parents who want him (even if they had a hard time figuring out a name). My greatest wishes for him are that he gives and receives a great deal of love, happiness and laughter in his life, and that he has the self confidence that enables him to find his own way while treating others kindly. A life-long enjoyment of Round The Horne, Bob Newhart and a facility with Unwinese would be big bonuses. His sisters will work on those.

I had a close encounter with the Reaper this summer. I don’t know exactly how close, but closer than I’d like. He was waiting on a winding hill road in south east Ohio, keeping an appointment with an 18 year old kid who was driving too fast and on the wrong side of the road. Seeing me coming the other way in my Camry he thought he spotted a twofer, and got greedy. What was the chance that I’d be a middle aged man who drives like an old granny but has reactions honed by spending my teenage (pre-helmet) years standing at silly mid-off (because I was too fat to be put anywhere else)? I slammed on the brakes, remembered that I’d just doubled my life insurance, hoped my daughter would be fine, thought about what a nice life I’ve had, and waited.

There’s such a thing as overreaching and the reaper departed wicket-less, succeeding only in causing a few injuries, a fair amount of pain, and making a mockery of this old post. The upshot is along with the adoring sisters and the perfect mother, Oliver Clement gets to have a father. And a minivan. (But not, regrettably for him, the name Reginald).

I get to see him and his sisters grow up. They are materially comfortable, and no gifts you might offer to him will make us better parents, which is what they need. But if you did feel like celebrating our delight in his birth, you could do what I did tonight: pour yourself a glass of fresh grapefruit juice, listen to The Goons with your kids, and make a small, medium-sized, or, best of all, large donation to Oxfam (UK, Aus, elsewhere).



Jim Johnson 09.20.06 at 10:12 pm

Well Harry, (and all) congratulations times two!


Russell Arben Fox 09.20.06 at 10:24 pm

Harry! I’m here in Madison at the Herder conference, checking my e-mail and the blogs at the Pyle Center, and what do I find? This wonderful news! Many congratulations to Oliver, and to your wife, and you and the whole family. You’re all quite blessed, and I’m sure more is to come.


Barry Freed 09.20.06 at 10:52 pm

Congratulations, Harry and the rest of the Brighouse-Mothersname family!

Just avoid the Salmon Mousse and you should be alright.

(On second thought you’d also do well to absent yourself from any dinner parties where the same is being served.)


nick s 09.20.06 at 11:57 pm

Congratulations, Harry: and let’s hope that The O.C. is cancelled by the time your own O.C. enters school.


roy belmont 09.21.06 at 1:36 am

My maternal grandfather’s name was Oliver. So here’s to that. And cheers


bad Jim 09.21.06 at 2:21 am

Happy Birthday, young Oliver, and may the reaper’s clutches long keep clear of you and yours!


dave heasman 09.21.06 at 2:29 am

“Oliver Clement” eh? Without checking the links, I’d say good Catholic names, both. But now looking at the links, maybe not. Congrats to all.


ajay 09.21.06 at 6:03 am

“Oliver” isn’t exactly a good Catholic name. Not in Ireland, anyway, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Good Whig name, though.


bob mcmanus 09.21.06 at 7:51 am



eudoxis 09.21.06 at 9:24 am

What a delight, Henry, a new baby! Great name, too.


eudoxis 09.21.06 at 9:25 am

Oh, no, I meant Harry.


Ray 09.21.06 at 9:26 am

(now please ignore my envious green tinge for the “on time” bit. We’re at 8 days overdue and counting…)


Daniel 09.21.06 at 10:07 am

I can’t believe you caved on “Reginald”. Congrats, buddy.


Ben 09.21.06 at 10:27 am

Congratulations – both on the birth (probably more the mother’s part) and for getting Clement in there, if not Reginald.


kid bitzer 09.21.06 at 11:01 am

excellent news, and congratulations.

But skip the grapefruit juice if you are taking any prescription meds–it has hellacious potentiation effects with a wide range of odd things.

(maybe not the ones you’re taking. Okay, so look it up before you drink.)


Tom Hurka 09.21.06 at 11:51 am



dave heasman 09.21.06 at 12:20 pm


SamChevre 09.21.06 at 3:54 pm


Babies are just generally wonderful.


Tom 09.21.06 at 3:59 pm

Congratulations Harry.

I can’t imagine anything better than Bluebottle in full flow as an appropriately silly way of celebrating.


vivian 09.21.06 at 8:17 pm

Welcome to the world Oliver Clement and congratulations Harry and family. Very glad to know your reflexes are at least as good as your risk-aversion. Best news of the day, by a long shot.


Laura 09.21.06 at 9:26 pm

Oh, Harry. I’m so happy for you and your family. You know, I do love those babies. Hugs from me and our gang in New Jersey.


eweininger 09.22.06 at 9:01 am

More congrats!


JR 09.22.06 at 9:13 am

Oliver is a very fine trans-Atlantic name. What I don’t understand is how you persuaded your wife to accept Clement. It doesn’t quite have the silly-walks implication of Reginald, but it’s certainly more Foreign Office than, say Adrian, which you tell us she nixed. Congratulations to you and the entire Brighouse-Mothersname clan.


jayann 09.22.06 at 11:12 am

So people ignored your escape from death… let me empathise with you in your moments before you knew you’d be OK. I still remember seeing the motorcyclist smashing his way to death through the bonnet of our old car. Our driver did what you did: steady on, no swerve, break, or at least one of us would have been dead. But bloody hell, it was awful. So, double congratulations.

I think grapefruit juice only interacts with SSRIs (Zoloft is the name I have, but I think it applies to all of them), still, check it out.


jayann 09.22.06 at 11:13 am

“Break” = “brake”! Fortunately.


harry b 09.23.06 at 12:39 pm

Thanks everyone for such nice thoughts. Everything is going well, and they’re coming home from the hospital tomorrow.

My only med is allopurinal (which everyone else who takes it knows what its for) and I’m ok on the interactions with grapefruit juice. I do, however, now have a bloody cold!

Clement was the trade off for Oliver. Britain’s greatest peace time prime-minister, and also a thoroughly decent man. Hope the lad achieves the latter, but not the former.

I’m not sure I dare say this, but Reginald jsut doesn’t have those associations for me:


Ophelia Benson 09.24.06 at 12:15 pm

Ouch. Hope the “fair amount of pain” is a thing of the past now, Harry.

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