21st Century Boy
Millennium baby just mum's happy kidCHRIS HYDE
The sound of fireworks outside the hospital greeted Haylen Osborne as he entered the world. The second child to be born in the new millennium talks to Paper Clips series writer Chris Hyde about growing up in the 21st century.
If Haylen Osborne had been eight minutes earlier he would have been the leader of his generation.
The shy 13-year-old Foxton boy was so close to forever being a part of history, beaten to the title of the millennium's first baby by seven minutes. A boy in Waitakere pipped him for the title with a 12.01am entry into the world.
Even so, his 10-day-late birth to Ailysha and Nick Osborne in Palmerston North Hospital at 12.08am on January 1, 2000 is something of a milestone.
A 4.3kg boy, Haylen was the first millennium child in Manawatu, the second in New Zealand, and depending on how you measure time and space, the second in the world. He was one of six New Zealanders born in the first 20 minutes of New Year celebrations.
Not that he's worried.
He finds the whole thing a little funny, but he understands why his birth was marked in the Manawatu Standard with more than just a birth notice.
"My birthday is actually really cool," he says.
The youngest of three children, Haylen has never known a world fearful of what would happen to computers when the year 2000 ticked over.
All he has known is a world that needs them to communicate, to have fun, to live. And Haylen and his 21st century peers embrace that.
"We use it for talking because it makes things easier.
"You don't have to ask to go to people's houses at the end of the day.
"You can just sit at home with them and talk to them."
Haylen still loves his sport - he plays hockey for Manawatu College and soccer for Foxton and paintball, fishing and canoeing all rate a mention.
But when it's not the best outside he's a gamer and the interactive open-world game Minecraft is his favourite.
He spends hours in his corner on the bunkbed of his family's rural Foxton house, plotting his next move, his friends talking with him every step of the way.
Haylen says almost everyone in his class at school is on Facebook. Turning 13 is no longer about having the right to have a paper round. It's about having the right to have a Facebook page.
The online world is not an unusual way of socialising for a millennium kid, but it bemuses his mother Ailysha, who got him a computer when he was 10.
"I didn't have any computers when I was growing up and I certainly didn't have a cellphone, but he just loves them." She remembers the excitement of the night Haylen was born clearly.
"I had him and then a few minutes after that TV One and TV3 asked if they could come up.
"It was all too much really but I just figured, oh I had better get it done tonight because I'm not going to want to do it tomorrow."
In the days following the papers came. The family has kept all the articles from that time in a folder with Haylen's baby memorabilia.
For Ailysha's part, she says there was no special planning that went into trying to have a millennium baby - "it just happened that way".
And the fireworks going off in The Square were no extra motivation either. "It was an exciting night, quite intense, but there was nothing like that," she says with a laugh.
Thirteen years on she's proud of her son. "He's a really good kid and he's happy. That matters more than a special birthday."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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