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Pram and proper


Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

HE took my luggage from the car and accompanied me to the train station, waiting until the train trundled along the tracks. A cold windy Tuesday, but he refused to leave until I was safely sitting in my carriage. Minutes went by before all the passengers were seated, while he remained standing on the platform to wave me off.
You might think this was an extract from Colm Tóibín’s emigrant tale ‘Brooklyn’ but no, it’s just the goodbye I got going to Dublin last week. I may be 27, but Pops always makes sure I get a right send off. A few years ago, he even contemplated flying to London with me to make sure I would get my connecting flight on my way to Australia. And I wonder why I lack independence!
I was travelling up to my sister’s house for the week for a bit of bonding time with my niece, and of course for some Christmas shopping.
When the roomies visit my sister in the Big Smoke they always bring a pot of dinner, and some meat. Despite being told that the capital of Ireland does have butcher shops, the female roomie refuses to ‘take a chance’. Last week I was close to having to travel with the accessory of the moment. Some people have a Mulberry tote, or a Louis Vuitton suitcase. Not me, no, I nearly had to travel with a pot of stew, courtesy of Madre.
“I’ll send up a stew with you for them,” she enthused the night before.
“Mam, I’m going on the train, and don’t want people referring to me as ‘the weird stew girl’.”
 That was the end of the conversation thankfully.
Going by my last experience of babysitting, instead of stew, the female roomie should have been giving me a ‘Starter Guide to Minding Children’.
A number of weeks back, myself and Madre were tasked with driving my adorable niece back to her parents. I was happy to drive, but packing the car proved more difficult. First off, I couldn’t collapse the buggy. After twenty minutes of pulling, dragging, pressing, clicking and expletives, the female roomie meekly suggested I ‘take a break’. Of course I refused, despite my manicured nails feeling the pain of repeatedly pressing a ‘button’ that turned out wasn’t even a button.
So what do you do in this day and age when you haven’t a clue what you’re at? You Google it of course. I punched in the make and model of said buggy, and a video demonstrating how to collapse it came up. (This made me feel less stupid, knowing other people also had to resort to a video.)
After watching the video three times while the female roomie held the phone, and my niece looked on as I pushed and pulled, we finally got it. I’m not going to lie, the sense of achievement was what I would imagine a marathon runner feels when they get over the line. (Which led me to muse, maybe if I just watch marathon clips on YouTube I’ll feel like I’ve done one… All the sense of the achievement without the sore legs.)
The babysitting duties went pretty well, and there was no fights with booster seats or buggies. Negotiating with a two year old about not wearing her ‘Frozen’ dress to crèche though, well, that was a different story altogether. Oh, and my other niece has taken to calling me ‘Uncle Ciara’.

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old trying to get used to living away from her parents.