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A matter of persuasion


Diary of a First-time Dad
Edwin McGreal

With the way the week works out, it is rare enough that I would be putting Frankie to bed. With my work, Frankie would often be gone down before I’d be home and then there’s the lack of equipment issue.
When Frankie is tired but not easily going down, often a short while breastfeeding is all it takes to move her from being agitated to asleep for the night. I don’t have such supplies, so Aisling ends up putting Frankie down even when I am there.
But we reckoned she might be getting too used to being put to bed by her mother, so last Wednesday night it was my time to shine. To ensure the responsibility was all mine, Aisling went to her parents' house, and I was left with the responsibility.  
It was convenient enough that Barcelona and Paris St Germain’s classic Champions League game happened to be on too!
Maybe Frankie knew it was going to be a great game because she wasn’t too inclined to go to sleep. It was clear she was tired but if the clock goes past 7pm and Frankie isn’t asleep, she tends to try to fight it and a battle of wills commences. Frankie could go from being ready to nod off to roaring in the space of five seconds. Fed and changed by then, it’s merely a case of trying to coax her to sleep with the soother or walks up and down the hall.
When I take her in the morning at weekends, I often put on a game of football, not for selfish reasons, but because she is drawn to the green colour on the pitch. Honest! She will happily spend 15 or 20 minutes sitting on my lap watching football. It’s not a habit I intend to break anytime soon.
So perhaps that was part of her reluctance to go to sleep on Wednesday – the football on in the background. Eventually, after countless walks up and down the hall with her on my shoulder, she was ready to go to sleep. Down to the bedroom we went for me to ease her into her cot.
I tiptoed into the room with the stealth of a cat burglar, but my awkwardness is never too far away and as soon as she hit the mattress, I inadvertently kicked the wheel of the pram. We’d to start again, but she needed much less coaxing this time and she was fast asleep as I crept out of the room.
There was one benefit: I slept like a baby myself that night afterwards.

> In his fortnightly column, first-time-father Edwin McGreal  chart the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.

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