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Come fly with me

Living


Diary of a First-Time Dad
Edwin McGreal

Thank God for Knock Airport. Or Monsignor Horan, which is pretty much the same thing up around Barnacogue. The thought of bringing Frankie on her first holiday was daunting enough without adding a journey to Dublin or Shannon.
So Frankie’s first continental tour was Knock to Malaga, and on to Benalmadena.
There’s nothing like fear of a baby’s meltdown in a contained space like an airplane to focus the minds. We’ve all been near kids on planes to know how badly things can go wrong.
Coming back from Lanzarote four years ago, hungover after letting the handbrake off on the last night,  four of us were faced with a toddler who kept standing up on his seat, turning around to us and saying ‘I spy ... in your eye ... boo!’
One of the girls made the fatal mistake of giving an encouraging smile at the beginning and so ‘I spy’ was on loop all the way home from the Canaries.
The combination of the unpredictability of when the little terror would turn around and the absolute hames he was making of the game was like a drill straight through our fragile heads.
‘Why would you bring your kids on a holiday?’ was the moral of the story, we all agreed.
But lo and behold, 2017 arrives and off myself, Aisling and Frankie go to Spain. The whole journey from door to door was planned to sync feeding and naps with the flight.
It did not start well. All the way from Breaffy to Charlestown Frankie cried and cried.
But, that out of her system, Frankie was a dream from then on. She found a new hobby – people watching at airports – and she slept and ate her way through most of the flight, much to the relief of worried-looking nearby passengers, and ourselves.
Once at our destination, we did not stir from base camp too much. Frankie seemed to agree with us that it was a holiday for relaxing. Being an hour ahead saw her sleep on most mornings; in fact 8.30am was the earliest she stirred for the week. She could have cried all day long after that and we’d have been able to cope after that sleep in.
The return journey brought the first meltdown since Charlestown. It was at the departure gate in Malaga. I could feel the eyes of plenty of hungover heads looking at us, hoping they would not be not beside us on the plane. I could feel their pain too.
Frankie simply wanted sleep, but we were not letting her get that until we got on the plane. Trust me, that’s not cruel, just common sense. Every day is a school day.

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