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Mad for road

Living

Diary of a First-Time Dad
Edwin McGreal

After months and months of being stuck in neutral, Frankie has finally learned how to use the clutch.
A few weeks ago all she could do was lie down or sit up (if you put her sitting up) and be more of an observer of the world than an active participant. Mohammed had to come to the mountain, the mountain was not for moving.
But now Frankie has got into gear and there’s no stopping her.
It started with being able to roll from her back onto her front and sitting up in the one fluid movement. She was thrilled with herself when she first did that and followed our applause and cheers with applause of her own. Self praise is no praise, eh?
But she’s gone further in recent days and is now crawling. It’s a different world for her. And for us.
Where once she could only look and admire something a couple of feet away from her, she can now go over and investigate for herself.
It must be one of the most liberating stages of a life, to go from being pretty much stationary to be able to move. Pity she won’t remember it.
We definitely will. As great and all as it is to see the development, it brings plenty of challenges for us.
Frankie’s ability to move means we have to become quicker than ever, our reactions have to be razor sharp, tuned to imminent danger.
First we had to child proof the area where Frankie is going to be crawling. We try and have it spotless for her hands. She is still a fan of putting everything she picks up into her mouth.
Simple as that might seem, you’d be amazed at the dangers that lurk. Lying down to play with her led coins to drop out of my pockets. I was completely unaware until Aisling found them later that night before Frankie had the chance to put them in her mouth and try to swallow them. Mea culpa. I won’t make that mistake again.  
The next day I found a hair clip on the floor. Aisling said it wasn’t hers. Maybe, but it sure wasn’t mine or Frankie’s!
We now have three boxes full of picture frames and ornaments that once adorned the low window sills in the living room. They were within Frankie’s arm stretch, so they had to be put out of reach.
Lord knows when those sills will be full again. It’s hard to take your eyes off her for a second now, but one of the virtues of all this new found movement and Frankie’s sense for adventure is it wears her out.
She sleeps soundly these nights. We do too. This crawling craic is hard work.

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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