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Little rebel

Living

Diary of a First-Time Dad
Edwin McGreal

When a baby comes along, suddenly you get to watch much less television.
If you’re lucky you might get an hour after the baby goes to sleep before you calf yourself. With so few windows for watching TV, compromise is important.
Aisling has her ‘must watch’ shows, I have mine … and not always do the twain meet.
I point-blank refuse to even be in the room when Big Brother is on, for instance. Aisling justifies it as ‘easy TV’, not requiring much concentration to watch at the end of a day. And, Aisling argues, it can be watched with Frankie pottering around and letting an odd shout out of her without you missing anything of significance.  
I’d argue the house could be falling in around you and you’d miss nothing of significance on Big Brother.
The reaction is something similar when I put Gaelic football on. Aisling will watch a Mayo game, but she’s not so keen on having to watch the likes of the Waterford football final on TG4 in December.
But compromise is at the heart of any good relationship.
Dancing with The Stars is another one of Aisling’s favourites. I don’t find it quite as repugnant as Big Brother; ergo, I can sit in the room and play with Frankie, read or go online while it is on in the background.
In fact some of it is actually, erm, watchable. Bernard O’Shea, Deirdre O’Kane and Maia Dunphy are great value, while curiosity will always compel you to see how Marty Morrissey gets on.
We didn’t think Frankie had much interest in it, however, until former Cork camogie captain Anna Geary and her professional partner Kai Widdrington took to the stage.
They did the tango to the tune of David Bowie’s classic ‘Rebel Rebel’.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Frankie as excited – and that’s saying something.
She had her back to the TV but turned around straightaway and smiled widely. Within seconds she was full-on head-banging, and almost in rhythm too.
Smiling continuously, she looked at both of us for encouragement and when we started head-banging in response, she went into overdrive. I actually thought she was going to hurt her neck so fast was she moving her head.
As Bowie says in the song, ‘We like dancing and we look divine’. It was one of the most enjoyable few minutes we’ve had with Frankie.
We’ve had plenty of music on TV for Frankie in the past, from chart to baby music to classical. A lot of it has got her attention, but none provoked such a reaction. She was in her element.
Her first ever ‘favourite’ song, sung by a man who died the same year she was born. I’m glad I agreed to compromise for Dancing with The Stars.
But I have a limit. I will still be elsewhere when Big Brother is on. Frankie could be doing somersaults during it and I’d miss it. Happily.  

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

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