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Santa, the Christmas tree and The Toy Show

Living

The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

It’s a very excited house we have now in the run-up to Christmas. But it’s not the two kids who are at fever pitch. It’s their father.
I’ve always loved Christmas since I was young, and now the chance to celebrate it with our own two kids has me almost beside myself.
I’ve ordered personalised Christmas stockings, bought Christmas outfits they don’t need and toys that will be out of commission before we ring in the New Year.
The Late Late Toy Show just had to be watched this year with Éamon. His first-ever Toy Show. At just three months of age, I’m sure he will have lasting memories of the experience…
Frankie is just gone two, and she’s a bit more excitable than her little brother. Well, that wouldn’t be hard. All Éamon is worried about is feeding, sleeping and, in between, laughing and smiling up at you. What a simple, beautiful existence small babies must have.
Frankie gets the concept of presents and loves tearing open wrapping paper. She had plenty of practice with all the birthday presents she got last month.
But Santa is still a notion too far for her this year. She can point to Santa in a book the same way as she can point to a cow or a car, but she has no sense of the magic of the Man in Red yet.
I’m really looking forward to the Christmases when she does get it. Although plenty of people with kids at that later stage remind me to enjoy the simpler Christmases, like this year.
The big decision in the house this year was where to put the tree.
Frankie can open and close doors now (unless she’s really excited, she will insist on closing a door after her) and can climb all over the furniture.
We had visions of the Christmas tree being an ideal target.
I’ve only once seen a tree come down, and that was back home in Breaffy around 20 years ago when a cat called Lucky (indeed!) climbed it and brought the lot down.
Now, while worrying about a cat hurting itself would not keep me awake at night, I tend to be more attuned to the safety of my own flesh and blood.
So, tentatively, we put up the tree in the living room after Frankie had gone to bed one night and watched for her reaction the following morning.
There’s no doubting she noticed it because if she said ‘oh it’s a treeee’ once, she said it 100 times in about five minutes. It was cute the first few times, but everything has a sell-by date!
But she is fascinated by it yet cautious all the same. She watches it from a respectful distance, as if afraid it might attack if she goes closer. She’s definitely not going to do a Lucky on it. In fact, she’s so wary, we can even decorate it without the threat of baubles and lights getting pulled and thrown.
Heck, under the tree might be the best place to ‘hide’ the presents until Christmas morning too.

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