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Boss an tí

Living

The Dad Diary
Edwin McGeal

With her vocabulary  fast expanding, Frankie’s personality is becoming clearer and clearer.
She will be three in November, and if the last few months are any guide, we can safely say she is going to be a very independent woman. Frankie does things when she wants, and it takes all your skills of persuasion to change her mind.
She can also be quite the little bossy madam too. Again, a lot of persuasion is often needed when she is insisting on something she cannot have, but there are some battles you simply won’t win. She can now talk quite well and express herself, so she sees no reason why her orders would not be obeyed.
When it comes to bedtime, for example, Frankie can be quite insistent on who brings her to bed. ‘Daddy bring it’ or ‘Mammy bring it’ is how the order goes. (Now, I’m not sure Frankie will allow anyone to refer to her as ‘it’ in a few years; I’m reminded of my mother’s words anytime I would address her as ‘her’ or ‘she’: “Who’s she, the cat’s mother?”)
But all that concerns Frankie for now is making herself understood, and when she says ‘Daddy bring it’ or ‘Mammy bring it’, there’s no avoiding it.
‘No, Frankie do it’ is another regular one. It could be when you’re feeding her Weetabix (you do not let her win this battle if you want a clean child) or when you’re doing a simple task like putting something in the bin or getting milk from the fridge.
When it’s breakfast time, Frankie won’t be happy unless she gets the ‘bainne’ from the fridge. She’d nearly call the union if you didn’t let her do it.
You learn to use her greater grasp of language to your advantage. She will always ask for ‘circles’ for breakfast, circles being Frankie’s word for Cheerios. We will always try to get her to eat Weetabix, a healthier option. Frankie is never quite as keen, but say to her ‘Weetabix first, then circles’ and she is happy out. Usually, by the time she has finished the Weetabix the hunger for ‘circles’ has gone.
So that formula – what she needs ‘first’, and ‘then’ what she wants – works a charm. Most of the time.
Non-negotiable are her cuddly toys for bedtime. The moral of the story is do not lose them or else have plenty of spares. Frankie hasn’t yet quite learned the meaning of ‘It doesn’t matter what toys you have, just go to sleep’.

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