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Mad for road


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

I had a bit of a whine in my last column. We had gone through a tough couple of weeks with the kids and ourselves sick, sleepless nights and plenty more stuff to test your patience, and I committed the experience to paper.
As if for spite, another bug hit the house – the second in two weeks – as that last column was going to print.
When it rains, it pours.
But I didn’t get much sympathy from one loyal reader (they do exist apparently), who gleefully mocked my situation and wondered what had I for giving out about. Sure, wasn’t I  going away with a group of friends for three nights in Portugal mere days after the column appeared?
This is true. What had I for giving out about indeed? It should probably be Aisling writing this week’s column, telling all about how she coped for four days on her own with the two kids while I was off in the Algarve golfing and socialising.
So mithered was I when writing the last column, it never occurred to me – the irony of moaning about the lack of independence that parenthood has brought just days before hitting the road and indulging in such a carefree jaunt.
Sometimes you just are so submerged in a situation that you cannot see past the next 24 hours.
A bit of perspective is no harm and as we shared stories about our kids on the trip, we all agreed that while it can be challenging at times, there is far more to be grateful for than there is to be giving out about.
The kids are happy and healthy. Not much else matters.
The conversation brought me back to almost two weeks earlier, and a very challenging morning where Éamon was crying for what seemed to be no apparent reason. After checking everything on the usual list – hungry, tired, nappy etc – I was still no closer to a solution.
He was looking at me, and he was crying and frustrated. He pretty much saw a mirror image looking back at him.
And then, standing up and holding onto the couch he did something incredible. He took three little steps forward unassisted. His first ever steps, and the look of delight on his face was only bettered by my own.
Frankie took her first steps on her first birthday. Éamon followed in her footsteps, taking his just three weeks after he turned one.
And already he is different from his sister, though. Where Frankie was cautious and careful, Éamon is going as fast as his little legs can carry him. A typical girls versus boys approach, I’m told; trying to run before he has the walking even close to mastered. He falls over every three or four steps, gets up and gets going again, delighted with his new trick.
That’s all that was wrong with him, he was just mad for road.

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