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The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Times are bad when your two-year-old is educating you.
And I’m not on about perspective and importance in life. I’m on about actually teaching me something I didn’t know.
I came into the sitting room one day and Frankie was playing with a toy boat.
“What’s that,” I asked, expecting the answer to be obvious.
“Trapezoid,” replied Frankie?
Trapa-what? No, it is a boat I insisted. She stuck rigidly to her position. “It’s a trapezoid, Daddy.”
She said it so clearly that I was able to put the correct spelling word into Google and, lo and behold, Frankie was right. The boat was a trapezoid because, as Google and my daughter told me, the boat was the shape of a trapezoid.
Google took a bit of work explaining different types of trapezoid shapes but Frankie had it covered.
Turns out she picked it up from an educational TV show which helps teach kids shapes, letters and numbers. You would have thought squares and circles would be enough for young kids to be getting on with but ‘Charlie and the Shapes’ goes further with arrows, trapezoids and parallelograms.
And with young kids’ minds being like sponges, Frankie took it all in.
Their ability to grasp the meaning of words is so gradual that you do not even realise it a lot of the time.
It’s so vital therefore what you say in front of her. Anytime now we go shopping, Frankie will greet everyone she sees with ‘hello, how’s things’? She gets plenty of laughs and smiles back.
Since she started going to the Naíonra on Achill in September, Frankie’s vocabulary in Irish has developed too. She had a good base from Aisling and our childminder and hasn’t taken a backward step since. So Frankie will now bring me a yogurt and say ‘oscail, le de thoil’.
She loves us reading to her and showing her different animals and objects but sometimes it is hard to know who is teaching who.
We were going through her favourite book one day – full of GAA objects in fact – and Frankie kept pointing to footballs, sliothars and jerseys in it and asking me ‘what’s that’?
I was a bit taken aback that she didn’t know as we had been through the book countless times and she knew them all off by heart, in both English and Irish.
I told her what each and every object was and when we got to the end, she looked at me with a glint of pride and said ‘well done, Daddy’.
She wasn’t asking me to find out for herself. She was asking me to see if I knew. My daughter was trying to teach me. She could have a big job ahead of her.

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