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Christmas is great, but so too is routine

Living

The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Going back to a full working week last week brought plenty of challenges. But, when you are a parent of two toddlers, it brings its own benefits too.
Christmas in years gone by was often very lazy, with late nights, sleep ins, eating a lot of crap and generally being completely out of routine. Turns out trying to do that with small kids is not such a brilliant idea!
I jest, but only partly. It is a different routine over the Christmas holidays than pretty much any other time of the year. And the cold and wet weather wasn’t helping, as the ability to get out and about and escape the four walls was greatly reduced. But we all survived the cranky moments and the great majority of the time was magical.
Frankie was blessed to meet Santa twice, once at her naíonra (playschool) and again at a local fundraising event. She was, truth be told, a little bit in awe of him and took a while to feel confident enough to approach this magical man who everyone was talking about.
Her naíonra put on a great Christmas concert with all the kids playing a blinder. Frankie was beyond excited, to the extent that she shouted the songs rather than sang them. But there were no X Factor judges in the room, and it was ten out of ten for effort.
Frankie was amazed by what Santa brought her, and even baby Éamon was taken by his presents on Christmas morning too, being equally impressed by the presents as he was by the wrapping paper, which is a new departure.
I wasn’t too impressed with Santa though. Getting up early on Christmas morning, I noticed he had got Éamon his car track but hadn’t bothered to assemble it. It didn’t happen like that in my time!
A frantic hour or so of reading instructions and finding small screwdrivers, and it was right as rain, even if I had aged greatly in that time.
Thankfully, their young ages and the drift from routine meant that neither Frankie nor Éamon were up early. Frankie did not stir until 9.10am and Éamon 20 minutes later.
Frankie hadn’t written to Santa, so our guess in our letter to him on her behalf for ‘loads of Peppa Pig stuff’ was a risk, but it paid off. She was overjoyed.
Éamon loved the car track and all his books and other toys. So did Frankie, and so the need for telling her to share was vital. She had no problem sharing with Éamon what Éamon had received, but it took a bit of work to explain to her she had to share her presents too.
Frankie even got to experience her first Mass, going to the Dooega Christmas Mass in Achill on the night of December 23. Éamon was left at home with my sister. Bringing both would have been a death wish.
Frankie has not stopped saying ‘I love Maaas’ since! It might have something to do with the amount of snacks she was fed to ward off sudden shouts during the ceremony.
It was like all her Christmasses had come together.

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