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Slip slidin’ away


Diary of a First-Time Dad
Edwin McGreal

The great spell of weather this last month was manna from heaven for Frankie.
Three-and-a-half weeks of sun only broke with Storm Hector last Wednesday. Up to then, Frankie had been in her element.
The most unusual of meteorological phenomena, an Achill heatwave, has her spoilt. She has spent more time outside in the last month than in the previous 17 months of her life combined. And she is loving it.
Before the heatwave came along, we were in a play centre in Galway, and Frankie could not get enough of a cube with a slide off the edge of it. She went on it almost 50 times in a row. Climb in, get to slide, down, cheer, clap, repeat. We got to eat a dinner in the café alongside almost uninterrupted. Bliss.
So we knew it was time to invest. Three slides and a playhouse were acquired just before the sun took up residence. I was some sight driving down to Achill in a Toyota Dyna with them loaded on the back.
The garden is now a play zone, and Frankie is leading the life of Reilly. Opening and closing doors and windows in the playhouse might just be her favourite thing to do. Though she loves it even more when you play ‘peek-a-boo’ with her from behind the windows.  
She has climbing the slides mastered too, even though one of them was bought with a view to next summer. Despite us managing to buy the same cube she loved in Galway, she had to go for the bigger slide.
Toddlers don’t tend to wait. Even a cautious girl like Frankie. The slide was there in the garden and, dammit, it was there to be climbed.
She came down much faster than on the smaller slide, fell forward and face planted. The crying started. You’d think she’d be wary after that. Nope. Five seconds later, off she went again. Climb, faceplant, cry, repeat.
More crying starts when she is brought back inside, but thankfully she’s easily distracted.
But she’s not too keen about the turn in the weather. An 18 month old has no comprehension of weather conditions and the reality of life on an island off the west of Ireland. So, rain or shine, she will stand at the front door expecting to be brought out to her play zone.
Sadly, the wind and the rain is something she will just have to get used to. Either that, or we roof the garden.

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

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