The Dad Diary
A new arrival doesn’t always signal joy in a home.
Sure, the parents will be delighted but there are no guarantees any elder siblings will be as pleased.
Particularly when they were the only child, used to having their parents’ undivided attention.
We know of one oldest child who is an adult now who still bemoans the family getting bigger, so good did she have it on her own.
As both of us are the youngest in our families, myself and Aisling have no concept of what it might be like; indeed at less than two years of age Frankie is something neither of us will ever be – an older sibling.
And we were given plenty of advice to make sure to bring a toy home with the new baby so Frankie would associate her first meeting with Eamon as being one where she got a gift so as to soften any blow.
But we’re lucky. At just gone 22 months last Friday, Frankie is on the young side for getting jealous and realizing how good she had it. All the stories we’ve heard relate to older children and so when Frankie met Eamon for the first time, she didn’t see a baby who might invade on her good life, but as something to fascinate over.
We came home on a Friday evening and our childminder brought Frankie in a short while later for the big moment.
Frankie was oblivious to either of her parents. All she could see was the baby I was holding and ran straight to him with her arms outstretched for a hug and let out a big ‘wow!’ when she got close.
Ever since she has been mighty although you have to keep an eye on her. A toddler is capable of poking fingers anywhere and Eamon’s eyes seem to be like a magnet for his big sister.
Frankie has only a few words but in no time she has added ‘bay-bee’ to her vocabulary. It’s like she’s saying ‘baby’ with a French accent. Mention of the word when Eamon is not in the room brings instant excitement. Frankie will literally drop anything at the mention of ‘baby’. It’s a useful tool if you need to get her out of somewhere without a scene.
We’re not sure how keen Eamon is on her constant wish to tickle him but he sleeps through most of it. His big sister loves giving him kisses too. So far, so good, not a hint of jealously.
But it is early doors yet. The penny might yet drop with Frankie that her life, as well as ours, has changed dramatically.
And you have to wonder what Eamon makes of it all.
In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.