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Who’s she like

Living

Diary of a First-Time Dad
Edwin McGreal

People can be great liars, you know.
Definitely when it comes to saying who our baby Frankie looks like.
Pictures from scans during pregnancy had everyone saying that she was the image of me. I couldn’t see it, I can never see much likenesses in newborns, never mind babies in-utero but I took all the comments as statements of fact, delighted with myself.
Since Frankie has arrived, people are altogether less convinced she is like me. As soon as she was born Aisling saw her niece Áine in Frankie. I even thought that myself.
Since then, we’ve been getting all sorts of comparisons but most are on Aisling’s side of the family. Plenty see Aisling in her, a few more see Aisling’s mother while plenty of her nieces and nephews have been name-checked too.
It’s left me feeling very much left out in the cold.
A handful of people have said Frankie looks like me and one person said she looks like my mother. I’m convinced they are the same as me - they cannot see likenesses in babies either and are just trying to make me feel better.
Bless their well-intentioned white lies.
Of course some people come with the cliched line ‘she’s like herself’ but it’s true. Still there’s great fun in listening to the different comparisons.
It’s the personality and traits I’m very curious to watch develop, to see who she takes after the most. Frankie likes her sleep but, to be honest, she could take that from either side of her parents. The chances of her being a light sleeper were always on the low side. Her parents are very grateful for her compliance in this matter!
She certainly has her father’s appetite. I know now why a voracious appetite is called a ‘healthy appetite’. A hungry baby that will take a big feed and go to sleep for a few hours before another big feed is much less work than a baby that will only eat a small bit, snooze for a few minutes and be hungry again.
Frankie is a hungry baby and there’s a lot to be said for it.
In the last few weeks Frankie has started to smile. A lot. And it makes your day when she’s smiling at you. We’re enjoying it while it remains innocent before she learns to smile in order to twist Mammy or Daddy’s arm to get what she wants.
But, cruel as it sounds, we even find enjoyment in her cries. After she lets out a cry, she makes this frown that looks like it’s straight from the stage. Thankfully the cries are easily stopped. She’s either hungry, has wind or needs her nappy changed. It’s usually the first thing.
Of course when she’s giving out that’s when I insist she looks most like her mother. I have to take an odd moral victory.

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