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When Doris met Frankie


Diary of a First-Time Dad
Edwin McGreal

Last Wednesday night we prepared for the inevitable. We were not going to get a good night’s sleep. Storm Doris was on the way, and with high winds promised we figured there was no chance our little Frankie would sleep through it. Ergo, we would not sleep through it either.
We were half right. We did not get a full night’s sleep, but beside us Frankie slept, well, like a baby.
Myself and Aisling are well used to storms in Achill, but as we’re both heavy sleepers, we normally sleep through them. Storm Doris was particularly ferocious though.
The house shook, the roof creaked, bins were tossed around the house like leaves and we were wide awake. Frankie? Not a bother on her. She slept right through it.
Even the alarm going off after a power cut did not disturb her. Frankie was in a very deep sleep. She went down at 8pm Wednesday night, slept through the wild storm, only waking at 7.30am the next morning. I know, I know, a dream baby. Not every night is like this, trust us, but we are lucky to have a baby who likes her shuteye.
More of a challenge is getting her to sleep in the first place. When it comes to 6pm or 7pm Frankie tends to be quite tired and gets frustrated at this fact. She isn’t sure if she wants to go to sleep, feed or just chill out. So she does what babies do when they don’t know what they want: she cries and cries, and then cries some more.
So our powers of persuasion are tested to the limit. A walk up and down the corridor, the soother and even singing to her (she must like music if she can stand my terrible voice) all combine in a bid settle Frankie. She takes her last feed and is put down while we cross our fingers we won’t have to start right at the beginning again.
We usually put her down in her pram in the living room with the television on in the background so she’s used to some noise. But any sharp noise – sneezing or coughing, the clanking of cutlery or the dropping of anything (usually by me, to be honest) – can wake her while she is still in a light, early sleep. This first stage is crucial to Mission Get a Good Night’s Sleep.
Once an hour or so passes, it’s lights out for the night, most nights. So deep is the sleep at this stage, not even the might of Storm Doris could wake Frankie. Oh precious sleep, how grateful we art for thou.

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


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