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Carpe diem

Living


Diary of a First-Time Dad
Edwin McGreal

We were no sooner in the door than John said to me, “Come on, we’re going for pints.”
It was a few years ago, and myself and Aisling were visiting her friend – John’s wife. I had only met John once before, briefly, and thought this was very good of him. We stayed out for hours, drank too many pints, and Aisling drove me merrily home.
“John is fierce sound,” I slurred as we drove away. Aisling explained why he was so eager. John had been pacing at the window, looking out for our arrival and planning these pints all day. His wife, Eileen, said he was never as excited about going to the pub … and that it was nothing to do with me.
You see, John and Eileen had welcomed twins into their home weeks before, and as sound and all as John is, going to the pub was much more of a reason to get out of the house than it was to be ‘fierce sound’ to me.
John had been stuck inside the four walls for weeks on end, with no break and two newborns to deal with. I was merely a ruse, though a very willing one at that.
A classic case of cabin fever, and one I only appreciate now that we have a baby of our own. I’m not sure how I’d cope if we had twins. Or triplets.
I was told a story of one couple who had triplets and who’d fight over who could go outside to hang the washing. That was their only escape from the chaos indoors.
Thankfully, things are much more manageable with just the one. We’re even all set to bringing Frankie to Spain for a week.
But in the early days and weeks, you can become very attached to the safety of the four walls. A winter baby means every walk or drive brings with it the possibility of getting a cold.
Believe me, you do not want to do anything that might interfere with whatever sleep you are managing to get. So staying indoors seems like a safe policy.
But, before you know it, the walls are closing in and you have to get out. My escape in the early days was taking part in the drama production in the village. Aisling’s was to go for walks while I would stay with Frankie.
Pints at the weekend after a week’s work? Fairytale stuff! You’d need a very good excuse. So when you get half a sniff like John did, you have to make the most of it and grab the opportunity with both hands.   

> 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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