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Take That and never forget


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

“Go,” I insisted. “I’ll be fine.”
Aisling was a bit reluctant about going to Take That last Monday.
I wouldn’t be a fan of them myself, but my wife certainly is and I knew how excited she was about getting to see them. I also knew it should buy me some credit for a jaunt or two of my own before the year is out. But that’s beside the point.
The tickets were bought, hotel booked and Aisling’s friends all had baby-minding arrangements in place. Aisling was all set too – until, a couple of days beforehand, Frankie got sick.
We knew something was up when Frankie turned down her favourite dinner – potatoes mixed with soup and salmon, if you don’t mind – and was crying for no apparent reason.
A trip to the doctor’s confirmed it. Tonsillitis.
Aisling wanted to cancel Take That. But Frankie was on antibiotics, which were going to put her right sooner rather than later, and I reassured Aisling we’d be okay.
“Sure, so long as Éamon doesn’t get sick,” says I.
As Aisling was crossing the bridge from Achill, I was going in the other direction, for a spin around the island. As good a way as any to pacify two kids when you’re on your own.
Trouble was, right around Dugort, literally the furthest point from home, Éamon gets heavily car sick. And Aisling barely in Mulranny.
And to make matters worse dimwit here had brought no changing bag so Éamon was covered in sick and had no reprieve until we got home. His sister did try to help. “Poor baby, it’s okay,” Frankie reassured him continuously.
She didn’t know a bigger problem was her father in the front seat.
“How am I going to manage with two of them sick?” I wondered. That’s the polite version of what went through my head. Sanity levels were going to be tested.
As tempting and all as it was to ring Aisling she got the other side of Mulranny and tell her to turn back, I know Take That have some strange hold on girls of the 90s and missing them might be the equivalent of missing an All-Ireland final for most of us. I would never hear the end of it.
So I sucked it up. Monday was a long day. The night was worse. Éamon woke at least ten times. One of those times was from 3am to 4.30am; 90 minutes that I will never forget, despite – or perhaps because, of – the daze I was in.
Tuesday was a long day too, but Frankie was improving at least and the end line was in sight.
An invite to The Mayo News Football Podcast in Rossport on Tuesday night was taken gratefully as much as a means of escape as anything.
But Wednesday morning saw me wake in the horrors, and before the day was out, three of us were on antibiotics for tonsillitis. The only one to escape was Aisling, who, you would think, was odds-on to be the first with it, given all the screaming that likely took place at Take That.
I think I have to get double points for those two days.

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