Stuck in the moment


The Dad diary
Edwin McGreal

In what feels like the blink of an eye, our lives have changed. Our country has never seen the likes of this and hopefully never will again.
We don’t know when this will end, nor do we know what Ireland will look afterwards. We just know it will be vastly different from where we were before we ever heard of Covid-19.
So we do what we must now to limit the damage. In our home we are fortunate. I can work from home and my wife is a teacher, so the job of minding the two kids is easier – without ever being easy – than for many other working parents.
Many couples are both trying to work from home whilst taking care of kids. More still are having to work on the frontline and still need to make sure their families are looked after. As the Taoiseach said on St Patrick’s Day, not all heroes wear capes.
It’s a hard time with kids, let’s not beat around the bush. It is very difficult not knowing when Frankie and Éamon will see their grandparents again. What we can do on a day-to-day basis is limited. The kids haven’t a clue what is going on, so do our best to keep them busy and entertained we must. And get the work done as well.
It is, of course, a great chance to make the most of the extra time with them.
Again, we’re lucky. Frankie is at a lovely age – coming up on three-and-a-half, while Éamon is coming into his own too, the fun-loving side to him really starting to emerge as he gets more active, more able and more intuitive.
He’s also got fond of sleeping lately. Very fond.
There were a few mornings earlier this month when I had to wake him to bring him to the childminder. That weekend he slept on the Saturday until midday, and he only rose because we woke him as we were heading to Castlebar.
We googled it, and it seems he was going through a growth spurt. Some babies sleep less during a spurt, some more. Thankfully, Éamon is the latter. We were advised it is best to let him sleep.
On the Sunday, I left him longer. One pm came and went, 2pm, 3pm, no stir. We had the sensor on his monitor on to make sure he was breathing. Come 3.15pm I had to wake him or it would be soon nighttime again! It was just shy of 20 hours sleep.
He takes after me in this, I’m told. My mother went to the doctor once, wondering why I was sleeping until midday, after going down the previous evening at 7pm. The doctor told her he had a waiting room full of mothers who would only love to have that problem.
It would, of course, make working from home a lot easier if Éamon was to sleep through most of the Covid-19 restrictions.
But he has literally grown out of it and the routine is already back to normal now. When the country returns to normal is anyone’s guess, but plough on we must.

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

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