Going in one direction


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

One of the last people I expected to be grateful to during the latest lockdown was Harry Styles.
I was never much of a fan of One Direction – honest – so did not expect to be listening to much of Styles’s work when he went out on his own.
That was until Frankie and Éamon heard him.
Well, to be more precise, his song ‘Watermelon Sugar’.
From once they hear the opening beat, they are overcome with excitement. If it comes on in the sitting room, they will dance the feet off themselves. If it comes on in the car, they will rock over and back as much as their seat belts allow.
Frankie has a handle on most of the lyrics and Éamon just waits for the chorus, doing everything in his power to wrap his mouth around ‘watermelon sugar high’.
The two of them are definitely on a high when it comes on.
It is the ultimate distraction. Someone is struggling to eat their dinner? Promise to put on the song afterwards and the food doesn’t be long disappearing. Someone crying after a fall? Put it on to bring a smile back to their face.
Éamon, just gone two, loves it so much that he is capable of coming into the sitting room and ordering “Put on wata melon shugar Daddy.”
That’s Top of the Pops at the moment for the two of them, but there’s plenty of other songs they love. ‘Dance Monkey’, ‘Blinding Lights’ and a classic ‘Bad’, by Michael Jackson all go down very well too.
Another favourite is a song by their favourite cartoon character, Peppa Pig.
‘The Class of Madame Gazelle’ is a fast-paced song about life in playschool. Both kids love screaming the chorus as all the characters are named.
It’s remarkably catchy – the next ‘Baby Shark’ waiting to escape. YouTube it and see for yourself, but don’t blame me if it is in your head all day. I have to be honest, months later I’m still not fed up of it. Neither, of course, are Frankie and Éamon.
That they love music is great. Éamon loves to drag you over to dance with him and will tell you ‘No, like dis Daddy’ if you’re not in sync with him and then give you a little demonstration. A little dance teacher too.
Already he has better dance moves than me although he is slightly more prone to falling when dancing than I am. Although if I go back to the days of the TF in Castlebar around 2000 we’re probably on a par.
They love making music too, with various musical toys – though if I’m being honest, it’s music in the loosest possible sense of the term. It’s a good job the pubs are closed because it’s not music you could be listening to with any sort of a hangover!
But there’s no doubt music makes them – and, by extension, us – happy. I’m just not sure if I’m ready to be asked to bring Frankie to a Harry Styles concert.

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