Turning four in Level Five


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Frankie is now four years old. She had her birthday on November 21, and, with Level 5 lockdown, it was a party with a difference.
She had her friends at the local naíonra sing her happy birthday on the Friday and had a small party with the kids at our childminder’s later that day.
She was convinced that her friends would be coming to her house for a party on the Saturday though. No amount of explaining could convince her otherwise. We’re not sure where she got the idea from – she hasn’t had any playdates at all this year.
All week, all she could talk about was Saturday.
During the week every morning first thing the same two questions – ‘Is it Saturday yet?’, ‘Am I four yet?’.
No, and no Frankie.
The excitement was cranking up day by day with her, and we knew preventative action would be needed on the Friday.
Getting Frankie to sleep with Saturday so tantalisingly close was not going to be simple. So in order to wear her out and have her exhausted by bedtime, we went outside and ran and ran and ran, taking it in turns to run after the other while Éamon made half-hearted efforts to catch Frankie.
It worked, and she slept like a dream – I shall remember that trick for Christmas Eve!
Frankie woke the morning of her birthday at the very reasonable hour of 8am.
As soon as I went into her, she was primed.
“Daddy is it Saturday? Is it my birthday?”
Yes, Frankie, it is. Down we went to the kitchen, and there waiting for her was a lovely dolls’ house. She was beside herself with excitement. When Éamon got up he was quite taken by it too – we will work on that!
Talk soon turned to the rest of the day.
“Are my friends coming?”
No, Frankie, they cannot make it but you will see them at naíonra on Monday.
“Aw … okay then,” she said, and went running off to play with her doll house.
Maybe presents were the best distraction for the lack of presence.
Loads of gifts came from family and lots of fun was had hurriedly opening each one.
A birthday cake specially baked by Frankie’s Auntie Caroline along with some lovely baked treats from Frankie’s cousin Áine made her day. Video calls saw plenty of well wishes from family who couldn’t make it, and Frankie was loving showing everyone what she got.
And, despite all the sugar, she slept like a dream that night, worn out from all the excitement.
Sunday morning then and Frankie, who like a lot of people her age, has no real concept of age, is a girl in a hurry.
“Daddy, am I five yet?”
No, not for a while yet, but hopefully when you are we will have a great big birthday bash with all your friends coming over.

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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