Officially outnumbered


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

New arrival Séimí has been home almost four weeks now, and it’s been a rollercoaster!
It’s a very busy time but the best of times too as new relationships are formed between us and the kids, and among the kids themselves.
Frankie is now the doting big sister trying to help with all the work with the baby – sometimes such offers are useful, other times less so.
She’s very keen and always offering to hold the baby. One night she even came out with the question ‘How do I get a baby in my belly?’. That discussion has been deferred, hopefully forever!
Éamon is no longer the baby of the house. We’re not sure if that penny has fully dropped with him.
We were worried he might be extremely jealous of Séimí, but that hasn’t turned out to be the case at all. No matter what he is doing, if Séimí is brought into the room, Éamon drops everything and comes over excitedly.
“Oh baby Séimí!” is the repeated exclamation and he goes right up to his face, offering to kiss him. Something which will no doubt embarrass him in years to come!
Séimí has yet to wake his brother or sister during the night with a cry for a feed. However, Frankie has picked an unfortunate time to decide to wake during the night herself, requiring me to go into her and settle her back to sleep.
As you can imagine, there are times, I won’t lie, when it can be very stressful. Last week, all three decided to wake up at the same time at night. With only two of us to take care of them, you’re at excess capacity when all three erupt. But that’s quite rare, thankfully.
Most of the time it is bliss. The key is being organised and getting ahead of yourself. If a window appears, dinner might be cooked at 11am and reheated later. When Séimí naps during the day, it’s all hands on pump to get whatever jobs can be done out of the way.
Getting Frankie and Éamon out of the house for their own benefit, and ours, is vital too. Weather in January and February isn’t always compliant for walks so it might involve a spin in the car.
We’ve split the work, with Frankie and Éamon largely in my care and Aisling taking Séimí with an occasional swap. You’ve time for little else, especially with lockdown and no playschool or visits to family and friends to break things up for the kids.
Guarding against cabin fever is a challenges but I’d like to think it’s a battle we’re winning. For now at least!
No matter how busy the day, there will be moments of pure joy in the middle of it all.  Watching your older kids fuss over the baby, and imagining the fun and relationships that will develop in the years to come is lovely. It’s bliss too to be able to be on the couch with all three cuddling into you – even if you do have to keep an eye out for stray feet and elbows near Séimí!

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