Baby in a bubble


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Baby Séimí was six weeks old yesterday (Monday) and he will be home six weeks this Thursday. It’s incredible to think how few people he has met in that time.
With Frankie and Éamon, we had a continuous flow of family and friends into the house by this stage. We’d also made several visits of our own. All the visiting broke up the days – but this time around it is very different.
Séimí was born during the worst stage thus far of Covid-19, and so there have been severe restrictions on who can go where.
He’s met my parents only once and ‘met’ is a bit of a stretch. Wearing masks, they looked at him in the car window in a car park in Castlebar on our way home from the hospital. Séimí was asleep for it all, of course. It was the same experience for Aisling’s sister, who lives in Castlebar.
Other immediate family members, on both sides, haven’t even been able to get that close.
Aisling’s sister and parents live near us in Achill so they’ve been able to view an awake Séimí through the window of our home. It’s a sign of the times that I’m describing that as a positive.
Séimí himself has, amazingly, not left the house since he first came home on Thursday, January 14. Not even a step outside the door.
Visiting has been off limits, and there has, thankfully, been no need for a trip to the doctor’s or hospital. The public health nurses have called to the house diligently for their check-ups, a resource that remains a great assistance.
The weather has been either too windy, wet or cold, and sometimes all three, for us to bring him for a walk.
We’re missing the bonus sleeps you might get from walks too. Newborns fall asleep very easily while out for a walk in the fresh air, and they can stay asleep for a decent nap in their buggy when you get home. That would be a big help, as getting him off to sleep with two older siblings bounding about the place is quite the challenge.
Frankie and Éamon, on the other hand are getting plenty of walks – believe me! It would do none of the five of us any favours to be cooped up in the house all day, every day, so every chance we get we’ll go for a walk.
As a wise man said to me recently, there’s no such thing as bad weather for kids, just bad clothes.
So Frankie and Éamon are layered up, wellies an snowsuits on when the occasion demands. We don’t go out in the rain, but we can deal with an unexpected shower if it arrives.
I’ve never checked the weather more often than I have these past few weeks, scanning for windows of opportunity. I’ve become a caricature of the person I’d always joke about – someone who talks constantly about the weather.
Right now I’m scanning the forecast to see when it might be possible for Séimí to join us for our first walk as a family of five.
Nothing doing for the next few days, I’m afraid.  

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