Another Covid birthday ‘party’


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Ignorance is bliss.
Frankie did not really catch onto the reality that Covid meant she could not have a normal birthday party. She missed out last year too, while her brother had a big party in earlier September when weather and Covid conditions were more favourable.
She turned five on November 21, and even though the Government and Nphet think it is safe for her and her friends to be in school together, we erred on the side of caution and stuck with the advice not have a birthday party.
A party would bring a few households together and four grandparents, so we reckoned it would be unfair to ask and put people under pressure to come.
I think myself and Aisling were more disappointed than Frankie!
She has been looking forward to her birthday for weeks. Three things dominated every conversation about it … presents, cake and a party. So she took the Meatloaf outlook on it.
We made a big deal out of the day, starting with presents in the morning which Éamon (3) gleefully helped to open, on the proviso he could play with them too.
A cold but bright winter’s day led to a birthday walk, conceived by Aisling, down to her sister’s with the two kids singing ‘happy birthday’ en route. She even got a surprise gift from a friendly neighbour on the stroll. Meanwhile I got to watch the county final whilst minding Séimí, so everyone was a winner.
Later came a birthday ‘takeaway’ with Frankie very excited to be able to order from the kids’ menu.
Then followed the crowning glory – a delicious chocolate biscuit cake baked by her cousin Áine. Calorie counting was out the window at that stage!
There were Facetime calls with family while family living nearby called with presents.
One caller came with a card and a very generous cash note inside. But Frankie doesn’t get the idea of money and using it to buy things. After all, anytime I am in the shop she sees me using my card.
So she thought the cash was just another piece of paper and followed up with ‘Have you got any presents for me?’ We explained quickly she will be able to buy any amount of presents herself with the money.
She has cop on when it suits her too though.
She thinks everything has changed now because of one night turning into day …
‘Frankie, you can’t lift Séimí’. ‘I can, I’m five now’.
‘Frankie, you can’t go swimming at the beach today, it’s too cold’. ‘But Daddy, I’m five now, I can’.
She has, as far as she is concerned, reached the age of enlightenment. Answer a question she asks, and she will say ‘I know that, I’m five’.
We will work that to our advantage. Five year olds all eat their dinner. Five year olds stay in bed until morning time. Five year olds  do what they’re told. Watch this space!

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