Our isolation station


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

After more than two years of successfully keeping Covid at bay, it finally broke through our walls.
Éamon got it first. He was sick one day leaving Naoínra, and we thought it was just a bug. He didn’t eat his lunch, had fallen asleep in the middle of the class and had vomited when he came home.
After enduring a horrid bug in the house last November, when Frankie then Éamon put together ten days straight of vomiting, we were on high alert. Covid never entered our minds. We just did all in our power to keep Éamon away from Frankie and Séimí.
A couple of days later though, I didn’t feel great either and did an antigen test just in case. Positive. Balls!
A test on Éamon confirmed he had it too, even though by this stage he was as good as back to himself.
Ash, Frankie and Séimí were all negative, although Séimí wasn’t overly keen on the antigen test, which is understandable for a 14 month old! Frankie, meanwhile, loves what she calls ‘the tickle test’ and does it herself.
So having started keeping Éamon away from the kids, we decided to try to keep myself and himself separated from the rest. But it was a fool’s errand. They both got it a few days later in any event. Somehow, and we’re not sure how, Aisling kept testing negative. She had been right next to Séimí most of the time but it didn’t spread.
It was surreal to think that Séimí, not even born when Covid first arrived, now had it. The only relief for me – and Ash – was that I could now hold Séimí and give Frankie a hug if she wanted. It was strange being in the same house as your small kids and not being able to go near them.  
Ash threw caution to the wind and assumed she would just get it anyway. The hope was I would be on the mend when she got it so I could do the heavy lifting that she did when I was bad from it. But it was a moot point – she’s still negative.
The general advice with Covid is rest up and take it easy. We were offered that advice but I can tell you something for nothing – rest is not an option with three small kids.
We took turns who would stay with Séimí but there were three nights in a row where we were both up for hours with kids. Rest, how do?
Pre kids, such a lay up would involve lying on the couch for the day with your selection of box sets. Now, you might get to lie down for a few minutes while the kids watch Peppa Pig or PJ Masks, but only until they want you to get them something.
Thankfully, none of the three kids had it bad at all though. So when the weather allowed, we had them outside playing. It is fair to say though we were getting on each other’s nerves with nowhere to go and with energy levels on the floor.
We think we’re out of the woods now, but definitely don’t fancy getting it a second time.

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