Swimming against the tide


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

With the summer fast approaching, Frankie and Éamon have been going to swimming lessons in Mulranny Park Hotel for the past month or so. Frankie did them last year and her brother is dipping his toes this year.
Every week they go they are getting more confident in the water. Usually either myself or Aisling go and watch from poolside.
Last Wednesday we were ambitious and said we’d go into the water ourselves and bring Séimí with us.
It was an experience!
The level of planning needed is something else. You’re bringing change of clothes for five people and then you’ve to work out the logistics of the most efficient way of getting everyone togged for swimming and changed afterwards. Think ways of distracting kids while you change one of them. Food and toys, basically!
Aisling’s brother used to bring his four kids to the pool on his own so he would probably laugh at two of us fretting over bringing three to the pool. Safe to say we’re not sure how he managed it!
We’d Frankie and Éamon in their togs before we left home so there would be little delay getting them ready. Aisling did that while I pushed Séimí in his buggy outside. Then I passed Séimí in, took Frankie and Éamon into the men’s with me, got togged and brought the two of them in.
Aisling and Séimí followed us and all was well. So far, so good.
We’d a ball in the pool, even if Séimí was crying for the first couple of minutes until he got used to the water temperature. It was lovely and warm so we’re not sure how he will take to going into the bay in the summer.
Frankie and Éamon then went for their lesson, got on great and we played with Séimí. Lesson over, they both got turns walking over the bridge in the pool in Mulranny. That was their reward if they were good during the lesson and didn’t shout for us. Sometimes it is amazing how little things will focus their mind. You take full advantage of such scenarios!
Then it was time to go and we promised them we would go for dinner upstairs in the hotel but Éamon wasn’t too impressed with our logistics post-swim.
Aisling was taking Frankie and Éamon with her to get them changed while I stayed in the pool with Séimí. Taking all three out at once would lead to a traffic game getting changed and Séimí would get cold so this was the best way … we thought.
Except Éamon didn’t think it very fair that Séimí got to wait in the pool longer or, more particularly, that he couldn’t wait with me.
Sometimes he gets far too attached. Every possible entreaty was used until I brought him back in the pool for ‘ten seconds’ and then he had to go. He went, reluctantly, but of his own accord. After plenty of tears, mostly his.
Ash somehow managed to get both changed and then took Séimí. She got the short straw!
I went into get ready with Éamon along with me and out we came, all in one piece.
We went for food, which was lovely but trying to keep three kids occupied while we waited was not simple. The lift got plenty of use that day.
It’s not impossible but it ain’t easy either.

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