Being given the runaround

Living

The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Everyone is mad into getting their steps done these days. I’d prefer to maybe doing a few less. Maybe, say, the 50 percent of my total steps I spend chasing after Séimí before he does damage.
Of course 50 percent is a guess – it might even be higher!
To use a football analogy it is like trying to man-mark a player who covers every blade of grass. Like a Diarmuid O’Connor – the Mayo or Kerry version.
Except, in football, when players go into their own half, you can let them off, recover and tag them again when they cross halfway and present an attacking threat.
With Séimí, the danger lurks in every corner of the house and garden so you literally cannot take your eye off him.
We recall Frankie and Éamon at this stage but they were nowhere near as intense. Séimí is perpetual motion.
If he gets near any toilet, he will get whatever he can lay his hands on and put it down there. We keep phones away from him anyway so we haven’t had to retrieve them but take your pick from car keys, shoes, toys, books and infinite amount of toilet rolls – they’ve all taken the plunge.
So we’ve to lock the toilets, which presents different problems then when Frankie or Éamon need to go and can’t get in.
Then if he goes down to bedrooms, he can climb up on the beds but is not aware of the dangers when he is jumping on the bed perilously close to the edge.
So we’ve taken to locking the three doors into the kitchen/sitting room and trying to entertain him in there. Of course, that’s not without challenges. He can pull out chairs and use them to climb on the table and absolutely loves climbing up onto the back of the couch and armchairs so they’ve to be pushed back against the wall to mitigate the potential for danger.
Of course he goes into a tantrum when he sees you denying him any opportunity.
He absolutely loves going outside but danger lurks everywhere too. He will try to climb anything, blissfully unaware until it’s too late with the high probability of falling from there. So far he’s managed to fall off the trampoline, off all the kids’ tractors along with run of the mill falls on the tarmac as he runs excitedly after something, before tripping himself up.
A cycle with him in the baby seat at the back, or a walk with him in the buggy are secure options right now – and where most of the other half of the steps are gained. Trouble is, rain is never too far away this summer.
So there’s a lot of man-marking in confined spaces going on. In theory that should be easier for the defender but a forward who’s willing to keep making runs and tire out the defender will eventually find a gap.

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