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A bump in the road


Diary of a First-Time Dad
Edwin McGreal

Frankie was much more relaxed about the situation than me.
I looked at her and said ‘Ah Jesus, what am I going to do now’?
She looked back with something approaching a smile as if to say ‘Well you’ll have to figure that one out yourself!’
Her calm demeanour was, to be fair, a Godsend. We were en route from Achill to Breaffy on a Sunday morning when, with little warning, Frankie got sick.
A small bit to begin with before everything came up and it was all over her clothes and the car seat.
I had to pull over as soon as possible. I’ve seen all manner of road safety awareness campaigns but none yet saying ‘Keep your eyes on the road when your child is getting sick behind you’. Trust me, it ain’t easy.
But pull in safely I did, along a row of houses just outside Newport, and I got out to inspect the damage.
Despite getting sick, Frankie wasn’t sick, if that makes sense. The fear when your child vomits is she is coming down with something. In the hours that followed it became apparent that Frankie was fine and this was a one-off.
It might have been a bump in the road I hit (there’s too many from Mulranny to Newport to even hazard a guess as to which one) or an air pocket (I had to Google that one when it was suggested to me).
So, despite being covered in her own vomit, Frankie was feeling fine. Just as well, because crying and screaming would have made a hard job unbearable.
Operation Clean-Up began. Step one was clean Frankie and get her changed. She looked at me bemused while I tried to breathe easily. Luckily I had packed a change of clothes, not something I always do, and Frankie was put in the front seat with a few toys. She sat there happy out while I sweated, cursed and groaned in the back.
You know nothing about cleaning until you’ve tried to rid a car seat of vomit. Take it from me, it gets everywhere … and the smell is something else. It took me over half an hour from start to finish.
I’m a great believer in baby wipes. However, such was the volume of the mess that a full packet was gone and still the car wasn’t spotless.
It’s rare that Frankie gets sick – what’s rare isn’t always wonderful – so we ought to consider ourselves lucky. And we do.
But that Sunday morning lucky wasn’t the word that was jumping out.
Being the considerate husband that I sometimes am, I decided to give Aisling the morning off before the chaos starts when number two arrives. So it was a Daddy Daughter day and when Frankie got sick, I was on my own. Shows where being nice gets you!
Operation Clean-Up mainly complete, we trucked to Breaffy and finished the clean-up, with Dettol, sponges and good drying.
Frankie ran about while I cleaned up some more, oblivious to the mess she had made.

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

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