Baby talk, child’s play and kid gloves


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

With Éamon getting older, himself and Frankie are starting to get on like a house on fire. We’ve even found ourselves able to take our eyes off them. It might not be for long but those 30 seconds are invaluable.
Still, tears are never too far away.
Frankie might decide she wants to play with whatever Éamon is holding and swipe it from her. He’ll start crying, and we’ll have to tell Frankie that it won’t be long until her brother is as strong as her.
But she can be the solution too, and not just the problem.
If Éamon is particularly upset, Frankie will keep coming over with different books and toys until Éamon is pacified by one of them and stops crying.
“That’s for Éamon to stop the crying,” she will proudly declare, even if she was the cause of the tears in the first place.
Frankie’s tears take a different level of management.
“Frankie, why are you crying?” Answer: “Because I crying.” Indeed.
Usually the best trick with it is to suggest that only babies cry. It usually works, although not always. Frankie went through a phase of struggling to go to sleep by herself and would insist to myself or Aisling that we ‘lie down on the floor’ until she went to sleep.
Every effort – and I mean everything we could think of – was undertaken to escape from this slippery slope.
But to no avail, and we had visions of a cure for the coronavirus being found while we were still lying on the floor in Frankie’s bedroom.
But, then, a simple solution – a new night light, and she’s happy going to sleep on her own again.
The level of engagements now are huge. Her language is coming on every single day. She’s even hitting you with phrases that you have not one clue where she picked up.
“I’m astounded,” she came out with the last day. She wasn’t the only one. A bit of contact tracing, and it transpired the source was ‘The Gruffalo’, the classic children’s story.
She can be very perceptive too. If you give out to her – and any parent of a three year old will know there is the odd occasion for admonishment – she flips the situation on you.
“Are you my friend?” she will ask after being told off. Say ‘No’ and you might break her little heart and not feel great yourself. Say ‘Yes’ and the misdemeanour is quickly forgotten and likely repeated again, so you have to just ignore her.
“Daddy’s not my friend,” she will cry then. It’s impossible to stay cross for long.
Éamon is loving his few words that go a long way for him. Yes, no, bath, tractor, truck, outside and ‘bok’ go a long way for him, and pointing solves a lot of other problems.
I’ve a feeling he will have plenty more to say by the time lockdown is all over.

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